Gladsome Light Dialogues – An Orthodox Blog

A journey through our Orthodox faith as we live it every day

Gladsome Light Dialogues – An Orthodox Blog header image 2

Both Now and Ever…

January 5th, 2017 by Fr. Vasile
Respond

JanusThe first of January is the beginning of the New Year and in the same time the end of the old one.  The Romans named this month January based on Janus one of their pagan deities the god of all beginning and all ends. He was represented with two heads one old one young looking in opposite directions. Of course this is a false god he does not exist yet his symbolism persists in our calendar and every year when we celebrate the New Year we look in these two direction: the past and the future.

For us Christians the only acceptable beginning and the end the only alpha and omega is the One True God One in essence and in the same time Three Persons: Father Son and Holy Spirit.  In God is our beginning and also in Him is our end. “I am Alpha and Omega the beginning and the ending saith the Lord Which is and Which was and Which is to come the Almighty.” (Rev 1:8)

Our lives are lived at the crossroad of past present and future: what we were what we are and what we will be. There is a permanent dynamic that keep us moving without the possibility to stop or to go back to change something nor to peek in the future.  So at this landmark people always reflect on that which has happened while trying to plan for what is about to come a sort of an annual rite of renewal that keeps one going.

In Christianity time however achieves a different dimension; the linearity of time does not really apply when our lives are linked with God Who exists outside of time. Time is only for us created beings but for Him past present and future do not apply He just is (Exo 3:14).  When we join ourselves with Christ however things start to change because the more we acquire His likeness the more we start looking at the world including at time from His eternal perspective.

Christ has become Man so He could affect this change in us. Saint Athanasius of Alexandria observed in one of his writings: For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.  In Christ the purpose of our lives is not anymore to live a mere 70-80 years (Ps 90/91:10) and then die our purpose in Christ is to push aside the tombstone and live everlasting in the Kingdom.

The good news that Christ brings are not of a distant future but has the outmost immediacy. He starts preaching: “Repent for the Kingdom of heavens is at hand”(Matthew 4:17).  United with the Incarnate God the past the present and the future become one.  The eternity is now for the one who prepares for it with responsibility: “But I tell you of a truth there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:27)

All these things are accomplished by the Incarnation and our personal transformation by joining ourselves with the grace that Christ imparts to us through the Sacraments. Through Baptism we become citizens of a Kingdom that we cannot yet see during Divine Liturgy we remember the second Coming of Christ that is yet to happen and His All Holy Body and Blood is given to us for the remission of sins and life everlasting. In Christ therefore we live in time as outside of time and in the world like outside of the world.

Time is not relevant anymore for Christians: “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past and as a watch in the night” (Ps. 90/91/4); its relevancy has only to do with our preparation for what is “at hand”. This is the only proper use for time. But even that is relative: how much time do I actually need for preparation? Abba Sisoe at the end of a long and fruitful life in Christ asked God with tears to give him more hours to even start something good. But another father when asked how much time does one need to be saved he answered: ‘If a man wants one day from sunrise to sunset is enough’.

Exiting time and entering eternity is not a matter of counting seconds minutes days or years; it is a matter of commitment.  “Commit thy works unto the LORD and thy thoughts shall be established” (Proverbs 16:3).  Staying fast with the Lord the promise of the Kingdom is accomplished and time does not matter anymore. With Him we can forget the idolatry of time that plagues the secular world and boldly enter in the Kingdom even now.

We don’t have to wait for January 1st to renew our commitment to God and our salvation we can and we should do this every minute. We should continually look in the past to learn from our mistakes live in the present with great responsibility so our future will start to boldly emerge from the empty tomb of our old selves molded “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:1)

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Twitter

Tags:   · · · · No Comments.

The Narthex as a Dynamic Place of Transformation

August 8th, 2016 by Fr. Vasile
Respond

narthexThe icon of the Fest of Transfiguration, which we celebrate on August 6th, is a beautiful metaphor for the union and the reconciliation that Christ brings between the Old and the New Testament. In this icon we see Christ in the Uncreated Light, flanked on each side by Moses and Elijah, prophetic figures of the Old Testament while, prostrated in front of the transfigured Christ, we find three of His disciples Peter, John and James.

St. Ephraim the Syrian makes a point of this “reunion” of old and new to say:
“The Prophets and the Apostles gathered on the mount were filled with joy; the Prophets rejoiced for they have beheld here His humanity which they did not… Continue reading

Twitter

Tags:   · · · · · No Comments.

Child Versus Gorilla – How To Live Together For The Kingdom

June 7th, 2016 by Fr. Vasile
Respond

Icon-of-creation

The recent child versus gorilla controversy has brought up an older moral question about the status of human life versus animal life. When one is faced with the decision of saving a human life endangered by an animal life, what should one do? In our story the zookeeper clearly stated that their choice was easy because a human life is more valuable than an animal life.[Round of applause from all parents of toddlers] But what does a poor zookeeper know?  A recent tweet that condemned the gorilla killing went as far as blaming the entire humanity for the gorilla death saying:  “Humans imprison gorilla. Human enters gorilla prison. Gorilla gets shot dead for being near human. Humanity… Continue reading

Twitter

Tags: No Comments.

