Remembrance

St. Macarius said, “If we remember the evil that others have done to us, we shut down our ability to remember God.” From the Desert Fathers Memory is a very powerful thing. The older I get, and the more of my earthly life lies behind me instead of before me, memory becomes indeed powerful. I have lived in my present home for almost 20 years, which, for a priest, can be quite…

Jerusalem – Heaven and Hell

I am taking the day off from the pilgrimage (my wife and others are in the vicinity of Jericho today). I have stayed behind to allow my back and some swollen feet to mend – they are already better after much needed sleep – and I wanted to use some free time to offer a reflection or so on my pilgrimage to date). There has been at least one profound moment in…

Sacraments: The World as Mystery

My recent post on Pentecost and Evangelism occasioned several thoughtful responses. One of the responses seemed to me particularly worth further reflection. I start with an excerpt: Truly it is God we need and want, nothing less. I experienced in my heart, but didn’t realize in my head until I began to study Orthodoxy, that in my evangelical world we affirmed “by faith” having God living by His Spirit within us and that…

An Orthodox Hermeneutic

Is or can there be such a thing as an Orthodox hermeneutic (method of interpretation) of Scripture?  I asserted in a recent post that there was such a thing and that the Orthodox would do well to work towards its recovery rather than using the hermeneutics of others who do not hold the Orthodox faith. I will make a small suggestion for how this may be understood. St. Paul, writing to the…

Forgiveness and the Kingdom

I am grateful for the patience of my readers – I have written less in the past few weeks – instead mostly posting quotes from the Fathers. It’s not a laziness on my part but an opportunity to go to a well that is far deeper than myself and a great help when I am in a very busy season in the parish. This Sunday we draw to the edge of Great…

In Christ is True Existence

I have written recently that the true central question of our relationship with God goes to the very fact of our existence, that “in Him we live and move and have our being.” I have also written some short comments on statements of the Elder Sophrony reminding us that all we do, we do in the presence of God. Both of these bring us to the question of true or authentic existence.…

The Alpha and the Omega

As Christ walked in the midst of the people of Israel an event that was far more than historical took place. The One who was in the midst of them is also the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Strange paradox that you should meet and encounter a person who is Himself the beginning and the ending of all things. This paradox has led to many of the more…

The Theophany in Which We Live

The liturgical life of the Church makes a very clear link between the Nativity of Christ, the Theophany at His Baptism, and Pascha. Elements of Pascha run throughout the texts for the services of all three feasts, and even the icons echo one another. There is a recognition that at Nativity, Christ enters the “Winter Pascha,” becoming man, taking on even the weakness of an infant, He has embraced the same weakness…

The Grace Given To Us

From the writings of the Elder Sophrony: At Vespers during Lent at the Monastery of Old Russikon-on-the-Hill the Lord allowed a certain monk to see Father Abraham, a priest-monk of the strict rule, in the image of Christ. The old confessor, weaing his priestly stole, was standing hearing confessions. When the monk entered the confessional he saw that the grey-haired confessor’s face looked young like the face of a boy, and his…

Being Formed in the Tradition

I watched a group of linguistic-psychologists (of varying sorts) in a panel discussion the other night (CSPAN). All of them are involved in advising political campaigns. What they know about the science of language and how people actually make decisions versus how we would like to think we make decisions was staggering. Among the most staggering of agreed pieces of data was that 98% of the process of so-called rational decisions are…