Monday, December 8, 2008

Deep thoughts


If a road that is traveled ends up in a dead end, a dark place, there is a ladder there with which to climb out.
(see Ladder to Heaven, St. Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, icon)
That establishes you in life again, but you have to grasp something that has meaning to you in a physical earthly sense and work with it, turning your back, time and time again on the dead end roads that try to destroy you.

If I think that something that I am doing has real value, it will have to be worked at, even to blood letting, to make it succeed and to give it life. God wants us to be truly committed to what we give our energy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Today's thought

The very act of living in the world makes people mad at you. If you did not act you would not be alive. So what do you do? Jump into the chaos and start jabbing with your elbows? Forget Peace?

It is Peace that makes the world liveable. 'WHERE is God?' (Elder Joseph the Hesychast)

God is not in the reasonable voice, but in the silence.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

poverty and neediness

The poor shall be satisfied - means remain in poverty (and need). There in lies the path to happiness and salvation.

When I try to fix the problem, bestiality and arrogance get in the way and I fall into sin and pain of heart.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obedience

Luke 9:23-27 (Gospel reading)
23
Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
24
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
25
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?


Obedience is one of the hardest disciplines to follow. It is loss supposedly of one's own free will. But is it not free will to be obedient?
Picking up the Cross and carrying it for someone else's imposed desire, means personal sacrifice, but in that... there appears freedom.
Obedience is not only to the person mandating the goal. Obedience is to a larger perspective. It is to God. Only then can the role that you have accepted be taken to the highest Good. For no human being is without sin. No matter the highest aim of the human that we follow, they are still human and imperfect.
My sense is that obedience to a person is victimhood. But when we take obedience to a higher level then it is transformed into a positive higher perspective and rather than victimhood there arises strength. Not strength of our own, but the strength of God's will in that situation. One feels that strength and can move in it. That truly is FREEDOM.
Accompanying that obedience is the prayer that this is God's will and He is working in that passage.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A new way to look at action

I was editing a cd that I am working on. St. John of Kronstadt to Abbess Thaisia...
I am paraphrasing.

What you do in the material world takes on a material semblance. It is how you do what you do. Do you do it for others or do you do it for God?


What a big difference it would be in my process if I thought that what I was doing for others, (sometimes wishing I didn't have to), I am really doing for God.
I have heard that in other ways before, but it never hit me in quite the same way. How alive that makes Jesus Christ! How joyful that would be to know that your operation for others was bigger than a day to day routine. That, I think, would make me more careful in agreeing to something that I casually agree to do and more aware when I commit myself. There are times that suddenly I am confronted with something I need to do for someone else and in those cases, YES, is a submission to God.
Hurray. What a wonderful thing to have been shown.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mary and Martha

"Today there is a great quarrel between "Martha" and "Mary", over who has chosen the good part. In the monasteries, as everywhere, Martha dominates Mary and does not let her pray much, while Mary weeps inconsolably. If we would put the church and the praise of God first, (Mary) and obediences and handiwork second (Martha), then all our monasteries and churches would be spiritually reborn and the devil would flee from men."

Elder Paisius Olaru
(Councils from Contemporary Romanian Elders, The Orthodox Word, #162, 1992, p.38)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Martyrs Sophia and her Three Daughters, Faith, Hope and Love (Charity)

"And we who of old were slain by the crime of eating of the tree, have been restored to life by the tree of the Cross."

The land owner's neighbor was driving down the road, and turned into the common road. A car was parked in the road and a woman was taking a ripe apple from one of the trees. "Private Property", the neighbor said loudly. "Yes, I know", the woman responded, "I just couldn't stand it, I had to have one."
"Yes, I know." The landowner said, and chuckled.
"Just like Eve", she added to herself.

Which was the guilty party? The one that took the apple, or the one that laughed at her crime?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Elevation of the Cross/ St. Euphemia Great-Martyr

The Menaion, From Ode 1 for September 16

Tracing and upright line with his staff, Moses divided the Red Sea for Israel, which was traveling on foot; and striking it a transverse blow, he brought the waters together over the chariots of Pharaoh, thereby inscribing the invincible weapon of the Cross. Wherefore, let us hymn Christ our God, for He hath been glorified.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Elevation of the Cross

The Jesus Prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me the Sinner",

is the river.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

This morning- Forefeast of the Elevation of the Cross

I realize when I think of the way my early life was, how aware I was of God in the world around me.
The river was the symbol of that. The changes the river presented, the hidden life in it, just under the surface and not bound by rules. It set the rules. If you didn't behave within the boundaries of the nature of the river itself, you would pay the consequences. The consequences were cause and effect. That was the way it was, there was no question as to behavior there.
If you were loud the fish that were a delight, would vanish. You had to come up for air. But the air above the river was as alive as the river below the air.
Sometimes the river flooded. It ripped away the grass and uprooted trees as it grew in fullness, and speed. It left an ugly scar, but in time the growth would be restored and in fact more vibrant. I recognized God in all of its forms.
This morning as I woke up, I saw that part of my life. It was my first understanding of God. I continue to look for God in that way. Being outside takes me there. I can feel God in the trees, the grasses, the animals moving in the grass or skittering across the road, the raven croaking in the top of the cottonwood or again black wings pushing the air with in a loud whoosh.
I see God's movement in people. Often below the surface of the eyes, like looking into the depth of the river, is a deeper movement. I feel that in myself as well, God living within me. Christ's suffering on the cross has brought that to me, to us.
"Rejoice wood fragrant with life, and treasury of wonders!" Akathist to the Precious Cross
If I set rules, things that have to be done... I stifle. If I attach great store to physical things that is as much a killer of God's Presence. That Presence is what life is about. That Presence is what fires life in the true meaning of the word.
If I can be AWARE and looking for the motion of God, if that is the thing that truly fires my life, then my life is with God, no matter the strange looks that I might receive. 'Lord have mercy', I can whisper to those that wish to direct me away from the moment and then conversely is the discipline that a moment may require, obedience.
I feel now within myself His motion towards the doing of something that needs to be worked on. I wonder, do I really need my lists?
Back to the old and sometimes worn out, and always fresh, 'living in the moment'.

From St. John of Kronstadt, "I beheld the Lord ever before me that I might not be shaken." Ps 15:18 Abbess Thaisia, An Autobiography p. 252