Coming back home from spring break was always a joy in my childhood. Somehow over the break the nature was magically starting to come back to life. White blooming cherry trees, budding branches with baby leaves, the green starting to fill the dried lawns were all signs that the dominion of winter is past and the rule of spring has begun. In some years however, in the midst of this resurrection of nature, winter was sending its last unexpected snowfall over the land. The tragedy was that any trees caught in bloom were doomed to a fruitless season, as the unmerciful cold destroyed their delicate flowers. It was the last temptation of winter, sweeping away any impatient tree, too eager to… Continue reading
Entries Tagged as 'Christian Virtues'
March 29th, 2013 1 Comment
March 1st, 2013 2 Comments
What is Lent? By most popular definitions lent is a period of abstinence, total or partial, from food. It is basically a diet. If it is not understood as a diet, then is often considered a period of renunciation to some of our guilty pleasures like tv, chocolate etc. The Christian understanding of fasting however and especially the Orthodox one, is much more complex than simply “giving up” something .
So what is Lent? Of course during Lent we renounce some types of foods like meat, dairy products etc. This is an important part of our lenten journey, not to be forgotten or neglected; it helps the body become swifter and, less encumbered by heavy foods, it can rise faster to prayer… Continue reading
February 1st, 2013 7 Comments
Last night I went to a talent show at my kids’ school. It was enjoyable to watch an entirely random blend of performances unfolding in front of a room full of parents eager to applaud at the slightest hint of aptitude showing on the stage. I know this because I was one of them. There really was true talent to applaud and, even when talent was not really present, there was a lot of courage to be praised.
The one thing that set… Continue reading
January 14th, 2013 3 Comments
Any classical public speaking training would tell the aspirant lecturer to always start with a little warm up for the audience, in order to get them engaged, then introduce the topic, present the topic and then a short recap at the end. It is all about building up to your main subject. This is pretty much what I’m doing now.
There is an old story with a priest in a convent that loved to preach. He always used well thought out phrases, nice metaphors, parables, comparisons, his subjects were always good, but he would tend to take a little more time than others. The abbess was a little upset about that because this would cut out the… Continue reading
August 10th, 2012 1 Comment
During the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, after the exchange of rings and the bestowing of crowns, the couple takes their first steps of married life led by the celebrating Priest that holds the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Symbolically, this represents a promise to walk on the road that lays ahead of them together, seeking salvation by following Christ that opens the way into His Kingdom. This ceremonial walk is just the beginning of their journey through the rest of their lives, but they will remember these first steps forever; this is their “hochzeit” as the Germans call it, the “high-time” of their life.
On July 14th 2012… Continue reading
February 28th, 2012 No Comments
This article is not about Ghandi and the independence of India; is not about hunger strikes and the upholding of civil rights; but it is an attempt to restore to its former heights an overlooked tool for spiritual development, recommended by generations upon generations of Holy Fathers and spiritual elders.
Upon hearing the word “fast” today, one doesn’t think of freedom, on the contrary, the discipline of fasting is more associated with coercion, restriction and limitation of choices. This is the primary reason why so many people do not even consider fasting in their development as Christian.
From a material point of view however this is what fasting is: we abstain from certain foods, or even all… Continue reading
December 31st, 2011 No Comments
As the New Year is just around the corner, for many people also comes the time for setting their New Year resolutions. This year I will reach my ideal weight, this year I’ll take better care of my health, this year I’ll finish the college that I always wanted and so on. The first weeks of the year the gyms are full of enthusiastic first time athletes, the grocery stores have record sales for diet foods and the pharmacies sell years worth of nicotine patches. But the statistics show however that only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolutions. So come February the gym crowds vanish, the excitement fades away and life goes back to its… Continue reading
March 5th, 2011 No Comments
But we all, with our face having been unveiled, having beheld the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord Spirit. (2Co 3:18)
Coming back home the other day, I observed with great joy that some trees on my street started to blossom. I was immediately moved to think: the winter is over, spring is here! All the cold weather, all the snow and the ice is gone. But, the thought continued, if we won’t pass through winter we couldn’t appreciate spring in its fullness.
One the most beautiful celebrations in Japan is the cherry blossom festival. People gather from afar to be… Continue reading
January 26th, 2011 1 Comment
The daughter of a certain rich man in Alexandria was suddenly seized by a wicked spirit and was tormented severely. Her father spent much money in order to make her well. But fruitlessly. The condition of the young girl became worse all the time. Somehow the Father learned that a hermit, who lived alone up on a mountain, had the gift from God to cast out demons. He was told, however, that the hermit was so humble that he would never agree to perform such a cure. So the nobleman had to find some other pretext by which to get him to his home.
One day the hermit went down to the city to sell… Continue reading
January 17th, 2011 6 Comments
The miracle of healing of the ten lepers, is generally perceived as an exposition of the importance of gratitude in our lives. There is however another aspect I would like to stress today. The essential piece for its understanding lays in Christ’s words addressed to the cured Samaritan returning to offer his gratitude for the healing: And He said unto him, Arise, go your way: your faith has made you whole” (Luke 17:19)
The other nine, ungrateful, lepers did not hear the same words, save a bitter reproof from Christ. They were not called “whole”, like the Samaritan, because they lacked a crucial virtue the Samaritan exhibited: faith.
Without faith, which is recognizing and trusting the power of… Continue reading