“Blessing”: Does It Actually Mean Anything?

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost / Sixth Sunday of Matthew, July 8, 2018 Romans 12:6-14; Matthew 9:1-8 In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Today I would like to speak about blessing and cursing. Our epistle reading from Romans 12 ends with this verse: “Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse”…

Do Orthodox Christians Have Jesus in Their Hearts?

Sunday of the Canaanite Woman, February 14, 2016 II Corinthians 6:16b-18, 7:1; Matthew 15:21-28 Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. “You are a temple of the living God, even as God has said: ‘I will dwell in them, and walk among them; and I will be their…

Do We Preach “Orthodoxy”… or Christ?

In her review of Kyriakos Markides’s Gifts of the Desert, Frederica Mathewes-Green says she had a hard time finding Jesus in the book: Markides’ previous book, “The Mountain of Silence” (2001), was read eagerly by those interested in Orthodox spirituality, chiefly because he had faithfully transcribed taped conversations with a monk trained on Mt. Athos, Father Maximos. Though Markides himself seemed not wholly on…

Can the Virgin Mary “save” us?

Today I read the comments on this YouTube video. I know, I know—YouTube comments generally are the lowest form of discourse on the Internet, and I wasn’t terribly surprised to see that someone thought that the musical line “Most Holy Mother of God, save us” was “blasphemous.” (He preferred to hear his blasphemy in Latin, apparently.) I must admit to being a bit baffled,…

Jennifer Aniston Goes Makeup-Free. Liberation Ensues.

I read this morning that actress Jennifer Aniston (whose family name is Anastasakis and whose godfather is Telly Savalas) had declared that going makeup-free in her new film Cake was “dreamy and empowering and liberating.” I don’t normally bother with celebrity news, but of course when using social media, it’s hard to escape it. This caught my eye, though, because it struck me as…

A Tolkien-Shaped Mind

I do not know how aware most folks are of what books shape their basic imaginations—the formation that to a large part determines what brings them delight, what strikes them as worth attention, what gives them a vocabulary for the world. For me, there are really two sources that give me that shape—the Bible and the fiction works of J. R. R. Tolkien. This…

Freedom, the Path to God, and the Orthodoxy of Orthodoxy

I was recently passed on a question by my grandmother from some of my non-Orthodox relations who live out in the mountains of Western North Carolina. The question was whether, in my preaching, there is room for a “personal Gospel.” I must be honest that I don’t know exactly what that phrase means, but I cannot imagine they are asking whether I am “allowed”…