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 hesitancy…

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 bear…

Now Is The Change of the Most High

There is no doubt that God is changing the world – though most of this work is hidden. A strange part of this hiddenness is the work that God does within us. The work is not entirely hidden – I can look back and see change that has occurred in my life – it’s just that it helps sometimes to live long enough to see it. Human beings seem to change at…

Remember God Always

Somebody asked Abba Antony (St. Antony the Great of Egypt), “What shall I do in order to please God?” He replied, “Do what I tell you, which is this: wherever you go, keep God in mind; whatever you do, follow the example of Holy Scripture; wherever you are, stay there and do not move away in a hurry. If you keep to these guide-lines, you will be saved.” +++ This small story…

Christmas in General

“Peace on earth! Good will towards men!” is a common greeting to be found on cards during this season of the Nativity. These are, of course, the words sung by the angels the night Christ was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:14). It is also a phrase which admits of several interpretations. The possibility of various meanings is very likely the reason for its popularity on greeting cards. Who could be opposed to…

The Smallness of God

An annual December posting: Whom have we, Lord, like you The Great One who became small, the Wakeful who slept, The Pure One who was baptized, the Living One who died, The King who abased himself to ensure honor for all. Blessed is your honor! St. Ephrem the Syrian +++ We draw near to the Feast of our Lord’s Nativity, and I cannot fathom the smallness of God. Things in my life…

The Silent Word

Phillips Brooks, the Anglican priest who wrote the hymn, “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” offered a very rich phrase with his observation, “How silently, how silently, the wondrous Word is given…”  The ubiquitous sound of Christmas music has accompanied me into almost every store and restaurant since late November.  At its best, the music is quiet and reverent. At its worst, the music jars the mind with every imaginable form of cultural…

Brighter Than Any Royal Chamber

At the end of the Great Entrance, when the priest places the Holy Gifts on the altar, there are several verses which he repeats quietly. They are all deeply meaningful to me, but one has been on my heart much of late: “Bearing life and more fruitful than paradise, brighter than any royal chamber: Thy tomb, O Christ, is the fountain of our resurrection.” For me, these words point to the true…

The Doorway to Bethlehem

As we draw near to the feast of the Nativity, Bethlehem looms ever larger in my mind. At the same time, the entrance to Bethlehem appears as well. This article, posted on Christmas of last year, draws attention to the unusual feature of the entrance of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. We all have a journey to complete before we reach the manger of the Christ Child. This article describes…

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 those…