When I became Orthodox, I often said of the idea of “theosis,” “divinization” or (as St. Peter had it) becoming one of the “partakers of the divine nature,” that it would suffice for me if I became fully human.

I got a reminder of that today:

In his his splendid biography of Fr Seraphim Rose, Fr Damascene Christensen tells the story of a young monastic aspirant seeking the esoteric spirituality of Orthodox Christianity on Mt Athos. But once he finally arrives at his destination, the Abbot hands him a copy of Dickens’ novel, “David Copperfield” to read.

When the young man protests in dismay that this is not the deep Orthodox wisdom he was seeking, but heterodox Western sentimentality, the Abbot smiles and replies: “unless you first develop normal, human, Christian feelings and learn to view life as little Davey did—with simplicity, kindness, warmth, and forgiveness—then all the Orthodox ‘spirituality’ and Patristic writings will not only be of no help to you—they will turn you into a ‘spiritual’ monster and destroy your soul.”

Webmaster’s introduction to Literature, Culture and the Western Soul by the Sisters of St. Xenia Skete.

The article that followed that just may belong in the “thanks, I needed that” category.