The Annunciation: When Hello is not simply Hello!

(Hebrews 2:11-18; Luke 1:24-38; Judges 6:12-15) Conventional greetings and words of introduction are notoriously slippery things. In the past year, my husband and I have grown very fond of the Scottish band “The Proclaimers,” whom many in America know from their popular song, “I’m gonna be”: You know, “And I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more, just to be the man…”  Well, they have a very funny song…

St. Patrick, Natural Icons and the Sacramental Creation

Readings: Isaiah 13:2-13; Genesis 8:4-21; Proverbs 10:31-11:12 St. Patrick, the Bishop of Armagh and Enlightener of Ireland, was born as a slave in Britain—either Scotland or Wales— between 385 and 390, travelled to Ireland in response to the call of God, eventually became bishop of the area of Armagh, in Northern Ireland, and died, having braved many dangers for Christ, on March 17, 461. Today his name is, alas, associated with carousing…

“I Have Reminded You, My Soul:” The Canon of St. Andrew of Crete and the Sunday of Orthodoxy

Hebrews 11:24-25, 32-40; John 1:43-51, 2 Peter 1. For four weekdays leading up to the Sunday of Orthodoxy, we inhabit, in our prayers together, the canon of St. Andrew of Crete, who in many of his odes takes us to the stories of the Old Testament, as he encourages his soul (and ours!) to repent. In some of his instruction he meditates upon the figure of Moses and so prepares us for…

“What Have You Got Worth Living For? True Love!”–St. Valentine, Marriage and the Orthodox Faith

Readings: Hebrews 13:4 Genesis 1 and 2; Ephesians 5; Tobit (especially 8:4-8) My children’s generation grew up on a classical love-story, tinged with touches of humor: The Princess Bride, more often watched in the film version than read in the book by William Goldman. I remember my middle daughter Alexandra being delighted that the story begins with a grandfather telling his ill grandchild a story, when she was also home ill from…

Humility that is Heard In Heaven: The Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee

2 Timothy 3:10-15; Luke 18:10-14, 4 Kingdoms 19:9-20; Phil. 2: 5-11. This week, especially on February 2nd, we concentrated upon that poignant story of Jesus’ presentation at the Temple, when he is brought by St. Joseph and his Holy Mother at 40 days after his Nativity to be received by the elder Simeon. Here we see the infant Lord and his Mother in a display of deep humility: for they came, according…

The “Sub-Apostle” Holy St. Timothy (Jan 22, 2017)

1 Timothy 4:9-15 In writing to the Philippians, who were, it seems, finding the virtues of unity and humility hard to embrace, the holy Apostle Paul has this to say: I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you. I have no one like him who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. …But Timothy’s worth you know, how…

The New and the Circumcized: An “Afterward” on The Circumcision of Christ and New Year’s Day

Colossians 2:8-12; Luke 2:20-21, 40-52, Various verses in Exodus, Deuteronomy and Numbers For our family, this season has been a time of new things: the first Christmas of two babies (my eleventh and twelfth grandchildren) and the welcoming of a new puppy. These fresh lives seem appropriate as symbols of the (secular) New Year, and as reminders to us that God Himself graced our world, coming among us in new flesh— the…