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Musings from the High Desert

Musings from the High Desert Contemplations on Orthodox Christianity from Las Cruces, New Mexico

Start date: January 2011 84 episodes

Fr. Gabriel Rochelle has served in ministry in a variety of settings for four-plus decades. He has served in college chaplaincy, seminary teaching, university teaching, interfaith relations, and parish ministry. He continues to explore and deepen his understanding of the Christian faith in relation to other faith traditions and cultural issues. His interest in the languages of faith, especially Hebrew and Greek, remains undiminished after long years in ministry, and he continues to derive new insight from their study. In this series, he will share from his wide range of insights, imaginings, and interests.

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Episodes

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Date Title & Description Duration        
Sep 10, 2014

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 19)

Fr. Gabriel commends Fr. Eugen Pentiuc's new book from Oxford University Press, The Old Testament in Eastern Orthodox Tradition. This is an important and unique new resource; nothing exists like it in the world of biblical interpretation. Though many aspects of Fr Pentiuc's book may be approached through monographs, essays, articles, and other books, no other resource pulls them together as does his. The two parts of the book are Reception and Interpretation, and his concluding chapter is on the Church's iconographic representations of the Old Testament. Highly recommended!

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22:05
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Jun 05, 2014

Moving Toward the Center: Part Two

Fr. Gabriel spends some time musing on three major reasons why it is so difficult for traditional Christianity to get a hearing in the United States these days, and then moves on to the theme of commitment, which leads into the spiritual journey in a serious way.

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16:37
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May 09, 2014

Moving Toward the Center

Fr. Gabriel undertakes musings in this Paschal season about the basics and center of the faith. These will be exploratory, and certainly not definitive, notes on the search for a genuine and deep spirituality that is Christian, Orthodox, and open to the present and the future. Fr. Gabriel invites you into these musings as a conversation partner; please feel free to write with comments.

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15:36
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Apr 02, 2014

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 18)

Turning again toward contemporary Biblical studies, Fr. Gabriel swiftly surveys recent research into Jesus and Paul and then turns to one representative volume in current Pauline studies—The First Paul by John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg. Their names may be familiar as members of the controversial Jesus seminar, but this book is quite accessible, very well-written, and the authors give us clear and simple insights into how Paul is currently viewed in scholarly circles.

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17:47
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Mar 12, 2014

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 17)

After considering the issue of pride, Fr. Gabriel turns back to books—particularly to books that relate to the issue of sin and grace. So this week we look at the twofold work by Archimandrite Sophrony on the life and teaching of St. Silouan the Athonite, The Monk of Mount Athos, and Wisdom from Mount Athos. Many people have been touched by these books (available also in one volume entitled St. Silouan the Athonite), and Fr. Gabriel has turned to them for his lenten reading again this year.

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21:10
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Feb 19, 2014

Pensees on Pride

Fr. Gabriel turns aside from the concentration on books to deal with a heartfelt matter—how pride works to break up community and harm people, especially within the Church. At the heart of what the monastic founder John Cassian called the "deadly sins" following Evagrius Ponticus, pride is the worst of the lot and the inspiring agent for all the others. Let's look at pride's deadly work.

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20:39
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Jan 22, 2014

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 16)

Pani-matka Susan continues and concludes her reflections on books for St. Nicholas and the Christmas Season. Pani-matka Susan and Fr. Gabriel would be eager to receive suggestions of other books and resources that listeners have found spiritually nourishing for children at the Christmas season, and we will pass that information on at a later date.

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21:20
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Jan 09, 2014

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 15)

Fr. Gabriel interviews Pani-matka Susan about her favorite books that relate to Christmas and St Nicholas, particularly discussing ones that can be used in Sunday School and for family devotions, and two books that speak to Jewish-Christian relations at this time of the year. Included is the book that inspired their decade-long tradition of St Nicholas cookies (see website). We hope this will be helpful to people for next year's celebration. PDF Notes Attached View Attachment

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20:29
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Dec 11, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 14)

Most listeners will be familiar with C.S. Lewis and his works of both theology and fantasy because he has had so much influence, particularly on people who have become Christian through his works. In this broadcast, Fr. Gabriel introduces the wider circle of his friends, known as the Inklings, a group that met in the 1930s and 1940s at the Eagle and Child Pub in Oxford England for discussion of their literary pursuits and interests. Fr. Gabriel also includes a few readings from the wonderful Screwtape Letters (1942).

