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The Heavenly Kingdom

The Heavenly Kingdom is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. We need to humble our hearts, which take insults so deeply and also our so-called dignity, for we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven in pride, as when we take to heart each slander our neighbor casts. We must accept our lessons from everyday life, for each day brings us cares, worries, and insults. We must learn not to take insults to heart, for

Gifts and Talents and the Road to Hell

By Father Stephen Freeman, January 19, 2015 At some point in my past, there was a survey used in parishes that was all the rage. It was a “gifts and talents” survey, designed to make everyone in the parish find their true ministry and to work together in fulfillment of St. Paul’s description of the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians. The key in these surveys was to determine precisely what gifts and talents someone

Jesus: Forgiving Victim

It seems we always find some way to avoid the transformation of our pain. There’s the way of fight. Fighters are looking for the evil, the sinner, the unjust one, the oppressor, the bad person “over there.” He or she “righteously” attacks, hates, or even kills the wrong-doer, while feeling heroic for doing so (see John 16:2). Philosopher René Girard sees this tendency to scapegoat others as the central story line of human history. Why?

Being Unconditional Witnesses

Being Unconditional Witnesses Good news becomes bad news when it is announced without peace and joy. Anyone who proclaims the forgiving and healing love of Jesus with a bitter heart is a false witness. Jesus is the savior of the world. We are not. We are called to witness, always with our lives and sometimes with our words, to the great things God has done for us. But this witness must come from a heart

CAN THE PRACTICE OF CONTEMPLATION HELP WITH FORGIVENESS?

The practice of contemplation, especially a maturing practice, gives great insight into one of life’s great mysteries: the mystery of how to forgive and what forgiveness means and does not mean. Because sitting in stillness on a regular basis gives us plenty of opportunity to look into our thoughts, we soon come to see that we often make a category error when it comes to forgiveness. Many people who think they are struggling to forgive

Tuesday of the 4th Week of Pascha. Don’t Worry About the Other Guy!

Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to His breast at the supper and had said, ”Lord, who is it that is going to betray You?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ”Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” The saying spread abroad among the

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent. The Greatest Example of Forgiveness!

And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:33-34 (From the Eighth Gospel of Holy Thursday Evening) In Matthew 18:23-35, Jesus tells us a parable about an unforgiving servant. A man owed his king more money than he could ever pay.

Tuesday of Meat-Fare. What Goes Around Comes Around

Jesus said, ”For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6: 14-15 (Gospel on Cheese-fare Sunday) No, we don’t believe in karma, but the Lord teaches us that where forgiveness is concerned, there is definitely a “what goes around comes around” element as it relates to the Lord and our practice of

REAL PEACE (Part IV)

I mentioned that contemporary people do not believe in the reality of demons, which according to Fr. Maximos is the greatest achievement of the devil today, that he has convinced most of the world that he does not exist. As a rule, academics would dismiss such stories as taking place in people’s imaginations, without any basis in objective reality. But the experiences of the saints throughout history are filled with demonic possession and exorcisms. In

Becoming a Missionary without Speaking

Becoming a Missionary without Speaking “My dear man I am envious of you, I envy you. You can become the greatest missionary in the Monastery without speaking at all. You will pray for everyone in silence. You will pray for the whole Church, for the clergy, and for the Monks. Our Church is undergoing a crisis today. “Above all pray for your spiritual family.” “Leave your heart completely open to Christ, filled with love, and