I remember an old grandfather, God repose his soul, at my church growing up. He used to say Our Father so slowly compared to the rest of the congregation, and it was not because he lacked English skills. He simply refused to rush prayer, and he had a hearing problem.
This is part two of a series to dialogue with parents AND kids, on issues that we see in the service. Please, let’s interact. What’s worked in your home? What didn’t work? What are the problems/causes of our issues.
Continue reading Dear Parents… Part Two: Prayer
I’m writing this to you because we, your servants, love your kids. This is not written to attack you or accuse you of anything “bad”. Again, I’m writing it because I, and other servants, love your kids. Because we love them, we also have some concerns. This blog got very long, so I will be dividing it into multiple parts. I am not saying any of this in an accusatory way – I am responding to real issues and things that are really said. I am not making up the issues. The Church cares about your children, as do you as parents, of course, and so it is important here and there to hear about those concerns, in the same way that many are more than happy to express their concerns to servants and clergy. This is not an exhaustive list of issues, but really just a sampling of categories in which there are issues going on in which I hope to engage you. Your comments and feedback are more than welcome.
Continue reading Dear Parents… Part One: Christian Education
Abbâ Muthues used to say that there were three brethren who were in the habit of coming to Abbâ Antony, and that two of them used to ask him questions about the thoughts, and about life, and redemption, and the discretion (or intelligence) of the soul, whilst the third one held his peace continually. And after a long time Abbâ Antony said unto him, “Brother, thou comest here each year, and askest nothing!” And he answered and said unto the old man, “It is sufficient for me to see thee.”
The Paradise or Garden of the Holy Fathers (Vol. 2, p. 189)
Continue reading In the presence of holiness.
Some old men said, “If you see a young man climbing up to the heavens by his own will, catch him by the foot and throw him down to the earth; it is not good for him.”
– Paradise of the Fathers
This week I was saddened to hear about the passing of a righteous elder, Abouna Stefanos Anba Bishoy. He was a monk of several decades, and the right hand man and steward of the monastery of Saint Pishoy in Wadi Natrun. While Paradise rejoices at the arrival of a struggling hero, I cannot help but feel sadness at the fleshly separation, at the end of the day, I am still a man. I want to share some meditations about what I observed in him over the last two years.
Continue reading A true elder: remembering Abouna Stefanos
Q: Every time I find some resolve to begin to work on my spiritual life, I find that things get difficult. Instead of feeling like God “has my back” so to speak, I feel like my problems increase. I don’t just mean spiritual temptations (although that’s happening as well), I mean both spiritual temptations and things in the world. School goes bad, friendships get rocked, I don’t know, problems increase, and I can’t help but wonder if this is worth it. I guess the question is, what do I do when I feel like this?
Continue reading When I try, things get harder. Why bother?
“Always carry a cross!” The monk instructed him, “Never go anywhere without it. Never do anything without signing it with the cross first: sitting down, laying down, opening a drink, anything!” With that, he promptly signed the cross where the two of them would sit…
Little did the youth know how the story would become real…
Continue reading A boy, his cross, and his intercessor.
A youth finds himself in the monastery of the great Saint Antony. It’s not a normal occurrence, as this youth tends to dislike monasteries. It’s not that he has anything against monks or monasteries themselves, but rather that he finds them remarkably boring.
Continue reading A monastery, a monk, and a heart: paradigm shift on holiness.
Q: I’m having difficulty knowing how to deal with my spiritual father. I don’t know how to balance my freedom with restrictions that he’s putting on me and I’m having trouble understanding what our relationship should look like. What am I supposed to do? I just feel like he doesn’t get how difficult what I’m going through is with a particular thing that I’m doing and I think that’s what is causing my frustration.
Continue reading Discipleship: dealing with my spiritual father can be rough.
Q: If one desires to enter the monastic life in a few years, what could he/she do to know and learn more about the life and to prepare for it?
Continue reading Considering monasticism in next few years, any advice?