Examination of the Heart

Spiritual progress comes through examination of the heart Not an hour should pass without taking time to examine our heart, for the hour of judgement can come at any time, and we must be ready to give account to God for our life. According to Saint Theophan the Recluse, when we examine our lives we find many instances when God…

Deceitfulness

We must strive to always be truthful In our daily encounters with our spouses, family, friends, and coworkers, we must always strive to be truthful. Deceitfulness must never be allowed to be a part of our life, for deceitfulness in relationships with others will always translate into being untruthful with God. Our relationships with others and our relationship with God…

Freedom

The mastering of oneself brings about true freedom It would seem to be an almost genetic trait of we humans to desire freedom. We want to live in a free society, have the freedom to make our own choices, and freedom from the tyranny of others. Yet we fail to realize that the freedom so desired from the inner most…

Hell

Hell and hate One of my favorite authors as a young man, was Thomas Merton, the famous Trappist monk. In the introduction to his work New Seeds of Contemplation he wrote: “Hell was where no one has anything in common with anyone else except the fact that they all hate one other and cannot get away from each other and…

The Monastic Vocation

The monastic vocation is all about relationships Sunday saw the commemoration of the Prodigal Son, a clear sign that we are getting closer to the beginning of Great and Holy Lent. The story of the parodical son is a call to repentance, and is seen, according to Bishop Nectary of Seattle of blessed memory, as the secondary Names Day of every…

Noetic Memory

Tapping into the noetic memory of the heart The heart, in the Orthodox tradition, does not only have a natural operation, as a mere pump that circulates blood. In Orthodox patristic tradition the heart is the center of our self-awareness. Saint Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (+1809) calls the heart a natural and supernatural center, wherein resides “noetic” memory. Tapping…

The Divine Flame

The divine flame will consume us At the very first moment we decide to turn to God, our heart begins to be warmed by the action of the Holy Spirit. Our heart is kindled with the divine flame that will transform us. This flame will consume us completely, and will melt everything of a fallen nature within us. Once this…

The Jesus Prayer

The prayer that can change your life We all need a good dose of silent prayer each and every day. Finding that perfect place in your home that can become your cave, or prayer closet, will afford you that sacred space wherein you can go deep into the heart and connect with God. That place wherein you can close off…

An Ethnic Fraternity?

We are called to share our Orthodox Faith Two Byzantine brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius, brought Orthodox Christianity to the Slavs in the ninth century. The brilliance of Eastern Orthodox missionary outreach, as opposed to that of the Latin Church, was in the very use of the vernacular. These great saints who became known as the Apostles to the Slavs,…

Real Change

Apart from the Church, all achievements are insufficient The Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica said, “We think we know a lot, but what we know is very little. Even all those who have striven all their life to bring progress to mankind — learned scientists and highly educated people — all realize in the end that all their knowledge is but…

The Abuser

No one is required by God to remain in an abusive relationship The best way to respond to another person’s anger is not to withdraw, but to move towards them with kindness. There are times when distancing yourself from someone who is angry, is necessary, for there is absolutely no good reason for you to move towards another, when they…

Honest Piety

Piety without stoking the flames of pride Many years ago I remember attending a Liturgy at a parish church and noticing a young man standing near the iconostasis, while making profound bows, and frequent, almost exaggerated signs of the cross. My first thought was that he must be a newly baptized Orthodox Christian. After embracing Orthodoxy, many people fall into…