Hopko on the Cross of Christ

An excerpt from Fr. Thomas Hopko’s commencement address at St. Vladimir’s. The whole is the address is exquisitely true and I would encourage you to read all of it. The link to the whole commencement address is given at the bottom of this post. …I can tell you that being loved by God, and loving Him in return, is the greatest joy given to creatures, and that without it there is no…

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…

The Struggle of the Person

I have begun to touch on issues of the “false self” and the “true self” for which we could find other language, a number of different metaphors. Theologically all this is grounded in the proper understanding of what it means to exist as a person. Of course, it means to exist in a completely unrepeatable, unique existence. There will never be another you. It also does not mean to exist in isolation…

The False and True Self

Part of the experience of being involved in religious activities in the late 60’s and early 70’s was the not infrequent encounters with members of cults (they seemed to be everywhere). I’m not certain how I would define a cult (not purely by doctrine but certainly by its destruction and control of its members as whole persons). I worked in a “coffee house” (which in that particular time period, oddly enough, was…

Friendship

There are many who have written on the subject of friendship over the centuries. It is an important topic and one that is worth thinking about. I began thinking about it this morning because I received an email from my friend, Fr. Al Kimel (Roman Catholic), telling me of a new Pontifications website. Al is a friend whom I first met in the late 80’s when I was doing work at Duke.…

Putting Things Back Together

One of the most striking features of the day of Pentecost, in the Scriptural account, is the emphasis on diversity. The mission to the Gentiles is a major theme in Luke’s writings (which includes Acts) and thus Pentecost has great importance for him. The disciples gathered in an upper room as they had so many times before in the preceding weeks. But now the promise they had been given was fulfilled – the…

Humility and Love

The following is from the Afterword of Father Sophrony’s Saint Silouan the Athonite. If we cast our thoughts back over the bimillenary history of Christianity we are dazzled by the enormous wealth of Christian culture. Vast libraries full of the grandiose works of the human mind and spirit – innumerable academies, universities, institutes, where hundreds of thousands of young people drink thirstily of the living waters of wisdom. Tens of thousands of…

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…

All the Fullness of Christ

When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made…

The Despair of Unbelief

I am gradually learning things that I have not known before – or only suspected. Posting occasionally as I have on the subject of atheism, and receiving occasional reponses from atheists, is an education in itself. There is atheism as I imagine it to be (I suppose what it would look like were I one) and there is atheism as it has historically expressed itself (in such writers as Nietsche or Sartre)…