Passionately Drunk

The Philokalia, that wonderful collection of writings by the fathers on prayer of the heart, has as its full title, The Philokalia of the Neptic Saints gathered from our Holy Theophoric Fathers, through which, by means of the philosophy of ascetic practice and contemplation, the intellect is purified, illumined, and made perfect.¬†Little wonder it is known popularly as the Philokalia. That word, Philokalia, means “the love of beautiful things.” It is not‚Ķ

The Communion of Saints in Prayer

Biblical interpretation and doctrine based on Scripture have certain parameters that anyone rightly handling the word of truth must observe. The particular rule that I have in mind in this posting is the simple avoidance of anachronisms. That is, if an idea did not exist at the time of the New Testament, or shortly thereafter, but is, in fact, a modern development, then, whatever the writer might have meant, he could not…

Yet Not I

I¬†have¬†been¬†crucified with¬†Christ;¬†it¬†is¬†no¬†longer¬†I¬†who¬†live,¬†but¬†Christ¬†lives¬†in¬†me;¬†and the¬†life¬†which¬†I¬†now¬†live¬†in¬†the¬†flesh¬†I¬†live¬†by¬†faith¬†in¬†the¬†Son¬†of God,¬†who¬†loved¬†me¬†and¬†gave¬†Himself¬†for¬†me (Gal. 2:20). +++ In my last two posts, I have written with some care about the “false self,” which has also been referred to as the ego. I have also spoken about the heart, the seat of the true self that is “hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). An obvious question has been asked: “How do we move from life in the one into life in the‚Ķ

In A Strange Land

It seems to me that life carries us into strange places on occasion Рplaces where I have not been before. Such experiences can be quite distracting. In very strong instances such experiences can threaten to take over our lives and redefine everything around us. Living as a Christian in a strange land is difficult. Abraham leaves his own home, complete with its own struggles, and travels to a strange land. The…

You Never Pray Alone

Forgive me if this offers any offense. There is a conception of what it means to be human, rooted in Medieval thought and refined in the furnace of modernity. This conception views each person as a “free moral agent.” Each of us is a unique individual. Our choices are our own and set our path for good or ill. Moral decisions may be submitted to varying forms of ethical tests. The choices‚Ķ

Prayer and Communion

Having posted on the topic of prayer РI thought that reposting this earlier piece on the mystery of prayer as communion would be helpful. In particular it should be helpful for understanding the larger life of prayer Рwhich includes our communion with the saints. +++ Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God…

The Boldness of Prayer

In the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, at the end of the litany that precedes the Lord’s Prayer, the priest intones: And make us worthy, O Master, that with boldness and without condemnation, we may dare to call upon Thee, the heavenly God, as Father, and to say: Our Father… It is a phrase that relfects Hebrews 4:15-16: For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling‚Ķ

Silent Sentinels

On October 1, the Church will celebrate the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God. Icons of this feast portray the Mother of God extending her veil over the whole Church – a graphic presentation of her prayers and maternal love. A similar love and prayer belongs to the saints of heaven, who stand as “a great cloud of witnesses,” urging the Church forward and always surrounding us with their‚Ķ

At the Last Battle

The Scriptures end with the description of a battle that is truly “apocalyptic” in its scale: all the forces of evil arrayed against all the forces of good. It is grand theater, having caught the imagination of countless generations (and even Hollywood). I do not know quite what to make of the description. That it describes a reality, I do not doubt. What that reality will look like to its bystanders (if‚Ķ

Prayers by the Lake – XXIX

This xxix prayer of St. Nicholai of Zicha from Prayers by the Lake. This echoing of the prayers of Pentecost should give us all hope in our sins as we seek the merciful God. For all the sins of men I repent before You, Most Merciful Lord. Indeed, the seed of all sins flows in my blood! With my effort and Your mercy I choke this wicked crop of weeds day and…