Bearing the Shame of Confession

ntropi stin eksomologisi

From «Remember thy First Love» by Archimandrite Zacharias Zacharou

Question: In taking the steps which you have presented W to us, the most difficult thing, I think, is to overcome the rear of shame. This is what I try to do in my parish. People will not come to confession although their souls are burdened and things are driving them crazy, because they cannot overcome the shame to admit their sins. How do you lead people in this direction?

Answer: I think that the strength to bear shame is a gift from God. When I was a young and inexperienced spiritual father, Elder read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

On Lukewarm Christianity- By: Fr. Alexander Men

Fr. Alexander Men

Often what passes for Orthodoxy or another Christian confession is simply natural religiosity which, in its own right, is a kind of opium of the people. It functions as a sort of spiritual anesthetic, it helps a person adjust to his surrounding world, over which one can hang the slogan: ‘Blessed is the one who believes that it is cozy in the world.’ This is all wrong! …Your God is a consuming fire and not a warm hearth, and he is calling you to a place where all sorts of cold winds are blowing, so that what you imagine does not exist. You adapted and developed a completely different teaching to suit your own human needs. You transformed Christianity into a mediocre, popular religion. …

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What is Forgiveness Sunday? (included are readings in greek)

We enter today the period of the Great Fast in preparation for Pascha. We are called to repent, to forgive, to pray, to fast from food and passions remembering the exile of Adam from Paradise banished because of uncontrolled desire to eat from the tree. It is the Sunday of Forgiveness. Reconciliation with God and restoration from the exile of sin is given to all who seek it through repentance and confession. We make a beginning in forgiving one another and asking for forgiveness which is the purpose of the special Vespers this afternoon. Our relationship with God is not outside and distinct from our personal relationships.

God is love. He makes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on both the good and the evil so that all have a chance to apprehend His love and repent. If we show God-like love in forgiving one another we shall also be forgiven. Full of gratitude to God for this promise and experience of forgiveness of our own sins we extend this forgiveness to all who trespass against us. In forgiving one another we release ourselves from the heavy chains of pride which imprison our souls. If we do not forgive one another we can have no communion with the God of forgiveness. We remain in the self exile of pride and outside of salvation. But today we are called to freedom through the cross of struggle against sin. Sorrowing for our sins we rejoice that these holy days lie before us in which we can draw closer to the great love and mercy of God. In our ascetical strivings we are warned not to let our right hand know what our left hand is doing. We are not to count, nor advertise our fasting which is a tool and not an end in itself. The Great Fast is not essentially about food but about returning to God. There is no evil in food nor in the body which needs it to live but our return to God is not possible when the soul is subject to the body and to the uncontrolled desires and appetites of fallen man. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Who follows Jesus…

Christ. 6th century mosaic, removed by Turkish smugglers from the apse of the Church of Panayia Kanakaria in occupied Cyprus. The Indianapolis District Court recently ruled for its return to the legal owners, the Church of Cyprus.

Christ. 6th century mosaic, removed by Turkish smugglers from the apse of the Church of Panayia Kanakaria in occupied Cyprus. The Indianapolis District Court recently ruled for its return to the legal owners, the Church of Cyprus.

I.

Who follows Jesus shall not walk                                             Read the Gospel
In darksome road with danger rife;
But in his heart the Truth will talk,
And on his way will shine the Life.

So, on the story we must pore
Of him who lives for us, and died,
That we may see him walk before,
And know the Father in the guide.

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THE SPIRIT OF TRUE CHRISTIANITY

Christ Pantokrator, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Pskov (1988).

Christ Pantokrator, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Pskov (1988).

By Archpriest Paul O’ Callaghan

In any form of religious belief, one of the most common questions is, “What does God (or the gods) require of us?” And of course, the different religions all answer that differently. In Judaism, for instance, keeping the 613 commandments of Moses is what God wants. In Islam, he requires one to pray 5 times a day, to abstain from pork and wine, to fast during Ramadan, and to make a pilgrimage to Mecca if possible. In the Sikh religion of India, men must wear a turban on their heads, read a six page prayer in the morning, and bathe in the holy pool in Amritsar as often as possible. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

DAY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

holyspiritIn the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Today we are keeping the Feast of the Holy Spirit. What do we know about Him? We heard wonderful words of prayer about Him yesterday on Trinity Sunday, but let us think of Him, of the name He is given in the Gospel, which is translated ‘The Comforter’ in English, in other translations ‘The Advocate’. He is the One Who is the Comforter indeed, the One Who consoles us for our separation from Christ, Who consoles us who are like orphans, who long to be with Christ our God, our Saviour, and who know that as long as we are in the flesh – and these are the words of St. Paul – we are separated from Him. But for Him to be our Comforter, to be our consolation, we must first be aware of the fact that we are separated and this is the first question we must ask ourselves: are we aware of it, or do we live in the delusion that we are in God and God in us, and that nothing more is needed? How much more is needed!

He is also the One Who, as the Comforter, gives us strength, strength to live despite the separation, strength to stand fast and to be the doers of the Will, the fulfillers of the Commandments of God, the One Who can give us vigour of soul, determination, power to act. But this, again, only if we turn to Him and say, Come! Come and abide in us! Cleanse us! Be not only our Comforter but our strength also. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »