The Wilderness Journal
For a long time I have been hungry for a women’s Orthodox devotional or bible study that took me through the bible, the saints or the Fathers of the church in relation a woman or a mother. A lot of the time, they’re protestant guides and I can’t seem to really dig into their content. As a convert to the faith, I yearn to live a more Orthodox faith constantly and to be able to lead my family in an Orthodox life so that my boys will have a firm foundation for their families and to lead my family up the ladder to heaven. Also, I tend to do them alone and I don’t have another’s perspective on the meaning of the content and, especially, the thoughts of the Fathers.
There’s a book called the Philokalia, Ancient Greek for “love of the beautiful, the good.” It’s a compilation of texts written by Orthodox tradition masters and is in it’s third edition. This book is five volumes of the masters of our faith talking to us about how to lead a holy life. Because this book was by monks and for monks, there is a general sense of heaviness when undertaking reading it. Monks lead a stricter life than laymen and as a layman reading this, it can very easily become overwhelming.
All of that said, why can’t us laymen become a little stricter (read: stronger) in our faith and how we lead our lives. I think thats the goal of every Orthodox Christian and of every Christian. We can’t necessarily be monastics while also participating in today’s society, but we can get closer and closer.
Angela Doll Carlson took a year and read through the Philokalia. She also wrote down her thoughts on each message for the day. She’s compiled them into her own book “The Wilderness Journal.” I think this is the book I’ve been waiting for.
I wouldn’t call this light reading but each day’s reading, while only be a page in length, can launch your devotional time into a personal reflection of each message. For me as a woman and mother and convert, it allows me to connect purposefully each day with my faith and I don’t have that feeling of being alone. I have the masters and Angela right by my side.
Note: Though this is written by a woman and mother, it’s in no way only for women. I encourage any guys interested to pick it up.
You can find the book here: https://store.ancientfaith.com/the-wilderness-journal-365-days-with-the-philokalia/