Praying in the Rain Reflections on the Inner Life from Canada's Pacific Coast
Start date: January 2014 69 episodes
In “Praying in the Rain,” Fr. Michael Gillis reflects on the inner life of Orthodox Christians. Drawing on the wisdom of both ancient and contemporary Church Fathers and Mothers, Fr. Michael ponders the struggles, the ironies, and the disciplines of the spiritual life. Written versions of many of Fr. Michael’s reflections can be found at his blog site.
|Date||Title & Description||Duration|
|May 19, 2015||
Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonopetra Monastery, in the first half of a transcribed (and then translated) speech called “The Progression of the Soul” speaks of stages to the beginning of the spiritual journey.
|May 12, 2015||
Fr. Michael shares on Thomas Sunday, "Those who doubt, those who fear, those who hide and shut the doors are not cut off from the One who appears in rooms with closed doors."
|May 05, 2015||
“What must I do to be saved?” This is a natural question when we reach the stage of our spiritual journey at which we begin to realize that something is wrong, something is wrong between me and God. It is a natural question, but it is the wrong question, at least according to Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonopetra (monastery on Mt. Athos).
|Apr 28, 2015||
One of the perennial struggles I have in the spiritual life comes from a form of pride that is lodged fast in me and manifests itself in an "all or nothing" attitude toward spiritual life and other life disciplines. It can take various forms in different arenas of my life, but it always follows a similar pattern. The pattern goes like this: I set a goal or rule or ideal for myself, one that I could easily achieve if I only apply myself a little. This goal could be a goal for work or for prayer; it could be a rule for conduct (such as how much computer time I will allow myself or how much and what I will or will not eat or drink); or it could be an ideal such as what a priest should look or act like. Any such goal or rule or ideal I set for myself I tell myself is reasonable and attainable if I only push a little, if I only apply myself.
|Apr 21, 2015||
Probably the most controversial teaching of St. Isaac the Syrian is his teaching on Gehenna, or hell. Homily 27 begins with the following statement and explanation of St. Isaac’s thoughts on sin, Gehenna, and death: "Sin, Gehenna, and death do not exist at all with God, for they are effects [or acts], not substances."
|Apr 14, 2015||
"In Homily 27, St. Isaac the Syrian speaks of two kinds of confidence. The first kind of confidence is what we generally mean when we say someone is confident. That is, the person is sure about what he or she is doing or saying. St. Isaac tells us that this kind of confidence is spiritually dangerous. It is dangerous because we live in an age of changeability, or 'ununiformity' as it is translated in the Holy Transfiguration edition of St. Isaac’s text.This ununiformity refers to the mutability or inconstancy we experience in this world. Things and people don't stay the same."
|Apr 07, 2015||
Fr. Michael shares from St. Isaac the Syrian. "St. Isaac advises us that when we find ourselves confronting either tedium or despondency, we need to call to mind why we are doing what we are doing. Why do I pray? Why do I read my bible? Why do I do any spiritual discipline that I do? I do it because I desire the hidden, spiritual realities. I desire to know God. St. Isaac tells us that we must allow this desire to generate expectation in us: expectation that God will come to my aid, expectation that soon something hidden will indeed be revealed to me; expectation that this simple act of being diligent and hanging in there will indeed bear fruit."
|Mar 31, 2015||
Fr. Michael shares from Homily 24 from St. Isaac the Syrian. "“Everything that can be perceived by the senses, whether an action or a word, is a manifestation of something hidden within.”
|Mar 24, 2015||
"One of my big confusions during the first few years of my journey as an Orthodox Christian was caused by an assumption I had that words used by different Orthodox spiritual writers would refer to the same thing. It took me a few years and abundant consternation to finally figure out that, ... sometimes words take on slightly different meanings in one context than they have in another. Figuring this out the hard way cost me several years of headache wondering why apples sometimes looked more like oranges."
|Mar 17, 2015||
Fr. Michael shares his thoughts about how Christians can respond to violence in our world. "One cannot help being deeply troubled by the latest wave of persecution against Christians perpetrated by the ISIS movement. It is a terrible situation that demands from Christians everywhere some sort of response. To do nothing seems intolerable. We feel we must respond, but how?"
