What Is Man?

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Psalm 8:4). The question, “What is man?” written perhaps a thousand years before the coming of Christ, is the bedrock of true humanism, the only form of dignity that can sustain human life. Our modern world continually re-imagines our nature, but God alone sustains it. I can think of nothing more assuring than … Read More ›

Memorial Day

In America, today is called “Memorial Day.” It was originally established to remember the fallen soldiers of the American War Between the States (Civil War) in the 19th century. Today it commemorates all fallen soldiers of the nation. It marks the unofficial beginning of the Summer holidays and is not often kept as a day … Read More ›

Within A Mandorla

There is a small class of events within the gospels that are treated in a special manner by iconographers. This special treatment reflects the language of Scripture as well. In the icons of the Transfiguration, Pascha and the Ascension, there is a particular artistic device used called a Mandorla. Sometimes circular, sometimes almost star-shaped, it … Read More ›

A Secular Death

Almost no event shatters the confidence of the secular world like death. Regardless of a person’s achievements, fame or wealth, death not only destroys but threatens to mock. Many older funeral customs evolved in a relatively non-secular context. It is not surprising that funerals in the secular world are changing quickly: their content speaks volumes … Read More ›

Learning to Walk

I cannot remember learning to walk (I was nine-months old). I do, however, remember learning to ride a bicycle. I think the two experiences are fairly similar. I know that falling down is something both of them have in common. I also know that both of them require falling down as part of the learning … Read More ›

The Invisible Christian

But you, when you pray, go into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly (Matt. 6:6). You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matt. 5:14-16). Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me. (Matt. 11:6) There is an invisible side of the Christian faith, known only to God and the believer. St. Matthew’s gospel refers to this as the secret place. It is not only intended to be secret, but exists only in … Read More ›

The Disappointment of Religion

Reading the lives of the saints often raises our expectations. We read of someone transfigured with light, or of someone who is present in two places at once. We read beautiful descriptions of the inner life, of an awareness of our union with God or clarity with regard to the nature of all things. In … Read More ›

To Believe and Not to Believe

I have written extensively about the “two-storey universe.” In short, this is a description of how many modern Christians see the world. There is the first floor – the natural world which operates according to naturalist, “secular” rules, and the second floor – the world of God, heaven, hell, angels, etc. The spiritual crisis of modern man … Read More ›

To Bethink in Wonder

There are many cliches describing our cultural failure to be “present to the moment.” We do not “stop and smell the roses.” We do not “let go and let God.” There is a momentum to life that carries us along. Our jobs, our families, our habits – all conspire to make us oblivious to the … Read More ›

All Dogs Go to Heaven

The fathers do not agree utterly on the question of animals and eternal life – so the question of their eternal disposition is never answered in a manner that satisfies. But there are a few things worth pondering about the lives of animals (of which I have chosen dogs as representatives). Animals, like all creation, … Read More ›

The Language of Silence

The language of the heart is silence—not a bleak, empty silence, but a profound and meaningful silence that ceaselessly sings the glory of God. Archimandrite Meletios Webber +++ The language…is silence. I will violate this wonderful oxymoron by speaking about the silence. It is the inherent problem with all theology. We use words to speak … Read More ›