Mercy and Love

Where the temporal and the eternal are connected We can be rich in liturgical correctness and wealthy in traditions, but if we do not have love and mercy, we are in reality bankrupt. Our Lord Himself made love and mercy the chief criterion whereby we will be judged on the Last Day. The fulfillment of the law is love, not…

Noetic Faculty

The energy of the mind inside the heart In the patristic tradition the heart is the center of our self-awareness. This self-awareness is the energy of the mind inside the heart, something the holy fathers referred to as our “noetic faculty”. There is an important distinction that must be noted concerning the difference between the Western and Eastern understands of…

Compassion

None can be saved without compassion for others We must not be so self-consumed as to have no compassion for others. Saint Basil tells us that a man who has two coats or two pair of shoes, when his neighbor has none, is a thief.  In the Holy Scriptures we read, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,…

Fruitless Discussions

The power and influence of good deeds “For it is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men (1 Peter 2:15). Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic tells us in The Prologue from Ochrid that we are better off if we do not engage others in lengthy debates and fruitless discussions, but that we…

Christian Friendship

The necessity of Christian friendships In this age where secularism is on the rise, and materialism has become a major distraction from spiritual pursuits, Christian friendship has never been more important. The pursuit of personal fulfillment, entertainment, worldly pleasure, and the acquisition of material goods, has become the dominant theme of our age. Families that once placed the life of…

Spiritual Maturation

Those occasions when we mature into spiritual adulthood There are those times in our lives when God seems distant, even absent from us. These are usually times when our faith seems weak and we struggle to believe God really cares for us, or perhaps we begin to question whether God even exists. In Western Christian tradition these moments are often…

Incense

The Orthodox Use of Incense From Old Testament times believers have burned incense as an offering when worshiping God. The ancient temple in Jerusalem even had priests whose sole duty was to keep the censer burning twenty-four hours a day. Ancient pagan kings were often escorted with large fans of peacock feathers and burning incense when entering their palaces. Early…

The Gift of Love

Passing on the gift of love My father was a golf pro in Spokane, Washington, during my grade and early middle school years, and the country club was the center of our family’s social life. My brother, Dwayne, and I use to play an average of 18 to 36 holes of golf every day, during the summer months (when we…

Our Attitude

We must keep a positive attitude Our attitude has an impact that can keep us from growing spiritually. A bad attitude impacts the way we live, and hurts those around us.  It negatively influences our family, our friends, our co-workers, and our church community. We must commit ourselves to keeping a positive attitude, for negative thinking will not make anything…

Orthodox Worship

Orthodox worship is unchanging, and grounded in tradition  A visitor to the monastery recently shared his preference of contemporary worship with drums, guitar, etc. He insisted that God doesn’t really care how we worship, as long as we offer Him our praise. Knowing this man to be a serious Christian, and an upfront disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, made…

Despondency

When despondency seizes us The renowned 19th century Russian saint, Seraphim of Sarov (1759-1833), said of himself, “I don’t know anything”. These words were remarkable coming from a hermit who was the most sought after spiritual adviser of his age, with even the Tsar seeking out his counsel. Yet Saint Seraphim recognized that he was but a funnel from which…

Theologians

Pure theology does not come out of a philosophical search There are only a few Orthodox saints who’ve been given the honor of being called, “theologians”. Saint John the Theologian, and Saint Symeon the New Theologian, to give two examples, were declared Theologians by the Church, because their theology was the outcome of their having encountered the Living God. Theologians,…