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Monday, June 25, 2018

     “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another (τὸ αὐτὸ εἰς ἀλλήλους φρονοῦντες). Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble (τοῖς ταπεινοῖς συναπαγόμενοι, be led together by humble things). Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all people. If it is possible for you (εἰ δυνατὸν τὸ ἐξ ὑμῶν), live peaceably with all people.” (Rom 12: 15-18)

     Let me recognize today that we’re all “in the same boat,” – is what St. Paul is saying to me in the first part of the above-quoted passage. I should not regard my own issues or vision as “higher,” or more important, than those of others in my vicinity, lest I fail to notice, or take serious...

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

     “Let my prayer arise (Κατευθυνθήτω, Да исправится) as incense before You, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. Set, O Lord, a watch before my mouth, and a door of enclosure around my lips. Incline not my heart unto words of evil, to make/allege excuses (προφασίζεσθαι προφάσεις, непщевати вины) for sins...“ (Ps 140: 2-4, Septuagint-translation)

     These verses of the evening-psalm 140 (141) are sung in a special, Lenten melody today and Friday, and on all Lenten Wednesdays and Fridays, at a beautiful Vespers-service connected with the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts. The three Psalm-verses offer me three, basic “tips“ for daily living in a peaceful, God-focused manner: 1. To live each day as a “prayer“ that I carry, like a torch, all the way to the evening; 2....

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt 10: 34-39)

What kind of “sword” is our merciful Lord talking about here? The kind that slashed the ropes with which children were tied to beds in Perris, California. And what kind of “peace” does He “not” bring? The in...

Thursday, January 11, 2018

These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor / Comforter (ὁ παράκλητος), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance (ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς, will remind you) all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid…” (Jn 14: 25-27)

The Holy Spirit “reminds” us of all that Christ has said to us, because we tend to forget. It is not only on a weekly basis, at the celebration of the Eucharist, that the Holy Spirit helps us to “do” in “remembrance” of Christ, (as He commanded, “Do this in remembrance of Me,” 1 Cor 11: 24), but also daily. It is in and by our communion with the...

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, ’Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people of good will (ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας).’ When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds sai...

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Deacon: In peace let us pray to the Lord.
People/Choir: Lord, have mercy.
Deacon: For the peace from above and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.
People/Choir: Lord, have mercy.
Deacon: For the peace of the whole world, for the stability of the holy churches of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
People/Choir: Lord, have mercy
...“
(Litany of Peace, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

In this very first litany of Divine Liturgy, we are called to pray “in peace“ and “for peace,“ specifically the kind “from above.“ It is the kind we cannot muster up or negotiate on our own, just amidst ourselves. In fact we have never done very well, when it comes to “peace,“ either within or without “the holy churches of God.“ That is why we are called to give up self-reliance...

Monday, January 25, 2016

 

…And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest: for you shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet onto the way of peace.” (Zacharia’s Prophecy, Lk 1: 76-79)

 

In the past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about “the way of peace” mentioned here by Zacharia, the father of St. John the Baptist, in his prophecy about his own son, and about “the Sunrise” or “Orient” from on high, the Messiah. We know that this “way of peace,” which gives “light to them that sit in darkness,” is the way of the Cross. Because the Mess...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

 

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.” (Col 3: 12-15)

 

Yesterday as I was walking somewhere in Vienna, I saw a poster that said, “What have YOU done for world peace today?” It made me think of Mother-Theresa’s well-known quote: “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”

 

The Apostle Paul gives a more precise description of the s...

Sunday, November 1, 2015

 

In peace let us pray to the Lord.” (Beginning of the Great Litany of Byzantine Liturgy)

 

This is the first petition, at the very beginning of Divine Liturgy, calling us to pray “in peace.” How can I pray “in peace”? By handing everything over to God and not worrying, as St. Paul says rather emphatically: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)

 

So I need not muster up my own “peace,” but rather open myself up to the peace of God, “which surpasses all understanding,” including my own understanding, and hand over to Him, with thanksgiving, all my requests and worries. “Peace”...

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