St John of Damascus: Have You Been Schooled by the Compassionate One?

Feast of the Holy Martyrs Menas, Hermogenes & Eugraphus

John_Damascene_Square_5.jpegMAN SUCCUMBED to the assault of the demon, the author of evil; he failed to keep the Creator’s commandment and was stripped of grace and deprived of that familiarity which he had enjoyed with God; he was clothed with the roughness of his wretched life—for this is what the fig leaves signify—and put on death, that is what the garment of... Continue Reading

St John of Damascus: Are You Deified by the Lord & Giver of Life?

Feast of Hannah the Righteous, Mother of Samuel the Prophet and the Conception by St Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos

John_Damascene_Square_4.jpegWE LIKEWISE believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and abides in the Son; who is adored and glorified together with the Father and the Son as consubstantial and co-eternal with Them; who is the true and authoritative Spirit of... Continue Reading

St John of Damascus: Do You Know the Brightness of the Father?

Feast of St Patapius the Righteous of Thebes and the Forefeast of the Conception by St Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos

John_Damascene_Square_3.jpegTHE HOLY Catholic and Apostolic Church teaches that the Father exists simultaneously with His only-begotten Son, who is begotten of Him without time or change or passion and in a manner beyond understanding, as only the God of all knows. They exist simultaneously, as does the fire with... Continue Reading

St John of Damascus: What Do You Confess?

Feast of St Ambrose

John_Damascene_Square_2.jpgNOW, WE both know and confess that God is without beginning and without end, everlasting and eternal, uncreated, unchangeable, inalterable, simple, uncompounded, incorporeal, invisible, impalpable, uncircumscribed, unlimited, incomprehensible, uncontained, unfathomable, good, just, the maker of all created things, all-powerful, all-ruling, all-seeing, the provider, the sovereign, and the judge of all. We furthermore know and confess that God is one, that is to say, one substance, and... Continue Reading

St Francis of Assisi: Are You Enlightened to Know Our Father?

Feast of St Sabbas the Sanctified and the Holy Martyr Diogenes

Francis_Square.jpgOUR FATHER, our most blessed, most holy Creator, our Savior and our Comforter; who art in heaven, in the angels, in the saints, enlightening them to know Thee; because Thou, O Lord, art the light that inflames them by Thy divine love; because Thou, O Lord, art the love which is in them and fills them to render them... Continue Reading

Tomas Spidlik: Is Your Life in Harmony with the Lord's Prayer?

Feast of St John of Damascus, the Patron Saint of Eighth Day Institute, and St Barbara the Great Martyr

Spidlik_Square_2.jpgCONSCIOUS OF the sublime dignity of being able to pray in this manner, the spiritual writers insist above all on the moral purity of the person who wishes to address God as Father. “Before we approach God,” Gregory of Nyssa advises, “we should first examine our life, whether we have something... Continue Reading

Tomas Spidlik: Is Your Life Marked by Prayer to the Father?

Feast of the Holy Prophet Zephaniah

Spidlik_Square.jpgPRAYER IS an ascent of the spirit to God, a request addressed to God, a dialogue with God. Only with a person can we converse. Unlike systems of philosophy, a living religion has a personal view of the deity, a certain concept of the divine “fatherhood”, known from experience. This dimension is very explicit in Scripture, which is the revelation of a God who... Continue Reading

Origen: Do You Pray to the Father through Jesus Christ?

Feast of St Habakkuk the Prophet

Origen_Square.jpgNOW IF WE observe the proper nature of prayer we should not pray to any begotten being, not even to Christ Himself, but only to God the Father of all, to whom even our Savior Himself prayed, as we have already recorded, and to whom He teaches us to pray. For when He heard: “Teach us to pray” (Lk. 11.1), He does not teach... Continue Reading

St Cyprian of Carthage: Do You Pray as He Taught?

Feast of St Nahum the Prophet

Cyprian_Square_3.jpegTHE INSTRUCTIONS of the Gospel, dearest brothers, are nothing other than divine commands, foundations on which hope is built, buttresses by which faith is strengthened, food by which the heart is fed, directions by which our journey is guided, bulwarks by which salvation is attained. While they instruct the minds of those who are learning the faith on earth they are leading us to... Continue Reading

Tertullian: Have You Discerned the Whole Gospel in the Lord's Prayer?

Feast of St Andrew the First-Called Apostle

Tertullian_Square.jpegTHE SPIRIT of God and the Word of God and the reason of God, the Word of reason and the reason of the Word, both of which are spirit, namely Jesus Christ our Lord, marked out for His new disciples of the new covenant a new form of prayer. It was fitting that, in this instance likewise, new wine should be stored in... Continue Reading

St John Chrysostom: Do You Worship God in Every Place?

