What the Heart Reveals

It has been said that “icons do not depict but rather reveal.” It is an insight into the intrinsic character of icons. Events that are seen in a merely historical manner do not reveal their true nature. The meaning of an event and its significance are almost never  apparent. Indeed, the world itself does not yield its significance to us by mere observation. In St. John Chrysostom’s prayer of the Divine Liturgy,…

Guard Your Heart

I often think about the admonition of the fathers to “guard your heart.” It seems so obvious to me that the disposition of my heart has everything to do with how I will perceive and react to everything around me. An anxious heart perceives everything as a threat – a disaster or vexation in the making. An angry heart perceives the slightest hindrance as a great provocation. A sad heart can have…

A Heart Without Exits

The following is a short collection of sayings from the Elder Epiphanios of Athens (1930-1989). They are quoted from the text, Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit. True love is like the flame of a candle. However many candles you light from the flame, the initial flame remains unaffected. It doesn’t lessen at all. And every freshly lit candle has as much flame as the others do. I want whoever is near…

Ever Being Formed in our Heart

In our modern world we sometimes forget that a single person is not able to do much on their own. If Wittgenstein was right, then we really can’t do anything on our own. We live, for good or ill, within a culture, within a social matrix that makes most aspects of our life possible. Language is a social construct; world-views are a social construct; family is a social construct and I could…

The Treasures of the Heart

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34-35 The heart itself is but a small vessel, yet dragons are there, and there are also lions; there are poisonous beasts and all the treasures of evil. But there too…

The Heart is Everything

As a conversational note… there is no “rational” form of conversation between believer and non-believer (or for that matter between believer and believer).  The word “rational” alone does not sufficiently describe nor set proper parameters for conversations. “Rational” is a very broad term. I would recommend the American philosopher, Alastair MacIntyre (Whose Justice, Which Rationality?) for those who still hold the mistaken opinion that rationality has any universality in its meaning. The…

A Patriarch Unknown to the World (Pavle of Serbia)

This is a reprint of an article by Fr. Barnabas Powell. It was published in the Pueblo Chieftan. Fr. Barnabas is the priest at St. Michael’s Orthodox Church in Pueblo, Colorado. He was a classmate of my sons-in-law at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, and a fine young priest. The following article is republished with permission of the author. As Abraham, Isaac and Jacob could tell you, being a patriarch isn’t easy. Leading your…

The Good Confession

I often think that the confession of the goodness of God is the bold confession of a martyr. We can all understand the stories of great martyrs, who, in the face of terrible torments, refuse to renounce Christ and are faithful to Him. Of course, sometimes their sufferings are short while there are others who suffer for a lifetime. But I believe the confession that “God is good,” to be the essential…

Thanksgiving

This year I will make the annual pilgrimage back to South Carolina to be with family for the (American) Thanksgiving holiday. Fewer of my children will be there – a mark of the maturing of their own families and the difficulty of travel at this time of year. The year is different as well for it will be the first Thanksgiving holiday without my mother’s presence (may her memory be eternal). With…

That Our Hearts May Be Healed

The heart itself is but a small vessel, yet dragons are there, and there are also lions; there are poisonous beasts and all the treasures of evil. But there too is God, the angels, the life and the kingdom, the light and the apostles, the heavenly cities and the treasuries of grace—all things are there. (H.43.7) St. Macarius If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were…