Why Do You Judge Your Brother?

Standing up against a critical spirit Fearing the loss of control, we construct a wall of defense around us, keeping authenticity at bay. Fearing rejection, we see ourselves as unlovable, and blame others. Knowing we are inauthentic, we flee from the truth by becoming critical of others. We lie to ourselves, and to others, hiding our insecurity and unworthiness, and…

Struggling for Holiness

Holiness comes only to those who struggle Not an hour should pass without taking time to examine our heart, for the hour of judgement can come at any time, and we must be ready to give account to God for our life. There is no spiritual improvement if we do not seek to please God with holiness of life. If…

Theologians

Theologians are those who have mastered the art of prayer Evagrius Ponticus wrote that “If you are a theologian, you will pray truly. And if you pray truly, you are a theologian.” (Treatise On Prayer, 61). There are only a few Orthodox saints who’ve been given the honor of being called, “theologians”. Saint John the Theologian, and Saint Symeon the…

Deceitfulness

We must strive to always be truthful In our daily encounters with our spouses, family, friends, and coworkers, we must always strive to be truthful. Deceitfulness must never be allowed to be a part of our life, for deceitfulness in relationships with others will always translate into being untruthful with God. Our relationships with others and our relationship with God…

The Battle

If we are to win the battle, we must focus only on our own sins When we take our eyes off our own sins we focus only on the sins of the other.  As their sins get our attention, we fail to struggle with the passions that keep us from the wholeness that God intended, and we move  ever closer…

Hollow Orthodoxy

Taking Orthodoxy beyond the self-congratulatory We must guard against noticing when another parishioner seems careless in the making of the sign of the cross, while we go about demonstrating for all around us, the proper way. Making sweeping signs of the cross that are done in such a way as to be almost a caricature, following up with profound bows,…

Procrastination

I’ll do it tomorrow We all have times when we procrastinate. There is a story of a young monk who confessed to his elder that he was always struggling with procrastination. His elder told him it was his lack of faith which made it impossible for him to see God everywhere, and in all things, and for this reason he…

Trials

God allows difficulties to come our way for purification When we hear the words, “all is sent down by you” this does not mean that God wills anything evil to happen but only that we always need to be open to God’s presence, grace and mercy, no matter what. God allows difficulties to come our way as a means of…

Dressing for Church

Proper attire in the House of God The Church is our home, a place where we should feel comfortable, and at ease. It is also God’s house and is a temple set aside for worship of the Holy Trinity. Although times have changed and we have become a very casual society, this attitude can not be allowed to influence how…

Pride

The enemy of faith is pride The absolute necessary element for salvation is faith. Faith saves us because faith brings us into communion with God, and the source of faith comes as the freely given grace that is a gift from our loving Lord. The enemy of faith is pride, for pride destroys faith. Pride makes us believe we do…

The Seal of Confession

Important for both Confessor and Penitent The Seal of Confession is a hard and fast rule throughout the history of the Orthodox Church. Since the priest, in Orthodox theology, is but a witness to the confession, since the confession is given to Christ Himself, confidentiality is an absolute must. The secrecy of this Mystery of Penance is vital, for one…

Happiness

Gratefulness makes us happy We all know that money can’t buy happiness, yet many are not aware that practicing simple gratitude does bring about happiness. Being grateful for the people we have in our lives, and for the things that we have, brings about a happiness that can not come about by endlessly trying to acquire things. Researchers testing gratefulness…