Glory to God for All Things

The Essence of the Passions – Staniloae

Dimitru Staniloae, the great Romanian Theologian, offers an excellent introduction to the passions as understood in Orthodox Christianity. The following excerpt is from his Orthodox Spirituality, which I highly recommend. The passions represent the lowest level to which human nature can fall. Both their Greek name, pathi, as well as the Latin, passiones, show that man is brought by them … Continue reading

Sanctify Those Who Love The Beauty of Thy House

  After communion in an Orthodox Liturgy, the priest prays the “Prayer Behind the Ambo,” a prayer offered from the midst of the Church (more or less). It gives thanks for all that God has done for us, and asks blessings on His people. I particularly love the phrase that asks, “Sanctify those that love the beauty of Thy house. … Continue reading

The Passion to Consume – Revisited

This article first appeared last March. It seems to bear reprinting at least for a fuller discussion of the passions. I have mentioned the role that the passions play in our consumer culture. I would like to write in greater depth about that phenomenon. It permeates our culture – and yet, strangely, I do not find it to be a … Continue reading

Hypocrisy of the Stomach

I have no intention in this posting to preach to those who struggle with gluttony, or, more likely, just feel guilty most of the time when they think of their weight, etc. Orthodoxy is not a weight-loss program. However, this passage offers wonderful insight into the struggle with the passions. It is quoted from Fr. John Behr’s The Mystery of … Continue reading

Apocalypse Now

I am a “child” of the 60’s, which means I was born in the early 50’s and spent my youth and late adolescence in the thrall of all that was swirling around in our culture in the late 60’s and early 70’s. My experience is probably similar to that of many of my generation – the parents of many of … Continue reading

In The Last Days

Abba Ischyrion was asked, “What have we done in our life?” He replied, “We have done the half of what our Fathers did.” When asked, “What will the ones who come after us do?” He replied, “They will do the half of what we are doing now.” And to the question, “What will the Christians of the last times do?” … Continue reading

The Voice of the Lord

Psalm XXIX (XXVIII) Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, Give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the LORD is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The LORD is over many waters. The voice of the … Continue reading

Is Suffering Necessary?

While reading spiritual writings it is possible, on occasion, to draw the conclusion that suffering is necessary. Taken to an extreme it is easy to believe that Christians teach that God demands that we suffer and that we see it as a good thing. These are wrong conclusions based on a wrong presumption. It is more correct to say that suffering … Continue reading

The Communion of a Book

I did not list the Scriptures on my list of “books of influence,” since it would seem somehow wrong to place it as a book among other books. Of course, it is a book, but it is unlike anything else we read. Over the body of the dead we chant the psalms so long as the body lies in the … Continue reading

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