The Kiss

Kissing the hand of the priest is all about Christ The kissing of the hand of the priest is not about the man, but rather about Christ. It is much like the kissing of an icon, which is not about the veneration of paint and wood, but about the archetype represented in the icon. When we kiss the hand of…

Acquiring Virtues

Like a bee one should extract from each of the virtues what is most profitable “Like a bee one should extract from each of the virtues what is most profitable. In this way, by taking a small amount from all of them, one builds up from the practice of the virtues a great honeycomb overflowing with the soul-delighting honey of…

Drought

Encountering drought in one’s soul Washington State is experiencing drought, and for the first time in ages, Western Washington is being impacted. When most people think of Seattle, they think of rain, lots of rain. Anyone who would choose to live in the Puget Sound region, better like rain, we tell our visitors. We love lush green forests, and rushing…

Faith in a Disbelieving World

Living as Orthodox Christians in a Non-Christian World In this pluralistic society there are many Orthodox individuals who’ve found themselves sharing their lives with non-Orthodox family members. Sometimes these families are not even practicing Christians, so the struggle to keep to the traditions and practices of the Orthodox Faith can be difficult. The lenten periods can be especially hard when…

True Knowledge

Simplicity and humility lead to true knowledge The Apostle Paul tells us that it is better to be ignorant in speech rather than in spiritual knowledge (2 Cor. 11:6). Being skilled in speaking is a matter of human learning, as are the other forms of worldly education, but they do not contribute to the salvation of the soul. Even if…

The Critic

The critic, fearing he will fail, does nothing It is easy to be critical of another person, finding fault with what we perceive they are doing, have done, or have not done. Yet the man who points out how another man has stumbled, finding fault in something he himself has not done, and in what he himself thinks he could…

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…

Mystery of Mysteries

The Holy Eucharist is the Mystery of Mysteries The Holy Eucharist is the source of our sacramental life within the Church of Christ precisely because through the Eucharist we are joined to Christ crucified, and to His holy resurrection and ascension. It is through this Holy Mystery of the Eucharist that we are joined to the uncreated and divine grace…

Salvation

More than acquittal and justification Salvation can not be explained in legalistic terms of acquittal and justification, for salvation is much more than simply being forgiven and getting into heaven. The close tie between faith and works, when it comes to the Orthodox view of salvation, is not about being “saved” by our works, for this is impossible. Works do…

Submitting

Do we think ourselves wiser than the Church? In an age of unbelief it can be a struggle to submit to the laws of the Church. When the society around us regards the Church’s laws and traditions unfavorably, we can easily give in to thinking the same thing, and disregard the canons and statutes of the Church of Christ. If…

My Garden

Cultivating my own garden I teeter on the edge if I let myself be concerned about my neighbor’s garden rather than focusing on the cultivation of my own garden. Judging another person’s spiritual life is one of the most dangerous things we can do, for judging another distracts us from fully living a life of repentance. The importance of this…

The Two Great Commandments

“Love thy God with all your heart, mind…” and secondly, “Love thy neighbor…” We live in a world bombarded with thousands of messages, some subtle and some not-so-subtle, of merchandising that impact the way we interact with others, and the way we relate to God. Much of what we glean from these messages is narcissistic in nature, estranging us from…