Watch Your Stinkin’ Thinkin’

“It is a great achievement not to be attracted by things. But it is a far greater achievement to remain dispassionate in the face both of things and of the conceptual images we derive from them.” St. Maximos the Confessor Isn’t that great? The ability to be free from a slavery to desires, but not just desires; to be free from the ideas these desires conjure in our minds! That’s the kind…

Rules Are Wise!

One of the most difficult realities I’ve had to face as an adult, as a priest, as a husband, and as a father is waking up to the reality of the complexity of each human person I encounter, including myself. This continuous process of discovery has me regularly seeing places of spiritual progress and immaturity in my heart first of all. All leading to the unmistakable conclusion that the taming of the…

Are You Just Flirting With God?

“There’s no time like the present.” This and many other “time” quotes really get to a central wisdom we humans have learned: Timing is everything. I have a dear couple who are dating. And, on top of that, they are exploring becoming Orthodox. Talk about a double whammy! Their relationship is growing with each other and the Faith. They recently asked me a question I get a lot from folks exploring the…

What Is Lacking In Christ’s Afflictions

Sometimes, the scriptures say things that really unsettle me. But I’ve learned when that happens, that’s a clue that I am approaching a place in my own heart that needs attention. And it’s beginning to dawn on me that most of the time I am unsettled by the wisdom of the Faith it’s because this wisdom is touching on suffering. Take, for example, this quote from St. Isaac the Syrian: If you would…

Listen To The Cross!

“Until you have eradicated the evils in your heart, do not obey it, because the heart seeks to increase what it already has stored inside.”  St Mark the Ascetic, On the Spiritual Law We prideful humans can’t understand the power of this wisdom without the “foolishness” of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Look at our lesson today in 1 Corinthians 1:18-24: BRETHREN, the word of the cross is folly to those who are…

Now Is My Soul Troubled

In our nihilistic age, with all the turmoil of our society from pandemics to politics to violence in the streets, we moderns seem to be having a crisis of purpose! I was having a conversation the other day with a dear, educated man, who also happens to be an ordained clergyman in one of the many Protestant denominations in our fair city, and the conversation turned, as it often does, to the…

God Doesn’t Condemn

The famous author J.K. Rowling once said: “I’m interested in that drive, that rush to judgment, that is so prevalent in our society. We all know that pleasurable rush that comes from condemning, and in the short term it’s quite a satisfying thing to do, isn’t it?” And she’s right! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ranted and raved at the TV news reports, or some post on Facebook with…

Are You Hiding The Light?

It was a favorite Sunday School song in my 1st grade class on Sundays! “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine!” We would hold up our right index finger as we sang the song. What a nice memory. But then…

Merry Marymas!

I suppose the whole world couldn’t contain the poems, stories, and memories we children collect about our mothers. I know I owe much of my good qualities to the brave lady who raised me and my little brother. And the one quality I always remember is that, no matter what was going on in my life, I could always, and I mean always, count on my mom. The bond between mother and…

How Is Your Hearing?

It wasn’t any medical condition. And yet, she just stared at me. I know she heard me, but she didn’t want to do what I was saying. Of course, she was only 3 years old, and 3 year olds are notorious for not being able to “hear.” at times. It reminded me of a funny story I once heard. A man was explaining to a group of new parents that “science” has…