From a Monastery in the Deep South

I am leading a retreat with young teens this week. All prayers are welcome. This is my evening break time to read comments and relax a moment. My thanks to my wife for checking on comments during the day and clearing the spam. The joy is to be with youth and to here their voices lifted to God. This has been an almost annual event for me since 1999. I have much…

The Level of Difficulty

In the past weeks and months I have posts entitled, “How hard is it?” “How much is enough?” “How Much is Too Little?” “What is at Stake?” In all of these I have pointed towards the maximum as the standard by which we live the Christian faith – even if we cannot live at the maximum standard. This neatly coincides with the Scriptural notion of sin as “missing the mark.” Of course,…

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…

A Prayer Request

I was deeply embarrassed when I came home this evening, checked the web site and found that a flagrant piece of filth had managed to slip through the various screenings and post itself on my site. I apologize to any who may have seen it before I was able to remove it. I will continue to work with the WordPress management to prevent such things. More than that – if you are…

New Martyrs from Optina

There is an excellent account of three Monk Martyrs of Optina Monastery in Russia on the website of Handmaidleah. She is a frequent visitor to this blog, always with insightful comments. Her account of these new saints is well worth a read. Her blog, Christ is in our Midst is on the blogroll here at Glory to God for All Things.

Can There Be Morality on the Moon?

I rarely refer people to a blog article by someone whom I don’t know. But I was recently directed to an article by William Gairdner that does an excellent job of looking at the fact that none of us lives in a “moral bubble.” Our lives are always connected to the lives of others. In Orthodoxy this is a fundamental doctrine of the nature of persons. His article, though largely exploring the…

Lost in Translation

Engaging in conversations about the Orthodox faith – with others born and nurtured in the West – I sometimes feel that something is “lost in translation.” I say, “Church,” and something else comes to the listener’s mind: either something Roman or something Protestant, perhaps Anglican. I begin to explain that Orthodoxy cannot be explained or defined in terms of either Rome or Protestantism, for Orthodoxy did not come from Rome or from Protestantism…

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”…

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…