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,…

Guarding the Heart

  We must guard our thoughts and keep pure our hearts As we are all filled with thoughts that flood our minds, let us consider each thought and decide whether it be our own, or those of the enemy of our salvation. If they be the latter they should be dispelled and given no room to linger. Negative thoughts that…

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…

Discerning the Word of God

The Church transcends “private” interpretations The unique spiritual bond that exists between the Church, which is the Body of Christ, is bound with Christ, Who is the Word incarnate. This truth is the very reason the Church, from the earliest of times, has transcended all private interpretations, and the reason the Church’s teachings have remained unchanged since the first and…

The Atheists In Our Midst

Mustering passions against that which they claim does not exist As I view the onslaught of the crazed mindset of a world gone mad, I am saddened by a culture that has totally lost its way. Christianity has always had enemies, but in the past those enemies declared themselves by introducing heresies, meant to undermine the Mind of the Church,…

The Dormition

The Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God According to the teachings of the Orthodox Church, Mary, having spent her life after Pentecost supporting and serving the nascent Church, was living in the house of the Apostle John, in Jerusalem, when the Archangel Gabriel revealed to her that her repose would occur three days later. The apostles, scattered…