The Way of the Ascetics

Tito Colliander “Way of the Ascetics: The Ancient Tradition of Discipline and Inner Growth”(St Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1985)
way of the ascetics
From the publisher: “Way of the Ascetics is a rich, compact introduction for modern readers to the Eastern Christian spiritual tradition that has been an inspiration to millions for centuries. These compassionate and insightful reflections on self-control and inner peace are meant to lead the readers to fuller union with God. The author makes a generous selection of succinct yet profound extracts from the spiritual Fathers and provides an illuminating commentary and practical applications for daily devotion. He tempers austerity with common sense, warmth, and even humor, as he urges us on our journey toward God. Written for laypersons living fully in the world as much as for clergy, Way of the Ascetics is an excellent resource for daily meditation, authentic spiritual guidance, and a revitalized religious life.” http://www.svspress.com/way-of-the-ascetics/

From the author: “The “Way of the Ascetics” is an introduction to the narrow way that leads to life. It is a simple yet profound exposition of the spiritual life taught by the Orthodox Church for two thousand years. It is a portal to the vast spiritual experience of the desert fathers, and an insight into the spiritual lives of the saints. Reminiscent of the Ladder of St. John Climacus, “Way of the Ascetics” compells us to again begin the struggle to climb away from the world to the Kingdom of Heaven
In our era of new-age spirituality and homemade religion, the simple patristic style of this work is consoling. In our age of spiritual naivete, the simple and understandable instructions offered herein are enlightening and inspiring. We offer this text here on the internet for the first time, so that all spiritual neophytes in need of simple and easy to follow instructions may once again set out on the time-tested way that leads to the Kingdom of Heaven.” http://thewayoftheascetics.blogspot.com.au/
way of the ascetics 2
Contents
Chapter One: ON A RESOLUTE AND SUSTAINED PURPOSE
Chapter Two: ON THE INSUFFICIENCY OF HUMAN STRENGTH
Chapter Three: ON THE GARDEN OF THE HEART
Chapter Four: ON THE SILENT AND INVISIBLE WARFARE
Chapter Five: ON THE DENIAL OF SELF AND THE CLEANSING OF THE HEART
Chapter Six: ON ERADICATING THE DESIRE FOR ENJOYMENT
Chapter Seven: ON THE TRANSFER OF LOVE FROM THE SELF TO CHRIST
Chapter Eight: ON GUARDING AGAINST THE RE-ENTRY OF VANQUISHED EVIL
Chapter Nine: ON THE CONQUEST OF THE WORLD
Chapter Ten: ON THE SINS OF OTHERS AND ONE’S OWN
Chapter Eleven: ON THE INNER WARFARE AS A MEANS TO AN END
Chapter Twelve: ON OBEDIENCE
Chapter Thirteen: ON PROGRESS IN DEPTH
Chapter Fourteen: ON HUMILITY AND WATCHFULNESS
Chapter Fifteen: ON PRAYER
Chapter Sixteen: ON PRAYER
Chapter Seventeen: ON PRAYER
Chapter Eighteen: ON PRAYER
Chapter Nineteen: ON THE BODILY AND MENTAL ACCOMPANIMENTS OF PRAYER
Chapter Twenty: ON FASTING
Chapter Twenty-One: ON THE AVOIDANCE OF EXTRAVAGANCE
Chapter Twenty-Two: ON THE USE OF MATERIAL THINGS
Chapter Twenty-Three: ON TIMES OF DARKNESS
Chapter Twenty-Four: ON AN INTERPRETATION OF ZACCHAEUS
Chapter Twenty-Five: ON THE JESUS PRAYER
Chapter Twenty-Six: ON THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE

“Once again, be silent! Let no one notice what you are about. You are working for the Invisible One; let your work be invisible. If you scatter crumbs around you they are willingly picked up by birds sent by the devil, the saints explain. Beware of self-satisfaction: in one mouthful it can devour the fruit of much toil.
Therefore the Fathers counsel: act with discernment. Of two evils one chooses the lesser. If you are in private, take the poorest morsel, but if anyone is looking, you should take the middle way that arouses the least notice. Keep hidden and as inconspicuous as possible; in all circumstances let this be your rule. Do not talk about yourself, of how you slept, what you dreamed and what happened to you, do not state your views unasked, do not touch upon your own wants and concerns. All such talk only nourishes your self-preoccupation.
Do not change your work, your residence, and the like. Remember: there is no place, no community, no external circumstance that is not serviceable for the battle you have chosen. The exception is only such work as directly serves your vices.
Do not seek higher posts and higher titles: the lower the position of service you have, the freer you are. Be satisfied with the living conditions you now have. And do not be prompt to show your learning. Hold back your remarks. . . . Contradict nobody and do not get into arguments; let the other person always be right. Never set your own will above that of your neighbor. This teaches you the difficult art of submission, and along with it, humility. Humility is indispensable.
Take remarks without grumbling: be thankful when you are scorned, disregarded, ignored. But do not create humbling situations; they are provided in the course of the day as richly as you need. . . . [T]he truly humble person escapes notice: the world does not know him (I John 3:1); for the world he is mostly a “zero.””
Extract from Tito Colliander, “Way of the Ascetics”, pp. 25-26

The text is available on-line at: http://thewayoftheascetics.blogspot.com.au/ and http://cakravartin.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/way-of-the-ascetics.pdf and http://www.orthodoxebooks.org/WayOfTheAscetics
colliander
“Tito Fritiof Colliander (February 10, 1904 in St. Petersburg – May 21, 1989) was a Finnish Orthodox Christian writer. Colliander was born in the family of Colonel Sigfried Joakim Colliander and his wife Dagmar Ilmatar, nee von Schoultz and received his artistic education. His wife, Ina Behrsen was also an artist and painter, and his son Sergius – an orthodox priest.
Beginning with the 1930s Colliander publishes a number of novels and short stories that brought him name. In his books, written under the strong influence of Dostoyevsky’s frequent themes of guilt, searching for faith in the modern world. Novels Crusade (Korståget), Mercy (Förbarma dig) and others were translated into foreign languages .
Colliander and his wife Ina went to Orthodoxy, and in the years 1949–1953 the writer graduated from the Orthodox seminary. His most famous book The Way of the ascetic (Asketernas väg) was first published in Swedish. The English book (The Way of the Ascetics) went through several editions.
Died May 21, 1989 and is buried at the Orthodox cemetery in Helsinki near Lapinlahti.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tito_Cilliander
colliander memoirs
See further http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/titoc.htm

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