The Ship

The Ship that is the Church 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…

Cultural Relevancy and Missionary Outreach

Young Penitent As my readers know, I am very involved in missionary outreach to young people. I speak on campuses, write a blog, post on facebook, and otherwise make myself available in any way I can to reach out with Orthodoxy to today’s youth. It should therefore be no surprise to anyone that I would agree to do the recorded…

When Despondency Seizes Us

Army Chaplain Father Sean 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…

The Seal of Confession

Nick Buick, releasing one of 36 doves on Theophany Opening the Doors to Repentance In the Orthodox Church, the seal of confession is absolute, and there is no situation that will allow for the revelation of anything said in confession. As a member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains, I, as an Orthodox priest, am one of a handful…

Concealment

The cell of Saint John the Wonderworker, St. Tikhon’s House, in San Francisco When we Conceal Our Sins from Our Confessor My article on confession elicited a number of comments that I feel need to be addressed in more detail. A number of people privately shared that they were hesitant to confess certain sins for fear of being embarrassed before…

The Sacredness of Sexuality

When the Gift of Sexuality becomes an Occasion for Sin Sins of a sexual nature are common among many people today. Much of the struggle is directly related to the fact that people do not take advantage of having a spiritual father. If you are your own guide the struggles with sexual passions can be beyond your ability to fight,…

On-Line Missionary

Together with long time friends, Bishop Alexander and Archbishop Benjamin During my recent visit to Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco, for the celebration of Theophany, I was amazed at how many people approached me regarding my daily blog, The Morning Offering. It is certainly gratifying to hear that my labors are bearing fruit, and that there are people who…

Bodily Suffering

Together with two San Francisco firefighters The Role of Bodily Suffering in the Salvation of Human Kind Elder Ambrose of Optina Monastery said, “We should not forget that in our age of ‘sophistication’ even little children are spiritually harmed by what they see and hear. As a result, purification is required, and this is only accomplished through bodily suffering….You must…

Secular Divide

Civilization Needs Unity Between Religion and the Secular State The great divide between the secular state and religion has grown substantially during my lifetime. Gone are the days when our nation was based on Christian values and where religion played an important role the public life of this country. The notion that we must separate Church and State has gained…

The Poor

The saints serve as our guides in serving the poor In many parts of the American countryside one can find the remnants of poorhouses (sometimes called workhouses), institutions run by local county or state governments as a means of dealing with the issue of the unemployed poor and homeless. These poorhouses were often located in rural farming communities, and could…

Confession

On Making a Good Confession Following His glorious Resurrection, as He appeared to His Disciples, Our Lord Jesus Christ gave the command that: “Whosoever’s sins you remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever’s sins you retain, they are retained.” John 20:23 From that moment in history, the Church has seen Confession (or repentance) as one of the holy mysteries…

Keeping Unrest at Bay

Be Not Troubled About Many Things! Every day can bring about many events or problems that can make us feel unsettled. Yet if we want to keep unrest at bay, it is important that we prayerfully receive everything with the knowledge that God is watching over us, and that all will be fine in the end. Spending time worrying accomplishes…