Suicide and Hell

A friend of mine who is an Orthodox inquirer recently asked me some questions about hell.  My friend has been a paramedic for many years and has tried to save (sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing) the lives of many suicides.  Knowing that the mental state and the life circumstances of these suicides vary greatly, my friend was concerned that the Church seems to condemn all suicides to hell.  I explained to my friend that…

Cold Rain, Wind And Fog. Repeat.

Maybe it’s just the weather: Cold rain, wind and fog.  Repeat. I haven’t blogged for a few weeks because I haven’t had anything to say that I feel confident enough about to write an essay on it.  Or, when I have felt confident, it has been a combative, argumentative spirit that leaves me tied in knots inside—a hellish eddy in the river of my experience that I would not wish to inflict on…

Meeting God in Unanswered Prayer

Someone, apparently a young adult, wrote me recently and asked about prayer.  This person was having a hard time discerning the difference between worry and prayer.  He or she was wondering if prayer, although salutary to ourselves, really does have an effect on those we pray for.  Particularly, this person was worried about and/or praying for his or her parents who seemed to be getting further and further apart.  Did God hear his/her…

Your Kingdom Come: Transfiguration

There is one more thing that I’d like to say about “Your Kingdom come” before we move on.  It seems rather obvious, though in all my years of bible reading, I never saw it until a couple of years ago.  I was reading a collection of ancient Greek homilies on the Transfiguration of Christ (in translation, of course—my Greek isn’t that good).  What several of these homilies pointed out almost shocked me…

Sinful Dreams and Spiritual Warfare

A catechumen once asked what he could do to get victory over bad dreams: especially lustful dreams that roused his passions and often led him into temptation. I told him that this is one of those aspects of life in a fallen body that must be resisted and endured. One of the ways satan seeks to weary and wear out the saints (or those who strive to be holy) is through the…

Your Kingdom Come: The Sorting Parables

What is the Kingdom that we are to pray come?  In one sense, you can say that the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew’s gospel, is the government of God: the fact that God is ruler over all, and the Kingdom of heaven is how God rules all.  When we think of the Kingdom of Heaven as the government of God, then one wonders, “What’s to come?  Doesn’t God…

Your Kingdom Come: Look To The Monastics

I had a conversation recently in which I couldn’t explain very clearly a comment I made several times, and as a result there was a certain amount of misunderstanding.  I realize that perhaps many people have this same misunderstanding, and since it has to do with the Kingdom of Heaven, and how it “comes” or how we actually enter and live the life of the Kingdom of Heaven while we are still…

Humility And The Unseen Martyrdom

Homily thirty-seven is one of St. Isaac’s longer homilies and consists of a series of questions and answers.  The questions are posed by an apparently fictional disciple and fellow struggler in the hermitic life.  The questions are such as, “What is spiritual prayer, and how is a man who struggles deemed worthy of [attaining] it?” Or, “How is it that many who, perhaps, practise these works do not sense tranquillity from passions…

Let Your Name Be Holy: The “B” Word

Last time we talked a little about the grammar of the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.  We discussed how they were actually commands of a sort: third person imperatives.  We talked about the phrase, “Let your name be holy (as in heaven, so also on earth)” and how some church fathers tied this phrase to the verse in Isaiah and Romans that places the blame for God’s name being blasphemed…

True Love and The Answer To Our Prayers (repost)

I very seldom repost, but I got this from the folks at St. Isaac the Syrian Skete today (skete.com), and I wanted to share it. + + “True Love and the Answer to Our Prayers” + + True love is not just getting what we want. Our vision of what is good is clouded by our desires, wants, cares, and our self-serving, even when we try to be unselfish. It is clouded…