Who’s To Blame?

I frequently buy used books (indeed with the used books feature on Amazon, I often can only afford to buy used books). You try to get a good, clean copy, but occasionally they come with marginal comments.  My volume of St. Silouan the Athonite is used, and has a number of marginal comments from my anonymous predecessor.  Sometimes the comments themselves are interesting. Reading today, I ran across marginal comments that said:…

Godly Grief

I spent two years working as a Hospice Chaplain in the Mountains of East Tennessee. When you’re working with hospice, death and grief are ever-present. You have no choice over your patients. Mine ranged from Mountain Pentecostals, to unbeliever scientists here in Oak Ridge (a science city). But grief was universal. I learned many things about grief, both by watching and listening to others and by paying attention to myself. One of…

St. Silouan and the Church

The following excerpt from St. Silouan the Athonite, begins with a quote from the saint, and is followed by the comments of Archimandrite Sophrony. It is given to our Orthodox Church through the Holy Spirit to fathom the mysteries of God, and she is strong in the holiness of her thought and her patience. The mystery of God which the Church understands in the Holy Spirit is the love of Christ. The…

A Request for Your Prayers

I fly Friday morning to Minneapolis where I will be speaking at several Churches, including St. Mary’s Cathedral for the Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers. Minnesota is also expecting one of its worst winter storms of the year. Sounds about right to me… I have been assured that I will be “kept warm, fed, and entertained…” But if any of you know me you know that flying is not one of my favorite…

The Lenten Eucharist

There can be little surprise that on the Sundays in Lent the Liturgy of St. Basil is used. It’s longer than St. John Chrysostom’s, and that alone is reason enough to use it during Lent. It is also “deeper” if I can dare to say such a thing. There’s just more doctrine in St. Basil’s Liturgy than in Chrysostom’s, mind you, not much, but more. In good Orthodox parlance, I might say…

Lent in the South

One of the hallmarks of my generation in the South is that we never grew up without a great deal of attention to God. Whether it was the absolute assurance in the sermons of preachers who could say with some precision who was going where when they died, or even with assurance describe heaven, or the far more mundane mutterings of public figures giving lip-service to the God in Whom we believed.…

Lenten Thoughts

I recommend a short paragraph by Ian Dalrymple over at his site The Scrivener. Good thoughts. Today we labor under cloudy skies and thunderstorms. Sure signs in Tennessee that Spring will be not far away. I have no idea what happened with the groundhog. But it will surely be a very beautiful Pascha this year.

All Things Were Created For Him

St. Paul makes the remarkable statement in Colossians: “For all things were created through Him and for Him.” This remarkable statement gives rise to a later even more remarkable statement by St. Maximus the Confessor: “The incarnation is the cause of everything.” This statement takes the “all things were created for Him and sees it applying to the incarnation itself, rather than to Christ as some eschatological point. In truth, the incarnation…

St. John Chrysostom on Fasting

The following text comes from Monachos.net’s Great Lent 2003 (a CD I purchased), though the text is from the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, vol. 9. As we begin the fast I can think of no better passage in the Fathers for our consideration. By St John Chrysostom From Concerning the Statues, Excerpts from Homily III I speak not, indeed, of such a fast as most persons keep, but…