KINDLING THE DIVINE SPARK: TEACHINGS ON HOW TO PRESERVE SPIRITUAL ZEAL BY ST. THEOPHAN THE RECLUSE
"Without application of strength one cannot make a step; the application of strength requires effort, and effort requires patience. Be patient in the sure hope that your labors will be rewarded in the end. Patience crowns everything and gives to everything support and strength."—St. Theophan the Recluse
Steeped in the ancient patristic and ascetic tradition, St. Theophan the Recluse was at the same time down-to-earth and very real, making profound, mystical realities understood by those he counseled. He had the exceptional gift of being able to encourage all, no matter where they were on the spiritual path, to go further in their fight against the passions and in their preparation for union with the Bridegroom Christ. His inspirational teaching is for all who sincerely seek the heavenly realm.
St. Theophan often used folk expressions in order to make mystical realities understood by all Christians of his time. He felt a dire need to raise Christians to a higher spiritual level in a society which was rapidly changing.
"Convince your mind and heart that you have already died to everything in this world. Translate your mind and feelings into the other world and abide there, showing yourselves to be strangers to everything around, all things created and earthly…. Arrange your inner world as if no one and nothing existed except the One God worshipped in Trinity. Let this thought just touch your heart and you will see for yourself how it is going to transform everything in your inner and outward life!"—St. Theophan the Recluse
Kindling the Divine Spark offers St. Theophan’s instructions to women, examining many essentials of the spiritual life, including: how the heart is purified, inner suffering, spiritual zeal, how to train oneself to pray, and mystical union with the Lord. It contains twenty sermons to nuns and a brief Life of St. Theophan translated by Fr. Seraphim Rose, accompanied by rare photographs. Though originally offered as a volume of sermons given in women’s monasteries, it comprises a conscious teaching of spirituality suited to the needs of both men and women, whether lay or monastic.