Friday after Pentecost. “Common” is the Root of “Community”

And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. Acts 2:43-45 In the Old Testament, we were introduced to the concept of the tithe, which is that ten percent of everything a person had was given to the temple, in

Faith as Participation

Many scholars over the years have pointed out that what is usually translated in Paul’s letters as “faith in Christ” would be more accurately translated as “the faith of Christ.” It’s more than a change of prepositions. It means we are all participating in the faith journey that Jesus has already walked. We are forever carried inside of the “Corporate Personality” that Jesus always is for Paul (citations too numerous to count!). That’s a very

The Twenty-Ninth Day of Christmas Advent. The Glory of the Lord

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were filled with fear. -Luke 2:9 Have you ever thought about the word glory? Have you ever wondered what “the glory of the Lord” might look like? In Exodus 33: 18-23, God shows His glory to Moses: Moses said, “I pray Thee, show me Thy glory.” And He [God] said, “I will make all my

Prayer for Universal Salvation (Part II)

It is true, as we have said, that the Church condemned Origenism, the certainty that all people, even the fallen angels, will ultimately be reconciled in a ‘universal restitution’, an apocatastasis of both nature and persons. Such a conviction actually conflicts with the stern warnings uttered by Christ in the first three Gospels, and belittles the irreducible mystery of our freedom; in asserting that evil will eventually die of exhaustion, because God alone is infinite,

Contemplation as a Path of Healing (Part I)

Contemplation as a Path of Healing A person can’t be healed within simply through discipline. Dealing with thoughts, along with concrete exercises, helps to calm the passions and make the soul healthy. But it takes contemplation to actually achieve that health. That was the monks’ experience, and that is how Evagrius Ponticus described it. Contemplation is pure prayer, prayer without respite, praying beyond thoughts and feelings, praying as oneness with God. Evagrius never tires of

Let Us Discern Between the Living and the Dead

Today, many historical forms of Christianity are dead or dying. Trying to preserve them through blind conservatism can lead only to the creation of malicious and distrustful ghettos which idolize formalism, or to “fascist” adventures that lead nowhere. On the contrary, we must trust in the “newness of the Spirit,” who will transform this death into resurrection. New approaches are already developing, approaches which rediscover and develop the deepest intuitions of thinkers such as Gregory

Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen! The Fourth Thursday of Pascha: The Descent of Jesus into Hades (Part III)

By Father Thomas Hopko Even on the Russian Orthodox crosses, by the way, there is a little inscription at the foot of Jesus’ feet on the cross, in four Slavonic letters, M, L, R, and B, in Slavonic, which translated means, “The place of the skull (or Golgotha) has become Paradise.” So the bosom of Abraham had to be transformed into Paradise, into a living reality again, with interrelationship with all of creation—the sun, the

To Live the Question (Part II)

To Live the Question (Part II) His own personal experience taught Merton that solitude not only deepens our affection for others but also is the place where real community becomes possible. Although Merton himself lived as a monk first in a monastic community and later in a hermitage, it is clear from this and other writings that what really counts for him is not the physical solitude but the solitude of the heart. Without the


The Orthodox doctrine of theosis, according to John Paul II, is perhaps the greatest gift of the Eastern Church to the West, but one that has largely been ignored or even denied. [1] The Eastern fathers of the Church believed that we could experience real and transformative union with God. This is in fact the supreme goal of human life and the very meaning of salvation–not only later, but now and later. Theosis refers to

Keeping our Faces in a Facebook World (Part II)

By Father Lawrence Farley  The truth is that real communication and authentic communion with another always involves face to face encounter—that is why there is so much hugging at airports when people are physically reunited after being separated for a time.  Did those people who greet each other at the airport not keep in touch by Facebook while they were gone?  Did they not phone each other?  Did they not exchange e-mails?  I’ll bet they