Repentance and Confession (Part II)

A Christian, at any rate, an Orthodox Christian, views repentance as a dynamic act of responsibility to God, but also to other men. It is not pining away in narcissistic self-reflection, even while implying self-knowledge and self-examination. Sin is a relational act - a break in the "I-Thou" relationship. It concerns my relationship with another person. When the prodigal son "came to himself" in the Gospel Parable (St. Luke 15), he did so in relation to his father: "I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you" (v. 18).

Read More

Repentance and Confession

Repentance is indeed an act of reconciliation, or reintegration into the Body of Christ, which has been torn asunder by sin. For "if one member suffers, all suffer together" (1 Corinthians 12:26). "Therefore, confess your sins to one another...that you may be healed" (St. James 5:16). The whole Church expresses a search for repentance in the repeated words of the Psalmist, commonly known as the "miserere" (Psalm 50[51]). It is through the faith of the community that the individual is readmitted and forgiven. "When Jesus saw their faith He said, "Man, your sins are forgiven" (St. Luke 5:20; St. Matthew 9:2 and St. Mark 2:5). "Justification" in the New Testament does not mean a transaction - a kind of deal; and repentance defies mechanical definition.

Read More

Church and State

"And He said to them, 'Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (St. Luke 20:25).

It is a fact that our beloved country finds itself divided, in turmoil, in conflict, and afflicted with hatred. In other words, our country is, among other things, spiritually ill. As Orthodox Christians and citizens of the United States we must continue praying for the welfare of our country and the current president as we do in every Divine Liturgy: "For our country, the President, for every city and land, and for the faithful who live in them, let us pray to the Lord."

Read More

The Church is a Holy Place of Healing and Also a Miltary Base

The Church is a holy place of healing for those Christian believers who are spiritually and physically ill. The Physician of our souls and bodies is none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself, O Megas Iatros. According to the holy Fathers of the Church and Sacred Scripture humanity fell from the state of grace through the ancestral sin which Adam and Eve committed. By the fall into sin, men destroyed their internal harmony -- the unity of the spirit, soul and body - they upset their nature. There was no more unity of purpose, direction and will.

Read More

Fifth Sunday of Holy and Great Lent: Our Holy Mother Mary of Egypt

"The pollution of past sins prevented you from entering the church to see the elevation of the Holy Cross, but then your conscience and the awareness of your actions turned you, O wise in God, to a better way of life. And, having looked upon the icon of the blessed Maid of God, you have condemned all you previous transgressions, O Mother worthy of all praise, and so have gone with boldness to venerate the precious Cross."

Read More

The Jesus Prayer

The Jesus Prayer is a precise summarized form of the Prayer of the Heart. It was the culmination of a long monastic tradition that advocated using repeated scriptural phrases (recited over thousands of times in the course of a day) by which means the early monks in the desert tried to contain the tendency of thoughts (logismoi) and distractions to 'run away' with them. The monastic Higoumenos would set his monks a biblical text to meditate on, in the hope that by the constant repetition it would, as it were, 'enter into the heart' and flower there in understanding and grace.

Read More