Feast of St Stephen the New

John_Chrysostom_square_3.jpgPRIEST: IT is meet and right to hymn Thee, to bless Thee, to praise Thee, to give thanks unto Thee, and to worship Thee in every place of Thy dominion: for Thou art God ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever existing and eternally the same, Thou and Thine Only-begotten Son and Thy Holy Spirit. Thou it was who didst bring us from non-existence into being, and... Continue Reading

St Augustine of Hippo: Is Your Will Twisted Away from the Highest Substance?

Feast of St James the Great Martyr of Persia

Augustine_Square_2.jpgI TURNED my gaze on other things. I saw that to you they owe their existence, and that in you all things are finite, not in the sense that the space they occupy is bounded but in the sense that you hold all things in your hand by your truth. So all things are real insofar as they have being, and the... Continue Reading

St Augustine of Hippo: Have You Rejected Your Own Will & Desired God's?

Feast of St Alypius the Stylite of Adrianopolis

Augustine_Square.jpg“O LORD I am your servant, I am your servant and the son of your handmaid. You have snapped my chains. I will sacrifice to you the offering of praise” (Ps. 115.16-17). Let my heart praise you and my tongue, and “let all my bones say, ‘Lord who is like you?’” (Ps. 34.10). Let them speak, answer me, and say to my soul... Continue Reading

Fr Thomas Hopko: Are You Seeking First the Kingdom of God?

Feast of St Catherine the Great Martyr of Alexandria

Herman_Square.jpegAMERICAN Christianity desperately needs the witness of Saint Herman of Alaska, for the American way of life is so radically opposed in so many ways to the life of this man and the Lord Jesus whom he served. Power, possessions, profits, pleasures: these are the things that Americans are known for. These are the things in which we take pride. And,... Continue Reading

St Basil the Great: Are You Bringing Before Your Eyes the Judgment Seat of Christ?

Feast of Our Holy Father Clement, Pope of Rome

Basil_Square.jpgIT WAS MY intention to give you a respite from the works of injustice and to grant some leisure to your thoughts, so that you might carefully consider to what end your pursuit of material things has led you. You have acres and acres of arable land: fields and orchards, mountains and dells, rivers and springs. But what comes after this? Is... Continue Reading

St Ephraim the Syrian: Are You Singing Unto Christ a Song of Thanks?

Feast of St Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium

Ephraim_Square_3.jpegMAY THY COMPASSION be praised, O Christ our King, O Son of god worshiped by all! Thou art our King, Thou art our God, Thou art the author of our life and our great hope.

With one soul do both the heavenly hosts and the ranks below praise Thee and sing unto Thee a song of thanks, for Thou Who was concealed hast... Continue Reading

Abba Isaac: Have You Learned to Work in Silence?

Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

Desert_Hermits_Square_3.jpegABBA ISAAC said, “When I was younger, I lived with Abba Cronius. He would never tell me to do any work, although he was old and tremulous; but he himself got up and offered food to me and to everyone. Then I lived with Abba Theodora of Pherme and he did not tell me to do anything either, but he... Continue Reading

Abba Isidore of Pelusia: Are You Doing Good by Your Silence?

Feast of St Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople

Desert_Father_Square_5.jpegABBA ISIDORE of Pelusia said, “To live without speaking is better than to speak without living. For the former who lives rightly does good even by his silence but the latter does no good even when he speaks. When words and life correspond to one another they are together the whole of philosophy.”

—Abba Isidore of Pelusia, Sayings of the Desert... Continue Reading

Amma Theodora: Is Your Heart Turned Toward God?

Feast of the Holy Prophet Obadiah

Amma-Syncletia_Square.pngTHE SAME Amma was asked about the conversations one hears: “If one is habitually listening to secular speech, how can one yet live for God alone, as you suggest?”

She said, “Just as when you are sitting at table and there are many courses, you take some but without pleasure, so when secular conversations come your way, have your heart turned towards God, and... Continue Reading

Abba Theophilus the Archbishop: Are You Edified by Silence?

Feast of St Plato the Great Martyr of Ancyra

Desert_Fathers_Square_6.jpegTHE SAME Abba Theophilus, the archbishop, came to Scetis one day. The brethren who were assembled said to Abba Pambo, “Say something to the archbishop, so that he may be edified.” The old man said to them, “If he is not edified by my silence, he will not be edified by my speech.”

—Abba Theophilus the Archbishop, Sayings of... Continue Reading