Category: Liturgy

  • The Bridegroom and Judgment

    Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching; and again, unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless.  Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep, lest you be given up to death and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom.  But rouse…

  • The Madness of Democracy – A Spiritual Disease

    Dostoevsky’s The Demons tells the story of a revolution within the context of a small village and a handful of personalities. The strange mix of philosophy and neurosis, crowd psychology and fashionable disdain for tradition all come together in the madness of a bloodbath. It is a 19th century Helter Skelter that presciently predicted the century to come. Our own…

  • To See God

    Across the Old Testament, there are various encounters with God of an unusual sort. Moses speaks with God-as-fire in the burning bush. Jacob wrestles with God as an angel/man throughout the night. Abraham entertains God by the oaks of Mamre. Isaiah sees God, “high and lifted up,” and heard the angels singing the thrice-holy hymn.…

  • Candlewax and Hedgehogs

    Candlewax and Hedgehogs—a peculiar way to entitle an article, I’ll admit. But both have their associations with the second day of February. The first is more important so we’ll begin there. The second day of February is one of the 12 great feasts, and is also celebrated by Christians in the West. The feast is…

  • The Sweet Smoke of Prayer

    Let my prayer arise in Your sight as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.  Psalm 141 My parish has a fairly steady stream of visitors from outside the Orthodox experience. Among their first questions are ones concerning the use of incense. There is virtually no Orthodox service that does not…

  • What Happens When We Play (Pray)

    In my previous article I compared children’s use of play to the place of ritual words and actions in the life of the Church. I absolutely did not mean to imply that one thing is like the other. I mean to say clearly that they are very much the same thing. And I say this…

  • Playing with God

    There are things that children understand instinctively. And the things that children know and understand are worth consideration. They have much to teach us. Among the most natural things children do is play. Depending on how you define play, it is among the first activities in which we engage. It comes to dominate the lives…

  • To Serve God

    In a therapeutic culture in which our goal is to be our very best, it is almost impossible to serve God. The reason is quite simple: when my goal is to be my very best, the goal is my God. “Serving God” thus becomes a euphemism for a Christianity that we take to be therapeutic…

  • Finding Your Place

    Among the many things we desire, an important one is a “place to belong.” With the fragmentation of the extended family, and so much else, a growing number of people are becoming accutely aware that they do not “belong” anywhere. Our highly franchised suburban world often has the strange effect that places separated by miles…

  • Broken Communion

    The holidays can make it all too poignant: the terrible fact of broken communion. Often, our festivities bring us into close contact with some (few or many) whom we most commonly avoid. An uncle, an aunt, a brother, a parent whose relationship is marked with pain, misunderstanding, shame, and various other torments. Statistics say that…


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  1. Greetings, Father Stephen, Thank you so much for this reflection and all of the tremendous amount of work you have…


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