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30:37
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Nov 21, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 13)

In this broadcast, Fr. Gabriel offers a survey of materials that open for us the Prayer of the Heart, commonly known as the Jesus Prayer. The key example is, of course, the anonymous 19th-century Russian text known as The Way of a Pilgrim, but there are numerous resources that lead us into the prayer other than that very popular book. Join us for an overview. PDF Notes Attached View Attachment

28:05
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Nov 06, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 12)

Oliver Davies is well known in Great Britain and Europe as a scholar of Celtic Christianity. He is the author of Celtic Spirituality in the prestigious series Classics of Western Spirituality from Paulist Press. Here Fr. Gabriel reviews his book Celtic Christianity in Early Medieval Wales. Listeners will not find this an esoteric offering at all, but rather a heartwarming regional appropriation of Orthodox Christianity.

18:37
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Oct 16, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 11)

David Jones (1895-1975) is the subject of this podcast. Not generally well-known in the United States, David Jones has been the subject of ongoing exploration by many people here and abroad regarding the overlap and cross-fertilization between art and faith, specifically Christian faith. Jones was an Anglo-Welsh artist who specialized in line drawings and watercolor but whose epic poetry was of equal importance to his artwork. Father Gabriel has long appreciated Jones's work and invites you to listen in as he unveils Jones for you. PDF Notes Attached View Attachment

33:07
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Oct 09, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 10)

Fr. Gabriel, reflecting on several comments recently made by parish members, turns to a consideration of The Mind of the Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, a book he has read five times and which he wishes everyone would read. Metropolitan Hierotheos describes the mind of the Christian and details the twin engine for its development: sacramental life and ascetic discipline.

21:15
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Sep 25, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 9)

Fr Gabriel turns to his great love, Biblical studies, and discusses two books from the mid-20th Century that were and continue to be deeply influential in his life. These were written by the British scholar C. H. Dodd, who was called the greatest New Testament scholar of his era. Dodd's books were small—Fr. Gabriel calls his writing "concise, clear, and succinct"—but they were of great importance to many Bible students. These two books are The Apostolic Preaching and Its Development (1936) and According to the Scriptures (1952). In the first of these, Dodd traced the roots of New Testament documents, not through theology primarily but through the need for preaching texts. In the second, Dodd gives a thorough presentation of major Old Testament passages shared by early writers to substantiate Jesus as Messiah.

28:57
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Sep 11, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 8)

After some notes to explain the genuine meaning of Inter-Religious Dialogue, Fr Gabriel turns to a 2010 book by the Dalai Lama, Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World's Religions Can Come Together, which is about 40% autobiography, 40% interpretation of world religions, and 20% program for compassionate relationships between religions. The Dalai Lama attempts to move us beyond violence into understanding.

20:47
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Aug 30, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 7)

The Psalms are the beloved hymnbook of Israel and the Church. They are also the inspiration for much of the prayer life of the church, both east and west. In this broadcast, Fr. Gabriel explores the literary structure of the Psalms, which helps to explain their winsome and enchanting power. He explains the different categories of Psalms and reads some of his favorites.

36:40
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Aug 18, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 6)

In this broadcast, Fr. Gabriel discusses one of his favorite books on spiritual care from the Lutheran tradition. He has cherished this book for some forty years now and used it in his former teaching life at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. It is titled The Hammer of God and was written by the Rev. Bo Giertz, a biblical scholar, parish priest in rural and urban settings, and Bishop of the Diocese of Gothenburg, Sweden. Though this book comes from another tradition, Fr. Gabriel knows that you will find in its story and content good news for your heart and mind.

28:32
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Jul 31, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 5)

In this segment, Fr. Gabriel muses momentarily on his own intellectual history of reading, and then discusses one of his all-time favorite books, which he has read many times: Fr Alexander Schmemann's For the Life of the World.

22:51
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Jul 17, 2013

New Paths for Christians Engaging Israel: Images of Israel

In this follow-up to the introduction to New Paths, Fr Gabriel gives an overview of the six units of the course itself—Holiness, Covenant, Rejection, Conflict, Hope, and Encounter—and invites listeners to discern how and where they might utilize this course in local congregations.

