The Journey to Repentance

One of my favorite books comes from the last years of the Soviet Union. It is the story of Tatiana Goricheva, a member of the “intelligentsia” and a Soviet-era dissident. Her book, Talking About God Is Dangerous, offers fascinating insights into both a period of time and the period of a human soul’s conversion by grace. The little volume is out of printĀ but can be found on the internet for as littleā€¦

Let No Anger Arise

One of the brothers asked Isidore, the priest of Scetis, “Why are the demons so afraid of you”? ” He said, “Ever since I became a monk, I have been trying not to let anger rise as far as my mouth.” +++ In a culture which speaks and only later repents (if at all) such self-control is mighty indeed. There is much that is offered for the internet which time and hesitancyā€¦

Do Not Resent, Do Not React, Keep Inner Stillness

A very fine essay by Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA on essential practices of the spiritual life can be found among the abbatial essays on the website of the Monastery of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco. It is worth the read – even worth printing out and saving… An excerpt… …One of the things which is so difficult to come to terms with is the reality that when we bearā€¦

The Heart of Forgiveness

Nothing is more difficult to our heart than forgiveness of our enemies. I cannot complete this small series on the heart without a few words on this topic. This post was written last March. I cannot think that any of my readers is a stranger to forgiveness, either the need to be forgiven or the need to forgive. The need to forgive, according to the commandment of Christ, extends well beyond thoseā€¦

The Geography of Hell

The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) has a long history of teasing Christians into dangerous territory. I suspect that many if not most Christians have more than a little curiosity about life after death. We want to know what happens. We want to know “how things work.” And this parable – at least on its surface – seems to give more indication of “how things work” than almostā€¦

That We Should Be Merciful

A brother who had committed a serious sin decided to confess it to another monk. Instead of openly stating what he had done, the brother asked, “If a thought like this came into someone’s mind, would he be saved?” The monk told him, “There is no hope for you.” Hearing this, the brother thought, “If I am going to perish, I might as well do it in the world.” As he wasā€¦