The Wilderness Journal and the Face of God

So, imagine me packing furiously for this beautiful opportunity to speak at the (first ever) Ancient Faith Women’s Retreat when what does my friend, Melinda Johnson, who I like an awful lot, send me?   Boom.  I mean I know I wrote it. It took three years and a lot of puzzling over the first volume of the Philokalia, but to see even a photo of a stack of the book is…

Holy Wednesday: Oil and Air

O Lord who, in thy mercies and bounties, healest the disorders of our souls and bodies, do Thou, the same Master, sanctify this Oil, that it may be effectual for those who shall be anointed therewith, unto healing, and unto relief from every passion, every malady of the flesh and of the spirit, and every ill; and that therein may be glorified Thy most Holy Name, of the Father, and of the…

Gift of God

Three years ago this week I was welcomed into the Orthodox faith. It’s a sort of a happy accident that the date also coincided with my “name day” on September 11th. I’d been fidgeting with the schedule for months, trying to get a date on the books. I was tired of waiting. I hate waiting. I had my nose pressed up against the glass of Orthodoxy for so long, looking in like…

Day 20: Trees

    The best kind of trees I can imagine right now are the ones pictured above in the chapel of my patron saint, Theodora of Vasta. The trees grew up, in, through and around the walls of the chapel. It is said that this is spot upon which Theodora gave her life fighting for her village. In some stories she is disguised as a man. The stories shift of course over…

Day 19: Cloak

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. Matthew 9:20 The word, “cloak” always brings me back to this story in the bible, this story about the bleeding woman who touches the cloak of Jesus. She believes in the healing. She wants it. She needs it. When I was on the road to chrismation there were…

Season’s change

It’s snowing in Chicago today. Okay, so “snowing” is a little bit of an exaggeration, considering it’s Chicago and all but still, flurries and 30 degrees on October 31st? Come on, Winter. Wait yer turn. I’m not complaining, much, at least not yet. I anticipate I’ll get to the complaints pretty soon. It’s part of the cycle of things. For now, there’s work to be done- sweep up the dried and dropped leaves…

Remembering

This week I celebrate two years as a full on Orthodox Christian. I also celebrate the feast of my namesake, Theodora of Vasta on September 11th.  I had intended to spend some time in a rambling tumble of words about remembering and about being named and then I got word that an old friend of mine was killed in a car crash. And everything stopped. All my worries from this past week,…