Saturday, February 9, 2013

Eden & Nature of Sin

"And this is what the Fall of humankind is really all about: the fall from unselfish love and the experience of unselfish love, into self-centeredness, a self-love, an egotism that made it seek its own, therefore making them unable to love their neighbor as themselves, and unable to love our Lord God and Savior with all their heart and with all their might and with all their strength."

--- Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Orthodox Church in America

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Food from the Mothers and Fathers

"Some people read books in order to find God. Yet there is a great book, the very appearance of created things. Look above you, look below you! Note it, read it! God whom you wish to find, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that? Why, heaven and earth cry out to you, 'God made me'."  --- St. Augustine

"God is glorified not by mere words, but by works of righteousness, which proclaim the majesty of God far more effectively than words."  --- St. Maximos the Confessor

"Christianity is not 'an ideology', an abstract doctrine or a fixed system of rituals. The Good News entered the world as a dynamic force, encompassing all sides of life, open to everything created by God in nature and in human beings. It is not just a religion which has existed for the past twenty centuries, but a Way focused on the future (John 14.6; Acts 16.17; 18.26)."  --- Fr. Alexander Men, martyred Russian Orthodox priest

"A Christian guards against authoritarianism and paternalism, which are rooted not in the spirit of faith but in characteristics inherent to the fallen nature of humanity. (Matt. 20.25-27; 23.8-12)"  --- Fr. Alexander Men, martyred Russian Orthodox priest 

“Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your mattress,/And you shall sleep restful nights”  --- St. Ephraim the Syrian 

"If someone makes a display of wisdom and instead of applying it talks at length, that person has a spurious wealth and that one's labors 'come into the houses of strangers' (Prov. 5:10. LXX)."   --- St. Mark the Ascetic 

"To be Orthodox means to have the God-man Christ constantly in your soul, to live in Him, think in Him, feel in Him, act in Him. In other words, to be Orthodox means to be a Christ-bearer and a Spirit-bearer."  --- St. Justin Popovich 

"Go with Him, as His inseparable companion, to the wedding feast of Cana, and drink of the wine of His blessing. Let you have ever before you the Face of the Lord, and look upon His beauty, and let your earnest gaze turn nowhere away from His most sweet countenance. Go before Him into a desert place and see the wonder of His works, where He multiplied in His own Holy Hands the bread that sufficed to feed a great multitude. Go, my brother, go forward, and with all the love of your soul follow Christ wherever He may go... "And lovingly behold Him as taking bread into His hands, He blesses it, and breaks it, as the outward form of His own Immaculate Body; and the chalice which He blessed as the outward form of His Precious Blood, and gave to His Disciples; and be you also a partaker of His sacraments,"  --- St. Ephraim of Syria 

 "A Christian must be courteous to all. That person's words and deeds should breath with the grace of the Holy Spirit, which abides in one's soul, so that in this way one might glorify the name of God. The one who regulates all of one's speech also regulates all of one's actions. The one who keeps watch over the words one is about say also keeps watch over the deeds one intends to do, and one never goes out of the bounds of good and benevolent conduct. The graceful speech of a Christian is characterized by delicateness and politeness. This fact, born of love, produces peace and joy. On the other hand, boorishness gives birth to hatred, enmity, affliction, competitiveness, disorder and wars."  --- St. Nektarios of Aegina

“'I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.' What does this last phrase from the Creed mean? We can only bear the idea of eternal life if this eternity has already entered into our life."  --- Archimandrite Sophrony, +1993

"Through the fall our nature was stripped of divine illumination and resplendence. But the Logos of God had pity upon our disfigurement, and in His compassion He took our nature upon Himself. On Tabor He manifested it to His elect disciples clothed once again most brilliantly. He showed what we once were and what we shall become through Him in the age to come -- if we choose to live our present life, as far as possible, in accordance with His ways."  --- St. Gregory Palamas 

"Understand others, and help them, calmly and with a kindly spirit, to understand you. And in this way live with them in mutual understanding, in love and in calmness"  --- Pope Shenouda, Coptic Orthodox Church 

"When we pray for someone, we take upon ourselves that one's suffering."   --- Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica 

"I hear no one boast, that he or she hath a knowledge of the Scriptures, but that they own a Bible written in golden characters. And tell me then, what profiteth this? The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts."  --- Saint John Chrysostom 

"The good attained by our diligence is none other than the one implanted in our nature at the beginning. When persons have their sword girded upon their thigh by devoting their life to virtue, they have rejected passions, they become children undisturbed by passion; for the state of infancy is not subject to passion."  --- St. Gregory of Nyssa, *The Song of Songs* 

"I pray you, my siblings, understand this great dispensation, that He was made like unto us, apart from sin (Heb. 4:15). And each of the rational natures, for which principally the Savior came, ought to examine their pattern, and know their mind, and discern between bad and good, to that they may be set free by His advent. For as many as are set free by His dispensation, are called the servants of God. And this is not yet perfection, but in its own time it is righteousness, and it leads to the adoption of children."  --- St. Anthony the Great 

"Nor should it astound anyone that the Devil is reported in this Book as having first spoken the Name of Jesus of Nazareth (cf. Lk. 4:32-34). But Christ did not receive from him the Name which the Angel brought down from Heaven to the Virgin (cf. Lk. 1:31): it is a mark of the Devil's impudence that he first usurps something among humanity and brings it down to humanity as if new, in order to instill terror of his power. Then, in Genesis, too, he is the first to proclaim God to humanity, for thus ye have: "And he said to the woman, 'Why hath God commanded that ye should not eat of every tree'" (Gen. 3:1)? So each is deceived by the Devil, but healed by Christ."  --- St. Ambrose of Milan  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Theology Made Simple: Energy

"Energy, in both Orthodox Christianity and physics, is about relationships. Energy communicates something between people, and conveys relationships."

--- Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Orthodox Church in America

(His Eminence is broadcasting from the seminary I went to and where I had a blessed time!)