For what it's worth, I would like to make the following comments on the British Orthodox Fellowship Handbook, having used it over the past month and gained a familiarity with its contents.
Firstly, I think that ODL is a very valuable resource for a beginner like me. It is simple, clear, and contains excellent advice on developing one's spiritual life. It enables someone like myself to not keep "missing the point". It helps us to "see the wood for the trees". In some ways, I believe that there are far too many authors offering 'advice' on spiritual matters, when they should really keep silent and leave it to those who have real wisdom and spiritual understanding, instead of 'muddying the waters'. ODL is an invaluable tool, I reckon.
I shall now read each day's reading on the appropriate day of each calendar month (Day One on the first day of the month etc.). I am so thick that it didn't dawn on me that this was the intended way of using it until someone posted something about it!
Secondly, reading through Mark's Gospel in this way is illuminating and moving. This particular translation allows the Holy Spirit space to enter one's awareness in a way that others seem not to somehow.
Thirdly, the daily quotations from Desert Fathers and the Lives of the Saints are valuable. When I read the excerpt from a Homily by St. Jacob of Serugh (page 11) on Day One, I thought that his remark:
Quote:'bring the tears of your repentance and sprinkle His doorstep with them'
was pure sentimentality. However, having attended Divine Liturgy on Day 23 and sensed His Presence, I think I am beginning to appreciate what he means.
I liked the way that lines 8-11 of page 19 are repeated on page 29 (lines 10-13). I think that this observation about Abba Macarius could perhaps be repeated every day as it says so much about theosis and the kindness of those who are drawing near to Kindness Itself.
The only reading I had a problem understanding is the extract from a homily of Father Serge Bulgakov (page 37). I'm sure that I'll get the gist of it eventually with repeated reading, reflection and prayer.
The Calendar of Saints (pages 129-150) I feel to be of particular importance. His Holiness Pope Shenouda III's comment on page 122 is apposite here. These Saints were lights to their generations and "other Christs". The Protestant refusal to venerate and treasure the memories of these individuals (not worship
them) strikes me as unkind indeed, evidencing a lack of love and understanding on their part. In fact it demonstrates (in my opinion) a lack of respect for Christ, His promises, and the path of theosis itself. I am quite at a loss to understand the position of people who approve of defacing icons and destroying sacred relics in the name of Christ Himself and His Truth.
That's all I wanted to write. Thank you for making ODL available. I appreciate it.