Putting off the Old Self

In Christ we become new creatures and the old self is put aside As we struggle to make spiritual progress we do battle with the old self. We work against old habits that have kept us stuck and prevented the change we so desire in our quest for communion with God. Our sins and passions have become familiar to us,…

The Feast of Saint Herman of Alaska

A blessed Nativity to all my friends who are celebrating the Birth of Christ according to the Gregorian Calendar. For those of us who serve under the Julian Calendar, we are celebrating the Feast of Saint Herman of Alaska. With love in Christ, Abbot Tryphon ”By enduring the trials of nature, the storms’ cold and wind together with hunger, thou…

Our Journey to God

We must be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives The spiritual struggle that is required of us cannot depend on having a spiritual father. Most Orthodox Christians do not have one, and the average parish priest is not equipped, either with the time, nor the inclination, to take on the role of spiritual father to…

Preparing for Our Death

We must always think upon our own death Saint Sisoes, the great ascetic, standing before the tomb of Alexander the Great, beheld the skeletal remains of one who was once covered in magnificent garments.  Astonished, the saint mourned for the vicissitudes of time and the transience of glory, and tearfully proclaimed, “The mere sight of you, tomb, dismays me and…

Chaplains

Chaplains represent the presence of God in the midst of tragedy I am grateful to God for all the friendships I’ve formed with other chaplains during these past seventeen years of service as a police and fire chaplain, and am privileged to count among my friends some of the finest people I have ever known. These are individuals who have…

World as Sacrament

The whole world is a sacrament if only we have the eyes of faith to see it Some of my earliest memories are of the camping trips we would take, as a family, and pitching our tent by the idyllic lakes in Northern Idaho. We would cook over a fire, catch rainbow trout for breakfast (nothing like a freshly grilled…

Sacred Things

What should be our attitude toward icons and other sacred things? One of the attributes of God is holiness, and is reflected in His people, and in physical objects that have been blessed by the Church for the use of His people in their journey towards Him. Therefore, reverence for these sacred objects and images is the manifestation of the…

Family

Staying connected to family It is always sad to lose a family member in death, but it is also sad that it often takes a funeral to bring together  relatives who haven’t seen each other in years. It is from this perspective that I realize I, as the oldest of the cousins, am perhaps the one family member who remembers…

Dads

On the importance of being a good father I’ll forever be grateful for the love and support I received from my father. My dad never let a day pass without assuring his two sons of his love and acceptance. Albert Parsons always imaged to his sons the importance of living an honest life, and being kind to everyone. Generous almost…

Imitating Christ

We must live as the Lord requires of us As we examine how we live our lives as Christians, we look to those who leave an impression of goodness, kindness, and humility, as examples of the person we would like to become. That saintly person, by their every example, exudes the humbleness of the Lord, and love seems to be…

The Mystery of Death

Death can be a mystery precisely because the triumph over death is not a mystery As a priest and monk of the Russian Orthodox Church, I am comfortable with the mystery of death, as all Christians should be. Death can be a mystery precisely because the triumph over death is not a mystery. As the Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann wrote,…

Fearing Love

If we fear to love we will remain dead There are those who fear commitment for fear of loss. They fear the other will either leave them, or be lost in death, so they remain aloof from any possible relationship. Some put on a facade of indifference, for fear of rejection, depriving themselves of any possible happiness. In fear of…