Joy And Fear Together: St. Isaac Helps Us Discern Our Trials

Continuing in homily 42, St. Isaac gives us another warning.  When you find unchanging peace, that is, when everything is going smoothly for you most of the time, then “beware: you are very far from the divine paths trodden by the weary feet of the saints.  For as long as you are journeying in the way to the city of the Kingdom and are drawing nigh to the city of God, this…

Swimming Above The Hands Of Our Teacher

Recently I have encountered several people who are in distress because they don’t feel that they are doing some aspect of their spiritual life correctly. They experience stress, depression, fear, even trembling and extreme anxiety because, for example, they fear they aren’t fasting correctly, or are not believing completely in the resurrection (or incarnation or the authority of the Church), or are not confessing well, or are not attentive enough in divine…

Confession In The Orthodox Church

Confession takes various forms depending on the circumstances and your relationship with your confessor.  At a minimum, it involves standing before the icon of Christ, saying a short prayer, confessing your sin to God in the priest’s presence, getting whatever counsel the priest may have, and kneeling to receive absolution. However, sometimes confession takes the form of sitting and talking–or at least begins that way, especially if your confessor is more of…

Passions as disease

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the passions and how they afflict us like a disease. Even when you fight against the passions, I find that I am often tricked by them. Really the only hope I have found is to call out to God (using the Jesus Prayer) when I am strongly feeling a passion. However, if someone doesn’t strongly fight the passions, then they take over his life. Some…