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
Tags: alms · almsgiving · boasting · christian · Fasting · Great Lent · intimate · orthodox · personal · prayer
Say to those of a hasty heart, Be strong, fear not; behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the full dealing of God. He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
In everyone’s life there is evolution. We evolve from being babies to full adults. We start learning how to read and we grow into teachers, engineers, doctors. So in spiritual life we develop from indifference, to interest, to engagement. Of course there is also involution but we’ll leave this subject for another time. In one of these stages of my personal spiritual life (I won’t… Continue reading
Tags: Blind · emotions · hesychia · imagination · man · Miracle · orthdox · orthodox · Penticostarion · prayer · sixth · Sunday · western art
There came to the abbot Lucius in Enna certain monks of the kind called Euchitae, that is, the Men of Prayer: and the old man asked them, saying, “What kind of handiwork do ye do?” And they said, “We touch no kind of handiwork, but as the Apostle says, we pray without ceasing.” The old man said to them, “So ye do not eat?” They said, “Yea, we eat.” And the old man said, “Now while ye are eating, who prays for you?” And again he questioned them, saying, “Ye do not sleep?” And they said, “We sleep.” And the old man said, “And while ye sleep, who prays for you?” And they could find no answer… Continue reading
Tags: Desert · Fathers · prayer · unceasing
“When carried into the realm of the intellect, the industrial ideal of efficiency poses, a potentially mortal threat to the pastoral ideal of contemplative thought”
Nicholas Carr, The shallows
There is a lot of commotion in the teaching industry around generational learning. The premise lays in the different approaches that consecutive generations take when it comes to education. Take the baby-boomers generation, most of them like to learn in a linear fashion, read books (actually finish them) and they feel comfortable in a traditional class setting. As you move up toward the newer generations however, the situation changes. The reading pattern is not linear anymore, the learning is blended, books are abruptly loosing importance and the all mighty Internet gains more and more acceptance… Continue reading
Tags: contemplation · generational learning · internet · media · prayer · shallow
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
Tags: agios · akathist · canon · Egypt · eikos · English · Holy · kontakion · martyr · Menas · Minas · oikos · prayer · saint · wonderworker
Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, from William Shakespeare’s synonymous play, starting with the memorable phrase “To be or not to be, that is the question”, is a reflection that profoundly resonates with the Eastern Orthodox theology. Let me explain this.
Tags: God · hesychasm · knowledge · orthodox · prayer · reason
I always liked this dialogue from the movie Pulp Fiction (slightly adapted for language):
"Don't you hate that?"
"Uncomfortable silences. Why do we feel it's necessary to yak about nonsense? In order to be comfortable?"
"I don't know. That's a good question."
"That's when you know you found somebody really special, when you can just shut […] up for a minute. Comfortably share silence."
Tags: heart · mind · nous · prayer · silence · uncomfortable
If you ask anyone in church about prayer they will most likely us a descriptor like: a pleasant experience, a conversation with God, a link with the absolute or other general terms, all positive in nature. Things are different however when, during Confession, a Father Confessor asks the same question. He will most likely hear more about lack of time, loss of focus, procrastination and struggle in general. The truth is that prayer is easier said than done.
Tags: desert fathers · orthodox · prayer · struggle
O gladsome light of holy glory, of the immortal Father, heavenly and holy, blessed Jesus Christ; now that we have come to the setting of the sun, and see the light of evening: we praise Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God. It is worthy at all times to praise You, with voices of joy, Son of God and Giver of life: therefore, the world does glorify You… Continue reading
Tags: fos · gladsome · hymn · ilaron · light · prayer
Family or Group Prayer
Leader: May the grace or our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.
All: And with your Spirit.
All: You have given us grace at this time to offer You a common prayer together and have promised that when two or three are gathered together in Your name, that You will grant their requests; fulfill, Lord, the prayers of Your servants, which are for our welfare, grant us the knowledge of Your truth in this world and life everlasting in the world to come. Amen.
(At this point you may add your own private prayers and intercessions, using your own words or some of the prayers… Continue reading
Tags: christian · family · orthodox · prayer