St Maximus the Confessor: Do You Love God?

Feast of Sts Athanasius & Cyril, Patriarchs of Alexandria

1. CHARITY is a good disposition of the soul, according to which one prefers no creature to the knowledge of God. It is impossible to attain a lasting possession of this charity if one has any attachments to earthly things.

2. Charity springs from the calm of detachment, detachment from hope in God, hope from patience and long-suffering; and these... Continue Reading

St Basil: O Human, What Should We Do with You?

Feast of St Basil the Great and the Circumcision of Christ

GOD IS upon earth. God is among human beings (cf. Bar. 3.38). He does not establish the Law by fire and trumpet and smoking mountain (cf. Ex. 20.18), nor by thick darkness and a gloom and a storm that frightens the soul of those who hear it (cf. Deut. 4.11; 5.22; Heb. 12.18-19). Instead, by means of a... Continue Reading

The Holy Fathers: Do You Sing of the Glory of the Fathers and Desire Salvation?

Feast of St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan

O COME you who love the festivals,
Come gather and sing the praises of the fair beauty of bishops,
The glory of the fathers,
The fountain of wonders and great protector of the faithful.
Let us all say: Rejoice, O guardian of the people of Myra,
Their head and honored counselor,
The pillar of the Church which cannot be shaken.
Rejoice, O light full of brightness
That makes the... Continue Reading

Fr. Thomas Hopko: Are You an Abode of Heaven Like Mary?

Feast of the Entrance of the Holy Theotokos into the Temple

IN THE Orthodox Church the Virgin Mary is the image of those who are being saved. If Jesus Christ is the Savior, Mary is, par excellence, the image of the saved. She is, in every aspect of her life, as Father Alexander Schmemann so often said, not the great exception, but rather the great example. From her conception... Continue Reading

Archimandrite Vasileios: Do You Honor the Fathers?

Feast of the Holy Great Martyr Demetrius the Myrrh-streamer

THE FATHERS of the Church are honored and known as the great luminaries who reveal to us liturgically that “the Light of Christ shines upon all” (Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts).

When you approach them, you find a spontaneous offering of the truth which sets free. You find life, honesty, confession, humility, the wealth of the spirit, the ascension of... Continue Reading

G. K. Chesterton: Do You Realize the Good News as New?

Feast of St Longinus the Centurion

IT IS NOT easy to regard the New Testament as a New Testament. It is not at all easy to realize the good news as new. Both for good and evil, familiarity fills us with assumptions and associations; and no man of our civilization, whatever he thinks of our religion, can really read the thing as if he had never heard... Continue Reading

Charles Williams: When Did the Historical Church Begin?

Feast of St Pelagia the Righteous

THE VISIBLE beginning of the Church is at Pentecost, but that is only a result of its actual beginning – and ending – in heaven. In fact, all the external world, as we know it, is always a result. Our causes are concealed, and mankind becomes to us a mass of contending unrelated effects. It is the effort to relate the effects conveniently... Continue Reading

St John of Damascus: Do You Have Ears to Hear that the Union of God & Humanity Comes from the Holy Spirit & the Virgin Mary?

Feast of the Nativity of the Holy Theotokos

TODAY STERILE gates are opened and a virginal, divine gate comes forth, from which and through which God (cf. Ez. 44.1-3), who is beyond all existing things, will enter ‘into the world’ (Heb. 1.6) ‘bodily’ (Col. 2.9), according to Paul who heard ineffable things (cf. 2 Cor. 12.4). Today a rod was begotten from the root of Jesse (cf. Is. 11.1),... Continue Reading

T. F. Torrance: Did You Know that When Christ Offered Himself He Offered You?

Feast of the Holy Martyr Agathonicus

CHRIST IS priest and oblation in one. Atonement is Christ’s self-offering (Heb. 7.27, 9.14, cf. 9.28). That unity of person and work, of priest and sacrifice in Him, means the final end of all ritual sacrificing (Heb. 9.12, 25-26, 10.12-14). This self-offering of Christ is through the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9.14) and is therefore eternal. It is once and for all (hapax and... Continue Reading

St Gregory Palamas: Do You Praise the Memory of the Just Mother of God?

