Glory to God for All Things

When Insults No Longer Annoy

Amma Dionysia gave alms to a beggar, but less than he wanted. The beggar began to speak harshly to her, and Dionysia took offense, wanting to strike back. Abba zosimas corrected her, saying, “You are striking against yourself. You are chasing every virtue from your soul. Can you endure what Christ endured? My lady, I know that you have given … Continue reading

Eternity and the Rationalists

I attended a semi-religious college – one affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention at the time. Though it had a reputation for being “liberal,” beneath it’s surface it still had something of the simple faith that had marked the settlers of upper South Carolina. I recall a debate about the nature of the resurrection body of Christ in one of … Continue reading

True Knowledge of God

The Elder Sophrony made a strong distinction between the knowledge we gain by rational speculation and the knowledge of God that comes as a gift of grace. He used the term “dogmatic consciousness” to express the knowledge of God as found in the lives of the saints and great ascetics. It is not a contradiction of the dogma of the … Continue reading

Prayers By the Lake – I

Saint Nicholai Velimirovich, of whom I have written before, is the author of the wonderful, Prayers By the Lake, which he composed on the shores of Lake Ochrid. They are a treasure of modern Orthodox verse. His first poem in the cycle reflects a sense of the creation as God’s own, rather than an inert arena for secular life. I … Continue reading

Sacraments: The World as Mystery

My recent post on Pentecost and Evangelism occasioned several thoughtful responses. One of the responses seemed to me particularly worth further reflection. I start with an excerpt: Truly it is God we need and want, nothing less. I experienced in my heart, but didn’t realize in my head until I began to study Orthodoxy, that in my evangelical world we affirmed … Continue reading

Pentecost and Evangelism

We are told that on the Day of Pentecost, about 3,000 souls were added to the Church (Acts 2:41). This simple fact has for many linked the Day of Pentecost and the Gift of the Spirit to the Church to the process of evangelism. For many Christians in our culture, for whom evangelism has come to be the defining action … Continue reading

Blessings on the Feast!

          When He came down and confused the tongues, The Most High divided the nations; but when He distributed the tongues of fire, He called all people to unity. Therefore, with one voice we glorify the most-Holy Spirit. Kontakion of Pentecost Please forgive my absence from the blog for the last few days. I have been … Continue reading

The Emptiness of Christ

St. Paul speaks of Christ “emptying” Himself in His voluntary sacrifice for us all (Philippians 2:5-11). It is the only place in the New Testament that speaks of this particular action of Christ – at least as an “emptying” (kenosis) but the concept has always played a large role in the Church’s understanding of Christ’s death on the Cross. It … Continue reading

“The Systematic Organization of Hatreds”

I normally do not comment on politics and do not plan to have discussions during this political season. However, I ran across a quote that makes a great deal of sense and certainly has bearing on the spiritual life. It is from Henry Adams’ novel Democracy: Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of … Continue reading

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