|Mar 10, 2015||
At this point in Great Lent, are you frustrated with your ability to draw near to God? Fr. Michael reminds us that we are not alone, and shares encouragement from St. Isaac the Syrian.
|Mar 03, 2015||
Have you felt a lack of love from church leaders? Fr. Michael responds to a reader of his blog about a question related to his recent podcast about Abbess Thaisia: "I am struggling with much of the same issue in your excerpt posted from Thaisia in regards to discouragement with those in church leadership and a lack of love by those in the church."
|Feb 24, 2015||
Fr. Michael shares helpful words for the beginning of Great Lent from Chapter 21 of the Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian.
|Feb 16, 2015||
Fr. Michael reflects on the life and death, and continuing life, of Annie, the grandmother of one of his parishioners.
|Feb 03, 2015||
Fr. Michael shares about the paradox of being sinners, but not sinning.
|Jan 27, 2015||
Fr. Michael continues his discussion from last week. "We should not teach our children that anything outside us can defile us.... The defilement is already in our hearts and what we avoid, we avoid because it stirs up the disordered passions of my heart."
|Jan 20, 2015||
Fr. Michael shares his concerns with the familiar "Poop in the Brownies" story and offers some positive alternatives to talking about purity with children.
|Jan 13, 2015||
Fr. Michael talks about the Orthodox Church understanding of Paradise and our encounter with Paradise.
|Jan 06, 2015||
Fr. Michael addresses what the word "talent" means (and doesn't mean) in Christ's Parable of the Talents.
|Dec 30, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares from St. Isaac the Syrian, "How one speaks of spiritual things is perhaps more important than the very spiritual matters themselves."
|Dec 23, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares his reflections from Abbess Thaisia: An Autobiography.
|Dec 16, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares about lessons learned from a poem by author Beatrix Potter and why he doesn't have a bucket list.
|Dec 08, 2014||
Fr. Michael concludes his reflections from his presentation on Theosis at the Orthodox Institute, held last month at Antiochian Village. This is Part 6.
|Dec 01, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares reflections from his presentation on Theosis at the Orthodox Institute, held last month at Antiochian Village. This is Part 5.
|Nov 25, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares reflections from his presentation on Theosis at the Orthodox Institute, held earlier this month at Antiochian Village. This is Part 4.
|Nov 18, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares reflections from his presentation on Theosis at the Orthodox Institute, held earlier this month at Antiochian Village. This is Part 3.
|Nov 11, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares reflections from his presentation on Theosis at the Orthodox Institute, held earlier this month at Antiochian Village. This is Part 2.
|Nov 04, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares reflections from his presentation on Theosis at the Orthodox Institute, held this past weekend at Antiochian Village. This is Part 1.
|Oct 28, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares important things to think about in the quest for a spiritual father or mother.
|Oct 14, 2014||
Fr. Michael talks about the changeability of our bodies in our endeavor to live in holiness. "We may be a mess, but we are God's mess, and He loves us."
|Oct 07, 2014||
Fr. Michael talks about the transition from fearing God to loving God.
|Sep 30, 2014||
Fr. Michael follows up last week's podcast ("Error to the Right") with a discussion about the warning to the Laodicean Christians to not be lukewarm (Revelation 3). "We are all sick, blind, naked, wretched, but it's only the lukewarm who don't think they are."
|Sep 23, 2014||
Fr. Michael talks about the sin of becoming "too righteous."
|Sep 16, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares an article by Abbess Victoria of St. Barbara's Monastery (Santa Paula, California) on ways to handle worries and distractions while praying.
|Sep 09, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares about his experience with the first ever Antiochian Orthodox youth camp in western Canada.
|Sep 02, 2014||
Fr. Michael answers the familiar question, "If God is real, why isn't it obvious to everyone?"
|Aug 26, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares a quote and reflections from Jim Forest's book, Living with Wisdom: A Life of Thomas Merton (http://www.amazon.com/Living-With-Wisdom-Thomas-Merton/dp/1570757542), "I find myself traveling to my destiny in the belly of a paradox."
|Aug 19, 2014||
Fr. Michael talks about getting beyond "scribbling down lists of mistakes" to "allowing your reflection on your sins to break your heart" in preparing for the sacrament of Confession.
|Aug 12, 2014||
Fr. Michael compares the weather of Canada's Pacific Coast to spiritual life.
|Aug 05, 2014||
Enjoying a spiritual mountain top? Walking in a spiritual valley? Fr. Michael talks about to even out the ups and downs of Christian life.
|Jul 29, 2014||
Fr. Michael reflects on a recent public-transit pilgrimage.
|Jul 22, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares about discernment. "We all have to begin where we are, with the limited ability and grace we have.... If we follow what we know, maybe God will reveal to us some of what we do not know."
|Jul 15, 2014||
Fr. Michael uses the examples of the Prodigal Son and the Wise Thief to talk about unity and freedom.
|Jul 08, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares an article about happiness he wrote for the Death to the World zine.
|Jul 01, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares his thoughts, and St. Isaac the Syrian's thoughts, about theosis.
|Jun 24, 2014||
Fr. Michael gives some answers to the age-old question of why life is hard.
|Jun 17, 2014||
Fr. Michael concludes his two-part series on discussing the comparison between vocations: marriage, monasticism, and singleness.
|Jun 10, 2014||
Fr. Michael begins a two-part series on discussing the comparison between vocations: marriage, monasticism, and singleness.
|Jun 03, 2014||
Fr. Michael uses the illustration of rock climbing to talk about fear and freedom.
|May 27, 2014||
Fr. Michael talks about charismatic Protestant Christianity.
|May 20, 2014||
Fr. Michael talks about how we take on responsibility for fixing others. "Peace does not come once we figure out how to heal our problems and the problems of those around us. That's backwards. Our problems and the problems of those around us will be healed as we acquire peace."
|May 13, 2014||
Fr. Michael talks about how our thoughts influence our lives. "This is success: to become by grace a God-filled human being, to become all that God has called us to be."
|May 06, 2014||
Fr. Michael addresses the passages in the gospels where Jesus instructs his disciples to buy swords, Peter's use of the sword, and our own response. "When you look at the Orthodox tradition, there is quite a mixed bag regarding violence and the use of weapons.... When we use force to oppose those who oppose us, when we end up fighting fire with fire, we destroy the ability of our enemy to hear. We cut off the ear of the very ones Jesus came to save."
|Apr 29, 2014||
Fr. Michael encourages us to trust that God, as our coach, will teach us to float and to swim, knowing that He is our teacher, and His hands are beneath us.
|Apr 22, 2014||
"What enraptures us today determines how we will experience the rapture of the last day no matter when or how that takes place."
|Apr 15, 2014||
Fr. Michael talks about the difference between inwardly-focused spiritual zeal and outwardly-focused emotional zeal.
|Apr 07, 2014||
Fr. Michael discusses fear of, and love for, God.
|Mar 31, 2014||
Fr. Michael shares the song of the vineyard, from the Prophet Isaiah.
|Mar 25, 2014||
Fr. Michael examines the Sermon on the Mount, specifically our faith and deeds done in secret.
|Mar 18, 2014||
Fr. Michael addresses disappointment—what it is and how we should deal with it.
|Mar 10, 2014||
Fr. Michael discusses "the dark night of the soul," an expression coined by St. John of the Cross, a 16th-century Spanish mystic.
|Mar 04, 2014||
Fr. Michael explains that the Church provides a context in which what has been good before can become better—more deeply understood, more sanely practiced.
|Feb 25, 2014||
Fr. Michael examines Jesus's exhortation in Matthew 6:1-3 to "take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men."
|Feb 18, 2014||
Fr. Michael examines Jesus's exhortation to "take heed that the light in you is not darkness."
|Feb 11, 2014||
Fr. Michael examines Jesus's exhortation to "take heed that you do not despise the little ones."
|Feb 05, 2014||
Fr. Michael examines Jesus's exhortation to "take heed of the leaven of the Pharisees."
|Jan 28, 2014||
Fr. Michael examines Jesus's exhortation to "take heed how or what you hear" in Mark 4:24 and Luke 8:18.
|Jan 21, 2014||
Fr. Michael examines Jesus's exhortation to "Take heed concerning covetousness" in Luke 12:14.
|Jan 14, 2014||
In this debut episode, Fr. Michael begins a seven-part series on the warnings of Jesus.