Father Maximos on the Two Types of Faith

“The Fathers of the Church,” Fr. Maximos continued, “taught that there are two types of faith. The first is simply belief that there is a God as revealed in Holy Scripture. You must reach this stage in order to arrive at the second stage, which is the faith that we call theoria.” When I began my exploration of Eastern Orthodox spirituality, several years back, I was fascinated to notice the difference between the way science

Becoming Fathers and Mothers

Becoming Fathers and Mothers What are we going to do when we get home? When the two sons of the parable of the prodigal son both have returned to their father, what then? The answer is Simple: They have to become fathers themselves. Sons have to become fathers; daughters have to become mothers. Being children of God involves growing up and becoming like God. Jesus doesn’t hesitate to say this: “Be perfect as your heavenly

The Finest Exposition of the Bible is our Life

This God of the new creation is the God who is working today and who was at work in the original creation. And the Word into whose image we shall be transfigured is the same Word who presided over the birth of the universe and who unceasingly stirs up in us the birth of the ‘interior person’. This is the background against which the Fathers range any problem. At root it has the unity of

We are God’s Workshop

Reading the patristic texts is not always easy. And sometimes, at first sight, it seems disagreeable. The view of the physical world is rudimentary, simplistic. Some dissertations on the human faculties, on the five senses or on the structure of the body are deadly boring. Certain ‘genealogical trees’ of the virtues, certain ‘slotting-in games’ of the vices are even irritating. Certain notes on clothes and certain rules of behaviour are a nuisance or make us

Recapturing the Experiences of the Church’s Youth

From Abraham onwards, through many centuries, God has prepared the chosen people to receive the Messiah. Despite that, when the Messiah appeared, the greater part of the Jewish people rejected him.  In the Church of the Nations, that is to say, among the pagan peoples, the opposite happened. The soil that seemed to need more cultivation received the seed of the Gospel and brought forth the hundredfold. Already, in the middle of raging persecutions, Christianity

Every Believer is as ‘Amen’ who will become an ‘Alleluia’

I am what my father thought; I am what my mother prayed for. I am the labour of my forebears. I am their hopes, their sicknesses, their healings. I am their loves, their struggles, even their blasphemies and their sins. I am their dawns and sunsets, their pitiless winters, their thrilling spring times, their blazing summers, their tranquil autumns. I am their births and their deaths. Scientists at one time used to speak, perhaps they

Desert Fathers and Mothers and the Patristic Period

The desert Fathers and Mothers were honestly not referred to that much, because they just told little stories. These stories seemed like harmless anecdotes, and we wanted to go ahead with serious religion. But in the last 30 years, there’s been a rediscovery of the absolute simplicity of their message and the fact that it isn’t concerned about the issues that we’ve been concerned about in recent centuries. In fact, they’re usually concerned about the

The Search for the ‘Place of the Heart’: A Life-Giving Discipline

Our whole spiritual progress is a ‘search for the place of the heart’. Little by little, the conscious self frees itself from idols, strips away the dead layers and illusions, and ‘descends’, like Psyche holding a lighted lamp, into the dark crypt of the heart. Sanctuary, crypt and tomb become the bridal chamber; the ‘heart-spirit’ is remade in the fire of grace, it trembles with joy, it bursts into flames, the world and humanity are

Father Maximos on Logismoi and the Jesus Prayer

Fr. Maximos paused, waiting for another question. “I am puzzled by what the Fathers of the Ecclesia say about the Jesus Prayer,” Teresa commented. “They claim that when we pray, the mind, or nous, must be on the heart. I don’t understand what that means.” “I appreciate your puzzlement,” Fr. Maximos replied. “This is what the tradition of the Ecclesia teaches as noetic prayer or prayer of the heart. When the Fathers say that the