"Anyone who studies religion seriously comes up against this question: it is a question literally of life and death."1
Regardless, I decided to pick up a work by him entitled God's Revelation to the Human Heart, a transcript of a lecture he gave to students of comparative religion at Santa Cruz's University of California in 1981.
It is a tiny work, barely struggling past 50 pages. For five dollars, I figured that if it was a poor read, it would have cost little, and I would come to a greater understanding of what this controversial figure had to say.
God's Revelation to the Human Heart is a profound little work that places the reader squarely into a moment in time, right during the heyday of the New Age movement. Hieromonk Damascene in the introduction sets the stage well in the introduction.
As to the content of Seraphim Rose's speech, it is excellent - he touches largely on the need for a conversion of the heart of course, but also talks about human suffering in the face of evil, the problem of atheism, and the desperate need to seek the truth (or should I say, the Truth).
Here is the irony - tacked on at the end of this little book is a series of questions asked of him by the students who sat through his talk. I agree with Hieromonk Damascene's assessment of it - it was over their heads, something was missed. In the end, the questions are merely ones of curiousity or ones that seek for sensationalism.
Not once do they ask him about what he means by a burning heart - instead, they ask him for his opinions on the Catholic Church (a sad bit from this Catholic's view, but often found in many Eastern Orthodox works), on Anglicanism, on the Apocalypse, on fasting, and the like. Here these students sat, faced with the opportunity to ask this man who spoke so profoundly on faith in Christ, any question they liked - and they chose sensationalism.
It makes me think of why the media rarely features positive articles - it is because they have no sensationalistic aspect to them. They don't sell. It seems sometimes that we want something that will catch our attention with flashy statements, give us something to argue about or categorize, something that will shock or upset us. Hence, these questions by the students who were there. Hence, the point of Seraphim Rose's brief talk seems to have been missed - a sad thing, that the author of the introduction and afterword, Hieromonk Damascene, notes as well.
Nonetheless, it is a great little bit of spiritual writing, concise yet profound and impacting. Aside from his views of the Catholic Church mentioned in the end, which I would be amiss if I did not warn interested Catholic readers, it is a worthwhile and very brief read.
1 - Fr. Seraphim Rose, God's Revelation to the Human Heart, pg. 20