The Pillar and Ground of Truth

Writing to the young Timothy (first letter) St. Paul gives this homey admonition: These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. Paul does not then go on to give us several chapters’ explanation…

Words from St. Isaac of Syria

St. Isaac stretches love and mercy to it’s farthest limits, occasionally beyond the bounds of canonical understanding. He remains a saint of the Church and his words are very important to hear. Let yourself be persecuted, but do not persecute others. Be crucified, but do not crucify others. Se slandered, but do not slander others. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep: such is the sign of purity.…

The Icon We Love the Most

Years ago when I was studying in an Anglican seminary (mid-70’s), I had the beginnings of my interest in icons. I owned a couple, and read what little was available on the topic in English at that time (believe it or not there was a time when not many books were available in English on the topic of Orthodox Christianity). One day, in prayer, I had an overwhelming urge to paint an…

Without Expecting in Return

Our culture is famously ordered along commercial lines. We work, we earn, we spend, we spend until the card maxes out. Though there need not necessarily be any conflict between a free economy and the practice of the faith, many find Mammon to be a formidable foe. On November 1, the Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, the “unmercenary physicians.” The short life given in the OCA’s official…

Silence and Tradition

If again we wished to oppose (Tradition) to all that belongs to the reality of the word, it would be necessary to say the the Tradition is Silence. “He who possesses in truth the word of Jesus can hear even its silence,” says St. Ignatius of Antioch [to the Ephesians, XV,2]. As far as I know this text has never been used in the numerous studies which quote patristic passages on the…

Can This Really Be the End?

O, Mama, can this really be the end? To be stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues again. Bob Dylan   Ok. I’ll confess it right up front – I’m a Dylan fan. It shows my age and generation. My children have had to learn to put up with his voice, but more than that, to put up with a parent who seems to find lines from Dylan songs that fit…

The Presence in the Absence

There is a strange aspect to the presence of God in the world around us. That aspect is His apparent absence. I read with fascination (because I am no philosopher, much less a scientist) the discussions surrounding “intelligent design” and the like. I gather that everybody agrees that the universe is just marvelous and wonderfully put together (I can’t think of a better universe). But then begins the parting of ways as…

The Kind of Kingdom Our God Would Have Us Serve

The Christian community’s openness to new life and our conviction of the sovereignty of God over that life are but two sides of the same conviction. Christians believe that we have the time in this existence to care for new life, especially as such life is dependent and vulnerable, because it is not our task to rule this world or to “make our mark on history.” We can thus take the time…

The Onion

Once upon a time there was a wicked-wicked woman, who died. And she left behind her not one single good deed. The devils seized her and threw her into the fiery lake. But her guardian angel stood, and thought: ‘What good deed of hers might I remember, in order to tell God?’ He remembered, and told God: ‘She pulled up an onion in the kitchen garden,’ he said, ‘and gave it to…