It’s very difficult to receive God’s blessings when our hands are full of our own personal baggage.
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)
A thought as we begin the Third Week of Great Lent.
We think of Christmas as the feast of the incarnation. But, since Orthodox Christians believe that life begins at conception, the incarnation really begins at the Annunciation, when Mary accepts the archangel’s news that she had been called by God to give birth to the Messiah.
What happens on December 25 is the fulfillment of something that begins nine months earlier, on March 25.
In Part One in a series of episodes that look at the “Four Pillars of Our Spiritual Life,” we learn how the Christian Gospel broadens the scope of what we know as “my life.”
Here’s a link to part two of this series.
You can full find audio recordings of the “Four Pillars” retreat sessions on the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church web site. You’ll also find a link to Metropolitan Tikhon’s book, “Of What Life Do We Speak?” and its Study Guide.
One of the purposes of fasting is to gain a better understanding of the difference between what we want and what we need. God does not give us everything that we want, but as a loving Father, he never deprives his children of what they need.
Early Christians believed that, in life, we are in a state of constant motion… in one of two directions:
There are two ways, one of life and one of death; but there is a great difference between the two ways. (The Didache, late 1st/early 2nd century)
This month 158 years ago, Abraham Lincoln gave his first Inaugural Address. By then, seven states had seceded from the Union and his goal in his first message to the American people as their President was to be both conciliatory and firm — the Union could not be divided. He concluded his address with the words:
The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Long before our family moved to the United States, I was struck by that final phrase of Lincoln’s address: “the better angels of our nature.” To see positive change in our world, in our communities, our families, we need to pay attention to that which is positive and life-giving in the human character.
Last week’s attack on worshipers in a Mosque in New Zealand sent waves of shock and outrage across the globe. As those waves subsided, a secondary response on social media was for some to call out Western news outlets for not giving equal time to recent attacks on Christians in Africa. What makes an attack on Muslims newsworthy, but not an attack on Christians?
Today, Week Two of Great Lent begins. It’s never too late to start the journey, or to get back on the track if you’ve derailed.