Love and Self Righteousness

Dear Holy Nativity Faithful, Last summer (2021) there were some pretty strict rules in place in the province of British Columbia, Canada, regarding masking and the number of people that could be in a church at the same time.  These rules loosened in the fall, but now the province is about to return to stricter rules, but now with a new twist. The new twist is this: if everyone in the church…

On Discernment

In the letters of Sts. Barsanuphius and John, there is an interesting exchange between a young zealous monk and St. John (letters 503 – 570).  In the first letter we find out that the young monk is upset with his spiritual father, who was also his cellmate,  because he eats and sleeps too much.  Apparently the spiritual father was eating three times a day, instead of once a day as was usual…

Assurance About The Vaccine?

I received the following email from someone, and I thought maybe others have the same questions.  So I thought I would share some of this email with you and my response to it.  This person wrote: (My edits are in square brackets.) I have been very confused and worried because of the controversy regarding the covid vaccine […. the bishop] has said we can choose to be vaccinated [or not], yet there…

The Problem with Plumbing

Does a spring pour forth from the same opening freshwater and brackish water? (James 3:11) Can you imagine what it would be like to live your whole life in a world where water had to be drawn by hand fifty to a hundred metres from your home and carried into your house?  All the water you use in a day, for cooking, drinking, bathing and cleaning, all of it had to be…

Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, the archdiocese suggests that we chant “Glory to God for All Things: An Akathist of Thanksgiving.” Perhaps after Matins on Monday, October 11 (Canada’s Thanksgiving Day), I will chant this akathist in the Church with whoever is there.  However, I am providing you the link to its location on the archdiocese website so that you can chant it (or read it, or part of it) with your family at home.…

Love In A World Of Uncertainty

St. Isaac the Syrian said that only the tomb is the “land of certainty”.  Writing to hermits living in the desert, St. Isaac wanted to free them from the delusion that they could be certain about anything in this world.  I wonder if St. Isaac was reflecting on the words of St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 8: “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.  If anyone thinks he knows anything, he knows…

Aceticism: Facing The Sun

A confusing aspect of our Christian growth is that we can, sometimes even at the same moment, have a very peaceful, godly thought full of love for God and neighbour, and then have a terribly sinful and embarrassingly nasty thought.  How can this be?  If God is alive in us, how can such terrible thoughts keep appearing in our minds?  How do we combat this? One unhelpful way to combat this experience…

Peace In Chaos

One of the things that Fr. Stephen De Young reminds us of in his book, The Religion of the Apostles is that God’s fundamental triumph is over chaos, death being an aspect of chaos.  The Church believes and teaches that God created the world out of nothing, Genesis 1:1.  However, beginning with Genesis 1:2 and following, throughout the whole bible, the emphasis is on God’s triumph over chaos.  And this chaos is…

Hiding In The Midst Of Strife

I write a weekly letter for our community and this week I thought I would share this letter with a broader audience. Dear Holy Nativity Faithful, Christ is in our midst! We celebrated the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos this week.  Mary the Mother of God was born into a world full of oppression and confusion, yet she was able to become the Holy dwelling place of God.   We…

Christian Outrage?

After my last blog post, John commented that the burning of Churches in Canada calls for “Christian outrage” now, while love and forgiveness can wait until after the crimes have been investigated and resolved.  I can honestly say that I know how John feels.  In fact, I will go so far as to say that until one feels outrage, one can’t honestly love and forgive.   Outrage is a natural human response…