Watchfulness

Watchfulness and the guarding of the heart Watchfulness has been described by Elder Ephraim of Philotheou as “the axe which shatters the large trees, hitting their roots. When the root is struck, it doesn’t spring up again.” A conscientious attention to our thoughts is an important tactic in spiritual warfare, and is necessary if we are to have effective weapons…

Dark Times

What should a Christian’s response be to dark times As an Orthodox Christian, I do not believe God makes us suffer. However, I know that God sometimes allows me to suffer as a means of delivering me the salvific medicine that can bring about healing of my fallen nature. God knows I sometimes need to suffer in order to turn…

Turning Direction

Having encountered Christ our life turns direction In the story of the Magi we read of three wise men who, having seen a star in the east, travel to a desert cave, wherein they find the Child, laid in a manger by His Virgin Mother. Once they had beheld the Christ, this encounter with the Messiah filled them with life-transforming…

Why Do You Judge Your Brother?

Doing combat against the critical spirit within yourself Fearing the loss of control, we construct a wall of defense around us, keeping authenticity at bay. Fearing rejection, we see ourselves as unlovable, and blame others. Knowing we are inauthentic, we flee from the truth by becoming critical of others. We lie to ourselves, and to others, hiding our insecurity and…

The Coronavirus

Here’s a tip from the experts to help you and your household stay safe from coronavirus COVID-19. Don’t let the virus in. That’s the best way to avoid getting sick. Here are some action steps to help you keep the virus away. Practice excellent personal hygiene habits, including washing your hands with soap and water frequently, coughing into a tissue…

Religion is Dead

Religion is dead, but Christ in me is alive! We are not compelled to love God, having been created with free will. God does not, nor can He, compel His creatures to love Him. Mutual love requires, by its very nature, freedom to either respond in love, or not. Yet when we respond to God’s love with love His mercy…

Artificial Christianity

Avoiding hypocrisy in our journey to God It is very easy to live our lives in hypocrisy if we are not mindful of the pitfalls of the spiritual life. We can become Pharisees without even noticing, if we let our Christianity be artificially lived. Living our lives as though we have been rehearsed by a stage director, we will have…

Orthodox Pharisees

The Orthodox Faith is nothing without transformation of life If our spiritual life is concentrated only on external practices and traditions, but does nothing to bring about real change, we have gained nothing. Too many people think as long as they keep the fasting rules, do their prayers, and attend the services, they are good Orthodox Christians. Yet if there…

The Triumph of Orthodoxy

And the declaration of anathemas against the iconoclasts The Old Testament God was revealed to us by Christ Jesus. Prior to the incarnation of the Logos, God’s people were forbidden to make any image of Him, for no one had seen His face. Yet when Christ said to His disciples, “he who has seen Me has seen the Father”, the…

The Saints

The saints being alive in Christ are not dead Growing up Lutheran I always believe the veneration of saints by Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians was a form of idolatry. They were idolaters because they “worshiped saints”. This worship of the saints was a major stumbling block for most protestants, since worship was only to be offered to God. The…

Keeping the Fast

Keeping the fast for all the right reasons The Lord condemned the Pharisee, not because he fasted, but because his motivation was based on pride. The Pharisee wished to be seen by men, and he had no fear of God. He dared to stand before the Lord in pride and arrogance, while the Publican stood afar off, beating his breast,…

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

Communing from the Body and Blood of the Master during the period of spiritual combat The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is attributed to Saint Gregory the Dialogist († 604), Pope of Rome, but in actuality, it is not the work of one individual, but is a composite work coming down to us from Holy Tradition. The Liturgy of the…