Way of the Ascetics by Tito Colliander (free ebook)

on February 15 | in Affirmations, Individual Improvement, Inspirations | by | with Comments Off on Way of the Ascetics by Tito Colliander (free ebook)

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The Way of the Ascetics, written by Tito Colliander in 1952, is a very short and immensely powerful examination of the spiritual path from the perspective of asceticism and the Christian church fathers. You can read about Tito Colliander here and about asceticism on Wikipedia. This short book, available for free online (see the end of this post) or in printed form from Amazon, has 25 dense chapters that are each illuminated with profundity and spirit. Whatever your spiritual path, there is wisdom here.

I’ve included two quotes from the first ten chapters, but I could have easily taken more from the first ten and included quotes from the entire twenty-five. Every paragraph is something, for me at least, to savor and ruminate over. When I become weak in the backward ways of my bad habits, this book re-enlivens my passion to leave the drudgery of my old self behind. May it also do so for you.

20 Profound Quotes from the Way of the Ascetics

Purpose, from Chapter One

  • “Faith comes not through pondering but through action.”
  • “However weighed down and entangled in earthly fetters you may be, it can never be too late.”

Ego, from Chapter Two

  • “It is precisely our egoism, our self-centeredness and self-love that cause all our difficulties, our lack of freedom in suffering, our disappointments and our anguish of soul and body.”
  • “Thus you are led from moment to moment in your halter of preoccupation with self, and kindled instantly to displeasure, impatience or anger if an obstacle intervenes.”

Eternal Life, from Chapter Three

  • “It begins here, and has no end, and no earthly power can coerce it; and it is to be found in the human heart.”
  • “Cast off the burden of sin and you will find within you the upward path that will make your ascent possible.”

Warfare, from Chapter Four

  • “Say nothing of the new life you have begun or of the experiment you are making and experiences you expect to have. All this is a matter between God and you, and only between you two.”
  • “Nothing happens accidentally or in such a way that you cannot learn from it; you must understand this at once, for this is how your trust grows in the Lord whom you have chosen to follow.””

Cleansing, from Chapter Five

  • “The saints’ deep secret is this: do not seek freedom, and freedom will be given you.”
  • “There are three kinds of nature in man, as Nicetas Stethatos further explains: the carnal man, who wants to live for his own pleasure, even if it harms others; the natural man, who wants to please both himself and others; and the spiritual man, who wants to please only God, even if it harms himself. The first is lower than human nature, the second is normal, the third is above nature; it is life in Christ.”

Denial, from Chapter Six

  • “If you were not full of self-pity you would soon observe that we ourselves are to blame for all this evil, because we refuse to understand that it is in reality a good thing.”
  • “You must learn to follow privately the Lord’s bidding: not to speak empty words, not to adorn yourself, always to obey authority, not to look at a woman with desire, not to be angry and much else.”

Love of Christ, from Chapter Seven

  • “A truly unselfish act is not mine, but God’s. It cannot be obstructed. Only for my own plans, my own wishes to study, to work, to rest, eat, or do a service to my fellowman– can some external circumstance “get in the way,” and then I am grieved.”
  • “This obstinate will to personal happiness is the cause of unrest and division in your soul. Give it up and work against it: the rest will be given you without effort.”

Defense Against Evil, from Chapter Eight

  • “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.”
  • “We notice the person who is for ever bowing and fussily servile, and perhaps say, How humble he is! But the truly humble person escapes notice: the world does not know him.”

The World, from Chapter Nine

  • “Weakness for wealth and for collecting and owning things of different kinds; the urge for physical (sensuous) enjoyment; the longing for honour, which is the root of envy; the desire to conquer and be the deciding factor; pride in the glory of power; the urge to adorn oneself and to be liked; the craving for praise; concern and anxiety for physical well-being. All these are of the world; they combine deceitfully to hold us in heavy bonds.”
  • “As soon as you direct such a question outward to your fellow man and not inward to yourself, you have set yourself on a judgment seat and thereby judged yourself. You have robbed yourself of what you had won by your own continence; you have taken one step forward but ten backward: and then you have reason to weep over your obstinacy, your failure to improve, and your pride.”

Sin, from Chapter Ten

  • “Through practice he has accustomed himself to wish for nothing, and for a person with no wishes, everything goes just as he wishes, explains the Abbot Dorotheus. His will has coincided with God’s will, and whatever he asks, he will receive.”
  • “He has made peace with himself, as Isaac the Syrian says, and heaven and earth have made peace with him. He is gathering the fruit of humility. But this takes place only on the narrow way, and few there be that find it.”

Way of the Ascetics – get the book

If you are comfortable reading the book online or have a mobile device that can handle e-books, then this is absolutely free.

Click here for the free ebook in a reader, PDF, and mobile formats on orthodoxebooks.org.

If you want a hard copy, you can of course get it on Amazon. Or, print it out from the above.

Click here to buy a hard copy of the Way of the Ascetics on Amazon.

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