-Geronda, how can I learn to love the Mother of God?
-Read her Canons (Theotokarion) every day. They will help you greatly in loving the Mother of God. Then see what the Mother of God will do for you! She will comfort you.
– Geronda, the Abbess told me that I need awakening. What can reignite my zeal?
– Read a canon from Theotokarion every day, and you will see that you will acquire nobility. Do it as a rule. If you cannot read an entire canon, read the first troparion of each chant and the podoben that are at the end of the canon.
– Geronda, to assist me in prayer, can I set aside a period of time to pray and not stop until that time is up?
– During that time, you can recite the Jesus Prayer, but also include a Paraklesis or read from the Theotokarion.
– Geronda, when should I read the Theotokarion, in the evening or in the morning?
– It is better to read it in the morning so that what you have read remains in your mind throughout the day. And when you are fulfilling your obedience, you can briefly interrupt your work and read a canon from the Theotokarion.
The Theotokarion is indeed very helpful. It warms the heart and stirs the soul. I remember Hieromonk Cyril, the abbot of Cutlumus Monastery. When he read from the Theotokarion, he couldn’t help but be moved to sighs and tears. Even a single thought from the Theotokarion can change your soul. The Theotokarion is a collection of sixty-two canons dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos, compiled by Saint Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain from manuscripts found in the monasteries of Mount Athos and published in 1796.  See Athonite Fathers published by Evanghelismos Publishing, Bucharest 2004, p. 125.
Excerpt from On Prayer – Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, Evanghelismos Publishing.