St Makarii of Optino, quoted in “The Orthodox Way”

[St Isaac the Syrian] also says, "God's grace comes of itself, suddenly, without our seeing it approach. It comes when the place is clean." Therefore, carefully, diligently, constantly clean the place; sweep it with the broom of humility. … [Read more...]

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From “The Orthodox Way”

Thirdly, the gift of the Spirit is a gift of diversity: the tongues of fire are "cloven" or "divided" (Acts 2:3), and they are distributed to each one directly. Not only does the Holy Spirit make us all one, but he makes us each different. At Pentecost the multiplicity of tongues was not abolished, but it ceased to be a cause of separation; each spoke as before in his own tongue, but by the power of the Spirit each could understand the others. For me to be a Spirit-bearer is to realize all the … [Read more...]

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It’s My Feast Day!

And I am not making a "Christmas Eve! Get it? Get it???" pun here. Today is the Feast of Sts Adam and Eve. So there's hope for us all. … [Read more...]

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It’s the Feast of Saint Cecilia, So Here’s the Pet Shop Boys

She's the patroness of musicians. … [Read more...]

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More About Those Amazing Bejeweled Skeletons

Let's give a warm welcome to... those amazing bejeweled skeletons! Paul Koudounaris is not a man who shies away from the macabre. Though the Los Angeles-based art historian, author and photographerclaims that his fascination with death is no greater than anyone else’s, he devotes his career to investigating and documenting phenomena such as church ossuaries, charnel houses and bone-adorned shrines. Which is why, when a man in a German village approached him during a 2008 research trip and asked … [Read more...]

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The Diversity of the Saints Is a Diversity of Pain

Speaking of the wild diversity of the saints--over the weekend I read this powerful & bluntly painful piece from Mudblood Catholic: "God is doing something in the dark." But what? And, really, "Why remain here in the dark?"And that post collided with a very intense night at the pregnancy center, and the readings from this past Sunday:For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated, you would not have fashioned. And how could a thing … [Read more...]

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Fools, Drunks, And Americans

As much as I love the idea of a ballet about alcoholism, this article on "Why Russia's drinkers resist AA" seems to rely on unstated, wrong assumptions not only about addiction and recovery, but about the diversity of spirituality. Although the title is neutral--resistance can be heroic as well as bullheaded--the article itself seems pretty clearly slanted toward the conclusion that Russia needs to get with the Program.As you know, Dr. Bob, I have immense respect for the 12 Steps and my own … [Read more...]

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