Reparative Therapy in the Life of the Church

Reparative Therapy in the Life of the Church

Directly following the astonishing revelation in the Sermon on the Mount (as recorded in St. Matthew’s Gospel, Matt. 5–7), in which Our Lord most fully taught about His Kingdom and its characteristics, He immediately begins to show us the Kingdom he spoke of in action. And what is the first thing he sets about doing? Healing. The next two chapters record […]

Desire, Stillness, and the First Murder

Desire, Stillness, and the First Murder

When all the pain and misery of this world is considered, there is often one attitude at the heart of it all: a lack of contentment. Generations of Americans were raised on the “American Dream.” Many of us were taught from childhood that we could be and do anything we wanted. We were told to expect and even demand as much, stopping at nothing to […]

Remember Us In Your Kingdom

Remember Us In Your Kingdom

To be “remembered” by God is vitally important in Orthodox spiritual life. But what does this mean? Before receiving the holy Eucharist at a Divine Liturgy, we confess: I will not reveal Your mystery to Your adversaries. Nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas. But as the thief I confess to You: “Lord, remember me in Your […]

A Time to Weep and a Time to Laugh

A Time to Weep and a Time to Laugh

Reading the Sayings of the Desert Fathers, I came across the following: A hermit saw someone laughing and said to him, ‘We have to render an account of our whole life before heaven and earth, and you can laugh?’ While this probably strikes most as curmudgeonly, for us Christians, a reference to the Last Judgment ought to inspire sober […]

‘What Would Jesus Do?’ and the Feast of All Saints

'What Would Jesus Do?' and the Feast of All Saints

This past Sunday was the feast of All Saints in the Holy Orthodox Church. On that day, we commemorate all the Saints of God, fruits of the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, commemorated the Sunday prior. On this day we especially seek the intercessions of these holy men and women, and set them before […]

A Letter to Symeon

A Letter to Myself

Written by way of self-examination. A creative attempt at practical application of basic principles of the Orthodox Christian spiritual life, in the style of letter-writing. My soul has long been on pilgrimage1 without finding a true harbor either outside or within myself. —St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, The Arena – – – In Christ, I have become aware […]

How to Live a Simple, Christian Life

Simple Christianity

Christianity is a calling to become like Jesus Christ. It is a calling to live up to our namesake as ‘Christians.’ As St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of the apostle John, writes: It is fitting, then, not only to be called ‘Christians,’ but to be so in reality. Our faith has been reduced by many today to ‘Christ plus […]

The Sanctifying Fire of Hell

The Sanctifying Fire of Hell

On Great and Holy Saturday, I was—by the grace of God—baptized into the Orthodox Church. At baptism, one is given a cross that he will typically wear (or at least keep somewhere close and safe) for the rest of his life. The cross that my godparents and I selected had Russian writing on the back. My godparents were […]

Always a Convert, Never a Cradle

Always a Convert, Never a Cradle

Orthodoxy is a liturgical faith. And at the heart of that faith is a calling to be continually converted to Jesus Christ. The Church year begins with the nativity or birth of Mary—the beginning of our salvation story in Christ, and Israel’s return from exile—and continues through the nativity of Jesus. Great Lent is the […]

Saint Patrick and the Emptiness of Revenge

Saint Patrick and the Emptiness of Revenge

Apart from the self-sacrificial love of God, there is only revenge. Considering the message of most Western literature and even Hollywood today, a lust for revenge might seem the dominant meta-narrative of our culture. From the Iliad to Hamlet to the anti-heroine of True Grit, revenge satisfies a sinful passion that infects our souls apart […]