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Friday, September 29, 2017

Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of/because of the Son of man (ἕνεκα τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου)! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” (Lk 6: 22-23)

How can we know when we’re “hated” or “excluded” or rejected in some other way, specifically “because of the Son of man,” and not for some other reason? We know this is happening “because of the Son of man” when we are rejected specifically for being ourselves, according to our “vocation”; I mean, according to our response to Christ’s call to us personally, to be and to act and to serve according to our God-given character, faith, background, and all our other gifts and chall...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Then turning to the disciples he said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.’” (Lk 10: 23-24)

Recently a busy mom wrote to me, lamenting the fact that she had so little time for prayer. On some days, she wrote, “all” she could “manage” was to venerate her icons alone in the morning and at night.

But as I’m reading the passage quoted above, read today in our NC-churches, celebrating the famous “Image of the Lord ‘Not-Made-By-Hands’,” I’m thinking how, indeed, “blessed” are her (and our) “eyes which see” what they see, merely by directing their faithful gaze toward holy images. This is no small “blessing.” In coming to us in His mind-bl...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!’ But he said, ‘Yes rather (Μενοῦν), blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’” (Lk 11: 27-28)

Is our Lord denying the “blessedness” of His Mother, in reply to the woman in the crowd who just “blessed” the Theotokos? No. But He is drawing the attention of this woman-in-the-crowd to the kind of “blessedness” she, personally, and everyone else in the “crowd” of Christ’s followers, including us today, are called to share with the Birth-giver of God. Lest we subtly dismiss the journey of the Holy Virgin, as one irrelevant to us, made in a galaxy far, far away.

While nobody shares in the Theotokos’s unique vocation, to be “the womb that bore”...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Blessed are the meek (οἱ πραεῖς, кроткие), for they will inherit the earth.” (Mt 5: 5)

"Meekness," a term we don't use all that much nowadays, is not exactly the same thing as humility, although the two do overlap. While humility is a state of being, like in a grace-filled fog, “meekness,” which we can demonstrate when we have humility as a foundation, is a way of responding. – That is, of responding to adversity or trouble or hostility. “Meekness” absorbs and/or softens the incoming hostility, with a kind or gracious word, or with benevolent silence, or even with feigned ignorance of what the “other” side really means.

The opposite of “meekness,” I think, is self-righteous victimhood. It’s not always “wrong,” victimhood, because sometimes we are, indeed, victims. Sometimes we are “right” i...

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