A Rebel With A Cause

When Israel rebelled against Judah, Jeroboam against Rehoboam, it is with Jeroboam that I have the most sympathy, although it is to Jerusalem that “those who had set their hearts to seek the Lord” continued to come to offer their sacrifices. Jeroboam had only asked for what was reasonable. After the great achievements of Solomon in the areas of architecture and the building up of cities, achievements accomplished by the almost slave…

Nakedness and Masks in Marriage

I have noticed that when my heart is upset (anger, confusion, frustration, depression, etc.) and I speak unguardedly, I don’t say what I mean. Now here when I say “heart,” I don’t mean the heart of man as the Fathers speak of the heart; rather, I mean what most English speakers mean when they say heart: their feelings, their inner emotional selves. Particularly in the relationships I care most about, I must…

Getting to Know Our Mother

“Thy womb has offered to Christ, the Lamb of God, our substance to be His fleece; therefore in our hymns we all honour thee on this day of thy nativity from Anna.” (Canticle one, second canon, 4th verse, from Matins for the Birth of the Mother of God, by St. Andrew of Crete) Many converts to Holy Orthodoxy have trouble making a personal connection with Mary, the Theotokos. They understand and accept…

Spiritual Disciplines

“God will not judge us about psalmody, nor for the neglect of prayer, but because by abandoning them we have opened our door to the demons.” — St. Isaac the Syrian The Church has taught us to discipline ourselves through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These three are really categories of disciplines that the Church recommends to us as means to “acquire the Holy Spirit”; that is, to be continually full of the…

Spiritual Interpretations

In the epistle for this Sunday, (I Cor. 9:2-12), St. Paul asks the rhetorical question: “Who works as a soldier at his own expense?” That is, he asserts the obligation of a community to financially support those who “sow spiritual good” among them, an obligation that St. Paul had not pressed upon them, “rather than put an obstacle in the way of the Gospel of Christ.” On the one hand the Corinthians…

Making Solomon King, Twice

In 1 Chronicles 29:22b-24, we read: “And they made Solomon the son of David King a second time…and all Israel listened to him. All the leaders and the mighty men as well as all the sons of King David his father, were subject to him.” A second time? Why had I never seen that before? The note in the OSB says that the two enthronements prefigure the two comings of Christ. What…

50 Years And Not Much Like a Saint

Today is my birthday—big 5-0. Am I an adult yet? Bonnie and I were talking this morning over oatmeal and blueberries (the blueberries this year are awesome) about the bishops and the scandals and the various responses. She said, “I wonder what St. Nektarios would do?” That was a word to my heart. St. Nektarios didn’t fight, he bore and prayed—and became holy. May God grant us wisdom to speak our conscience,…

Me and Elder Prophyrios

No, I have never physically met Elder Prophyrios. My relationship with the Elder began the first time his book, Wounded by Love came into my house. Everyone, it seemed, was talking about it, so I got a copy. I jumped right in when my copy arrived and was quickly disturbed by what I read. Obedience is the theme of the Elder’s monastic training, and I found that disturbing. It was disturbing not…

Last Day in Palm Springs: Heavenly Visions

It’s 7:00 pm and 108⁰ outside. The conference is over. I’m tired. The hierarchical Divine Liturgy this morning was an amazing experience for me. I have seen and concelebrated many hierarchical Divine Liturgies. This one, for me, was different. Perhaps it was different because I was standing at the side, instead of in front, and I saw more of the movement of subdeacons, altar boys and non-celebrating priests. It seemed for a…

Discontent in Palm Springs

So the discontent emerged. Unfortunately, it was not handled as well as it could have been. To start with, however, I must commend the Metropolitan for recommending an audit before one was recommended from the floor. Personally, I am happy with this step. Probably, the audit will not be as thorough as some want, but it is a big first step. Once the Archdiocese gets used to having external audits, and now…