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New. It is as though you are looking into a deep sea, quickened by the beauty of the waters but unsure if you will sink or swim. Still, you want to try, because ''some time you must take the first uncertain steps-if you wish at all to draw near to God. Do not be anxious about your clumsy beginning...'' Drawing from the rich tradition of the desert fathers, Tito Colliander assimilates their directness and austerity, tempering his instruction (like they) with a warmth and humor that only humility is capable of sustaining. Written initially as an introduction to Eastern Christian spirituality in 1960, Way of the Ascetics (now in its third printing) is centered in the Orthodox theology of theosis, or deification. We live in a material world, and the means of our salvation comes through the material person of Christ. The final outcome of salvation is that we might be likewise transfigured, ''from glory to glory. '' But we must be resolute. Colliander advises us to begin inside-clean the soul's house by checking all other desires. Prepare a place for your Guest to dwell. You will sink, but you will also be raised up, if only you will ''arise moment by moment from your dullness, bless yourself with the sign of the cross and say: Let me, Lord, make a good beginning. ''
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