The Fullness of the Age to Come

I am fascinated by what the Holy Tradition does with the idea of “fullness” or “fulfillment.” The Church is described as the “fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:23). And it is not unusual for Orthodox Christians to express the meaning of Orthodoxy under the rubric of “fullness”: Orthodoxy is the “fullness of the Church.” The Scriptures do much with the concept – speaking of the “fullness of time,”…

The Elder Sophrony’s Prayer

A dear friend shared this with me: Fr Sophrony’s Prayer O Eternal Lord and Creator of all things, in your inscrutable goodness you have called me into this life and have given me the grace of baptism and the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.  You have instilled in me the desire to seek your face.  Hear my prayer! I have no life, no light, no joy, no strength, no…

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 was…

Prayer and Porridge

Some brothers visited Abba Anthony and asked him to tell them how they could find salvation. The old man said, “You are familiar with the Scriptures. That should teach you enough.” “Yes, but we want a word from you also, Abba.” Then the old man responded, “The Gospel instructs you to turn the other cheek.” They said, “We can’t do that.” “Then if you can’t offer the other cheek, at least permit…

The Icon as Proof of God’s Existence

God “adorns himself in magnificence and clothes himself with beauty.” Man stands amazed and contemplates the glory whose light causes a hymn of praise to burst forth from the heart of every creature. The Testamentum Domini gives us the following prayer: “Let them be filled with the Holy Spirit…so they can sing a doxology and give you praise and glory forever.” An icon is the same kind of doxology but in a…

Icons and Truth

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. In the last several posts I have written about the iconic character of reality – the world about us has the character of an icon. I have also noted the iconic character of language and of Scripture. There is much to say about what is meant by such descriptions as well as what it means to see things in an “iconic”…

Icons and the Smashing of Images

My recent series on iconicity would seem to require a word or two about the smashing of images (iconoclasm). +++ I have a quote on the sidebar from an earlier posting. It is about the need we have for proper images and the danger inherent in “image smashing” or “iconoclasm.” We have to renounce iconoclasm. In so doing, we inherently set ourselves against certain forces within modernity. The truth is eschatological, that is, it…

Drawn Ever Deeper

On translation and the iconicity of language – this comment posted earlier today is worth more attention: I’ve been enjoying thinking about your words on the subject of there being something revealing about the act and result of translation. It makes me think of weeping and other miraculous icons. The particular icon, written faithfully according to the canons, nevertheless is already a unique expression of the truth into which every occasion/expression of…

A Mother’s Word

Amma Syncletica said, “If you start a good work, do not let the enemy discourage you. Your endurance will defeat the enemy. When sailors encounter unfavorable winds they do not toss their cargo overboard or abandon ship. They struggle against the storm for a while and then reestablish their course. If you run into a headwind, raise a cross as a sail and you will continue your voyage in safety.”

The Religion of the Mind and the Religion of the Heart

I write frequently about what I term the Religion of the Heart. Archimandrite Meletios Webber has a short piece on what can be called the Religion of the Mind. The distinction between mind and heart is not a distinction between thought and feeling. Rather it is a distinction between the mind (seat of thoughts and feelings) and the heart (the seat of a deeper awareness – sometimes called the nous in Orthodox…