The Jesus Prayer

A prayer that takes you out of yourself 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 your family, your worries, your job, your distractions, and go deep…

Keeping Watch

Holiness comes only to those who keep watch 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. In the Gospel of Matthew (5:8), we read “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”. It is clear that without a humble and contrite heart…

Setting Aside Shame

We must let our past become a fading memory There are many people who cling to memories of past sins, holding on to guilt and shame, reliving things long ago confessed, as though they happened yesterday. They struggle with regrets, often revisiting shame as though they were archeologists, digging for historical artifacts that must be preserved. Such is not the case with God, for His interest is not in our past, but…

A Compassionate People

We must become a more compassionate people “In this way will the inequalities of earthly states be leveled out at God’s judgment (Saint Theophan the Recluse).” As our nation’s congress faces critical decisions that will in all likelihood impact the lives of countless elderly and poor, it is right that we consider the teachings of the Orthodox Church concerning our duties to those who have less than we. Saint John Chrysostom taught…

Fasting

Fasting suggestions FAST from self-concern and FEAST on compassion for others. FAST from discouragement and FEAST on hope. FAST from lethargy and FEAST on enthusiasm. FAST from suspicion and FEAST on truth. FAST from thoughts that weaken and FEAST on promises that inspire. FAST from shadows of sorrow and FEAST on the sunlight of serenity. FAST from idle gossip and FEAST on purposeful silence. FAST from problems that overwhelm you and FEAST…

Love and Humility

Humility spawns God’s love in the heart The very moment faith enters the soul is that moment when we turn toward God in repentance and recognize we can not live without Him. As we grow in our faith we come to realize we must remain in a continual state of repentance, for grace abounds in the heart of the man who is repenting. We come to see the truth that the saints…

The Church is a Ship

And this ship is headed to the safe harbor As the waves of passions confront us and threaten to hurtle us against the rocks, it is good to remember that as long as we remain on board the ship of the Church, we are safe. We sail aboard a ship that is piloted by Christ Himself, and we are comforted with the knowledge that this ship is headed to the safe harbor,…

Our Need for Others

Isolation kills the soul and prevents us from learning to love Our Christian faith is communal in nature, and requires us to be actively involved with others. The corporate nature of salvation itself necessitates our interaction with others, for we are not “saved” in a vacuum. The salvation of my neighbor must be as much a concern to me, as is my own salvation. My relationship with Christ is not about me,…

Our Lenten Journey

Our transformation through the Lenten Journey The Byzantine Court was filled with sycophants, busying themselves with building alliances that would help them rise in status and influence. During the thousand years of the empire, a few emperors were tricked into believing these sycophants were truly their friends, and could be trusted, when in actuality they were being played, and these flatterers were not their friends. These sycophants were quick to change allegiances…

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 Presanctified Gifts, which consists of the Service of Vespers and the Communion…

Angels Unawares

“We just encountered an angel unaware, and we were being tested” While sitting in a sidewalk cafe with my friend, Archpriest Basil Rhodes, having a cup of coffee and a bite to eat, we noticed a homeless man stop behind me. The man was staring at our food, so Father Basil asked him if he was hungry. He answered with an enthusiastic “yes”, and when Father asked what he’d like to eat,…

The Catholicity of the Church

The Church is catholic because Christ is catholic Christ’s presence in the Church, which is His Body, by it’s very nature requires us to manifest His catholicity by fully living out our faith by the way we live, and by the way we love. The fact that Christ transforms us by grace, negates that which separates us from one another. The fragmenting nature of the Fall is overcome by Christ, and we…