Feast of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos

WORDS cannot attain to what is beyond speech, just as eyes cannot stare at the sun. But though it is impossible for us to tell of things surpassing words, we can, by the love of those we extol, sing their praises, and we may use words to pay our debt, and express our longing for the Mother of God in hymns... Continue Reading

St Macarius of Egypt: Are You Manfully Fighting Passions & Enduring Trials?

Feast of the Seven Holy Youths of Ephesus

IT IS THROUGH the renewing of the mind and the tranquility experienced in our thoughts and the love of the Lord and the love for heavenly things that every new creation of Christians distinguishes them from the men of this world. For this reason did the Lord come in order that he might deign to give these spiritual gifts to those... Continue Reading

St Macarius of Egypt: Are You a Source of Edification to All Everywhere?

Feast of the Glorious Prophet Elijah

THE TRUE foundation of prayer is this: to be very vigilant over thoughts and to pray in much tranquility and peace in order not to be a source of offense to others. For such a person, if he received God’s grace, will pray to the end in tranquility and will edify many others much more. “For God is not a God of confusion... Continue Reading

Hans Urs von Balthasar: Have "We Done Everything" for Unity?

Feast of St Pappias the Martyr

PRECISELY in a real confrontation will we be forced to spell out our differences in all their clarity and consequences. In such an honest encounter, any apparently well-meaning attempt to overlook differences, any hasty effort to buddy up to one’s partner, any merely psychological empathy, will only compound the rift by bandaging the wound without healing it. In other words,

we... Continue Reading

Hans Urs von Balthasar: Do You Feel Division as a Daily Wound?

Feast of St Bessarion the Wonderworker of Egypt

THE  MYSTERIOUS split that has divided the Church for four hundred years” (Barth, Church Dogmatics 1.1; referring to Protestant-Catholic division) – what does it mean to us? If we are aware of the true nature of the Church, we must feel this split not only as a daily wound but even more as a constantly burning shame. The essence, and not... Continue Reading

Evagrios the Solitary: Are Your Friends Holy Fathers?

Feast of Sts Eusebius & Haralambos the Monk-Martyrs

IF YOU have friends, avoid constant meetings with them. For if you meet only on rare occasions, you will be of more help to them. And if you find that harm comes through meeting them, do not see them at all. The friends that you do have should be of benefit to you and contribute to your way of life. Avoid... Continue Reading

Fr Georges Florovsky: Did You Know Your Body Is Consubstantial with Christ's Body?

Feast of St Julian the Martyr

ST ATHANASIUS carefully distinguishes the appearance of the Logos in Christ from His appearance and presence in saints. Christ became man. The visible body of Christ was the body of God, not man. He made the body ‘His own’, and the weakness of the flesh became ‘proper’ to the Logos. Christ’s works were not separated in such a way that one was accomplished... Continue Reading

St Nicholas Cabasilas: Do You Love Your Savior More Than Yourself?

Feast of St Arsenios the Great & Synaxis of St John the Theologian

AS GOD'S loving-kindness is ineffable and His love for our race surpasses human speech and reason, so too it belongs to the divine goodness alone, for this is “the peace of God which passes all understanding” (Phil. 4.7). Likewise it follows that His union with those whom He loves surpasses every union of which one might... Continue Reading

St John Cassian: Is Your Whole Life a Single and Continuous Prayer?

Feast of the Prophet Jeremias

WISHING to leave us examples of perfect purity, our Lord, although He did not Himself need the support of withdrawal or the benefit of the desert in order to attain it, since these are external things and He is the source of inviolable holiness (for the fullness of purity could not be soiled by any filth of the crowds, nor could He who cleanses... Continue Reading

Theoleptos: Are You Putting Yourself in the Presence of Him whom You Invoke?

Feast of St Basil the Holy Martyr Bishop of Amasea

PRAYER is the mind’s dialogue with God, in which words of petition are uttered with the intellect riveted wholly on God. For when the mind unceasingly repeats the name of the Lord and the intellect gives its full attention to the invocation of the divine name, the light of the knowledge of God overshadows the entire soul like a... Continue Reading

St Hilary of Poitiers: Will You Endure Sound Doctrine?

Feast of the Martyr Paphnutius

THE APOSTLE Paul was cognizant of the sinful tendencies of the will, and besides his numerous admonitions to defend the faith and to preach the word, he said in his Epistle to Timothy: “There will come a time when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but having itching ears, will heap up to themselves teachers according to their lusts, and they will turn... Continue Reading