"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one
teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God;
and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For
every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness:
for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full
age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to
discern both good and evil."
Why do we have such difficulty understanding the scriptures and the
writings of the fathers? Perhaps because we do not "by reason of use
have [our] senses exercised…." In other words, we do not struggle
hard enought to fulfill the scripture in our lives, and therefore our
heart is not purified so as to understand what they say… There is a
story in the life of one of the Optina elders, in which a visiting
bishop asked him why it was so difficult to remember the words of St.
John of the Ladder on the virtues, even after reading them many times.
The elder responded that these words would only be retained in the
memory if they were put into practice.
Reader Nicholas Park
St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas TX