There is a peculiar desire in many of us: we want to know that which is hidden. We are almost instinctively drawn to those who speculate or even pretend to have answers to unanswerable questions. It is the reason many Christian denominations hold conferences and seminars on unlocking the secrets of the book of Revelations. They advertise, “This has stumped Christians for 1,900 years, but we got it figured out!” And they draw a crowd.
Whether it be heaven, hell, toll houses, the salvation of unbelievers, or the end times, we are easily sucked into conversations about things we truly don’t understand. At most, the scriptures and fathers have only given us hints about these things. Continue reading Dabbling in The Unknown
If you have decided to embark on the journey of deepening your faith and your connection with God, you will probably meet resistance on the path of peace very soon.
Amma Theodora, one of the Desert Mothers taught the following:
You should realize that as soon as you intend to live in peace, at once evil comes and weighs down your soul through accidie*, faintheartedness, and evil thoughts. It also attacks your body through sickness, debility, weakening of the knees and all the members. It dissipates the strength of soul and body, so that one believes one is ill and no longer able to pray. But if we are vigilant, all these temptations fall away.
I share that quote to encourage you to stay strong in this fight against evil. As soon as you decide you are going to attempt to live a life free of judging others, somebody will do something to annoy you, hurt you, or test you in some way. It is not that person’s fault, but rather it is God allowing your resolve to be tested. Continue reading The Desert Fathers on Judging and How to Treat Others
I recently wrote about the Restless Emptiness that so many of us feel. As I mentioned before, the reason we feel restless and empty inside is because we have these alien tyrants called the “passions” ruling us from the throne of our hearts.
My recent posts have followed the same theme: diagnosing and finding the proper therapy for the emptiness that we have within us. This post falls within that theme.
Continue reading Judging Ourselves and Others
Many of us in the West have lost interest in philosophical belief systems and are searching for something much deeper. It is that search that brought me to Orthodoxy, and now the healing process has begun. Below is an excerpt I recently read by an Archimandrite on Mt Athos regarding why we feel a restlessness within us:
The Middle Ages passed. Scholasticism gained strength. Roman Catholicism advanced. St Gregory Palamas, the herald of grace, was treated as deluded and a heretic. The West advanced in its philosophy. Its programme was put into action. It progressed along the lines of knowledge for the sake of knowledge. It built technological civilisation, the most elaborate prison man has ever known. Continue reading Saying “No” to The Culture
A few nights ago, I was admiring the mountain valley that we live in as it was illuminated by the moon light. I thought, “The moon is so bright tonight you could almost read a book with its light.” But at the same time there was something missing.
The moon reflects the light of the sun, but is not a source of light itself (as we all know). No matter its brightness, it fails to provide heat, warmth, or nourishment for life on this earth. The sun, however, provides light, life, and beauty.
So often I am like the moon. Continue reading What I Learned from The Moon
There is an emptiness in many of us. We can feel it when we are alone, not having a good day, and/or there are no distractions. It is like a gaping hole. Sometimes we may even cry out to God in desperation, “Where are you?”
Recently, I heard a contemporary pop/rock Christian song in which they sang, “Turn your face to me” several times. It reminded me of my spiritual journey. All the years of searching and finding temporary satisfaction; whether that satisfaction fix came through a pumped up worship set, a motivational sermon, or bonding with those in my community.
But the warm fuzzies would fade away and I would once again feel that nagging restlessness in me. Certainly it was not too much to expect a warm feeling of intimacy with God every day, was it? Continue reading That Restless Emptiness
Not many words in our society make people recoil like the word “repent,” especially those who are not Christians. It may conjure up images of “bullhorn man” on the corner yelling at people, Bible thumpers, and the occasional warning of the impending doom of the world.
It seems for most in Evangelical Christianity, to repent is the same as “asking Jesus into your heart,” which is the same as saying a certain prayer that hits a few specified highlights. Once one has done so, they are now “saved” and should try to get others to also say the “sinner’s prayer” so they can be “saved” too. Continue reading Finding The Kingdom of God Within