“Do You Know Jesus?”

I have written in numerous posts about various aspects of conversion to the Orthodox Christian faith. Oftentimes there is an unspoken agreement between myself as writer and those who read in which we assume that we understand each other – that when I say “conversion” we all know what I mean. On reflection there are several very distinct kinds of conversions – though each has a relationship to the other. There is…

Life from within our Death

The following is taken from Archimandrite Sophrony’s His Life is Mine. It is a deep word of encouragement to us all that in Christ healing is truly possible.  It is usual for the Christian to be aware concurrently of the prsence of the never-fading celestial glory and of the brooding cloud of death hanging over the world. Though the feeling of death torments the soul, it cannot extinguish the fire of faith. The…

Solidarity and the Christian Life

I commend the collection The Inner Kingdom, volume 1 of Bishop Kallistos Ware’s collected works. Writing in essay on martyrdom, Bishop Kallistos, offers the following observation and stories: This notion of exchange, of solidarity in suffering, forms one of the master-themes of Martin Buber’s Tales of the Hasidim. It is said of one of the most attractive of the Hasidic teachers, Rabbi Zusya, “He felt the sins of the people he met…

The Struggle for Prayer

Fr. Sophrony relates part of his struggle for prayer and the grace he received to help others. The passage is from On Prayer. …On more than one occasion I felt as if I were crucified on an invisible cross. This would happen on Mt. Athos when I got angry with those who vexed me. My wickedness would destroy prayer and fill me with horror. At times it seemed impossible to struggle against…

Which Way Does Time Work?

I have a 19 year-old son, who would probably rather watch episodes of almost any science fiction show than eat pizza (almost). He particularly loves shows about time travel. In a town like Oak Ridge, it’s possible to have serious discussions with serious people about things that I thought only young boys took seriously (we have some particle physicists in the parish (Russians) and, as I say, Oak Ridge is a town…

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…