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Friday, January 5, 2018

Be glad, thirsty desert: let the wilderness exult, and flower as the lily. And the desert places of Jordan shall blossom and rejoice; the glory of Libanus has been given to it, and the honour of Carmel; and my people shall see the glory of the Lord, and the majesty of God. Be strong, weakened hands and feeble knees. Comfort one another, fainthearted ones; be strong, fear not; behold, our God renders judgment, and he will render it; he will come and save us. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear. Then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the stammerers shall speak plainly; for water has burst forth in the desert, and a channel of water in a thirsty land.” (Is 35: 1-6, Septuagint-translation)

This is one of the prophecies read durin...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (Jn 8: 12)

How many times have I heard these words, and they just passed over me? But this morning, while it’s still dark outside and a group of drunks is singing and laughing outside my windows in the center of Vienna, I just came across this passage and it’s almost overwhelming. It’s “killing me softly,” if that doesn’t sound too cheesy. (Sorry to those of you who will now have Roberta Flack’s voice in your heads).

What does it mean, to “have the light of life”? It means walking and talking and reacting to things in God-reliance, rather than burdensome self-reliance. It means breathing the fresh air of the Lord’s presence, in the sense of belongi...

Thursday, March 2, 2017

O Lord and Master of my life, grant me not the spirit of idleness (ἀργίας, праздности), despondency, lust of power, and idle talk (ἀργο-λογίας, праздно-словия).“ (Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem, part 1)

Here the “spirit of idleness” or “ἀργία” (from “ἀ-εργία,” literally “not working” or “not doing”) means the bad kinds of “not doing.” There are also good kinds of “not doing” (праздность) at certain, appropriate times (праздники), because we all need an occasional break in order to be restored. But here idleness means “not doing” what I am supposed to be doing, and when I am supposed to be doing it, according to my “vocation” or calling from God, specifically out of an avoidance and/or neglect of “responsibility” (i.e., my “response-ability” or my “ability to respond” to God’s call). One such...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away…” (Jn 6: 35-37)

 

Such is His promise, and I know it’s true, because He proves Himself, time and again, when I walk in Him and place my reliance on Him, rather than myself or someone/something else. When God is my focus, and I put Him first, I see things differently, by His grace, and feelings of insufficiency, neediness, disappointment, and unfulfilment are removed. I am no longer “hungry” or “thirsty,” as the Bread of Life promises. Without Him, even too much is not enough, ever. And yet,...

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