“Just” Waiting on God

I haven’t been inspired to write anything lately, and I find that if I just force myself to write something, the product is much more filled with my passions that usual.  However, I do occasionally write to parishioners, or former parishioners and others who ask me questions about the spiritual life.  Seldom does the correspondence go beyond the first one or two exchanges.  I can be rather brusque.   But one young…

The Wrath of God According to St. John Chrysostom

One of the earliest writings of St. John Chrysostom are two letters written to a friend, Theodore, who had fallen away from Christ.  In these letters, St. John encourages Theodore to return to Christ and repent of his sinful folly—Theodore had run away from the monastic life to return to academia and a life of wealth, privilege and, most of all, fornication.  Theodore had become captivated by the beauty of a young…

Beginning To Sojourn

After my last blog post on the Great Reset, Anne Marie asked an important question, and instead of responding only to her, I will share my response with everyone.  This is what Anne Marie wrote, she begins by quoting the end of my blog post: “‘If we are comfortable in the world then an economic reset or political upheaval will evoke fear and anger… But if this world is not our home.…

What Should We Do About The Great Reset?

What should we do about the Great Reset?  About once a week I get a message from one or another of my parishioners with a link to a video that I “have to see.”  Many of these videos are of a monk on Mt. Athos (or a monk from some other place reputed for holiness), or it is a video by a conservative religious or political commentator decrying the loss of religious…

Fleeing To The Desert, A Little Bit

 Is it possible to flee to the desert a little bit?  No and yes.  No, you can’t flee a little bit, for fleeing a little bit is not fleeing at all.  But yes, you can flee a little bit, if that little bit is complete.  Here’s what I mean.  We are all called to flee the world, in the sense of fleeing the sinful ways of the world.  But we are not…

How (not) To Change A Corrupt World

The Prophet Samuel was one of the holiest prophets of the Old Testament.  But what I find most interesting is that Samuel grew to be a holy prophet while living in the midst of a very corrupt religious and political context.  Samuel’s holy mother, Hannah, was barren.  But God heard her prayer after many years and much humiliation.  God gave her a son,  and at the age of three, Hannah gave her…

Overcoming Temptations Through Low Expectations

St. Isaac the Syrian in his seventy-second homily tells us, “As soon as Grace sees that a little self-esteem has begun to steal into a man’s thoughts, and that he has begun to think great things of himself, She [Grace] immediately permits the temptations opposing him to gain in strength and prevail, until he learns his weakness…and seeks refuge with God in humility.” Our problem that we need to be saved from…

Words On Prayer To A Newly Baptized Adult

A newly Baptized Adult lost her priest shortly after she came into the Church.  Currently she has no regular priest, so she reached out for some advice on prayer.  Here are the words that I shared with her. Prayer is our ongoing encounter with God, so it includes everything (prayers, services, akathists, stillness, reading, tears).  Certainly we pray with our own words, at times, but such prayer is limited by our own…

The Two Sts. Pelagia of Antioch

On October 8, we commemorate two Sts. Pelagia of Antioch.  The first is a virgin martyr, and the second is a repentant harlot, sometimes referred to as St. Pelagia the former courtesan of Antioch. I first heard the story of St. Pelagia the virgin martyr from my bishop, shortly after he had arrived in California from Damascus.  I had just been ordained a deacon and was helping to run a large youth…

Fighting Sin

“You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:4). Those of you who have been reading my blogs for a long time know that I often liken the spiritual life to gardening.  We have to take care of our soul, the garden of our thoughts.  When we care for our soul, our actions are more likely to be grace-filled and less likely to be dominated by the passions.  Or…