A Mystery Solved

If you practice an excellent virtue without perceiving the taste of its aid, do not marvel; for until a man becomes humble, he will not receive a reward for his labor. Recompense is given, not for labor, but for humility. -St. Isaac of Syria +++ I cannot count the number of times that people have complained of their lack of “progress” in the spiritual life. In our cause and effect model of…

Mother Alexandra and Her Guardian Angel

The following is a short excerpt from Mother Alexandra’s  (former Princess Ileana of Romania) small book, The Holy Angels. It is by far the best treatment I have seen on the subject despite its short length. This short account tells of her encounter with her guardian angel at age seven. In the service of Orthodox Baptism, the priest specifically prays that an angel of light be assigned to the life of the child…

Christos Voskrese

This delightful youtube video was posted a year ago. One of our readers and occasional commenter,  Dejan, (without a doubt my favorite Serb) provided the English translation.  The words are from a poem by St. Nikolai Velimirovich who served for a time as the Rector of St. Tikhon’s Seminary – truly one of the great Serbian saints of the modern era.  Translation: People rejoice, nations hear: Christ is risen, and brings the…

In the Tomb of Lazarus

Largely ignored by much of Christendom, the Orthodox today celebrate “Lazarus Saturday” in something of a prequel to next weekend’s Pascha. It is, indeed a little Pascha just before the greater one. And this, of course, was arranged by Christ Himself, who raised His friend Lazarus from the dead as something of a last action before entering Jerusalem and beginning His slow ascent to Golgotha through the days of next week (Orthodox…

It's Nothing Personal

One of the most frightening phrases in the English language is: “It’s nothing personal.” It almost always precedes something bad. For someone to tell me that what they are about to do is not personal is already a confession of sin. But why should the word personal carry such weight? In the life of the Eastern Church few words could be more important. Oddly there is not a single definition for the…

St. Silouan on the Love of God

I cannot remain silent concerning the people, whom I love so greatly that I must weep for them. I cannot remain silent because my soul ever grieves for the people of God, and I pray for them with tears. I cannot refrain from making known to you, brethren, the mercy of God and the wiles of the enemy. Forty years have gone by since the grace of the Holy Spirit taught me…

The Desert and the Struggle in a Flat Land

Originally posted in August of 2007 as part of the One-Storey Universe Series One of the best-known sayings to have come from the Desert Fathers is: “Stay in your cell and your cell will teach you everything.” To a large degree the saying extols the virtue of stability. Moving from place to place never removes the problem – it only postpones the inevitable. Somewhere, sometime we have to face the heart of…

Prayers By the Lake XCV – Children and Saints

XCV     Children and saints cling to You, O Lord, the rest rebel against You. Children and saints are the boundary between the Kingdom of existence and the shadow of nonexistence.1   Guardians call themselves parents and cast Your children off crags into chasms.   Guardians presume that they are parents, and so they direct Your children as though they were their own property. Truly, they are directing nothing but aberrations…

Raising A Saint

Most of us would be satisfied to raise children who remain faithful believers. It is not always an easy thing and every parent who has such a child should rejoice constantly. There is no method to raise a child to be a saint, for God alone gives the grace that results in the mystery of such wonderful lives. However that may be, I am often struck in reading the writings of St.…