The Need to Mourn

Our humanity binds us together when we suffer sorrow and loss One of the most tremendously rewarding and challenging aspects of the priesthood is comforting people in their darkest moments of sorrow. Do not be mistaken, and think that priests, monks and chaplains are exempt from the pain of those whom they try to comfort, or that we have magical…

Incense

Let my prayer arise as incense before Thee 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…

Our Quest for Humility

We must unite ourselves to the humility of Christ As Orthodox Christians we must fight off the temptation of making our faith a form of ideology, for when we transform our Orthodox faith into an ideological and moralistic religion, we close the door to others, and turn Christianity into a list of requirements,  denuding the message of the Scriptures into…

The Orthodox College Student

Staying Orthodox in an anti-Christian environment The summer months are coming to a close and many young people will be facing the prospect of heading off to college, some for the very first time. A scripture passage comes to my mind as I think of these wonderful young people preparing to leave home: “I am sending you out like sheep…

The Mystery of the Church

And the corporate nature of salvation There is a certain emptiness in trying to live the Christian life outside the life of the Church. This is because it is impossible to truly live as a Christian without the Church. The reading of the scriptures, and our commitment to prayer, are important foundations in the life of a Christian, but they…

The Fear of Love

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 loss, they become the ultimate losers, for the…

Sustainability

Sustainability and our stewardship of the environment As Orthodox monks we hold to the importance of respecting the environment, which requires us to be good stewards of what God has given us. An important part of that stewardship is working towards sustainability, based on a simple principle that everything we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or…

Spiritual Adulthood

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…

The Proof of Love

Faith without works is dead 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…

Don’t React

Don’t react to outside negative stimulus Each day brings on new challenges regarding the  health of your soul. Those moments when a family member or coworker makes a remark that are meant to anger you, are those times you need to guard your heart. When those around you are gossiping about someone, that is an opportunity for you to keep…

The Dark Side

When we experience 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. It is…

The Cloud of Witnesses

The saints are alive in Christ Jesus Vigil lights are placed before the icons of the saints, according to Saint Symeon the New Theologian, as a way of showing that without the Light, Who is Christ, the saints are nothing. It is only as the light of Christ shines on them that they become alive and resplendent. The saints show…