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Thursday, March 29, 2018

     “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: ‘They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?’ Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them; For their heart devises violen...

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.” (Gen 1: 14-18)

On Lenten weekdays, we have three Scriptural readings daily, not from the New Testament, but one fom each of the three types of books of the Old Testament. At Vespers, there is one read...

Saturday, December 2, 2017

And a ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ And he said, ‘All these I have observed from my youth.’ And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, ‘One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ But when he heard this he became sad, for he was very rich. Jesus looking at him said, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God...

Sunday, November 5, 2017

May Christ our true God, through the intercessions of His all-pure Mother; of the holy, glorious, and praiseworthy Apostles… and of all the saints, have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and loves mankind.” (Dismissal, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

This seemingly-obvious fact is often repeated in our church-services, – that God is “good” and loves us. We need to be reassured of this fact, again and again; that He, indeed, loves “us.” That is to say, He loves the people “we” are now, as we are, with all our strengths and weaknesses. I need to embrace this astonishing truth, again and again, so that I can see myself as God does, both honestly and mercifully. In the inimitable words of Thomas Merton, “…The man who is not afraid to admit everything that he sees to be wrong with himself, and...

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Vouchsafe (Καταξίωσον, Сподоби, make/deem us worthy), O Lord, for us to be kept (φυλαχθῆναι, сохранитися) this evening without sin…” (Prayer, Byzantine Vespers)

A puzzling choice of words, isn’t it? The first word of this prayer, ”καταξίωσον,” most often translated as “vouchsafe,” involves this idea of us being made/deemed “worthy,” that is to say, “esteemed” and “dignified.” So, “to be kept without sin,” to make the healthy choices this evening, in God’s light, rather than the unhealthy ones, is dignifying. And we all know this to be true, from experience: If, this evening, I choose to over-eat, or over-drink, or under-sleep, say, if I binge-watch some Netflix-series until late into the night, I do tend to wake up feeling rather “un”-dignified and, somehow, of less “worth” to myself and o...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

”The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Lk 6: 45)

So I must see to it that I’m not hoarding “evil treasure” in my heart. What is that? For one thing, it’s resentments, toward certain people, toward certain institutions, toward myself, and toward God. When left unhealed, or buried deep in my heart, resentments lead me to feel and to speak ill about certain people and things as they are, from an abundance of ingratitude, self-centeredness, and other “evil treasure” they bring with them into my heart.

But let me not be discouraged, if my “mouth” has thus exposed some “evil treasure” in my heart. Today let me start replacing it with “good treasure,” like g...

Friday, January 29, 2016

 

…And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that their deeds may be clearly seen, for they have been done in God.” (Jn 3: 19-21)

 

Yes, indeed. It is by doing what is “true” that I come to the Light, and so come to love the Light rather than darkness. The Light is God Himself, the Creator, so I receive creative energy by moving toward Him, however small and however slow my steps may be.

 

It is not an immense effort on my part, to do the next right thing, rather than avoiding it. But such daily, small steps are ever-regenerating, ever-new, b...

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