When the Church Fails Us

When we feel betrayed by the “dark side” of the Church For those who have experienced what has been called the “dark side” of the Church, the struggle to remain faithful to the Orthodox Faith can seem daunting. The dark side is the result of the sinful, fallen nature of all of us who make up the Body of Christ.…

Consolation

When we are in need of consolation The Elder Jospeh the Hesychast said to his disciples that,  “In order for one to realize his weak nature, he must encounter many great temptations. And then, through many trials he is humbled and learns true humility. But it takes time. Humility does no consist in words such as ‘I am a sinner…’…

Faith in an Unbelieving World

Living our Orthodoxy in a world of unbelief In this pluralistic society there are many Orthodox individuals who’ve found themselves sharing their lives with non-Orthodox family members. Sometimes these families are not even practicing Christians, so the struggle to keep to the traditions and practices of the Orthodox Faith can be difficult. The lenten periods can be especially hard when…

Teaching Children to Love God

Children learn love of God by the example of their parents Every Orthodox parent wants their children to grow up attending Sunday Liturgies and staying active in the life of the Church throughout their lives. Yet many parents don’t demonstrate the importance of having a personal relationship with God in front of their children. If you do not make God…

The Fear of Love

He who does not love remains in death There are those who fear commitment for fear of loss. They fear the other will either leave them, or be lost in death, so they remain aloof from any possible relationship. Some put on a facade of indifference, for fear of rejection, depriving themselves of any possible happiness. In fear of possible…

Suffering

The salvific role of suffering in our lives I received words of encouragement from a brother priest in our diocese, and wanted to share it with my readers. Father Alexander quoted the words of Saint John of Kronstadt, who wrote: “Rejoice, O Christian when you feel the weight of your cross! That means that you have one, for a Christian…

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…

Community

The essential element Saint Anthony the Great said, “Our life and our death is with our neighbor. If we gain our brother, we have gained God, but if we scandalize our brother, we have sinned against Christ.” Christianity is a communal faith, one that requires it’s followers to be actively involved with others. The Church’s worship is communal, and salvation…

The Devil’s Eyes

We must beware of looking at others through the devil’s eyes When we place negative judgments on others, we ultimately prevent a joyous encounter in the name of Christ, that images true Christian community. If we would genuinely wish to transform the world around us and ourselves, we must look only for the good in others, and avoid ever judging…

The Domestic Church

The incubator for a life of righteousness Prior to electricity and central heating, most families gathered in parlors, spending evenings with reading, sewing, and family conversations. The notion that everyone would retreat to bedrooms, kitchens, or dens, separating themselves from other family members, was unthinkable. The communal nature of the family was natural. I can remember, as a child (this…

Faith

The enemy of faith is pride “Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”” (John 6:29). The absolute necessary element for salvation is faith, and faith is a clear sign that God’s grace has been activated in us, for faith brings us into communion with God. Faith is…

Be Yourself

Don’t shelve a part of you When we enter into communion with one another in the life of the Church, we come broken, and far from the image and likeness that God intended when He created us. We, to a one, are in need of the healing that comes from a life in Christ. Yet we often hinder ourselves from…