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Friday, April 27, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Where I Found The Inner Strength To Blog Daily For All Eight Weeks Of Great And Holy Lent

When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting.

Saint Jerome, Letter to Paulinus

Monday, April 23, 2012

Some People Slay Their Passions, Others Are Slain By Their Passions

So, which one are you ?

It cannot be a mere coincidence that Easter, the Feast of Christ's victory over death, falls so close to that of the Great and Holy Martyr George, the Victory-Bearer...

Though one may defeat a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest conqueror, who overcomes himself.

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, The Dhammapada,
Eighth Chapter, Fourth Stanza

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Doubting Thomas

More information on this topic can be found here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What I Want For Easter

( You may wish to turn up the volume on your computer ).

You can't always get what you want...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

King Solomon on Christ's Resurrection

The Apocrypha couldn't possibly be inspired... right ?

Wisdom 5:1 Then shall the righteous man stand in great boldness before the face of such as have afflicted him, and made no account of his labours. 2 When they see it, they shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the strangeness of his salvation, so far beyond all that they looked for. 3 And they repenting and groaning for anguish of spirit shall say within themselves: This was he, whom we had sometimes in derision, and a proverb of reproach: 4 We fools accounted his life madness, and his end to be without honour: 5 How he is numbered among the children of God, and his lot is among the saints! 6 Therefore we have erred from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness hath not shined unto us, and the sun of righteousness rose not upon us.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Apocrypha Couldn't Possibly Be Inspired... Could It ?

Wisdom 2:1 The ungodly said, reasoning with themselves, but not aright: 12 Let us lie in wait for the righteous; because he is not for our turn, and he is clean contrary to our doings: he upbraideth us with our offending the law, and objecteth to our infamy the transgressings of our education. 13 He professeth to have the knowledge of God: and he calleth himself the child of the Lord. 14 He was made to reprove our thoughts. 15 He is grievous unto us even to behold: for his life is not like other men's, his ways are of another fashion. 16 We are esteemed of him as counterfeits: he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness: he pronounceth the end of the just to be blessed, and maketh his boast that God is his father. 17 Let us see if his words be true: and let us prove what shall happen in the end of him. 18 For if the just man be the son of God, he will help him, and deliver him from the hand of his enemies. 19 Let us examine him with despitefulness and torture, that we may know his meekness, and prove his patience. 20 Let us condemn him with a shameful death: for by his own saying he shall be respected.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

If You Thought That Giving Up Meat For Forty Days Was Hard Enough...

( You may wish to turn up the volume on your computer ).

...just think for a moment about what kind of sacrifices other people have to make, not just for Lent, but for their entire life-time...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Man Who Experienced Transfigured Eros And Saw The Uncreated Light

Elder Paisios once told me the following story:

A Greek-American doctor had once visited me. He was Orthodox, but didn’t have too much to do with religion. He didn’t even keep the fast on Fridays, nor did he go to Church very often. He recently had an experience, and wanted to discuss it with someone.

One evening, while he was praying in his apartment, the “heavens opened up”. He was flooded by light, and the ceiling disappeared, as did the other forty floors above his apartment. He remained in that flood of light for a very long time – he couldn’t even tell for how long!

I stood amazed! I could feel and understand that this incident was “from God”. It was real. He had actually seen the “uncreated light”.

What had he done in his lifetime? How did he live to deserve such divine things?

He was married; he had a wife and children. His wife had said to him: “I’m sick and tired of housework; I want to be able to go out for a walk every now and then.”

Well, she wasn’t exactly employed, so she started to go out with her girlfriends and pressured him into accompanying her every night on her outings. After a while, she said: “I want to be able to go out with my girlfriends, alone.” He accepted this, for his children’s sake. Later, she wanted to go on vacation by herself. What could he do? He gave her money and the car.

She then asked him to rent out an apartment, so that she could live on her own; she would also invite her friends over. He would speak to her, he would counsel her, "How do our children feel about all this?" She was adamant. In the end, she extracted a large sum of money from him and deserted him. She felt too confined!

A few years later, he learnt that she had ended up a prostitute in the clubs of Piraeus!

He was distraught! He lamented over her fate! He thought of looking for her, but what would he tell her?

He knelt down to pray: “My God, help me, tell me what to say, what to do, to save this soul." You see, he was hurting for her. He wanted “that soul to be saved”. No male ego, no vindictiveness, no contempt. He truly hurt inside, seeing her wretched state. He ached for her salvation.

That was the moment when God opened up the heavens and flooded him with His light

Thursday, April 5, 2012

On Transfigured States Of Eros

The island of refuge, standing midway between true love and engodment.

A sublime and partly-dispassioned admixture of eros and kenosis, as deep, and strong, and powerful as parental love, but with the romantic component still intact.

Even as the light of all the stars of the night-sky put together cannot match the brightness of the moon, so can true love ( for a woman ) not be compared to this mystical state.

But, just as the mid-day Sun shining in all its splendor on the sky completely obliterates the radiance of the moon and all night-stars, making them wholly invisible to the naked eye, so does the beauty of engodment, with its two-edged sword of agape and dispassion, render even this transcendent state obsolete.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Do NOT Try To Limit God, Or His Creativity !

Nine great masters,
carpenters and masons,
with Manole, ten,
who surpasses them...

So reads the second stanza of the age-old Romanian ballad Master Manole, a master-piece of local folklore... According to legend, the Black King commissioned him and his fellow craftsmen with the task of erecting the most beautiful monastery on earth. When they were done building the edifice, while they were still up on the roof, finishing the last touches, the King approached them once again, asking them if they were capable of constructing yet another church, even more magnificent than the first one. When they joyfully answered in the affirmative, he commanded that the stairs be removed, trapping them all on the roof. Desperately, they fashioned wings of wood, seeking to fly down and land on the ground, but only fell to their dreadful death instead...

Just like the Black King himself, we also tend -perhaps either unknowingly or unwillingly- to limit God and His creativity, conveniently forgetting that it is He Who brought everything from non-being into being, by crafting all that exists with unlimited imagination. It is as if -all of a sudden- we simply lose faith in His infinite potential as Maker and Architect, believing -as it were- that He has somehow exhausted all of His mental resources, and is now unable to show us anything new, contrary to the words of the divinely-inspired Apostle Paul, who wrote in his First Letter to the Corinthians that "what eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, these are the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him ".

To be more specific: we think that romantic and/or parental love are the highest summit and ultimate epitome of all human experience, than which nothing better can be imagined. This is simply not true.

We Can't Just Pick And Choose: When The Passions Go Down, They All Go Down Together

Which means that there's just no way to salvage the eros from its impending doom, I'm afraid...