9/11 and Grace

I do not set aside the grace of God. (Gal 2:21) Before being ordained a priest in 1984, I used to work for Bankers Trust in New York, next to the Twin Towers. At lunchtime I would often walk across the pedestrian bridge that connected the bank to the World Trade Center and get something to eat from the food court. The attack on 9/11 also wrecked the Bankers Trust building beyond repair so it’s

Be Ready

THEREFORE YOU ALSO MUST BE READY; FOR THE SON OF MAN IS COMING AT AN HOUR YOU DO NOT EXPECT. —MATTHEW 24:44 Sooner or later there arises in every human heart the desire for holiness, spirituality, God, call it what you will. One hears mystics speak of a divinity all around them that is within our grasp that would make our lives meaningful and beautiful and rich, if we could only discover it. People have

A Brief Meditation on Lent

All of us lead lives so filled with the demands of work and family that little time is left to us to cultivate the garden of our soul. In our preoccupation with the ceaseless business of life, our spirit, if not completely forgotten, is often sadly neglected. When we do find the time to look at ourselves honestly, we soon discover that the spirit of the world has gradually and imperceptibly eaten away at our

Forgive me. More Virtue, More Kindness Today.

Forgive me Have mercy on me, God, according to Your great mercy (Psalms 50:1). On my knees before You, CrucifiedLord, I beg for mercy, for this grace. I’ve sinned. Yet again I’ve fallen. I’ve done exactly the opposite of what Your holy will asked of me. I tasted sin. Its bitter, oppressive taste lingers on my lips. I am lost. I measure the height of Your holiness against the abyss of my corrupt existence, and

Members of One Another (Part X): The Spiritual Value of the Human Body

In St Silouan’s teaching concerning the bonds that unite us humans to the rest of creation, there are three points that I find particularly interesting: The Starets underlines the spiritual value of the human body. While he adopts a negative attitude towards the passions, he is fundamentally positive in his estimate of our human physicality. We are to hate, not our bodies as such, but the sinfulness that corrupts them. In its present fallen state

Surrender and Gratitude

The great commandment is not “Thou shalt be right.” Instead, the great commandment is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Just stay inside of the Great Compassion, the Great Stream, the Great River of Divine Love. Don’t push that river, just stay in it. You are already there! All that is needed is surrender and gratitude. Our job is simply to thank God for being part of it all and allow it to happen.

Monday of the Holy Spirit

On the day after every Great Feast, the Orthodox Church honors the one through whom the Feast is made possible. On the day following the Nativity of the Lord, for example, we celebrate the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos (December 26). On the day after Theophany, we commemorate St John the Baptist (January 7), and so on. Today we honor the all-Holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, Who descended upon the Apostles at Pentecost in

Why Are We Free?

In many ancient traditions, as still today in India, salvation is understood as dissolution into the vastness of the universe, re-absorption into an impersonal divinity; but the Fathers insist that humanity must ‘personalize’ the universe; not save itself by means of the universe, but save it by communicating grace to it. And all the while human beings must also humbly decipher the ‘Bible of the world’; they elevate themselves above all life in order to

St Mark the Ascetic

‘A Lover of Knowledge’ Today we celebrate the memory of the Holy Mark the Ascetic (5th c.), also known as St Mark the Monk. Although St Mark wrote some very important hesychastic treatises, which have been included in the Philokalia, little is known about his life. An ascetic and wonderworker, he was made a monk at the age of forty by his teacher, St John Chrysostom. Mark spent sixty more years in the Nitrian desert