A Mass of Sinners

Committed to living as the presence of Christ According to Saint Ephraim the Syrian (306 – 373), “The Church is not the assembly of saints, it is the mass of sinners who repent, who, sinners though they are, have turned towards God and are oriented towards Him.” As a people whose focus is on God, we are sinners who are…

The Church is Our Nation

The Church’s purpose is to unite all men as one nation in Christ When the Bolsheviks defeated Imperial Russia, the former government’s close ties with the Church led to the wholesale murder of countless bishops, priests, monastics, and faithful, all seen as an inseparable part of the government. The institution of the Church was seen as so closely tied to…

Idolatry

The idolatry of self-esteem Among the contributors to self-worship, is the possibility of falling into a form of idolatry associated with self-esteem. It is easy to fall into this form of idolatry, since our society has placed a great deal of emphasis on the need for self-esteem. The modern religion of psychoanalysis has promoted self-esteem as though it were the…

Committing to Prayer

God grants the prayer of him who prays There are so many of us who pray only when we “feel inspired”, or when we “want something” from God, but true prayer must originate from struggle. If we do not struggle to become a prayerful person, prayer will remain sidelined, and we will remain as a person who lacks the discipline…

Repeat Offenders

When we struggle with habitual and repetitive sins In the Mystery of Confession we avail ourselves before the analoy stand, upon which the holy cross and the Gospel Book rest. The priest stands in as the witness, whereas in the early Church confession was done before the whole congregation of the faithful. After we have confessed before the Lord, the…

Divine Warmth

The Divine Flame will consume you At the very first moment you decide to turn to God, your heart begins to be warmed by the action of the Holy Spirit. Your heart is kindled with the divine flame that will transform you. This flame will consume you completely, and will melt everything of a fallen nature within you. Once this…

Microcosm

Humankind is a microcosm of the universe It has been said that humans are a microcosm of the whole universe because we have within ourselves the entire material world, and with it the noetic powers of the cosmos. Created as we were for immortality, it is our fallen nature that has separated us from that which God had intended. When…

The Abuser

Abusive behavior betrays a deep spiritual and psychological illness There are people who insist on holding on to resentment, often inventing situations in their minds that never happened, justifying their bad behavior, and putting the blame on others. They see themselves as the abused party, always quick to take offense. Rarely are they able to have healthy relationships, for they…

Taking on the Image of Christ

To be a Christian is not about conformity to the image of other people, but to the image of Christ 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…

Poustinia

The importance of silence to the inner life The Russian word “Poustinia”, which means “desert”, is so important to the inner life, that it cannot be dismissed. If we are to hear the voice of God speaking to us, we must enter into silence. If we are to learn to hear His voice, we must learn to be silent. Without…

THE NATIVITY

The Condescension of God and the Deification of Man We Orthodox Christians on the Julian Calendar are now celebrating the birth of Jesus, the incarnation of God on Earth. And this celebration of the Nativity of Christ will mark the spiritual upheaval of the universe, for this solemn day marks the embodiment of God on Earth, and the day God…

The Created and the Uncreated

This season of the Nativity of Christ is the perfect time to look closely at what this pivotal moment in human history meant for this material world. That the Logos, the Word of God, joined Himself to our humanity was singularly the most important event in human history. That this was done by God in order to join His Divinity…