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Friday, March 9, 2018

     “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion (ἀποβήσεται ὑμῖν) for testimony (εἰς μαρτύριον). Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess (κτήσασθε, gain possession of) your souls.” (Lk 21: 12-1...

Friday, August 18, 2017

In your patience possess/acquire (κτήσασθε) your souls.” (Lk 21: 19)

I know I’ve reflected on this passage before, about “patience” (“ὑπο-μονή” in Greek, meaning, literally, “a remaining behind”). But this morning I came across it again, and realized how, once again, I’d forgotten all about this vital, central virtue of “remaining behind” and, essentially, waiting. Sometimes, “you just have to wait, you gotta trust, give it time…,” as Phil Collins put it. It is trust, or more specifically faith, which makes patience, which has been called “the power to wait,” possible. In patience, we “wait” for what God sends us next, for example, the wisdom of what we should or should not do in a given situation. 

Today let me have patience, both in the small and big things. In the “small” things, like sl...

Monday, July 24, 2017

No one has (οὐδεῖς ἔχει) greater love than this, to lay down one’s life (τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ, one’s soul) for one’s friends.” (Jn 15: 13)

Here is one of the salvific (salvation-bringing) virtues I don’t contemplate often enough, – being a true friend, willing to go all the way for my “friends,” even when this somehow jeopardises my “life” or “soul.” Our Lord values this kind of self-offering and self-forgetting “love,” above all other kinds.

So let me not hesitate today, to be a real friend to my friends. The concept of being a “friend” may seem to be trivialised and denigrated today, on social media, where we have “friends,” for example, on Facebook, whom we don’t even know. But, to my mind, our present-day, Internet-reality, visited upon us not without God’s will, demonstrates His increased t...

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Bless (εὐλόγει) the Lord, O my soul, and let all that is within me bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” (Ps 102/103: 1-2)

Does God need that I “bless” (εὐ-λόγει, say a good word about) Him? No, of course not. But I need to say “good words” about the Source of Good, the Source of Blessing, lest I forget all His gifts or “benefits,” showered upon me and others every day. I need actively to exercise my God-given capacity for “good words,” even when it is easier to grumble and choose “bad words,” about whatever bad things may cross my path.

The “blessing” (or “good word”) I speak with my mouth, and say in my “soul,” has creative power, because God, my Creator, is the Source of all Blessing. I grow in Him, to be more “like” Him, when I participate or...

Thursday, May 11, 2017

In the middle of the Feast, O Savior, / Fill my thirsting soul with the waters of godliness (εὐσεβείας, devotion, piety), as You did cry to all: / If anyone thirst let him come to me and drink! / O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to You!” (Troparion, Mid-feast of Pentecost)

Today is the Wednesday of Mid-Pentecost (τῆς Μεσοπεντηκοστῆς, Преполовения). So, Pascha is exactly three-and-a-half weeks behind us, and we have exactly three-and-a-half weeks to go until Pentecost, or the Descent of the Holy Spirit. At this mid-point of our long, 50-day journey from Pascha to Pentecost, it is easy to lose focus, and slip away from any kind of “devotion,” forgetting both the feast behind us (Pascha), and the one before us (Pentecost). Summer is coming, after all, so our thoughts might be more fo...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

 

My soul, my soul, arise! Why are you sleeping? The end is drawing near, and you will be confounded. Awake then, that Christ our God may spare you, Who is everywhere, and fills all things.” (Kontakion-hymn, Canon of St. Andrew of Crete)

 

Every year, as the end of Lent draws near, we sing this Kontakion in the middle of the Great Canon (on Thursday of the fifth week of Lent), which calls me to retrieve a sense of urgency about my meeting and walking with Christ. He is soon to walk His final journey, taking on my sins, my death, and my hell, in order to raise me up again in His glorious resurrection. But I tend to procrastinate and even “sleep,” as His disciples slept in Gethsemane, while the Lord prayed and was “deeply grieved, even unto death,” that the cup He was about to drink for us pas...

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