Admitting That We Hate

Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny (Matthew 5:25,26). It has been said by many others that the “adversary” in this saying from the…

The Almost Blind Leading the Almost Blind: Theosis For Those Who Do Not See Very Well

Often when I am answering questions from inquirers, I realize that I am saying (or writing) something that might be a blessing to others.  When that happens, I usually ask the person I am responding to if he or she would mind if I used some of what I have written to them as the basis of a blog post and podcast.  Yesterday I did my best to answer some questions from…

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…

The Unseen Martyrdom

  “This is the fiercest struggle, the struggle that resists a man unto blood, wherein free will is tested as to the singleness of his love for the virtues….It is here that we manifest our patience, my beloved brethren, our struggle and our zeal.  For this is the time of unseen martyrdom…” What is this struggle that St. Isaac speaks of and how can it be overcome? Is it some dread mysterious…

Advice On Distracting Thoughts In Prayer

I just received the newsletter from St. Barbara’s Monastery, in Santa Paula, CA.  I consider the Abbess there, Abbess Victoria, my first spiritual father.  Or as I sometimes say, “my first spiritual father was a mother.”  In this newsletter, Abbess Victoria gives excellent advice on what to do with worries and other distracting thoughts in prayer.  I can think of nothing more edifying than to share with you than what she has…

Success

I did a forty day memorial recently for a woman who died at a relatively young age (by today’s standards) who had been an immigrant to Canada from a war-torn Orthodox country where she had been raised in near abject poverty.  As young adults this young woman and her husband immigrated to Canada, worked very hard and raised two very successful children. Both have become doctors, one at a major research university.…

Avoiding and Getting Out of Pits

I When many of the Fathers of the Church warn us to keep active and aware, they are not speaking of physical actions and good works—although good works are always good to do.  By staying active, they are referring to the action of the nous or of the mind/heart: active in the inner man.  We stay active in our nous through constant prayer, often by learning to constantly recite a short prayer, most commonly,…