Thanksgiving

A day set aside to give thanks to God Thanksgiving has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. The word Thanksgiving has it’s roots in the Greek word, εὐχαριστία (eucharistia), where the Church gets the word Eucharist.…

Holy Images

God infuses His Energies into the icons 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 fullness…

Family

Staying connected with family A few years ago I attended the funeral for my Aunt Margie,  my mother’s youngest sister. The decision to drive to Spokane, a five hour trip from Vashon Island, was in part made because I wanted to support my cousins who’d lost their mother, and partly because it afforded me an opportunity to spend some time…

The Struggle

The struggle against the passions and our victory in Christ As we struggle with anger, gluttony, with judging others, sexual impurity and a myriad of others passions, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless. We find ourselves feeling defeated and tempted to give up the battle. Sometimes we even tell ourselves that we have no choice, for we were…

The Incarnation

God sharing His Divinity with our humanity The idea that Christ would have incarnated in the flesh, even if Adam and Eve had not fallen, was taught by a number of early Church Fathers. Although not a formal teaching of the Orthodox Church, the understanding comes from the view that the Logos took on our flesh because God wished to…

Happiness

Gratefulness makes us happy We all know that money can’t buy happiness, yet many are not aware that practicing simple gratitude does bring about happiness. Being grateful for the people we have in our lives, and for the things that we have, brings about a happiness that can not come about by endlessly trying to acquire things. Researchers testing gratefulness…

Miracles

Living in expectation of miracles While just a little boy in the Lutheran Church, I remember asking the pastor why we didn’t see miracles in the church like had happened in the Bible. He told me they were used in New Testament times to jump start the church, and were not needed now. As a boy of about ten, I…

Monasticism

Monasticism, and the love of God and neighbor Monasticism within the tradition of the Orthodox Church has many expressions. Some are called to live in the wilderness as hermits, living the solitary way of life. Others, such as Saint Maria of Paris and Saint John of San Francisco, are called to live their monastic struggles within cities, surrounded by people.…

Our Unity 

The Church is the chief sign of our unity in Christ The Church Fathers saw Orthodoxy as a Way of Life, rather than a religion. Although the Church has many of the same attributes as religion, this does not mean she is herself is a religious institution. Rather, she is a Hospital for the Soul, wherein we can receive the…

How to Forgive

We must put aside all resentment The decision to forgive another person a wrong done to us begins when we decide to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. To forgive someone does not mean that we forget what they did to us, for this may be impossible. The memory of the hurt might always remain with you, but…

Crucified to Self

I am crucified with Christ In our life, every undertaking, every action, every thought, must be a reflection Christ in our life. The Lord will grant us the strength and ability to accomplish good works and attain holiness, if we cooperate with His grace. Prayer alone is not enough if we do not reflect moral improvement. Change must take place…

Correcting Myself

And amendment is made to a small part of the Church Whenever we hear of problems in the Church it is our natural inclination to want to read all about it, and root out all the details. Yet if we really want to benefit our soul, we should take the advice of the Saint Paisios of Mt. Athos. His advice:…