Are We Connected?

How connected are we? Do your actions, thoughts, feelings, have an effect on me even if I am unaware (or on the other side of the world)? Is my existence bound within the existence of other human beings, or are we simply sharing the same planet for a period of time? Connections between people, particularly of a spiritual nature, were declared to be mere superstitions in the march of modern rationalism. To…

What Would You Do?

“To the extent that man does not use his freedom, he is not himself. In order to emerge from that indeterminate state, he must utilize his freedom in order to know and be known as himself.” – Fr. Dimitru Staniloae A popular bumper-sticker-level spirituality swept the pop-culture scene several years back asking, “What would Jesus do?” It’s not the first time such a question (slogan) has been put forward as a model…

An Unnecessary Existence

In Dostoevsky’s The Demons, the character, Kirillov, is insanely fascinated with freedom. He cannot bear the fact that he did not choose his own existence. Life is a “given.” In what must be seen as a parable of the radical thought of the 19th century, Kirillov determines to kill himself, the only act of true freedom he can take. His insight about the necessity of his own existence and its lack of…

Is This All There Is?

It all depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. – President Bill Clinton Surely there are some things about which everyone can agree – or not. Either something exists or it doesn’t. Or is there more to the story? In the thought of the Fathers, existence has a number of qualities. That we exist at all is the gift of God. But the gift of God is not mere existence…

In the Secret Place

Following up on the previous article’s discussion of shame and envy – I offer this reprint of an early piece which looks at the right role of the “secret” and “hidden” things of the liturgy. Of all the places and spaces to which we should attend – this article names the most important. I suspect that our failure to recognize holy space in the physical surroundings of our lives contributes to our…

The Mystery of Christ’s Baptism

This week, the Church moves from the feast of Christmas to the feast of Theophany – the celebration of the Baptism of Christ. The intent of this feast is not to celebrate a succession of historical events (the Baptism of Christ is at least 30 years later than His birth). Rather this feast takes us into the depths of the mystery of Christ and His salvation of the world. Many Christians, reading the gospel accounts of…