The Passions and the Reading of Scripture

The following comes from Dumitru Staniloae’s Orthodox Spirituality. It underscores the need for the struggle against the passions if we are to read Scripture rightly. “Man,” says St. Maximus, “has the absolute need for these two things, if he wants to keep the right way to God without error: the spiritual understanding of Scripture and … Read More ›

The Lost Tradition

Many people think of the loss of various pieces of “Tradition” when they think of the modern, non-Orthodox, churches. Some may think of the loss of liturgical riches or the loss of the canons. Others may see a wholesale change in the spiritual teachings of the Christian faith. When I think of the loss of … Read More ›

Milestones and Thank You’s

These things seem to be happening with increasing frequency. I offer my thanks to my many readers. The blog surpassed 600,000 views yesterday. Thank you for continuing to read and for sharing this site with others.

The Passion to Consume

I have mentioned the role that the passions play in our consumer culture. I would like to write in greater depth about that phenomenon. It permeates our culture – and yet, strangely, I do not find it to be a dominant concern of people when they think about their sins or when they think of … Read More ›

Means and Ends

St. Seraphim of Sarov is quoted as saying, “You cannot achieve good ends through evil means.” I have taken this to be a given since I first read it. It does not mean that God does not work all things together for good. But it does mean that I must consider carefully how I go … Read More ›

St. Isaac on Humility

Humilty is the raiment of the Godhead. The Word who became human clothed himself in it, and he spoke to us in our body. Everyone who has been clothed with humility has truly been made like unto Him who came down from his own exaltedness and hid the splendor of his majesty and concealed his … Read More ›

The Cross of Conversion

I grew up in a culture where religious conversion was frequent as well as often short-lived. Religiously, the only remedy to many of the ills of life was conversion. On the face of things I could hardly argue with that now. However, the deeper problem within that particular religious culture was a very truncated view … Read More ›

The Depth of Crime and Punishment

I took on myself to re-read Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment for Great Lent, and have made far greater speed than I would have thought. (Little or no television and bedtime reading can sometimes take you far.) It is a book I have loved for years – being the first Dostoevsky I ever read as a … Read More ›

The Scripture in Creation

One of the many endearing stories of St. Seraphim of Sarov was a small act of devotion he engaged in during his years as a hermit. The area around his hermitage was designated by him with Biblical place-names. Thus one place was Jerusalem, another Bethlehem, etc. Thus did the great saint transform the trees and … Read More ›

The Sacrament of the Present Moment

There is a wonderful translation of Jean-Pierre De Caussade’s  Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence, which bears the same title as this post. I am borrowing the phrase, not to comment on the volume (though I highly recommend it), but to bring into focus something of at least equal importance. It is the reality of our moment by … Read More ›

Living with Ignorance

Faith tells us some things – the Holy Scriptures serve as another source of revelation – the Holy Tradition of the Church also informs us of much – but, nevertheless, in the face of all these things our lives are still largely lived in ignorance. It’s not that we cannot memorize Scripture (some memorize much … Read More ›