St Justin Martyr: Are You Choosing What Is Pleasing To God?

Holy Tuesday and Feast of St Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow & Enlightener of North America

Justin_Martyr_Square.jpgAND WE HAVE been taught, and are persuaded, and believe that He accepts only those who imitate the good things which are in Him, temperance and righteousness and well-doing, and whatsoever else truly belongs to God who is called by no given name. And we have been taught that in the beginning He of His... Continue Reading


St Clement of Rome: Do You Belittle Your Salvation?

Holy Monday and Feast of St Eutychius, Patriarch of Constantinople

Clement_Rome_orange_Square.jpgBROTHERS, WE ought to think of Jesus Christ, as we do of God, as “Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10.42; cf. 1 Pet. 4.5). And we ought not to belittle our salvation, for when we belittle him, we also hope to receive but little. And those who listen as though these are small matters do wrong, and... Continue Reading


St Gregory Palamas: Are You Holding Firmly to the Gospel?

Feast of St George the Righteous of Maleon

Gregory_Palamas_Square.jpgOUR SOUL IS like a lamp with good works for oil. Instead of a wick it holds love, upon which rests, not light, but the grace of the divine Spirit. When the oil of good works fails, the wick of love in the soul must grow cold. So the light of God’s care and love departs from those who leave virtue and... Continue Reading


St Symeon the New Theologian: Have You Tasted the Glory?

Feast of St Joseph the Hymnographer

Symeon_New_Square.jpgTHE REMEMBRANCE of Christ brings light to one’s mind and drives away the demons, and the light of the Holy Trinity which shines in a pure heart lifts it away from the whole world. When a man participates in this, though he is still on earth, he has a taste of the glory to come, at least in so far as he can,... Continue Reading


St Ambrose: How Frequently Are You Praying?

Feast of St Titus the Wonderworker

Ambrose_Square.jpgLET FREQUENT prayer also commend us to God. For if the prophet who was preoccupied with the demands of his kingdom said: “Seven times a day I have praised you” (Ps. 119.164), what does it behoove us to do, who read: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Matt. 26.41)? Solemn prayers with thanksgiving should certainly be made when we arise from sleep,... Continue Reading


St Macarius of Egypt: Does Your Soul Seek the Salt of Life?

Feast of St Mary of Egypt

Macarius_Square.jpgEVERY SOUL NOT seasoned with the Holy Spirit and made a participator of the heavenly salt, which is the power of God, grows corrupt and is filled with the stench and fetidness of bad thoughts so that the countenance of God turns away from the awful stench of vain and dark thoughts and from the disorderly affections that dwell in such a soul.... Continue Reading


St Photius: Have You Preserved Your Bridal Condition Unsoiled?

Feast of St Innocent, Enlightener of Siberia & Alaska

Photius_square.jpgAS MANY OF us as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ and have become members of Christ; for we have learnt from the divine Paul's teaching that our bodies are members of Christ. What then of us? Have we preserved our bridal condition unsoiled, not letting it be polluted by any evil? Have we maintained our earnest of... Continue Reading


St John of Kronstadt: To What End Do You Fast?

Feast of St John Climacus

John_of_Kronstadt_square.jpgTO WHAT END do fasting and penitence lead? For what purpose is this trouble taken? They lead us to the cleansing of the soul from sins, to peace of heart, to union with God; they fill us with devotion and sonship, and give us boldness before God. There are, indeed, very important reasons for fasting and for confession from the whole heart. There shall be... Continue Reading


Fr Dumitru Staniloae: Are You Cleansing Passions So You Can Pray?

Feast of Hilarion the New

Staniloae_Square.jpgUNION WITH GOD can only be reached by pure prayer. “The virtue of prayer brings about the mystery of our union with God,” says St. Gregory Palamas, “because prayer is the tie of rational creatures with the Creator.” Before attaining the state of pure prayer, man must be cleansed of the passions. But cleansing from the passions is one with the growth of the love... Continue Reading


St John Cassian: Are You Ascending to the Perfection of Love?

Feast of the Holy Matrona of Thessalonica

Cassian_Square.jpgIT IS CLEARLY proved that perfection is not immediately arrived at by being stripped and deprived of all one’s wealth or by giving up one’s honors, unless there is that love whose elements the Apostle describes, which consists in purity of heart alone. For what else does it mean not to be envious, not to be boastful, not to be angry, not to... Continue Reading


Evagrius of Pontus: Are You Refusing the Feast?

Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel

Evagrius_Square.jpgALL THE IMPURE thoughts that linger within us on account of the passions bring the mind down to “ruin and destruction” (1 Tim 6.9). For just as the mental representation of bread lingers with the hungry person on account of the hunger, and the mental representation of water in the thirsty person because of the thirst, so too the mental representations of wealth and possessions... Continue Reading


St Nektarios: Are You Eager to Work and to Attain Perfection?

Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos

Nektarios_square.jpgTAKE AWAY FROM me, O Virgin, the fetters of sin, of my lusts and the other transgressions: the terrible carelessness and the overcaring, the evil curiosity and the talkativeness, the useless incontinence and the haughtiness, the negligence, the drunkenness and the lack of mercy, the bad desires, the terrible impurity, the extravagance, the darkness, the great insensitivity. Take away the tendency to... Continue Reading


St Andrew of Crete: Are You Offering Tears of Repentance?

Forefeast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos

Andrew_of_Crete_Square.jpgHE IS FOR ME unto salvation Helper and Protector. He is my God and I glorify Him, God of my fathers is He and I exalt Him, for He is greatly glorified.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Where shall I begin to weep for the actions of my wretched life? What first-fruit shall I offer, O Christ, in... Continue Reading


St Dorotheus of Gaza: Have You Banished Your Passions?

Feast of the Holy Righteous Martyr Nicon and His 199 Disciples

dorotheos_Square.jpgIN HIS LOVING-kindness God has given us purifying commandments so that, if we wish, we can by their observance be cleansed not only of sins but also of passions themselves. For passions are one thing and sins another. Passions are: anger, vanity, love of pleasures, hatred, evil lust and the like. Sins are the actual operation of passions, when... Continue Reading


St Augustine of Hippo: Do You Seek the Society of Saints & Angels?

Feast of St James the Confessor

Augustine_Square.jpgTWO CITIES HAVE been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord. For the one seeks glory from men; but the greatest glory of the other is God, the... Continue Reading


Paul Evdokimov: How Are You Making Your Work a Priestly Action?

Feast of St Cuthbert the Wonderworker, Bishop of Lindisfarne

Evdokimov_Square.jpg“TO BRING THE earth into submission” means to make it the temple of God. To consecrate the world is to make it pass from a demonic state to its nature as a creature conscious of God. No form of life or culture escapes the universal reach of the Incarnation. The image of all perfection, Christ took on the priesthood and the... Continue Reading


Fr Matthew Baker: What Glory Will You Bring into the Holy City?

Feast of the Holy Martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria

Matthew_Baker_Square.jpgTHE CITY OF Cain, the kingdom of Satan, cannot stand (Mt. 12:25-26). But neither is our end to be found in a flight from history, an escape from the city. For if the story of Scripture, which is our story, began with a garden, we know that it will end, not with a garden, but with a city: even the holy city, the new Jerusalem, “coming down out of heaven... Continue Reading


Fr Georges Florovsky: For What Purpose Has God Created You?

Feast of St Cyril, Patriarch of Jerusalem

Florovsky_Square.jpgWE NEED A theology of culture, even for our “practical” decisions. No real decision can be made in the dark. The dogma of Creation, with everything that it implies, was dangerously obscured in the consciousness of modern Christians, and the concept of Providence, i.e. of the perennial concern of the Creator with the destiny of His Creation, was actually reduced to something utterly... Continue Reading


St Patrick of Ireland: How Many Prayers Do You Pray?

Feast of St Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland

Burley_Patrick_Square.jpgBUT AFTER I came to Ireland—every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed—the love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. And my spirit was moved so that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many in the night,... Continue Reading


Fr Hans Urs von Balthasar: Are You Building Islands of Humanity?

Feast of the Martyr Sabinus of Egypt

Balthasar_Square.jpgCULTURE IS A loosely-knit word. Originally it meant the cultivation of the soil, as mentioned in Genesis: to make nature’s wilderness humanly habitable, to put the imprint of man upon it. During certain cultural epochs this enterprise may have succeeded to a degree; let us remember the Georgics by Virgil. But what can be done amid this want of culture wrought by the... Continue Reading