Rare is the person who cannot appreciate the beauty of nature, especially in its wild, untouched forms and settings. It is blindness when the beauty of a creature cannot be appreciated. Such beauty exists in the flower , the forest, the mountain, the stream, and the animal. There is the harsh beauty of the desert, and, I suppose, of the arctic as well. Nature’s gifts of beauty are to be found in all climates, temperate and tropical. Just step outside, open your eyes and marvel at the creation around you!
There is also a “natural” beauty that is created by human endeavor. An idea or vision can transform the natural landscape of creation into works of art. Here, we have the cultivation of something previously barren, or wild, into something habitable and enjoyable, and equally pleasing to the senses.
In the attempt to excuse any and all sorts of bad behavior, the phrase, “it’s just human nature,” is invoked. We all have heard it after the dust has settled from an outburst of anger, mischievous behavior, or perhaps something far worse. It’s an excuse used to make us feel better about ourselves. We don’t want to be seen as a monster. Rather, we just succumbed to “human nature.” Read the rest of this entry »
Each year, January 6 commemorates Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River by St. John, the Forerunner, Prophet and Baptist. The Gospel text from St. Matthew reads,
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying “I need to be baptized by You, and You are coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mt 3: 13 – 17)
The elderly woman was happy throughout our conversation, but her gaze went out to a point somewhere behind me when, in concluding the appointment, she added, “I sure hope the new year will be better than this one!” She exhaled and left my office with her daughter. It is a common comment and sentiment in December, and I gave it no thought until recently. Read the rest of this entry »
This is not meant to be a seasonal posting. It has nothing to do with the “Happy Holidays” But, this posting is written in the last half of December, 2015. The Advent, or Nativity Fast, is in its final days. During Advent, Christians of liturgical and sacramental traditions are preparing for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Nicene Creed informs us: “…who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and made man…” The Creator of life was made manifest in the form of a baby. Christ came to give us life — new, redeemed life. He is the Giver of light and life and in this coming season I pray we extend our Lord’s light and life to all and all things. I pray we become advocates of life. Read the rest of this entry »
It is now the time of the Nativity Fast, also known as Advent. It is also known as the “Winter Fast,” or “Lesser Lent.” Like Lent, Advent is a penitential season. It is thus, a season of spiritual preparation. During Advent we prepare to perceive and receive Christ anew into our hearts and lives.
There are some similarities to Lent. The last Sunday before Lent is known as the “Sunday of the Last Judgment.” The Gospel reading for the day comes from St. Matthew 25: 31 – 46. In this reading we hear Jesus’ words: “…As you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it to me.” Who? The hungry, sick, naked, and imprisoned. As one reads along in the text, there is an element of surprise — even astonishment — in the query of the righteous. Read the rest of this entry »
An axiom is set forth: “to do you must become, to become you must do.” An axiom is a proposition. The worth of it is self evident. I have used this axiom in sermons, papers, and as a guide for my own life for many years.
Let’s look at its first half: “to do you must become…” This involves an initiation. The initiation for the Christian is baptism. St. Paul informs us:
Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism [dia tou baptismos] into death, in order just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, that also we might walk in newness of life (Romans 6: 4).
The following paper was written in the year 2000. It was formative and powerful as all the pieces of everything I had been learning about the Eucharist were put together. It was written while a seminarian at Regent College in Vancouver, B. C., Canada. I was not yet an Orthodox Christian, let alone ordained. Note that the liturgical passages are mostly from western sources – I was a liturgical / sacramental western Christian at the time. Also, some of the citations are from Protestant authors – after all Regent College is an evangelical seminary, yet the quoted authors impart wisdom, and their insights were employed in this paper. It is a bit lengthy and will be posted in parts.
PRACTICING THE EUCHARIST IN THE WORLD
+ * +
By means of the presence and the work of the Holy Spirit, the Eucharist transforms the people of God into priests who offer God to creation and creation to God. It also transforms us into a sacrament that bears Jesus Christ to the world, and into an offering of broken bread and poured out wine for the life of the world. Read the rest of this entry »
I love the summer, and I dread its passing. I try to ignore the signs, but there are too many to ignore. There are natural witnesses which declare warm, longer day’s passing. The appearance of one of my favorite flowers, dahlias, announces the close of summer and the coming of autumn. The appearance of another, smaller bloom, cyclomen, also bears this news of passing and change. So, all is sealed and set in place. I cannot stop the orbit of earth around the sun.
Another Short Story which precedes in time “The Day of Light.”
He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in heaven and on earth.
“Tres, you’re daydreaming! We should hurry, the others are probably waiting for us by now.” Read the rest of this entry »
In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul writes,
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which [peace] you were also called in one body: and become thankful [kai eucharistoi ginesthe]. (Colossians 3:15)
Being thankful and having the peace of Christ go hand in hand. Though it may seem an afterthought in the above verse, St. Paul likely puts emphasis on thanksgiving. In fact it can be argued that with thanksgiving first being given, peace comes with it, and both will reside in one’s heart in unison. Read the rest of this entry »
A Short Story which precedes in time “The Day of Light.”
He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
– St. Paul
Kalous awoke prematurely. He remained motionless on his mat. His nose and eyes burned and itched because of the pollen released by the grasses of outlying fields. If it wasn’t for the stifling heat’s daily invasion during the late afternoon they wouldn’t have to leave the windows open to cool off the cell. Sleep would be impossible if they didn’t do so. Among his cellmates, he was the only one who suffered from these allergies, but the torment would be gone by the fourth full-turn  of the day. Read the rest of this entry »
A Short Story by Fr. Irenaeus Williams
“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in the heavens, making peace by the blood of his cross”
– St. Paul
With this first report from the journey, allow me to introduce myself: my name is Zetophos. In the Old Language it means “Light Seeker.” My background is that of Taerophos  (priest), historian, and auxiliary navigator. I was chosen to serve on this mission in those capacities because of my extensive study of the Day of Light and its historical setting, and my familiarity with flight conditions from limited missions within our solar system. Read the rest of this entry »
Father, I pray this day I would be living the eucharistic life which is in accordance to your will for me in Christ Jesus. Thus, by the Holy Spirit may I be giving thanks in, with, and for all things, in order that I might bear Christ to all and all things, and that I might bear all and all things to Christ Jesus; that I might be self-giving and other-receiving; that I might live as broken bread and poured out wine for the life of the world and the sake of all things to the praise and glory of your name.
1 Thes 5: 18 reads, “Give thanks in all things: for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” St. Paul writes in all things (en panti) in the Greek dative case. The dative case, essentially, shows relationship. Read the rest of this entry »
St. Seraphim of Sarov, arguably, is the most popular of Russian saints. July 19 marks the celebration of the first uncovering of the relics of St. Seraphim. This event took place in the year 1903 in Imperial Russia. That day in Imperial Russia, 70 years after his repose, or death, the physical presence of his relics brought about miraculous healings among those present.
The primary gospel reading of this Sunday came from St. Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 9: 27 – 35). In this reading we hear of the healing of two blind men Read the rest of this entry »