We are surrounded today by spiritualities of all kinds--Native American, Buddhist, Sufi, from the Kabbalah--combinations of these and many other sources. How does one discern the truth in them? Many of these paths are turned inward, are egoistic, Gnostic and self-serving. Others are contradictory in their demands, confusing to seekers, dishonestly promising ecstatic experience with little effort.
Evdokimov draws from the great current of Christian spiritual life in the West and in particular the Eastern tradition, revealing how modern mankind may recover the voices of silence, prayer and contemplation. Ages of the Spiritual Life presents a different view of the spiritual life.
Paul Evdokimov's spirituality is open to God, the world and to the neighbor. It is the spirituality of the Great Tradition of the Church, but refreshingly new, rooted in the Bible and liturgy but entwined with the everyday life of home, school and work, a spirituality that is truly "for the life of the world." Models and teachers are the desert fathers and mothers and the monastics. Evdokimov's gift is the idea of an "interiorized monasticism" for all. The true pattern of the spiritual life for us in our time means incorporating into our lives the basics of the monastics' life: prayers, liturgy, scripture, work, love and care for the neighbor.
Our "fasting" then becomes fasting from obsessive acquiring, from addiction to work and productivity, from the frenetic pace of our lives. Our solitude is to be found in quiet, prayer, simplicity, and small acts of loving-kindness. The spiritual life, we learn more, needs to find its particular shape in the demands and context of our time, our lives, not those of another century. Thus, Christ transforms us and our age. Evdokimov offers the spirituality of the whole Church, of the past and of the present, and the life of the saints, a gift from Orthodoxy to all truly seeking God.