Which Orthodox patristic/spiritual book are you reading/re-reading at the moment, (or have just finished reading/re-reading)? I would like very much to hear from you all and receive new recommendations.
These days I am reading a simple book, but so incredible, powerful and moving. Its title: The Hermitess Photini. I have not finished it yet, but until now I know that the Hermitess Photini abandoned the world and was a cave-dweller in the wilderness near the Jordan River. On her first day in the wilderness she saw in her sleep St. Mary of Egypt, who encouraged her and told her that "Christ the Bridegroom will strengthen you in your struggle and will help you receive the crown of ascesis."
The Hermitess was such a well educated person and was raised with much love from her parents (although her mother passed away while Photini was still a child). She traveled a lot because of her father's trade and she could have had all the joys and comforts of the world because she did not lack the means, but her soul longed for Christ. As an adult she spent much time in the cemetery contemplating about the vanity of life and the rest of the day she would spend it at the library studying.
There are many insightful moments about life in this book, but one of the most insightful and moving moments I have encountered up to the point I have read, is when the Hermitess receives an Easter egg from the Archimandrite Joachim, who providentially met her at Jordan's side, during the Bright Week of 1890 (and who wrote her life's story). While holding the Easter egg in her hands and saying "Christ is Risen!" she had tears in her eyes because:
(p.51) What a love!!!!
"I haven't eaten an Easter egg for six years."
"Aren't there any eggs of partridges or of other birds here in the wilderness?" [Archimandrite Joachim asked her]
"Yes, there are many, and I have come across many partridge nests, some with eggs, others with chicks. Across the Jordan, there are also eggs of wild ducks and geese, but I didn't take any of them because I didn't want to grieve the mothers, who entertain me with their singing in the monotony of this wilderness."
The Hermitess Photini struggled with "the hater of good" and because of her love and honor for the Theotokos (she read the Salutations to the Theotokos daily in addition to her prayers for God), she begged Theotokos for help. Instantly the Theotokos appears to her and says: "Fear not; only have your hope in me."