Let us seek in God’s Word a Scented Garden and Spring of Everlasting Life

“Like a tree planted by streams of water” (Psalm 1:3), the soul is irrigated by the Bible and acquires vigor, produces tasty fruit, namely, true faith, and is beautified with a thousand green leaves, namely, actions that please God. The Bible, in fact, leads us towards pure holiness and holy actions. In it we find encouragement to all the virtues and the warning to flee from evil.

The Bible is a scented garden, delightful, beautiful. It enchants our ears with birdsong in a sweet, divine and spiritual harmony, it touches our heart, comforts us in sorrow, soothes us in a moment of anger, and fills us with eternal joy. Let us knock at its gate with diligence and with perseverance. 

Let us not be discouraged from knocking. The latch will be opened. If we have read a page of the Bible two or three times and have not understood it, let us not be tired of re-reading it and meditating on it. 

Let us seek in the fountain of this garden “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). We shall taste a joy that will never dry up, because the grace of the Bible garden is inexhaustible.

– from On the Orthodox Faith (John of Damascus lived between 676 and 749 AD.

(Translation by Thomas Spidlik, Drinking from the Hidden Fountain: A Patristic Breviary, first published in English in 1992 by New City, 57 Twyford Ave, London, W3 9PZ, UK. First American publication in 1993 by Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008, USA.)

Top image of The Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck, detail of front panel, from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

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