‚ Mystery and Divine Magnetism: a Conversion Story">Beauty Mystery and Divine Magnetism: a Conversion Story

April 15th, 2016 by Fr. Vasile
Respond

Come and Seeby Daniel Bishop

I often hear stories from people I’ve met along the way about the path that lead them to Orthodoxy. More often than not, these stories involve books by particular authors or saints whose writings made an influence on their perspective and opened them up to the wealth of the teachings of the Church. These are stories of beautiful and brilliant minds seeking truth amidst the pages of history, leaving no stone unturned until they found the true path. I sincerely wish I could give you such a brave story of my conversion. The thing is, I can’t manage to retrace my steps through books or knowledge, though I did read a lot while… Continue reading

Twitter

Tags: 1 Comment

The Christian Family Suspended Between Tradition and Temptation*

March 4th, 2016 by Fr. Vasile
Respond

Root of JeseeBeloved Brothers and Sister in Christ,

As you can see, even from my short greeting, this talk about family is actually a talk in the family. I am not here to preach to strangers, but to converse with people familiar to us who will be able to better understand what I have to say, because you are hearing it from within. You hear a lot from the outside as well; there is a lot of talk about family these days, with everyone trying to define, or rather re-define, what family is, many times based on personal thoughts and feelings or ideologies of various groups of interests, creating a lot of confusion. In the midst of all… Continue reading

Twitter

Tags:   · · · · · No Comments.

An Icon of the Christian Family

January 12th, 2016 by Fr. Vasile
Respond

Everyone’s favorite time of the year is the period before Christmas, when the air is filled with joy, peace and expectation. We are blessed to live in a country that looks forward to Christmas although we might seem to have lost some of its meaning along the way.  We have radio stations that air carols without ceasing, exalting the season, although many of them speak about snow, jolly figures carrying gifts, family time and other things that are all fine, but missing maybe the point of all this festival. It is wonderful that everyone celebrates Christmas, in their own way, and even people that don’t believe in God enjoy the season and try to be “good for goodness’ sake”, as a recent billboard from our atheistic friends reads recently (we… Continue reading

Twitter

Tags:   · · · · · · · No Comments.

Giving Thanks to God for All Things

November 10th, 2015 by Fr. Vasile
Respond

Holy 40 martyrsEvery year on Thanksgiving Day, we give thanks to God for our wonderful life. We rejoice in the fruits of the earth (with or without feathers) gathered around a table of abundance. A good thing indeed! Saint Basil the Great advised us to do this as early as the 4th century:
”When you sit down to eat, pray. When you eat bread, do so thanking Him for being so generous to you. If you drink wine, be mindful of Him who has given it to you for your pleasure and as a relief in sickness. When you dress, thank Him for His kindness in providing you with clothes. When you look at the sky and the beauty of the… Continue reading

Twitter

Tags:   · · · · · · · No Comments.

A Union for the Kingdom

June 26th, 2015 by Fr. Vasile
Respond

Greek-Orthodox-WeddingIn case you haven’t been following the news, the Supreme Court has recently ruled in favor of the recognition of same-sex unions throughout United States. Does this come as a surprise? Absolutely not! We knew it was just a matter of time. But how did we get here? How come that we need a court of law to decide what marriage is?

Before we start pointing fingers at the state for changing our understanding of marriage, we have to admit first that even in Christianity, there are different views of what actually marriage is. Most Christians would agree that marriage is a union between a man and a woman that mutually agree to spend their lives together, but looking deeper… Continue reading

Twitter

Tags:   · · · · · · No Comments.

Equal to the Apostles

May 21st, 2015 by Fr. Vasile
Respond

Constantine-signBlessed be the providence of God that makes all things evolve towards the order that best suits our progression in the Kingdom of heavens. All that God chooses to happen is for our edification in Him and for our development into His divine mold. This year for instance we celebrate the Holy Ascension (a moving feast) in the same day with the celebration of the Sts. Constantine and Helen (a fixed feast). One may say it is just random, at the end of the day even a broken clock shows the right time twice a day, but I don’t believe in coincidences.

Let me explain my train of thoughts in this particular instance. The Ascension of our Lord commemorates the… Continue reading

Twitter

Tags: 1 Comment

From Hearsay to Social media – a Tale of Rumor Spreading

May 19th, 2015 by Fr. Vasile
Respond

pillow“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” – Socrates

There is a story that circulates in Christian and Jewish circles about gossip. I was not able to track its origins but the story goes like this.

“There was a woman that liked to talk about other people’s affairs and spread unkind words around. One day however she felt remorseful and went to the priest to confess her sin. The priest listened to her confession and asked her if she truly understood the consequences of such hearsay activities. She uttered a rather unconvincing yes. Reading between the lines, the experienced priest offered her a penance, a small feat, he said, that will… Continue reading

Twitter

Tags:   · · · · · No Comments.