Other Peoples Sins

If we are to win the battle we must focus only on our own sins When we take our eyes off our own failings, shortcomings, and sins, we notice the failings of others. As the sins of others get our attention, our focus turns away from our own struggles with the passions, and we begin to fall further into sin,…

Hospital of the Soul

The Church is the hospital where we can find healing Our Orthodox Faith defines sin as an illness that is in need of healing, not as a crime that requires punishment. The Church is a hospital for the soul whose therapists (priests) first sought therapy and then became the therapists. As a healing institution the Church is the place for…

The Workplace

The workplace can be a place for spiritual growth Balancing the spiritual life with the workplace can be quite challenging. Our work day should begin with prayer, and should be planned with the help and guidance of one’s spiritual father, priest or confessor. If we have children, we should get up an hour early, so we have plenty of time…

Monks

The Original Men in Black The monastic vocation is a special calling from God that is all about relationships. It is a relationship that involves community (the monastic brotherhood), but primarily revolves around the monk’s relationship with God. Monks are not holy men who are living lives set apart from the world, but men who are seeking holiness by entering…

Sharing Orthodoxy

Sharing Orthodoxy in a Post-Christian Age If we wish to share the truth of the Orthodox Faith, and Christ Who is her head, we must give witness to the love of Christ by loving everyone. Without Christ, Orthodoxy is just another religion, devoid of the power to transform and deify the human heart. Without Christ the Church is nothing but…

Putting off the Old Self

In Christ we become new creatures and the old self is put aside As we struggle to make spiritual progress we do battle with the old self. We work against old habits that have kept us stuck and prevented the change we so desire in our quest for communion with God. Our sins and passions have become familiar to us,…

The Feast of Saint Herman of Alaska

A blessed Nativity to all my friends who are celebrating the Birth of Christ according to the Gregorian Calendar. For those of us who serve under the Julian Calendar, we are celebrating the Feast of Saint Herman of Alaska. With love in Christ, Abbot Tryphon ”By enduring the trials of nature, the storms’ cold and wind together with hunger, thou…

Our Journey to God

We must be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives The spiritual struggle that is required of us cannot depend on having a spiritual father. Most Orthodox Christians do not have one, and the average parish priest is not equipped, either with the time, nor the inclination, to take on the role of spiritual father to…

Preparing for Our Death

We must always think upon our own death Saint Sisoes, the great ascetic, standing before the tomb of Alexander the Great, beheld the skeletal remains of one who was once covered in magnificent garments.  Astonished, the saint mourned for the vicissitudes of time and the transience of glory, and tearfully proclaimed, “The mere sight of you, tomb, dismays me and…

Chaplains

Chaplains represent the presence of God in the midst of tragedy I am grateful to God for all the friendships I’ve formed with other chaplains during these past seventeen years of service as a police and fire chaplain, and am privileged to count among my friends some of the finest people I have ever known. These are individuals who have…

World as Sacrament

The whole world is a sacrament if only we have the eyes of faith to see it Some of my earliest memories are of the camping trips we would take, as a family, and pitching our tent by the idyllic lakes in Northern Idaho. We would cook over a fire, catch rainbow trout for breakfast (nothing like a freshly grilled…

Sacred Things

What should be our attitude toward icons and other sacred things? One of the attributes of God is holiness, and is reflected in His people, and in physical objects that have been blessed by the Church for the use of His people in their journey towards Him. Therefore, reverence for these sacred objects and images is the manifestation of the…