The Thirty-Fifth Day of Christmas Advent. Would Have Been!

I LOVE THESE LINES IN ISAIAH; the sweetness of their assurance is absolute: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.   And my heart is broken by the verses that follow. O that you had hearkened to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; Your offspring would have been

The Cross. The Universal Pattern: Loss and Renewal

I believe that the Mystery of the Cross is saying that the pattern of transformation is always death transformed. Death and life are two sides of one coin, and you cannot have one without the other. The theological term for this classic pattern of descent and ascent was coined by Saint Augustine as “the paschal mystery.” We now proclaim it publicly at every Eucharist as “the mystery of faith.” But why? The pattern of down and up, loss and renewal,

Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen! Friday of the Fourth Week of Pascha. Sin is Not a Moral Problem

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 8, 2014 Many readers have never before heard that there is no such thing as moral progress – so I am not surprised that I have been asked to write in more depth on the topic. I will start by focusing on the question of sin itself. If we rightly understand the nature of sin and its true character, the notion of moral progress will be seen more clearly. I

Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen! Tuesday of the Second Week of Pascha: Through the Cross, Joy! (Part II)

This descent, this final and ultimate penetration into the realm of the dead, is accomplished once and for all. It frees patriarch, prophet, and king. But at the same time it frees us, liberating us from the consequences of death. The hand that reaches out to grasp the hands of Adam and Eve reaches out to embrace their descendants as well: every “Adam” who responds to His gesture with longing and with faith. We, like

The Great and Holy Wednesday. No More Debt

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 13, 2015 It is a situation that has become all too familiar: overwhelming debt that cannot be repaid. It is an image that the Scriptures know full well. But it is a situation that is easily seen from two sides – and only one of them belongs to God. The two sides are simple: the one who owes the debt and the one to whom the debt must be paid. And

Society: Compassion (Part II)

One of the most difficult problems faced in Christian life, and one that the desert monks experienced acutely, is the problem of our temptation to seek distance from the struggles of others, and to promote a sense of separation from the sins of the world around us. There is a certain passing resemblance to Christianity in doing so. Indeed, we certainly do not actively desire temptation for ourselves, nor do we approve of engaging in

he Purpose and Method of Christian Life (Part IX). Virtues (Part V): Humility

Balance, we have already noted, can only be attained through discretion and discernment. Yet, there is another key virtue that the monk must seek if he is going to walk the royal road according to the Conferences. This is the fifth and final virtue on our list, namely, humility, which, according to Abba Moses, is the foundational virtue lying beneath a Christian’s ability to practice discernment and discretion and thus, by extension, to live a

The World as Sacrament: The Theological and Spiritual Vision of Creation: His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (Part II)

Creation and the Virtue of Compassion On the sixth day of creation, God created man and woman in His divine image and likeness. Yet, what most people overlook is that the sixth day is not dedicated to the formation of Adam alone. That sixth day was shared with “living creatures of every kind; cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth.” (Gen. 1.24) This close connection between humanity and the rest of creation

Thursday of Cheese-fare. He Had to Become Like Us in Every Way

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered and been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted. Hebrews 2: 17-18 (Epistle on the Feast of the Annunciation-March 25) When mankind fell through the sin of Adam and

Lost Christian Language for Repairing the Person (Part II)

By Scott Cairns   The Mind in the Heart The more we read in the fathers and mothers across the early centuries of the Church, the more profoundly we come to recognize this formula, this admonition that we might find our prayer lives made fruitful by our descending with our “minds” into our “hearts.” This figure, then — of the lucid nous descended into the ready kardiá, of the mind pressed into the heart — articulates both the