Gladsome Light Dialogues – An Orthodox Blog

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

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Entries Tagged as 'Christian Virtues'

The First Sermon of Christ

January 14th, 2013 4 Comments

Theophany IconAny 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

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The Road Ahead

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

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Fasting for Freedom or Growing Wings for God

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

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Setting a good beginning

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

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Lent as transforming expectation

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

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Turn the other Cheek – From the Desert Fathers

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

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Running our lives in circles

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

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Work hard – Pray hard – Changing the paradigm

December 10th, 2010 3 Comments

The  slogan “Work hard, play hard” has been in iconic standard for corporate culture for years. It initially meant to be as involved in your daily work as you are in your extra-curricular activities, but was rapidly transformed into a great excuse for irrational and destructive behavior in the after hours like alcohol abuse, recreational drugs, heavy partying etc.  More so the idea has infiltrated from the initial corporate environment to our homes rendering even our everyday life into a two dimensional universe of work and play; everything we do falls into one of these two buckets.

The Holy Grail of a happy life becomes therefore finding the balance between carrier and leisure. A plethora of… Continue reading

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Learn from me – A Nativity reflection on the humility of Christ

December 1st, 2010 2 Comments

I recently found this quote on humility from Elder Paisios from Sihla (A skete in the North of Romania close to the Sihastria Monastery where Elder Cleopas lived)
“It’s best for a man to become a clay vessel, which is useful to all people and for all kinds of daily work, for food, water, and so on. But golden vessels are put in safes and locked up in cupboards. For fear of thieves they are seldom used, maybe only once a year. A clay vessel has its daily use and service to man. So also is a humble man who does not seek honors and rank. He remains insignificant even amid men of lower rank, but he benefits, counsels, and… Continue reading

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The Akathyst of the Holy Martyr Menas the Wonderworker

March 11th, 2010 3 Comments

The shrine of St. Menas used to be for the Ancient Eastern Orthodox world what Lourdes is for Roman Catholics, a place where thousands of pilgrims would bring their prayers in distress and receive the grace of God in return, through the intercessions of the Holy Martyr.
Though the Shrine of Saint Menas was one of the most popular pilgrimage sites of the early Middle Ages, it fell into oblivion over the centuries with the Muslim occupation and was even believed by many scholars to be a myth. Following its discovery in 1905, the ruins of the fabled city of St. Menas were placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979 as one of the five most historically important… Continue reading

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