Witnessing Christ

Warmth of spirit can go a long way A few years ago I was sitting in a Seattle coffee house, laptop open and working on correspondence. Two young college age men were sitting at a table about two feet away. One of them made a rude remark that was obviously meant for my ear. He suggested to his friend that…

Searching for God

How do we find God in an unbelieving world? God is a merciful God, quick to forgive, quick to show mercy, quick to embrace us when we turn to Him. In all of eternity our God chose to create humankind in His image and likeness, offering His creatures the opportunity to commune with Him in the endlessness that is time.…

Noetic Faculty

The energy of the mind inside the heart In the patristic tradition the heart is the center of our self-awareness. This self-awareness is the energy of the mind inside the heart, something the holy fathers referred to as our “noetic faculty”. There is an important distinction that must be noted concerning the difference between the Western and Eastern understanding of…

Taste the Presence

Taste the presence of Christ beside you 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, gives you that sacred space where you can go deep into the heart and connect with God. It will be that place where you can…

Sensitivity

Being sensitive to other peoples crosses We humans are an odd species. We are capable of great sensitivity and compassion, yet we are also capable of terrible cruelty. Staring at people with facial deformities, or who may have peculiar, physically malformed bodies, may satisfy our innate curiosity, but the cruelty inflicted upon the sufferer is great. As a child I…

The Vocation of a Christian

If we are to be guardians of the traditions and spiritual treasures of our Orthodox faith, we must cooperate with God in the transformation of ourselves and our inner world, and maintain the beauty and harmony of the world which surrounds us. This is the vocation and responsibility of all Christians. “When Christians lose their joy they lose the world…

Struggling to Pray

Struggling with prayer that has become dry and lifeless When we find ourselves struggling with prayer, and feel that it has become dry and lifeless, we are sometimes tempted to stop praying. When our prayer has become a struggle, it is good to remember that God knows our needs, and even knows what we want to say when we don’t…

Sharing Our Faith

We are called to be evangelists for the faith As Orthodox Christians, we are duty bound to share our faith with others. Christ is for everyone, but with all the bad press Christianity has been getting during the past decade, it is especially important that we approach evangelism in light of the historic Church. The missionary mind of the Orthodox…

Icons

Protecting the full and proper doctrine of the Incarnation Unlike angels, who are entirely spiritual beings, God has made each of us as creatures dwelling in a material world. To be whole, we must worship God both in body and soul. This teaching is central to our Christian faith and is an affirmation of the sacramental nature of this material…

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…

Avoid Isolation

Isolation kills the soul, as it separates us from others The Church is the Body of Christ and by Her very nature is anything but an institution wherein one can be isolated from others. We only let it be so if we fail to involve ourselves as the people of God, with one another. The greeting given by Orthodox Christians,…

An Orthodox Church

The link between the Old and the New Testament temple Orthodox temples have kept to the same form and function since ancient times. Using the Old Testament Temple model, Orthodox churches are divided into several courts or spaces peculiar to their function. The Holy Table, upon which is celebrated the Eucharist, is situated at the east end of the building…