Inner Silence

God is heard in the silence of the heart The very heart of Orthodox monasticism is found in hesychia, that is, keeping stillness.The hesychast denies in order to affirm. Based on Christ’s injunction in the Gospel of Saint Matthew to “go into your closet to pray”, hesychasm in tradition has been the process of retiring inward by ceasing to register…

Demons

Never converse with demons In 1986 I spent fourteen days in retreat at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. Staying in the monastic quarters, I had two weeks of wonderful fellowship with fellow monastics, worshiping in their temple, eating with them in trapeza, walking the trails through their forest, praying in their large Orthodox cemetery, and visiting the seminary…

Lust

Waging war against the flesh Since the eyes and the ears are the doors of the soul, an Orthodox Christian must not leave the body without attention. Unlike the religion of Gnosticism, which teaches the separation of soul and body, with the physical world being evil and something to be overcome, historic Christianity teaches the unity the body and soul,…

The Holy Virgin

The Veneration of the Mother of God “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women (Luke 1:28).” This salutation addressed to the Virgin Mary by the Archangel Gabriel, forms a part of the hymn of the Church most frequently sung in her honor. Elizabeth, the Virgin’s cousin, considering it an honor for the Mother…

Theosis

Becoming by grace what God is by nature The Orthodox Church does not accept the doctrine of original sin as espoused in the West, yet this in no way suggests that we do not need to be born again (born anew). We Orthodox believe, as did the Early Church Fathers, that we inherit only the results of Adams sin, not…

Confession

On making a good confession Following His glorious Resurrection, as He appeared to His Disciples, Our Lord Jesus Christ gave the command that: “Whosoever’s sins you remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever’s sins you retain, they are retained.” John 20:23 From that moment in history, the Church has seen Confession (or repentance) as one of the holy mysteries…

The Future of the Church

How do we keep our youth in the Church? We are living in an age that has witnessed changes on a massive scale as never before. The way we communicate has changed with the coming of the internet, with information available that would have required a library and advanced degrees to access in the past. Ideas and information are available…

The Retreat

Conclusion of the three day young adult retreat The Pan Orthodox Youth Retreat, taking place for the past three days at a church camp in Okanagan, British Columbia, concludes this morning. I will start my eight hour drive back to the monastery, following breakfast, parting ways with some of the most wonderful young people I’ve ever had the pleasure of…

The Salvific Journey

Letting Christ lead us out of the stagnation of this present world For those who immerse themselves in partying and entertainment, all in an attempt to avoid the hardships and life struggles that make great souls, they will have failed to embrace the essential element that makes this life journey salvific. They will have avoided their service of love by…

Pan Orthodox Youth Retreat

Okanagan, British Columbia I am in Okanagan, British Columbia, leading a Pan Orthodox Youth Retreat, taking place in a lakeside church camp. I will be returning to the monastery, God willing, on Tuesday evening. Due to the remoteness of the camp, I do not have cell phone service, but I do have wifi in the main building. The camp is…

Being Grateful

Giving thanks for everything Every day we are given opportunities for acquiring a grateful heart. Whatever comes our way, whether it be good or bad, are occasions for being grateful. When we realize that even difficulties and hardships are allowed by God for our salvation, we are more likely to received whatever comes, with a grateful heart. Whatever life places…

Ascetic Struggle

Living our lives in total commitment Christianity is a religion of asceticism, instructing us to store up our treasures in heaven, where the benefits have eternal value. Throughout the New Testament we read of the importance of struggle, where focus on the acquisition of a humble and contrite heart is paramount to what it means to be a Christian. The…