St Gregory Palamas: Have You Been Made an Instrument of the Holy Spirit's Power?

Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Holy Apostles

Pentecost_Square_2.jpgWHEN THE fiftieth day after the resurrection had come, the day we now commemorate, all the disciples were gathered with one accord in the upper room, each having also gathered together his thoughts (for they were devoting themselves intently to prayer and hymns to God). “And suddenly,” says Luke the evangelist, “there came a sound from heaven as of a... Continue Reading

St Gregory Palamas: Are You Imitating Christ So You Can Ascend in the Flesh

Feast of St. Nicholas Cabasilas

Ascension_Square.jpgTODAY THE Lord not only stood with His disciples after His resurrection, but was also parted from them and was taken up into heaven as they watched (Acts 1.9-11), ascended and entered into the true Holy of Holies and sat down on the right hand of the Father, far above all principality and power and every name and honor that is known and named, either... Continue Reading

Fr Alexander Schmemann: Do You See the World as a Banquet Table?

Feast of St Mary of Egypt

Schmemann_Square_3.jpegMAN IS what he eats.” With this statement the German materialistic philosopher Feuerbach thought he had put an end to all “idealistic” speculations about human nature. In fact, however, he was expressing, without knowing it, the most religious idea of man. For long before Feuerbach, the same definition of man was given by the Bible. In the biblical story of creation man is presented,... Continue Reading

Christos Yannaras: Is Your Life an Act of Thanksgiving?

Feast of St John Climacus, Author of The Divine Ladder of Ascent

Yannaras_Square_2.jpegIN THE OPENING pages of the Bible, we read that God blessed the material goods of the earth and offered them to man “to eat.” Eating that immediate way in which man takes up the world and is physically united with it so that the good things of the earth are transformed into the flesh and life of... Continue Reading

Fr Alexander Schmemann: Are You Restoring the Relationship Between Food, Life & God?

Feast of the Holy Righteous Martyr Nicon and His 199 Disciples

Schmemann_Square_3.jpegCHRIST IS the New Adam. He comes to repair the damage inflicted on life by Adam, to restore man to true life, and thus He also begins with fasting. “When He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He became hungry” (Mt. 4.2). Hunger is that state in which we realize our dependence on something else—when we urgently and... Continue Reading

Fr Alexander Schmemann: Do You Believe in Food or God?

Feast of St Christodulos the Wonderworker of Patmos

Schmemann_Square_2.jpegIN THE ORTHODOX teaching, sin is not only the transgression of a rule leading to punishment; it is always a mutilation of life given to us by God. It is for this reason that the story of original sin is presented to us as an act of eating. For food is means of life; it is that which keeps us alive. But... Continue Reading

Fr Alexander Schmemann: Did You Know Fasting Is Connected with the Mystery of Salvation & Damnation?

Feast of St Benedict the Righteous of Nursia

Schmemann_Square_1.jpgTHERE IS no Lent without fasting. It seems, however, that many people today either do not take fasting seriously or, if they do, misunderstand its real spiritual goals. For some people, fasting consists in a symbolic “giving up” of something; for some others, it is a scrupulous observance of dietary regulations. But in both cases, seldom is fasting referred to the total... Continue Reading

St Basil the Great: Are You Imitating the Original Sin by Not Fasting?

Feast of St Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem

Basil_Square_2.jpgIT IS BECAUSE we did not fast that we were banished from paradise. So let us fast that we may return to it. Don’t you realize that Lazarus entered paradise through fasting (cf. Lk. 16.20-31)? Do not imitate the disobedience of Eve. Then again, do not take the serpent as your advisor, who suggests that you eat out of regard for the flesh.... Continue Reading

St Basil the Great: Do You Revere the Antiquity of Fasting?

Feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebastia

Basil_Square_5.jpegDO YOU THINK that I posit the antiquity of fasting on the basis of the law? Indeed, fasting is older than the law. If you were to stay a bit longer, you will discover the truth of my statement. Do not suppose that the Day of Atonement (which for Israel was assigned to the seventh month, on the tenth day of the... Continue Reading

St Augustine of Hippo: Is Your Fasting Accompanied by Mercy?

Feast of the Holy Martyred Bishops of Cherson: Basileus, Ephraim, Eugene, Capito, Aetherius, Agathodorus and Elpidius

Augustine_Square_3.jpgBY THE HELP of the merciful Lord our God, the temptations of the world, the snares of the Devil, the suffering of the world, the enticement of the flesh, the surging waves of troubled times, and all corporeal and spiritual adversities are to be overcome by almsgiving, fasting, and prayer. These practices ought to... Continue Reading

St Gregory Palamas: Have You Come to the Father?

