Category: Union with God

  • Salvation, Ontology, Existential, and Other Large Words

    In recent posts I have contrasted morality with ontological, as well as existential, etc. I’ve had comments here and elsewhere in which people stumbled over the terms. The distinction offered is not a private matter. Orthodox theologians for better than a century have struggled to make these points as being utterly necessary to the life…

  • The Day the Earth Stood Still

    Orthodox Christians (New Calendar) are currently observing a two-week fast in preparation for the Feast of the Dormition, a day which marks the death (“falling asleep”) of the Mother of God. For those for whom such feasts are foreign, it is easy to misunderstand what the Orthodox are about – and to assume that this…

  • Miracles and Creation

    There is an aspect of the modern use of the word “miracle,” that is more than a little problematic. While it is true that a number of Orthodox hymns in referring to certain dramatic events use the phrase, “the order of nature is overthrown,” this is far from being a complete theological account of what…

  • The Communion of Prayer

    Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God (Luke 6:12). Have you ever wondered what Jesus did when He prayed all night? Have you ever tried to pray all night? If your conception of prayer is a monologue…

  • Salvation, Prayer and Communion with God

    Few things are as fundamental to the New Testament as the reality of communion (koinonia). It means a commonality, a sharing and participation in the same thing. It is this commonality or sharing that lies at the very heart of our salvation. This communion is described in Christ’s “high priestly prayer”: I do not pray…

  • A Sacrifice of Emptiness – the Fullness of Life in Christ

    Conversation this past week on this site has centered around mercy and justice and the understanding of the sacrifice of Christ. I began with an article on a quote by St. Isaac of Syria, who famously questions the human concept of justice and its relation to God. The Christian treatment of the atonement – what…

  • We Have Seen

    St. John, in the prologue of his gospel, says the following: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father (John 1:14). In his first Epistle he says the following: That which was from the beginning,…

  • Babylon and the Trees of Pentecost

    From the Feast of Pentecost The arrogance of building the tower in the days of old led to the confusion of tongues. Now the glory of the knowledge of God brings them wisdom. There God condemned the impious for their transgression. Here Christ has enlightened the fishermen by the Spirit. There disharmony was brought about…

  • Heaven On Their Minds

    Years ago, I recall hearing someone complain about zealous Christians, “They are so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good.” The truth of the statement depends entirely on the understanding of heaven and earth. It is possible to pursue a version of “heaven” such that the spiritual life is undermined. It is also…

  • Self-Emptying

    I offer a brief apology to Buddhists – forgive me if I have mischaracterized your religious practices. We are enjoined by St. Paul to have within us the mind that was in Christ – specifically in His self-emptying love in going to the Cross (Philippians 2:5-11). It is the very heart of humility. Of course there…


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Latest Comments

  1. Fr Stephen, About editing older versions of your posts. Yesterday, I came across a most excellent post from 23rd May…

  2. About those “Christian Romance” novels you mentioned: there is a certain irony that properly-written romances with strong Christian undercurrents aren’t…

  3. The consumer-driven religious life has resulted in Churches that major in personal fulfillment with little attention to doctrine and sacrament.…

  4. Fr. Stephen, At times like this I find it helpful to remind myself that God promised the fullness of life,…


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