As Orthodox Christians we are encouraged to read the writings of the Fathers, but some cautions are due. Many of the Father's writings were written to those monks who were spiritually advanced. This is especially true of the writings that are contained in the Philokalia. Therefore we must approach such writings with great humility.
Elder Macarius advises as follows:
It is admirable that you should be reading the Fathers. Bear in mind, however, that their writing is like a thick forest: venturing there unprotected, without knowledge and without guidance, we easily go astray and may even run into grave dangers. Many readers have erred from undue self-assurance; whoever attempts a shortcut to the higher life, and sets out willfully to acquire and appropriate vision and other spiritual joys, call down on himself the divine wrath.Our first task is master our passions. Often this is a long and arduous task. But, it cannot be shortcut.
Isaac the Syrian says,
Do not imagine that you have left the thicket of passions behind you, until you are well within the walls of the citadel of humility.We have to make sure that our prayer is that of the publican and not the pharisee.
Reference: Russian Letters of Spiritual Direction, p 102