Category: Union with God

  • Providence, Freedom, and Love

    I was married at age 22 (my bride was 21). Both of us were believers and sought to ground our lives in the life of God. I remember that my wife was quite clear that “God had brought us together.” For a variety of reasons at the time, I chafed at the expression. I had…

  • What We Really Want

    One of the great misunderstandings of our modern world centers around the place of the “will” in our lives. Modern democracies are built around slogans of freedom and fancy themselves to be the vanguard of advancing that cause. It has been a powerful force. Coupled with various aspects of free-market capitalism and the technological revolutions…

  • Crushed into Recognition

    This is a reprint from 2019. I was looking for something where I quoted George Herbert’s “The Agony,” my favorite poem. So, here’s one of several such posts. This morning I was crushed beneath a flood of memories – not the memories of good things, but of sad and shameful things, petty things, wasted lives…

  • Baptism and the Final Destruction of Demons

    “Final” is not a word you often hear in Christian teaching. Most Christians leave the final things until, well, the End. But this is not the language of the fathers nor of the Church. A good illustration can be found in the Orthodox service of Holy Baptism. During the blessing of the waters the priest…

  • The Song of a Good Universe

    “My whole life is a mess…” I am a priest and I have heard statements to this effect any number of times in my ministry. It usually comes not after a single misfortune, but after multiple problems. It also reflects that the problems have moved beyond their external boundaries and have now become the framework…

  • The Sweetest Name of Jesus

    Some years back, I was given instruction on saying the “Jesus Prayer” by Archimandrite Zacharias of Essex. We spoke about the form of the prayer, and the pace it should be prayed. But it was his final instruction that touched my heart: “Pay particular attention to the Name when you pray it.” It is, after…

  • The Way of Shame and the Way of Thanksgiving

    The language of “self-emptying” can have a sort of Buddhist ring. It sounds as we are referencing a move towards becoming a vessel without content – the non-self. Given our multicultural world, such a reference is understandable. It is, however, unfortunate and requires that we visit the true nature of Christian self-emptying. Our self-emptying is…

  • The End of the Sacraments – The End of All Things

    The holidays bring a bit of my family together – for fun and conversation and the joy of a feast. The conversations, however, can serve as a reminder of what I don’t know. Two of my adult children are deep into the world of computers: one is a software engineer, the other a web-designer (among…

  • The Christmas When Everybody Was There

    The soldiers were scattered across Europe with the loneliness of war. The world was caught up in a total struggle. Women had gone to the factories; children were collecting scrap metal. The “war effort” was universal. In many places, food was rationed. The madhouse of consumption belonged only to the war; everything else could wait.…

  • 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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Latest Comments

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

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

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


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