Silent Sentinels and the Saints among Us

I originally ran this post last December. I have watched the film mentioned in it many times. The thoughts in the post came back to me again today. Like many, I recall my highschool years somewhat vividly. Our school was of moderate size with a personal history for most students that increased its impact. It opened in 1965 with grades 7 through 12, among the earliest accomodations in our county to the…

Kinder, Gentler

The following quote (of St. Seraphim of Sarov) is framed and mounted in the narthex of my parish. I first obtained the quote from my Archbishop: You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never…

Myrrhbearers and the Truth

The second Sunday after our Lord’s Pascha is always remembered as the “Sunday of the Myrrhbearers,” when the Church remembers the women and men who cared for our Lord’s body after His death on the Cross. Joseph and Nicodemus are the two men remembered. Mary and Martha of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, Mary the wife of Cleophas, Salome, Susanna and Joanna (and in some accounts Mary, the Mother of God) are those numbered…

Through the Prayers of Our Holy Fathers…

It is a phrase that is heard frequently in Orthodox services: “Through the prayers of our holy fathers, have mercy on us and save us!” The meaning of that phrase is enlarged and enlightened in the writings of the Elder Sophrony. The following excerpt is from his book, St. Silouan the Athonite. Prayer for the whole world, for all Adam, in many instances distracts the monk from putting himself at the service…

Father Sophrony’s Prayer

A dear friend shared this with me: Fr Sophrony’s Prayer O Eternal Lord and Creator of all things, in your inscrutable goodness you have called me into this life and have given me the grace of baptism and the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.  You have instilled in me the desire to seek your face.  Hear my prayer! I have no life, no light, no joy, no strength, no…

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…

Words on Prayer from the Elder Cleopa of Romania

This short interview on prayer is perhaps the last film of the Elder Cleopa of Romania, one of the greatest spiritual figures of 20th century Orthodoxy. Many times in his life the authorities sought to arrest him and he would flee to the wilderness. His words are filled with reference to the Scriptures and bear the weight of an authentic life.

The Remembrance of Wrongs

Remembrance of wrongs comes as the final point of anger. It is a keeper of sins. It hates a just way of life. It is the ruin of virtues, the poison of the soul, a worm in the mind. it is the shame of prayer, a cutting off of supplication, a turning away from love, a nail piercing the soul. It is a pleasureless feeling cherished in the sweetness of bitterness. It…

Preaching the Gospel to All Nations

One of the striking experiences of Theophany (Jan. 6) is the public Great Blessing of the Waters. I have done this service at several rivers, once in Columbia, S.C., where the ruins of one of the older, more infamous State Prisons, overlooked the site of the blessing. To pronounce the words of blessing over the waters in sight of those ruins could not help but conjure up thoughts of the ruined walls…

Words from St. Seraphim of Sarov

You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other… Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgment. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of…