Transcripts

Praying in the Rain

Praying in the Rain

The Least of These

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"In our awkward attempts to love the needy, we discover our own poverty. They may hunger for bread, but we hunger for righteousness. In clothing the naked, we see our own nakedness, our complete lack of virtue. In visiting the prisoner or the sick we discover that we are imprisoned by habits of prideful and judgemental thought; we are sick with selfish passions and desires. When we do the outer work that Jesus speaks of, we discover the inner meaning that Jesus is referring to."

Here is the article that Fr. Michael refers to: http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/prayingintherain/2015/10/your-kingdom-come-the-sorting-parables/.

One of the problems with reading the story of the Last Judgement as recorded in Matthew 25 is that it’s almost impossible to do so without missing the deeper meaning of the story.  The story of the Last Judgement is more commonly known as the “parable” of the sheep and the goats.  Interestingly, this story is not actually a parable.  Throughout the Gospels, most of what Jesus says about the Kingdom of Heaven, he says in the form of parables. For…

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Praying in the Rain

Advice On Psalmody

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In the middle of Homily 54 of his Ascetical Homilies, St. Isaac gives specific advice on how to do this, how to take delight in psalmody.

He begins by saying that one should disregard both the quantity of verses and the beauty or skill with which one recites them. According to St. Isaac, delight in psalmody has nothing to do with how beautiful the reading sounds nor with the amount of verses one recites.

In the middle of Homily 54 of St. Isaac’s Ascetical Homilies, he begins a set of paragraphs with the question, “Do you wish to take delight in the psalmody of your liturgy and to understand the oracles of the Spirit which you recite?”  In the following three paragraphs, St. Isaac gives specific advice on how to do this, how to take delight in psalmody.

He begins by saying that one should disregard both the quantity of verses and the beauty or skill…

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Praying in the Rain

The Trouble with Balance

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You will often hear people speak of the importance of having balance in our lives. And generally speaking, it is a good idea to have a balanced life. This is especially true if by having balance in our lives we mean that we try to avoid extreme attitudes or behaviours. However, the trouble with the concept of having balance in our lives is that it is not a Christian concept. That’s not to say that the concept is not useful to Christians. It can be quite useful in some contexts to think of having balance in one’s life. It can be useful especially in identifying when something is wrong in our life—when we feel that our life is out of balance. Nevertheless, using the concept of balance as a criterion for the Christian life can also be dangerous.

You will often hear people speak of the importance of having balance in our lives.  And generally speaking, it is a good idea to have a balanced life.  This is especially true if by having balance in our lives we mean that we try to avoid extreme attitudes or behaviours.  However, the trouble with the concept of having balance in our lives is that it is not a Christian concept.  That’s not to say that the concept is not useful to Christians. …

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Praying in the Rain

Recognizing Empty Deceits

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If deception is so deceptive, how does one know if one is being deceived?

I’ve just had a very merry Christmas.  It was about as perfect as they come.  My daughter and her family came for a week (five children, including eleven-month old twins).  The services were beautiful and well attended.  And it snowed enough to feel Christmassy, but not so much that you couldn’t get out of the house and take the kids to the zoo, or McDonalds, or whatever might give mom a break for an hour or two.  It was truly an ideal…

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Praying in the Rain

Abbot Chapman Prays in the Rain

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Spiritual Letters is a collection of letters written in the early part of the twentieth century by a Roman Catholic priest—and I highly recommend it to English speaking Orthodox Christians who want to be encouraged in prayer.

Spiritual Letters is a collection of letters written in the early part of the twentieth century by a Roman Catholic priest—and I highly recommend it to English speaking Orthodox Christians who want to be encouraged in prayer.

The priest, Abbot John Chapman, was a very well educated Oxford graduate and devout Anglican who converted to Roman Catholicism in his mid twenties. …

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Praying in the Rain

Being of One Mind: What It Is and Isn’t

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"As Christians we are all called to be of one mind, but that one mind is not your mind or my mind or somebody else’s—no matter how holy or important that person is or how much authority he or she has. The one mind we are called to have is Christ’s."

One of the themes that resounds throughout St. Paul’s epistles is the exhortation that his spiritual children be of one mind, that they be likeminded.  In Romans and 1 Corinthians, St. Paul explicitly both prays for and commands that the believers be of one mind.  However, it is in the book of Philippians that St. Paul makes his most emotional plea—truly of all of the Churches St. Paul wrote to, it is with the Philippians that he seems to have had the…

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Praying in the Rain

Admitting That We Hate

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"Even if I feel I must oppose in some specific ways someone whose sin, for the sake of Christ, I cannot tolerate; still I must weep, weep as one who also is laden with sin—even if my own particular sins, at least the ones I recognize in myself, are not so socially repugnant."

“Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny” (Matthew 5:25, 26).

It has been said by many others that the “adversary” in this saying from the Sermon On The Mount is a reference to the Holy Spirit acting on…

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Praying in the Rain

Concern Over God’s Judgement: What Does It Look Like?

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Concern over God’s judgement has nothing to do with striving to be better. Concern over God’s judgement is to continually strive to enter God’s rest, to humble ourselves and feel sadness over our wretchedness, and to offer that wretchedness to God as prayer. This is what concern for God’s judgement looks like according to St. Isaac the Syrian.

In homily 51, St. Isaac begins a paragraph by quoting St. Gregory (I don’t know which one): “He is a temple of grace who is united with God, and is constant in his concern over His judgement.”  St. Isaac then asks, “what is concern over God’s judgement?”  His answer is quite surprising, a non sequitur really.  He doesn’t actually deal with God’s judgement at all, at least not in the way that most of us are used to thinking about it. …

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Praying in the Rain

Reforestation and the Healing of the Soul

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"Most of us most of the time will be attending to the first stage of the spiritual struggle: the purification of our senses through ascetic discipline, the control of the passions and developing the habit of attention. But even as we are focused mostly on this first stage, it does not mean that, by God’s Grace, we might not also have small clumps, small glimpses of illumination here and there growing in the field of our soul also. And who knows, maybe with time and continued struggle, deep in the heart of one of those little groves, in the darkest, most undisturbed part, who knows maybe the seedling of a great cedar is taking root."

It’s August first, 14 degrees (57f) and raining: Welcome to my world.

Actually it is a beautiful day, if you wear a little more than a tee shirt and if you’re somewhat at peace with yourself.  A lot of our life is like this.  On days that we expect sun and good times, it rains–sometimes it rains for days on end and it seems as if we will never see the sun again.  Life is a lot like that.

Today I want to talk a little bit about how…

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Praying in the Rain

Disappointment With Church Leaders

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It seems the future of the Church, the future of the next Great and Holy Council (or the continuation of the one that has already begun) depends mostly on us, the people: the moms and dads, the brothers and sisters, the laity in general and the married priests and simple monastics. We’re the one’s whose holiness or lack thereof determines the holiness of tomorrow’s generation of leaders in the Church.

Last week we had our annual diocesan conference in Phoenix, AZ.  Although it was 45 degrees at the beginning of the week without a cloud in sight, by the end of the week it had cooled down to a comfortable 35 with a few showers—not the soaking, misty rain as we know it on Canada’s Pacific Coast, but rather big, heavy drops that fell about 30 centimetres apart and didn’t really wet the ground because the moisture evaporated before the next drop hit that…

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