Being Saved in Sodom and Gomorrah – The Prayers of the Saints

This is an exercise in Orthodox reading of the Scriptures. The habits of modern Christians run towards history: it is a lens through which we see the world. We see a world of cause and effect, and, because the past is older than the present, we look to the past to find the source of our present. Some cultures have longer memories than others (America’s memory usually extends only the the beginning…

Preaching the Love of God – St. Isaac of Syria

I would not have a blog except for the friendship of Fr. Aidan Kimel. He has returned to writing himself. His latest is an exquisite word on the need for preaching the love of God – with a wonderful look at this love in the writings of St. Isaac. I append a short excerpt. Do yourself a favor and follow the link. Listen to the love of God – it is the…

We Have Seen

St. John, in the prologue of his gospel, says the following: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father (John 1:14). In his first Epistle he says the following: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and…

Isaac of Syria on Humility

From Met. Hilarion Alfeyev”s The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian: To speak of humility (mukkaka or makkikuta) meant to Isaac to speak of God, for God in his vision is primarily the One who is ‘meek and lowly in heart’. God’s humility was revealed to the world in the Incarnation of the Word. In the Old Testament, God remained invisible to and unattainable by everyone approaching him. But when he clothed…

Riding on a Donkey

As far back as Genesis, in the prophecy of Jacob over his sons, we hear the association of the Messiah with a donkey: Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you.       Judah is a lion’s whelp;       From the prey, my son, you have gone up.       He bows down, he lies down…

Fasting – Prayers by the Lake – XLI

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich XLI With fasting I gladden my hope in You, my Lord, Who are to come again. Fasting hastens my preparation for Your coming, the sole expectation of my days and nights. Fasting makes my body thinner, so that what remains can more easily shine with the spirit. While waiting for You, I wish neither to nourish myself with blood nor to take life–so that the animals may sense the…

St. John of the Ladder on Anger

I continue with some thoughts on this important subject. This is taken from the great spiritual classic, The Ladder of Divine Ascent (chapter 8). There are a number of very worthy insights – quite similar to those found in Met. Jonah article referenced earlier. As the gradual pouring of water on a fire puts out the flame completely, so the tears of genuine mourning can extinguish every flame of anger and irascibility.…

St. John Chrysostom’s Christmas Homily

BEHOLD a new and wondrous mystery. My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. The Angels sing. The Archangels blend their voice in harmony. The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise. The Seraphim exalt His glory. All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here…