Feast of St Gerasimus the Righteous of Jordan

Gregory_Palamas_Square_3.jpgAS SOON as the son who had broken away from his father came to his senses and realized into what evils he had sunk, he wept over himself saying, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger?” (Lk. 15.17). Who are the hired servants? Those who through the sweat of repentance and... Continue Reading

St Gregory Palamas: Have You Dispersed Your Substance?

Feast of St Hesychius the Martyr

Gregory_Palamas_Square_2.jpgAND NOT many days after”, it says, “the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country” (Lk. 15.13). Why did he not set off at once instead of a few days after? The evil prompter, the devil, does not simultaneously suggest to us that we should do what we like and that we should sin. Instead he cunningly beguiles... Continue Reading

St Gregory Palamas: Did You Know Our Creator Prepared a Kingdom for Us Before We Existed?

Feast of Righteous John Cassian the Confessor

Gregory_Palamas_Square.jpgA CERTAIN man,” it says, “had two sons” (Lk. 15.11). Here in the parable the Lord calls Himself a man. There is nothing strange in this. If He truly became man for our salvation, it is not at all strange if He presents Himself as one particular man for our benefit. He is the eternal Guardian of our souls and bodies, of which... Continue Reading

St Augustine of Hippo: Have You Fashioned for Yourself a Cross of the Bodily Pleasures?

Feast of the Holy Great Martyr Photine, the Samaritan Woman

Augustine_Square_2.jpgAN APPROPRIATELY solemn sermon is your due [this Lenten season] so that the word of God, brought to you through my ministry, may sustain you in spirit while you fast in body and so that the inner man, thus refreshed by suitable food, may be able to accomplish and to preserve courageously in the disciplining of the outer man. For,... Continue Reading

St Basil the Great: Are You Running Cheerfully to the Gift of Fasting?

Feast of St Romanos, Prince of Uglich

Basil_Square_4.jpgANNOINT YOUR head and wash your face” (Mt. 6.17). The word invites you to mysteries. He who “anoints” himself applies oil to his bodily members, and he who “washes” himself cleanses himself. Take this prescription as referring to your interior members. Cleanse your soul of sin, and apply holy chrism to your head, that you may share in Christ [nb. untranslatable wordplay: “apply... Continue Reading

St Basil the Great: Have You Learned the Grace of Fasting?

Feast of St Anthousa the Martyr & Her 12 Servants

Basil_Square_2.jpgISAIAH HAS taught us the grace of fasting, rejecting the Jewish manner of fasting and showing us the true fast. “Do not fast to quarrel and fight, but loose every bond of iniquity” (Is. 58.4, 6). And the Lord adds: “Do not be gloomy, but wash your face and anoint your head” (Mt. 6.16-17). So let us acquire the disposition... Continue Reading

Quodvultdeus of Carthage: Do You Believe Firmly in God the Father Omnipotent?

Feast of the Holy Apostles of the Seventy: Philemon, Apphia, Archippus & Onesimus

Quodvultdeus_Square.jpgBELIEVE FIRMLY in God the Father omnipotent. We believe in an all-powerful God who, although making all things, has not been made; and, therefore, He is all-powerful, because everything He made He made from nothing. For no matter at all assisted Him from which He might display the power of His skill. But from nothing, as I... Continue Reading

St Cyril of Jerusalem: Are You Well Pleased in the Only-Begotten Son of God?

Feast of St Theodore the Tyro, Great Martyr

Cyril_of_Jerusalem_Square_2.jpgTHOSE WHO have been taught to believe in One God Father Almighty ought to believe also in His Only-begotten Son. For he that denies the Son has not the Father (cf. 1 Jn. 2.23). “I am the door” (Jn 10.9), Jesus says; “no one comes to the Father, but through me” (Jn. 14.6). If you deny the Door, the knowledge of the... Continue Reading

St Cyril of Jerusalem: Have You Gained Knowledge of the Creator from Your Own Nature?

Feast of St Onesimus the Apostle of the 70

Cyril_Jerusalem_Square.jpgIT IS IMPOSSIBLE to examine closely into the nature of God; but, for His works which we see, we can offer Him praise and glory. I say these things to you because of the sequence of the Creed, and because we say: “We believe in One God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible”; that... Continue Reading

St Cyril of Jerusalem: Are You Gaining Glory by Triumphing Over a Former Archangel?

Feast of St Meletius Archbishop of Antioch

Cyril_of_Jerusalem_Square_3.jpgBY BELIEF “in One God,” we cut off all polytheistic error, arming ourselves against the Greeks and all opposition on the part of heretics. By adding “in One God, Father,” we combat the Jews who deny the Only-begotten Son of God. For, as I said yesterday, even before explaining the doctrines concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, by the very mention of “Father” we... Continue Reading