We Don’t Lose Heart!

Listen to this quote from St. Peter of Damaskos: “Patient endurance kills the despair that kills the soul; it teaches the soul to take comfort and not to grow listless in the face of its many battles and afflictions.” Wow, “the despair that kills the soul.” How often have I seen that in the people who have come to me so despondent as to say “what’s the use.” No wonder the fathers declare…

This Treasure in Earthen Vessels

  I had no choice. He was actually a very good man and a very prominent man in the community. But he had made the entire community a slave to his schedule. He was a wonderful volunteer and had become the “go to” guy for the community for years. But his effectiveness had now become a problem because the community had outgrown his ability to keep up. I had to confront him…

Abandon the Faith? Really?

Why do people stop practicing the faith? Why are we seeing so many young people abandon the faith of their youth? Countless studies have been done trying to answer this question. Every time I travel to speak around the country in parishes big and small, I get asked this question as well. And there are as many answers as there are studies. All of these articles and writers usually have some good…

Humble AND Obedient

“We are of one mind about this.” I heard his words and I understood each word and it’s meaning, but I had never heard this put this way before – “of one mind.” What did he mean? But, hey, I was a kid of 22 and the situation was such that I was hoping he meant we were in agreement. Too embarrassed to ask, I assumed (dangerous, I know) we were, in…

A Healthy Parish

You’ve met them. They are the ones who always seem to have a criticism of how things are going AND they don’t jump in to assist, they just want to complain. Truth be told, I’ve caught myself doing the same thing. Isn’t it amazing how much insight into a problem you can have and feel completely comfortable standing on the sidelines offer all this free advice? I guess by all the nodding…

In Him It Is Always Yes!

A wise leader was teaching a group of “leaders to be” and he made a provocative statement ” When someone comes to you and asks for permission to do something in the organization, let your answer always be ‘yes.’” Yes? Yes! In my years of ministry, both as a Protestant pastor and now as an Orthodox priest, I’ve found this to be solid advice for leadership. My main task as a parish…

Comforted to Comfort

Recently a Presbytera (that’s what we call the wife of the priest) passed away after a heroic struggle with breast cancer. This woman was a young woman with a husband and 17 year old daughter who struggled with their mother for the years she battled this illness. I knew this family because I had attended seminary with the husband who became a priest, and a good priest at that! As I learned…

St. Matthias, Pray For Us

“We have an eye witness.” Well, that got his attention. You see I was helping with an investigation with a recent spate of home burglaries in the area and we had caught a suspect in one of the neighborhoods where this was happening. This young man had been very successful in avoiding being seen or caught in the act until he robbed a house next door to a stay at home mom.…

How Are the Dead Raised?

“But, how does it work?” That was the question burning in my mind as a young, curious, typical pre-teen boy. So, I did what any normal kid would do. I took the clock apart! Still didn’t get my question answered because I didn’t understand the concept of the gears and spring system AND the clock never worked again because I didn’t know how to put it back together again! Needless to say,…

Do You REALLY Believe?

Friedrich Nietzsche declared “Faith means not wanting to know what is true.” And Fr. Seraphim Rose responds: “Atheism, true ‘existential’ atheism burning with hatred of a seemingly unjust or unmerciful God, is a spiritual state; it is a real attempt to grapple with the true God.… Nietzsche, in calling himself Antichrist, proved thereby his intense hunger for Christ.” In our modern world, gripped by what I call the religion of scientism, reduces…