Other Christians

What about non-Orthodox Christians? Saint Silouan the Athonite was once traveling by train with an archimandrite who was a zealot quick to correct others about the True Faith. Coming upon a group of traveling Roman Catholics, Saint Silouan’s traveling companion proceeded to tell them that they must become Orthodox because their faith was without grace. The saint asked him if…

Authenticity

Authenticity and the authority of 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…

My Sins

Accuse ourselves, blame ourselves, judge ourselves We see people’s sins, but we don’t know whether they have made peace with God. We don’t know if the person who has sinned regrets it, but we are not called to judge them, but only to forgive them. As we become aware of our own sins, and begin to realize how much forgiveness and…

The Past

Holding on to guilt and shame There are many people who cling to memories of past sins, holding on to guilt and shame, reliving things long ago confessed, as though they happened yesterday. They struggle with regrets, often revisiting shame as though they were archeologists, digging for historical artifacts that must be preserved. Such is not the case with God,…

Good Deeds

Good deeds and vainglory If the performance of good deeds are done in order to attain personal benefit for oneself, or to receive the praise of others, it falls under the sin of avarice, vanity, and greed. Anyone who performs good deeds for such purposes is guilty of sinful pride, and vainglory. The performance of any good deed that is…

Truth

Embracing Absolute Truth In an age when many people think truth is relative, the knowledge that there is such a thing as absolute truth, is comforting. The freedom that comes with the knowledge that we are able to embrace teachings that are a continuation of an unbroken line dating back to Apostolic times, is liberating. As Orthodox Christians, we are…

Becoming Whole

Embrace your material self, together with your soul Unlike angels, who are entirely spiritual beings, God has made each of you as creatures dwelling in a material world. To be whole, you must worship God both in body and soul. This teaching is central to our Christian faith and is an affirmation of the sacramental nature of this material world.…

Prayer

How Should we Pray? Over the years, as strange as it may seem, we’ve had a number of people ask us if we’d pray they win the lottery, promising that if they did they’d donate a large portion to the brotherhood. The logic seemed to suggest that if the monks were going to get some of the take, the Lord…

The Need to Mourn

God is with us in the intimacy of grief The shooting on the Seattle Pacific University campus that took the life of a nineteen year old college student, and sent three other students to the hospital, is one of those moments that brings together whole communities in need of mourning together. During times like this, we need to mourn. One…

Campus Violence

The violence of a world devoid of hope The shooting that just took place on the Seattle Pacific University campus hit close to home, for I count among my friends, Dr. Richard Steele, a professor on the campus. Dr. Steele has been bringing groups of students to our monastery for many years, and I have been honored as a guest…

Guarding the Heart

We must guard our hearts As we are all filled with thoughts that flood our minds, let us consider each thought and decide whether it be our own, or those of the enemy of our salvation. If they be the latter they should be dispelled and given no room to linger. Negative thoughts that are allowed to grow in our…

Procrastination

I’ll do it tomorrow We all have times when we procrastinate. There is a story of a young monk who confessed to his elder that he was always struggling with procrastination. His elder told him it was his lack of faith which made it impossible for him to see God everywhere, and in all things, and for this reason he…