Category: Reflections

  • 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 Do We Need? Love Amidst the Clutter

    I’ve been slowly making my way through the book, An Empire of Things. It’s subtitle, How We Became a World of Consumers from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-first Centuries, describes the fascinating journey outlined in the text. It tracks the gradual evolution of the modern world as seen in our acquisition of stuff. The average…

  • Mary as the “Secret Joy” of the Church

    Fr. Alexander Schmemann wrote: …When investigating the history of Mariological piety, one discovers that it is rooted not in any special revelation but, primarily, in the experience of liturgical worship. In other terms, it is not a theological reflection on Mary that gave birth to her veneration: it is the liturgy as the experience of…

  • Love Has No History

    St. Nikolai Velimirovich’s Prayers by the Lake are a theological feast. St. Gregory the Theologian wrote wonderful theological poems – it is a form deeply suited to theology but too little used. I first heard this poem on a broadcast from Ancient Faith Radio – it came at a very timely moment and allowed me…

  • To Guard One’s Heart

    The heart is a precious thing. The term can sometimes be confusing for people reading Orthodox writings. On occasion it almost sounds synonomous with the soul. At other times, it is identified with the nous, that organ of perception by which we know God. The Scriptures use the term (especially in the Old Testament) but…

  • Only Love Knows Anything

      Only Love Knows Anything There’s a part of us that is wired to be careful. It senses danger and hunkers down. It looks for danger. It can easily become the dominant mode of our life. Anxiety and depression, are among the most common noises of this internal warning system. When it comes to dominate,…

  • The Mother of Us All

      A young friend recently lost his mother. It has been an occasion of reflection for me, thinking about the emptiness created by such a loss. Despite all of the confusion and conundrums in our contemporary culture surrounding gender issues – they only serve to underscore the fact that male-and-female, on the most fundamental level…

  • Frodo’s Last Lesson

    Frodo failed. If you’re a reader of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (or just a movie-goer), then you know that the central, heroic character, the young Mr. Frodo, ring-bearer, fails to throw the Ring into the fires of Mt. Doom at the end of his arduous journey. Everything he loved, his home, his friends, every…

  • The Path of the Good, the True, the Real

    Imagine a character in a story who is wraith-like, barely existing. His every move threatens to draw him deeper into non-existence. As it stands, others around him are only able to see him moments at a time. He often disappears for whole days at a time as he lapses into such ghostly non-being that he…

  • Traveling the Old Roads

    In C.S. Lewis’ book, That Hideous Strength, the character of Merlin (the ancient “wizard” of Romano-Celtic Britain) is awakened from a timeless slumber in an underground chamber. There is a group of evil men who are searching for him, thinking they can use his magic for their own schemes. As it turns out, Merlin is…


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