The Ego

How to kill the ego Modern psychology has told us we must feel good about ourselves and instructed us to reject the idea of guilt and sin. Sin is seen as religion’s instrument for keeping people in line, making them dependent on an institution that should be relegated to the Dark Ages. In an age where man is elevated to…

The Reality of God

Desiring to experiencing the reality of God Our experience of God can be many fold, with everything from witnessing the physical or spiritual healing of a friend, or witnessing the miraculous flowing of myrrh from an icon. I once witnessed a cross (about 12 inches long), held by a Coptic priest friend, literally pouring myrrh into a bucket. Miracles like…

The Holy of Holies

The link between the Old and New Testament Temples Orthodox temples have kept to the same form and function since ancient times. Using the Old Testament Temple model, Orthodox churches are divided into several courts or spaces peculiar to their function. The Holy Table, upon which is celebrated the Eucharist, is situated at the east end of the building behind…

Effort

Only with effort can we gain eternal life While observing one of our hens laying an egg for the monastery’s table, it crossed my mind that a chick, if it hope to gain life in this world, must first peck at the inside of the egg, and break it open. If we, as spiritual beings, give ourselves over to worldly…

How to End Isolation

Isolation and the Christian Life In an age when families no longer eat dinner together, children watch TV, play computer games, and text message their friends from their bedrooms. When adults can be seen walking in our cities talking on cell phones. At a time in our history when people can be sitting in a cafe with friends, all the…

Love and Mercy

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 mercy and love, we are in reality spiritually 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,…

Abolishing Religion

And transforming it into the Church If she be true to herself, the Church acts with an authority that is grounded in love. She holds within her realm the authority to make her people the children of God. She has the authority to forgive, and the capacity to love. And just as her Head, Jesus Christ, she exists to serve,…

Together

We are all on our journey to God, together As we struggle in this life, it is good to remember that we are all journeying to God, together . We find our place of silence, where we encounter God, but even in this place set apart, we are together. In our journey to God, our common goal is the acquisition…

The Banishment of Hell

The Nativity Fast, and the banishment of hell One of my favorite authors as a young man, was Thomas Merton, the famous Trappist monk. In the introduction to his work “New Seeds of Contemplation”, he wrote: “Hell was where no one has anything in common with anyone else except the fact that they all hate one other and cannot get…

How to Forgive

We must put aside all resentment The decision to forgive another person a wrong done to us begins when we decide to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. To forgive someone does not mean that we forget what they did to us, for this may be impossible. The memory of the hurt might always remain with you, but…

The Dark Side Revisited

An article written for clarification My article titled, “The Dark Side”, elicited numerous critical responses.  I therefore asked a number of trusted priest friends for their feedback. One priest had his matushka read it, and her response made me realize the necessity of my revisiting the topic, that I might clarify my thoughts. There is nothing in the article that…

An Orthodox Funeral

What about your burial plans when your family is not Orthodox Some Orthodox Christians, whose family members are either not Orthodox, or who are no longer practicing the Orthodox faith, think they should skip any funeral arrangements that would involve the Church. They figure their relatives would likely not attend a service, given the common practice of cremating the body…