Overpowered by Temptations

Yet We are Never Abandoned by God Even though we seem overpowered by temptations, God never abandons us. God knows how our weakness makes us vulnerable, yet never allows us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist. We sometimes feel as though we were beasts of burden, carrying loads that weigh us down. Saint Paul tells us in Romans…

The Cloud of Witnesses

The Saints are Alive in Christ Jesus Vigil lights are placed before the icons of the saints, according to Saint Symeon the New Theologian, as a way of showing that without the Light, Who is Christ, the saints are nothing. It is only as the light of Christ shines on them that they become alive and resplendent. The saints show…

The Inner Tug that is Orthodoxy

Focused not on Men, but on the Holiness of God The very first time I entered an Orthodox church, I felt drawn to Her. There was a tangible, inner tug, and an overwhelming sense of peace, holiness, and awe, emanating from the very walls of the temple. The serving clergy were not the focus of the service, as I’d experienced…

Our Thoughts

Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives “Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility (Elder…

The Chief of Sinners

Witnessing to the Love of Christ What is our responsibility, as Orthodox Christians, as regards those who do not live according to biblical morality? We must first remember that we have fallen short of the glory of God, and say, like Saint Paul, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world…

Becoming Humble and Contrite

We Must Struggle to Live According to the Gospels As Christians, we are always finding ourselves struggling against the passions, and trying, with Christ’s help, to live according to the gospels. Our Lord told us that we must love our neighbor, whom we’ve seen, if we are to love God, Whom we’ve not seen. Yet, the struggle to really love…

Restoration

The Restoration of the True Self The Lord Jesus Christ was humble, meek and good, and with the help of the Lord we too can be humble. Fasting and prayer are the means by which God can change our hearts, but we must approach both with humility and purpose. Saying our prayers quickly just to get through them is no…

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…

Becoming Your Best Friend

Your closest and most intimate friend is yourself If you have never learned to accept and love yourself, you will never be able to love another person. If you don’t learn to forgive yourself, you will never be able to forgive another person. You must learn to be your own best friend. To love yourself is not about narcissism, an…

He Who is Without Sin?

Christ asked those without sin to cast the first stone “We have all sinned and fall short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23).” We Orthodox often miss the mark in understanding and ministering to this world. We fail to heed the words of Christ, “to love one another as God has loved us”, and forget we are charged by…

Laying Blame

Putting the blame in the right place We all have a natural tendency to lay blame on others, when in truth we must blame only ourselves. When facing our own sins and shortcomings, it is always easy to put the blame on others, yet our faith tells us that spiritual progress can only come with the acquisition of a humble…