Poustinia

The importance of the desert to the inner life The Russian word, “Poustinia”, means “desert”, and the importance of the poustinia to the inner life can not be dismissed. If we are to hear the voice of God speaking to us, we must listen to His silence. If we are to learn to hear His voice, we must learn to…

Being God’s Messenger

When we put on Christ, we become God’s messenger Walking through life with a smile on our face and a song in our heart is the best way to keep our mind and heart in a good place. Life has many turns and many trials, but when we keep centered on all the good that is in our life, the…

Angels Unaware

Let us be angels unaware to others There is not one of us who does not meet someone in a given week who is not in need of encouragement, love, and mercy. They are often mothers, whose children are going to bed at night hungry for lack of food money. The old woman whose husband is long gone, and whose…

Me First

We must avoid centering on our own needs and desires Self-centeredness keeps us from focusing on the needs and interests of others, and obscures our true nature, as God intended. Pride keeps us from embracing Christ’s way of selfless service to others, even to those who especially need our love and support. Children of such people are deprived of the…

Dangerous Times

We’ve created a pre-Soviet culture in the United States “What began in Russia will end in America.” ~Elder Ignatius of Harbin, Manchuria Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in his “Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”, explained how the Russian revolution and the communist takeover were facilitated by an atheistic mentality that lead to the secularization of Russia, and alienated the people from…

Artificial Christianity

Avoiding hypocrisy in our journey to God It is very easy to live our lives in hypocrisy if we are not mindful of the pitfalls of the spiritual life. We can become Pharisees without even noticing, if we let our Christianity be artificially lived. Living our lives as though we have been rehearsed by a stage director, we will have…

Depression

And the demon of dejection Depression is one of the plagues of the modern age, overtaking many with it’s insidious poison, and ravaging many a life. The pain and suffering that comes with deep depression can infect those who surround the sufferer, for the depression of one person can spread like mold on stale bread. Psychiatrists are kept busy writing…

The American “Purchase” of Alaska

And the injustices perpetrated against the indigenous peoples When the United States purchased the Russian-American Company from the Imperial government of Russia, they were not sold Alaska, as has been claimed, but a Russian company. However, once the American government took control, they subdivided Alaska, considered land owned by the native people by the Russian government, into thirds. Alaska was…

Mercy and Love

Where the temporal and the eternal are connected We can be rich in liturgical correctness and wealthy in traditions, but if we do not have love and mercy, we are in reality bankrupt. Our Lord Himself made love and mercy the chief criterion whereby we will be judged on the Last Day. The fulfillment of the law is love, not…

Noetic Faculty

The energy of the mind inside the heart In the patristic tradition the heart is the center of our self-awareness. This self-awareness is the energy of the mind inside the heart, something the holy fathers referred to as our “noetic faculty”. There is an important distinction that must be noted concerning the difference between the Western and Eastern understands of…

Compassion

None can be saved without compassion for others We must not be so self-consumed as to have no compassion for others. Saint Basil tells us that a man who has two coats or two pair of shoes, when his neighbor has none, is a thief.  In the Holy Scriptures we read, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,…

Fruitless Discussions

The power and influence of good deeds “For it is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men (1 Peter 2:15). Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic tells us in The Prologue from Ochrid that we are better off if we do not engage others in lengthy debates and fruitless discussions, but that we…