20:39
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Jul 02, 2013

New Paths: Christians Engaging Israel

In this episode outside the current theme of books, Fr. Gabriel talks about the backing institutions and the rationale for a new adult course for Christian churches on Israel, past and present and, to some extent, future. This course has been in the making for over a year and Fr. Gabriel has been on the development team. You are encouraged to check out the website. In the next episode, Fr. Gabriel will discuss the content of the course.

21:50
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Jun 19, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 4)

This week, Fr. Gabriel looks at the work of Boris Pasternak, the great Russian poet whose one novel, Doctor Zhivago, was made into a movie in the mid-sixties, and both book and movie remain enduring classics. Fr. Gabriel spoke about the novel at the Branigan Library in Las Cruces on the occasion of the publication of a new translation. A written copy of this essay is available on the church website.

26:25
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Jun 05, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 3)

This time Fr. Gabriel turns from the writers of the other Europe, symbolized by Bohumil Hrabal's work which he spoke about last time, back to the Church. Again looking at the life and overall work of one particular person, he turns to his favorite writer on prayer, Metropolitan Anthony Bloom (memory eternal), Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in England. After an overview of Metropolitan Anthony's life, Fr. Gabriel reads excerpts from two books, Beginning to Pray and Living Prayer. There are two important websites for those who want to learn more about Metropolitan Anthony: http://www.masarchive.org, which contains his writings; and http://www.mitras.ru, the official site.

28:27
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May 22, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind (Part 2)

In this segment, Fr. Gabriel talks more about his fascination with language and then moves into a consideration of the Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal, best known in the United States for his novels Closely Watched Trains, I Served the King of England, and Too Loud a Solitude, the first two of which were made into award-winning movies. Hrabal was a comic writer with an ironic edge and a great example of those relatively few writers who managed to slip through barriers that the communist regimes erected against intellectuals and artists. Fr. Gabriel ends with portions of Hrabal's novel Gaps, the third in a trilogy about his life written from the viewpoint of his wife Eliska.

25:00
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May 08, 2013

Books That Touch Your Heart and Mind

In this series, Fr Gabriel will offer reviews of books from a wide range of interests that have touched him and which he believes either have touched or could touch you. The series will cover novels and poetry, as well as theology, New and Old Testament studies, and specifically Orthodox books. Stay tuned! We hope that you will enjoy these reviews.

29:03
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Apr 24, 2013

Christianity as Philosophy?: Part 9

Fr. Gabriel concludes his series on Christianity and Philosophy with a discussion of postmodernism.

25:35
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Apr 17, 2013

Christianity as Philosophy?: Part 8

Fr. Gabriel addresses nihilism.

24:12
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Apr 03, 2013

Christianity as Philosophy?: Part 7

Fr. Gabriel explains why the mystical pathway, which involves the approach called "negative" theology, is our best hope in terms of knowing God.

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Mar 14, 2013

Christianity as Philosophy?: Part 6

Fr. Gabriel examines the historic and traditional philosophical proofs for the existence of God as a preliminary for another way to look at God through relationship.

20:33
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Feb 27, 2013

Christianity as Philosophy?: Part 5

Fr. Gabriel discusses the three traditional philosophical theories of how truth is determined.

20:54
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Feb 13, 2013

Christianity as Philosophy?: Part 4

Fr. Gabriel continues his discussion of the relationship between religion and philosophy.

21:30
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Jan 30, 2013

Christianity as Philosophy?: Part 3

Fr. Gabriel discusses the distinctions between religion, philosophy, and theology in response to some listener queries.

21:12
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Jan 16, 2013

Christianity as Philosophy?: Part 2

Fr. Gabriel discusses who we are as persons in the Christian understanding, how we should think about the world, and what should be at the heart of our perception.

21:38
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Jan 02, 2013

Christianity as Philosophy?

Fr. Gabriel invites listeners to consider Christianity as a genuine and full philosophy of life.

21:02
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Dec 19, 2012

History of Christian Worship: Part 6

Fr. Gabriel discusses the Jewish antecedents to the concept of Remembrance, the Lord's Prayer, and some aspects of the Anaphora in the Divine Liturgy from the prayer known as the Eighteen Benedictions.

16:19
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Dec 05, 2012

History of Christian Worship: Part 5

Fr. Gabriel examines the history of the lectionary.

24:04
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Nov 07, 2012

History of Christian Worship: Part 4

Fr. Gabriel discusses the development of the liturgy over the course of the first six or so centuries in the Christian era.

