Many of today’s Christians are almost completely unfamiliar with the word of God. They have read and studied all the worldly things a thousand times but have never taken the Bible into their hands. If you were to ask them why they do not read it, the answer would likely be that they do not understand much of it. This is not an excuse, brothers! That is why they do not understand the word of God, which they never read. If they had read it diligently, then even the obscure parts thereof would have become clear to them.
One monk came to see his spiritual father and said: “Father, may I quit reading the word of God?” “Why?’ the elder asked. “I don’t understand what I’m reading,” the disciple answered. The elder said to him, “When the sheep find good pastures, they greedily graze the grass and swallow it without chewing, trying to eat as much as they can; and then, having had enough, they chew it. So, as long as you have time and opportunity, read divine books as often as you can without being lazy, and the darkness will become bright for you. For you will either understand the incomprehensible things because of your long exposure to them, or you will learn them from the Fathers and Teachers of the Church, or, finally, if there is no one to explain them to you, the Lord Himself will enlighten you” (Prolog February 4).
The fact that the Lord sometimes uses extraordinary means to help those who do not understand what they are reading can be seen from the following.
On his way to Jerusalem, a dignitary of the Ethiopian queen Candace was reading the 53rd chapter of the Book of Isaiah, which contains the prophecy about Jesus Christ. He did not understand the prophecy, but the Lord, seeing his sincere desire to know the truth, sent him unexpected help. The Holy Spirit led the apostle Philip to the road on which the nobleman was riding; Philip approached the nobleman and spoke to him. Philip asked if he understood what he was reading. The answer was, “How can I, except some man should guide me?… I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?” The apostle satisfied his desire and explained to him the prophecy about Jesus Christ. Then the nobleman came to believe in the Savior of the world with all his heart and immediately received the Baptism, and after that the Holy Spirit descended upon him (Acts 8:26-39).
The Holy Spirit will help you to understand God’s word if you listen to or read God’s word with diligence and attention. He is always close to those who love and learn from him. You need only ask Him to enlighten you and He will enlighten you either directly or through the ministers of the Church, to whom you should always turn for an insight when you do not understand the word of God. Amen.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds