Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Scent of Holiness (Book Review)

The Scent of Holiness
Lessons from a Women's Monastery
By Matushka Constantina Palmer

This is a delightful book in every way!

First, it's easy to read; you don't need any theological background or anything.  There's even a glossary of Orthodox Christian terminology to consult whenever a word may be unfamiliar, although there aren't so many of those to lessen any reader's enjoyment at all.

Secondly, this book is very interesting, giving us many glimpses into the day-to-day life of the monastery and some of the life stories of the nuns of Constantina's favorite monastery in Greece.  The nuns written about are, of course, quite charming; you get to know them a little and wish you could know them better.  This alone would be enough to keep you turning the pages, but there's more.  There are little miracles recounted, and encounters with beautiful people in addition to the nuns.

Thirdly, as the subtitle implies, you learn many useful things - but so gently and so charmingly are the lessons taught that you hardly even realize that's what they are.   The main thing you learn, as Constantina did, is how little you know or understand of living the Christian life - but also what you can do to learn and understand more.  This makes the book more than delightful; it is also important.

Constantina's objective in writing the book was, she tells us, to share with us some of the precious gifts she was given, so that we may also enjoy them, and in this she completely succeeds.  The whole book contains the scent of holiness, breathes the perfume of the Holy Spirit.  Thank you, Matushka Constantina!  And thanks be to God.


Maria said...

Delightful, indeed! I so enjoyed reading this book.

Emily H. said...

Well, you're the second person I know who has read it and loved it. A friend of ours who is Byz. Catholic read it and said she could hardly put it down!

matushka constantina said...

Thanks for the review Anastasia. I'm glad you liked the book!

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

This looks wonderful!

GretchenJoanna said...

I'm so glad you reviewed this book - I will at least buy it as a gift next time I am in the bookstore - where I've been seeing it for months and meaning to look into it!