27:04
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Nov 06, 2012

History of Christian Worship: Part 3

Fr. Gabriel discusses the Chaburah (the Friendship Meal) that forms the background for the Last Supper.

20:55
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Oct 24, 2012

History of Christian Worship: Part 2

Fr. Gabriel discusses the Upper Room and the Eucharist and explores the theological relationship of Passover to Christ.

19:35
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Oct 10, 2012

History of Christian Worship: Part 1

Fr. Gabriel discusses the background to the Divine Liturgy in Jewish temple practice.

26:15
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Sep 26, 2012

An Interlude: Introducing the Orthodox Theological Society of America

Fr. Gabriel introduces the Orthodox Theological Society of America, which is an organization comprised of professors who teach about Orthodoxy in university settings.

20:41
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Sep 12, 2012

Jesus as Prophet

Fr. Gabriel asks, "Who or what is a prophet, and does Jesus qualify?"

19:28
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Aug 29, 2012

St. Paul’s Influences

Fr. Gabriel examines the theology and texts that came before St. Paul in order to prove that he was an inheritor and not an inventor of the Christian faith.

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Aug 17, 2012

St. Maximus the Confessor

Fr. Gabriel explores a number of different facets of the thought and writings of St. Maximus the Confessor, which he compares to the facets on a diamond that shine as you turn the stone.

21:29
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Aug 01, 2012

Matthew’s Two Audiences

Fr. Gabriel shares some expanded notes on Matthew 9:1-8 within the theme of Jewish/Christian relations.

16:57
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Jul 18, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: Part Twelve

Fr. Gabriel concludes his series on Jewish/Christian relations. Here he asks, "Where do we go from here?"

23:06
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Jul 05, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: Part Eleven

Fr. Gabriel provides an overview of developments in Jewish-Christian relations since the Second World War.

28:02
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Jun 21, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: Part Ten

Fr. Gabriel recounts the tragic history of the Jews throughout the centuries.

23:11
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Jun 06, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: Part Nine

Partings of the Ways? Fr. Gabriel asks us to consider these issues before we draw conclusions.

31:21
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May 24, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: Part Eight

Fr. Gabriel begins describing the manner in which Judaism and Christianity parted ways.

29:38
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May 09, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: Part Seven

Fr. Gabriel examines the three quests for the historic Jesus.

25:05
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Apr 25, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: Part Six

Fr. Gabriel clarifies some aspects of his approach to the question of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. PDF Notes Attached View Attachment

22:51
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Apr 11, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: Part Five

Fr. Gabriel explores the relationship between Christian and Jewish worship.

28:33
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Mar 31, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: Part Four

Fr. Gabriel concludes his examination of scriptural interpretation with a discussion of the literal, allegorical, and typological approaches to exegesis.

28:41
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Mar 15, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: Part Three

Fr. Gabriel explains how Judaism and Christianity began to move apart through the interpretive structures that govern their understanding of the Scriptures over the first several centuries.

32:43
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Mar 01, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: Part Two

Fr. Gabriel begins his inquiry into Jewish-Christian relations by looking at the Scriptures. What Bible are we talking about, anyway?

21:27
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Feb 20, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: Part One

Fr. Gabriel introduces his new series on the relationship between Orthodox Christianity and Judaism throughout the centuries.

22:14
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Feb 01, 2012

Celtic Christianity: Part 14

Fr. Gabriel concludes his series on Celtic Christianity with a discussion of the Celtic church as it was shaped by the unique spirituality found in Celtic lands.

23:27
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Jan 18, 2012

Celtic Christianity: Part 13

Fr. Gabriel discusses the distinctive marks of Celtic Christianity having to do with the Faith.

22:53
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Jan 04, 2012

Celtic Christianity: Part 12

Fr. Gabriel addresses the Anam-chara tradition of spiritual friendship. PDF Notes Attached View Attachment

20:44
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Dec 21, 2011

Celtic Christianity: Part 11

Fr. Gabriel discusses John Scottus Eriugena, whom many consider the most brilliant philosopher and theologian of the West.

