Remain in Me

Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. –John 15:4-5 The motivation, meaning, and inherent energy of any action come from its ultimate source, which is a person’s foundational and core vantage point. What is his or her real and honest motivation?

The Cell, Meeting God and Ourselves (Part V)

The Cell as a Place of Transformation and Salvation The cell is a deeply personal place, a place to be solely with God. It is a place where the monk can pray “before God’s eyes alone” and not with the added perspective of other people. [20] Jesus’ life was filled with times for personal prayer away from both the crowds and those who were closest to him. He exhorted his followers to enter their own

The Cell, Meeting God and Ourselves (Part IV)

The cell is a battleground where the monk is confronted with the desires and passions that deface his or her inmost self. It can be a terrifyingly vulnerable venue for naming the ego as the self-imposed ruler of the mind. The ego sets itself apart from God and the world in order to maintain its control over its self-created identity, desires, and needs. The ego knows it is limited by time and space, and this

The Monastic Fathers

Nowadays the monastic fathers could show us a way out of the superficial debates about the structure of the church or the exhaustion of spirituality. They invite us onto the path of longing. The longing for God sends us off through all obstacles on the chase for the hare, for oneness with God, for the coming of Jesus Christ, “who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21). The striving


If we could glimpse the panoramic view of the biblical revelation and the Big Picture that we’re a part of, we’d see how God is forever evolving human consciousness, making us ever more ready for God. The Jewish prophets and many Catholic and Sufi mystics used words like espousal, marriage, or bride and groom to describe this phenomenon. That’s what the prophet Isaiah (61:10, 62:5), many of the Psalms, the school of Paul (Ephesians 5:25-32),

Jesus: Transformative Icon of God

Jesus’ entire journey told people two major things: that life could have a positive story line, and that God was far different and far better than we ever thought. He did not just give us textbook answers from a distance, but personally walked through the process of being both rejected and forgiving, and then said, “Follow me.” The significance of Jesus’ wounded body is his deliberate and conscious holding of the pain of the world

Losing is Winning

We don’t come to God by doing it right. Please believe me on this. We come to God by doing it wrong. Any guide of souls knows this to be true. If we come to God by being perfect, no one is going to come to God. This absolutely levels the playing field. Our failures open our hearts of stone and move the rigid mind space toward understanding and patience. It is in doing it

The Desert Fathers and Mothers

The men and women who fled to the desert emphasized lifestyle practice, an alternative to empire and its economy, psychologically astute methods of prayer, and a very simple (some would say naïve) spirituality of transformation into Christ. The desert communities grew out of informal gatherings of monastic monks, functioning much like families. A good number also became hermits to mine the deep mystery of their inner experience. This movement paralleled the monastic pattern in Hinduism

The Sixth Tuesday after Pascha, Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen! Stand Fast and Watch! (Part I)

By Saint John Maximovitch of San Francisco and Shanghai Stand fast on spiritual watch, because you don’t know when the Lord will call you to Himself. In your earthly life be ready at any moment to give Him an account. Beware that the enemy does not catch you in his nets, that he not deceive you causing you to fall into temptation. Daily examine your conscience; try the purity of your thoughts, your intentions. There

Seeing the Forest for the Trees: The Meaning and Message of Forests and Trees in the Christian Tradition (Part V)

There are five instances in the New Testament in which “tree” is used for the cross on which Jesus was crucified: three in Acts (5:30, 10:39, 13:29), one in Galatians (3:13) and one in First Peter (2:24). Remarkably, each of these texts is a kerygmatic paradigm—that is to say, each is a unique divine moment filled by the Holy Spirit in which the Spirit-directed and empowered preaching of the Good News revealed the form and