A Word from Romania on our Happiness

Father Piciorus Dorin Octavian, who writes the Blog Teologia Pentru Azi (see the Blogroll), posted the following article (in English, thank you). It is about our happiness. When you have a good heart you begin to see God in yourself. Our happiness is our conscience, is a good intention towards God. For a good conscience you need to reconcile with God and with your heart. The celebration of God’s Nativity is a moment…

The Ancestors of Christ

Prepare yourself, O Ephratha! The Lamb is on her way to give birth to the Chief Shepherd she carries in her womb. The God-bearing forefathers will rejoice, beholding Him, and with the shepherds, they will glorify the Virgin nursing Him. Kontakion of the Sunday before the Nativity Part of being a modern man is having relatively few ancestors. At a certain stage in life, it seems, we get interested in geneology (or…

The Christmas Tree

This is my last comment on Christmas trees this year. Having just drug the 31st tree of my married life into the house and placed it in its stand (involving a drill and not a little work) I believe that whatever the origin of the Christmas tree, it was a curse placed on us by earlier pagans. I will continue to put up trees, but will remember the years of difficulty –…

Giving Offense in the Time of Peace and Goodwill

I have (undeserved or not) a general reputation as a kind priest, and merciful, and hope that my postings on this blog will maintain that reputation. God help me if I don’t. It interests me, that making comments about paganism drew not only an unusual number of views for the weekend (that tells me that lots of pagans use the internet). I also found that the simple title “Mother of God” draws…

The Mother of God

One aspect of Christmas (including Protestant Christmas) that I always enjoyed was the increasing attention given to the Mother of Jesus. Christmas cards feature her; hymns of “Mary, meek and mild” are sung. And even though such popular treatments will fall far short of the theological fullness of the one who gave birth to God the Word, it has always, nevertheless, been comforting to hear her get at least some public mention.…

How Do We See Our Neighbor?

This is a short excerpt from the book, The Monk of Mount Athos, by Fr. Sophrony on the life of St. Silouan of Mt. Athos. It says much about how we see one another, and how the transformation of the world has to begin with our own selves. We see in others that which our own spiritual experience has shown us about ourselves, and so a man’s attitude to his fellow is…

Orthodoxy in the Postmodern World

It is a very different landscape we inhabit than our parents or grandparents. I am probably closer to my parents, generationally, than I am to my children. Though we share some songs of rock’n’roll, most of their music is lost on me. It’s not as foreign to me as mine was to my parents, but foreign enough. I find myself saying things that sound like my dad talking (it’s scary). Our religious…

Praying Like a Publican

Sometime back someone said to me, “Whenever I’ve sinned I never feel like praying. I feel unworthy and I just can’t pray.” The statement sounded correct – I’ve had the same feeling often enough. But I kept thinking about it until the question came to me, “What am I waiting to feel before I pray?” In the case at hand, I would suppose one would be waiting not to feel like such…

Why Pagans Aren’t Really Pagan

Pagan is one of those wonderful words. We Christians can use it when we mean people who have ceased to believe in monotheism but have started believing in lots of other stuff (forces, etc.). I thought a lot about this over the summer after seeing a group of druid-wannabe’s at Stonehenge. They were dressed for the part, except for the amount of polyester involved. We are in a season when people will…

When an Icon Finds Its Home

I’m not sure you’ll find any of this written in books about the Orthodox faith – it’s only an oral tradition, and I’m not sure you can exactly call it a “tradition.” All I can say is that I’ve “heard” it more than once. And I’ve seen it’s truth. It has to do with icons – with them finding us – which is not to be confused with us finding them. There…