24:17
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Dec 07, 2011

Celtic Christianity: Part 10

Fr. Gabriel discusses Pelagius and the Penitential tradition. PDF Notes Attached View Attachment

32:57
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Nov 22, 2011

Celtic Christianity: Part 9

Fr. Gabriel continues a two-part discussion of Celtic monasticism and book production. PDF Notes Attached View Attachment

30:54
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Nov 09, 2011

Celtic Christianity: Part 8

Fr. Gabriel begins a two-part discussion of Celtic monasticism and book production. PDF Notes Attached View Attachment

27:35
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Oct 28, 2011

Celtic Christianity: Part 7

Fr. Gabriel discusses Saints Brigid of Kildare, Ita of Killeedy, and Hilda of Whitby.

21:55
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Oct 12, 2011

Celtic Christianity: Part 6

Fr. Gabriel discusses the lives and ministries of Saints Aidan and Cuthbert.

24:21
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Sep 28, 2011

Celtic Christianity: Part 5

Fr. Gabriel introduces us to "the Dove of the Church" St. Columba, the inspiration for the great Book of Kells, that masterpiece of the Celtic calligraphic tradition.

26:57
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Sep 14, 2011

Celtic Christianity: Part 4

Fr. Gabriel backs up a little bit to talk about Celtic culture as a whole.

25:11
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Aug 30, 2011

Celtic Christianity: Part 3

Fr. Gabriel shares one of his favorite Celtic hymns, "The Breastplate of St. Patrick," and then discusses several Celtic saints. (Click on the small Adobe icon to see the attached bibliography of resources on Celtic Christianity.) PDF Notes Attached View Attachment

25:38
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Aug 18, 2011

Celtic Christianity: Part 2

Fr. Gabriel demonstrates how monasticism, particularly that of the "pilgrim" variety, was at the heart of Celtic Christianity.

19:04
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Aug 03, 2011

Celtic Christianity: Part 1

Fr. Gabriel introduces his new series on Celtic Christianity and shares three prayers from the Celtic tradition.

22:30
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Jul 18, 2011

Personal Retreat

Fr. Gabriel reflects on the concept of Poustinia as described in the writings of Catherine Doherty, founder of Madonna House.

23:27
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Jun 27, 2011

And Now a Word from Our Sponsor

Fr. Gabriel gives us an update on the progress and growth of St. Anthony of the Desert Orthodox Mission in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

20:57
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Jun 13, 2011

The Meaning of the Resurrection: Part 2

Fr. Gabriel explains how a unity of soul and body is one of the ways that we can experience resurrection in this life.

22:36
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May 31, 2011

The Meaning of the Resurrection

Frt. Gabriel asks, "Could it be that you have placed the Resurrection of Christ in the past?"

15:15
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May 16, 2011

Spirit and Form: Part 2

Fr. Gabriel asks the question, "How do we maintain a balance between spirit and form in the Church?"

16:25
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May 03, 2011

Spirit and Form

Fr. Gabriel meditates on the perennial problem of spirit versus form in the Church.

22:17
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Apr 11, 2011

The Noetic Altar

Fr. Gabriel discusses the first petition of the prayer after the anaphora and before the Lord's Prayer in the Divine Liturgy.

12:33 Transcript Available Direct link (play in browser) Play in Popup Download mhd_2011-04-11.mp3
Mar 30, 2011

Power, Authority, and Leadership in the Early Church

Where was authority in the early Church, and what does it mean for us today? Fr. Gabriel answers these questions and more on a new Musings from the High Desert.

17:25
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Mar 14, 2011

Religion and the Epistle of St. James

According to St. James, religion consists of caring for the misfortunate and training ourselves to edify and maintain the Christian life.

16:39
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Feb 28, 2011

Two Shifts in the American Religious Scene

On a new Musings from the High Desert, Fr. Gabriel Rochelle shares his understanding of where we are in American Christianity at the start of 2011.

25:21
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Feb 14, 2011

Sin and Grace/East and West

Fr. Gabriel describes the difference in understanding between the Christian East and the Christian West when it comes to the Incarnation, sin, grace, and redemption.

17:03
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Feb 02, 2011

Anger

Fr. Gabriel reminds us that, in the words of St. Theophan the Recluse, "irascibility is extinguished like a spark by surrendering to God's will."

15:54
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Jan 17, 2011

The Disintegration of Western Theology

A recent discussion with a friend causes Fr. Gabriel to reflect on the pervasiveness of Western thought.

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Jan 03, 2011

Beginning Again with Prayer

A fall cycling trip reminds Fr. Gabriel that we are always just beginning to pray.

14:51
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