Kind Words and Wisdom

I have added to my blogroll (under the category of “Catholic”) Moretben’s Undercroft. I always find him to be a good read, and more than occasionally to be a very kind reader of Glory to God for All Things. His words of kindness are a reminder of our common human bond and of so much that we all share together in our hearts. In a very recent post, he included the following…

Things I Never Did for Summer Vacation

I am frequently impressed by the things done by youth these days  (yes, they do many positive things). When I was in high-school summer was job time. In college, summer was again, job time. Of course, I had no international connections at the time. One of the youth from our parish, Ryan Erickson, is a student at the University of Chicago, active in the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (the college organization). This summer…

Where the Heart Resides

One of the questions that surrounds the knowledge of God, as spoken of by the Scriptures and the Fathers of the Eastern Church, is that of where the heart resides. By this, I do not mean where the heart is located (in the chest or wherever), but where the heart itself lives. Though the heart is by no means disconnected from our rationality, it is also resident in many other places of…

The Struggle in Prayer

Prayer is infinite creation, the supreme art. Over and over again we experience an eager upsurge towards God, followed only by a falling away from His light. Time and again we are conscious of the mind’s inability to rise to Him. There are moments when we feel ourselves on the verge of insanity. ‘Thou didst give me Thy precept to love but there is no strength in me for love. Come and…

To Know God

I have had some correspondence recently on the subject of knowing God. The knowledge of God, generally spoken of in a very experiential manner, is an absolute foundation in Orthodox theology. Nothing replaces it – no dogmatic formula – no Creed – not even Scripture – though Orthodoxy would see none of these things as separate from the knowledge of God. But the questions I have received are very apt. In a…

A Day at a Time

One of my favorite books, for many years, has been Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich: A Novel. It’s hard at first thought to say what draws me to the book (I’ve probably read it ten times). It makes occasional remarks that are religious but it would not be described as an overtly religious novel. Though it’s set in largely the same place and time of the books on…

On Hope in God alone and on Confidence in Him

Although, as we have said, it is very important not to rely on our own efforts in this unseen warfare, at the same time, if we merely give up hope of ourselves and despair of ourselves without having found another support, we are certain to flee immediately from the battlefield or to be overcome and taken prisoner by our enemies. Therefore, together with complete renunciation of our selves, we should plant in…

What Is at Stake?

In the struggle to come to the wholeness of Personhood – to become the “true self” rather than to sink into the “false self” our very existence as spiritual beings is at stake. If you read across Orthodox books that center on the issue of Personhood – a common theme becomes visible. Our fall and our brokenness leave us vulnerable, even in our religious efforts, to the development of a “false self”…

Hope and the Heart – Fr. Dmitri Staniloae

The following comes from Fr. Dmitri Staniloae’s Orthodox Spirituality. (pg. 178) You have the experience of the congestion [crowdedness] of the heart when you are disturbed, and “ample room” when you are peaceful. But uneasiness, in regard to the future is the fruit of uncertainty, just as peace is the fruit of certainty. Care is the offspring of the fear of the future, thus of uncertainty, of the timidity that it won’t…

Learning to Wait

I have never done a search to see how many times the word for “patience” is used in the New Testament – but my general impression is that it is a lot. Patience is not only a virtue, it is utterly necessary to our life in Christ. I can recall having almost no patience at all as a young man. At age nineteen I was sure that the Second Coming could be…