Birth and Death and Birthdays

What a jumble of highs and lows this week has been. On Sunday morning, we celebrated the great Triumph of Orthodoxy, being invited to “Come and see” our Lord Jesus Christ. On Sunday night, just as I was drifting off to sleep in front of too-late Netflix watching, I learned of the death of my friend Fr. Matthew Baker. On Monday, I couldn’t think…

Remembering Matthew: On the Death of a Man, by Fr. Joseph Lucas

I was sent this remembrance today of Fr. Matthew Baker from Fr. Joseph Lucas, another priest-scholar and friend of Fr. Matthew. These words resonate with me, as well. Manhood was something that Fr. Matthew talked about a good bit in his private conversations with friends, and it was something that he helped other men to build. Fr. Joseph is a priest of the Orthodox…

Fr. Matthew Baker: Priesthood and Sacrifice (Homily for Sunday of the Holy Cross)

I committed to blogging every day for 40 days this Lent, but I have to admit that I don’t feel like writing about almost anything right now except trying somehow to keep my friend Fr. Matthew in my immediate memory, as if that somehow holds off the reality of his shocking departure from this earthly life. (For more on Fr. Matthew and also for…

“We need more spiritual brothers”: Losing Fr. Matthew Baker

I awoke this morning hoping that it wasn’t true, that somehow, the nightmare of losing my friend of ten years so instantly had just been a dream. But it wasn’t. Fr. Matthew Baker is dead. And I realized that I have to write something about him, to capture for just a moment something of what he meant to me. Promising. Brilliant. Down-to-earth. Genius. Important.…

St. Raphael and Me: On the 100th Anniversary of His Repose

Fifteen years ago, in the month of May, I drove with two of my friends from Raleigh, North Carolina, to St. Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, for the canonization services of a new saint. I knew almost nothing about him at the time. I had been an Orthodox Christian for only two years, I was still a bit starry-eyed about the faith (and…

Prayer for the Dead and Family Process

Ccontinuing on some of the thoughts I mentioned in my Tuesday post on the occasion of six months since my mother’s passing, I wanted to explore some of these issues further in a more general way, meditating on a few related questions. I’ve actually gotten a couple of private notes from folks concerned that, from what they read, I was “repressing” my emotions regarding…

Processing the Death of my Mother

Today is six months since my mother’s passing on August 24 from a suddenly appearing aggressive brain cancer. I normally wouldn’t focus on stuff here that’s so personal, but perhaps my working out of some of these things may be helpful to folks in similar situations or who know people affected in this way. Even though it’s been half a year, it’s still hard…