The word “gratitude” and the sense of it run through all the Gospels and all the Epistles. When we think of those who wrote these epistles, and the Saints who after them repeated again and again this cry of gratitude to God, we must give thought to the way in which that is possible.
Every one of the Apostles suffered for the privilege, the grace of proclaiming the Gospel. Saint Paul describes what he had to endure in two passages of his Epistles to the Corinthians. There was not one moment in their lives which was not fraught with danger, and heavy with pain and suffering. And yet, at no moment did they hesitate to sing and proclaim their gratitude to God. Why, how could they?
If we think of ourselves — how often do we complain about our lives! And yet, can they be compared at all with the tragic lives of the Apostles or the first generations of Christians? — and indeed, of those who have been confessors of their faith in our century. Surely not! We accuse God of all that is p
A child developmental psychologist once stated that if you don’t believe that a baby is a genius, then try learning a language. Having worked on Spanish for many years, I know this to be true. One of the first things you learn are commands – come, sit, sleep, eat – just to mention a few. Babies begin to learn language in much the same way. I think dogs learn from commands as well.
In I Corinthians 16, St. Paul gives us some simple commands. By these, we might begin to learn the language of Faith. The commands he gives are watch, stand, have courage, be strong, and love.
This might seem like an odd command to start with, but in fact it is very important. The Lord taught that the servant of the house should watch for the master’s return, and not fall asleep. He also said that if we know that someone is coming to rob us in our home, we would watch for them so that we could catch them. So, are we awake and watching, or are we asleep? What are we to watch? We are to watch and guard the mind so that thoughts do not steal our minds from us. We are to watch and guard our senses so that our passions do not use our
The prayer of Orthodox Christians was primarily formed in the liturgy of the community rather than inside the walls of monasteries or in the hearts of individual saints. It is the liturgy that provided the regular expression and rhythmical pattern for adoration and intercession. Liturgy is not identical to prayer, even though it is the source and an essential part of prayer. Prayer accompanies every aspect of life and liturgy. The cycle of weekly services, the daily routine of morning prayer and evening song, and the unceasing invocation of the name of Jesus are as intimately connected and as integrally life-giving for the individual at prayer as blood cells are to a body. In this way, liturgy spills over and into the daily life of Orthodox Christians.
Prayer is the touchstone of a person's spiritual life. It discloses the true stature and authentic condition of one's life. Prayer is what ultimately reveals who we are in relation to God and other people. If we can pray, then we can talk to others; if we know how to pray, then we also know how to relate to others. Prayer is a mirror of the inner life. This applies equally to those who