Orthodox Thought for the Day


Sunday, July 27, 2014

On father confessors

The proof of authenticity of the spiritual condition of a father confessor is, that while he is very strict with himself, he is very lenient with others and does not use the canons of the Church like cannons against them. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

One of God's choice healers: St. Panteleimon

Mosaic from The Holy Monastery of St. Panteleimon, Kokkinara, Penteli
St. Panteleimon is known in the Church as a great martyr and holy unmercenary healer.  His life and martyrdom are commemorated on July 27 each year.  Learn more here:  http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2009/07/st-panteleimon-great-martyr-and.html

Holy relic (skull) of St. Panteleimon is treasured at the
Panachrantou Monastery on the island of Andros 

Holy Great Martyr Panteleimon, intercede for us! 
Wondrous is God in His Saints!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On the two natures of Christ

We sometimes try to distinguish between the divine and human aspects of Christ.  We say that in the desert his divine nature restrained his appetites and desires, while his human nature felt hungry and weary.  His divine nature healed people and performed numerous miracles; his human nature felt power go out of him at every miracle.  His divine nature redeemed humanity on the cross; his human nature endured the most terrible agony.  Yet is such a distinction between divinity and humanity valid?  Can we actually see two quite distinct elements in the person of Christ?  When we look at ourselves we can distinguish between the physical and spiritual aspects of our nature.  We know that at times life becomes a battlefield as the spiritual and the physical aspects struggle for supremacy.  Yet it would be wrong to say that the spiritual aspect should defeat and destroy the physical; rather we want harmony between the two. Our physical wants and desires should not be suppressed or ignored; rather they should be satisfied within the framework of morality which the spirit dictates.  We should understand Christ in a similar way.  It is not a question of his divine nature conquering and destroying his human nature; rather he revealed how human flesh and blood can live in perfect harmony with God. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Prayer without ceasing for all men

And pray ye without ceasing in behalf of other men.  For there is in them the hope of repentance that they may attain to God.  See, then, that they be instructed by your works, if in no other way.  Be ye meek in response to their wrath, humble in opposition to their boasting: to their blasphemies return your prayers; in contrast to their error, be ye steadfast in the faith; and for their cruelty, manifest your gentleness.  While we take care not to imitate their conduct, let us be found their brethren in all true kindness; and let us seek to be followers of the Lord (who ever more unjustly treated, more destitute, more condemned?), that so no plant of the devil may be found in you, but ye may remain in all holiness and sobriety in Jesus Christ, both with respect to the flesh and spirit. 


Saturday, July 19, 2014

A right perspective for a Christian

Some people see the houses in which they live as their kingdom; and although in their minds they know that death will one day force them to leave, in their hearts they feel they will stay forever.  They take pride in the size of their houses and the fine materials with which they are built.  They take pleasure in decorating their houses with bright colors, and in obtaining the best and most solid furniture to fill the rooms.  They imagine that they can find peace and security by owning a house whose walls and roof will last for many generations.  We, by contrast, know that we are only temporary guests on earth.  We recognize that the houses in which we live serve only as hostels on the road to eternal life.  We do not seek peace or security from the material walls around us or the roof above our heads.  Rather, we want to surround ourselves with a wall of divine grace; and we look upward to heaven as our roof.  And the furniture of our lives should be good works, performed in a spirit of love. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The exposure of evil

Why did the devil attack Jesus, knowing that Jesus was without sin?  The devil could not possibly have been victorious.  Why did the devil, through Judas, hand Jesus over to be crucified? The death of Christ on the cross could not possibly have served the devil’s purpose, except to give the devil pleasure in seeing Christ suffer.  Nor could God have ordered the devil to attack and betray Jesus; the fulfillment of God’s plan cannot belong to the devil, but must belong to God alone.  In truth the whole matter worked the other way round.  By attacking and betraying a person so manifestly good and holy as Christ, the devil exposed himself; the devil revealed himself as evil.  This may sound strange; surely we know evil for what it is, without such a terrible exposure.  On the contrary, the problem of evil is that it is usually disguised as goodness.  Think of Judas.  Throughout the early ministry of Jesus, Judas was a most loyal and passionate disciple.  And he willingly went out with the others to proclaim the Gospel and heal the sick.  Yet all the while, evil thoughts were seething in his heart; the lust for power and wealth burned within him.  So when the opportunity arose to destroy Jesus, he seized it.  Judas shows us how evil operates in the world; that is why God allowed evil to be exposed—by allowing Jesus to die on the cross. 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On penitence and faith

You are, I am sure, aware that for your penitence is now no longer limited to disclosing your sins to your confessor, but that you must now bear your sins in mind always, until your heart nearly breaks with their ugly load; and would break, were it not for your firm faith in the mercy of our Lord.  St. Makarios of Optina 


God knows what each of us can bear, beloveds, how it is best borne and for how long…Presbytera Candace