There are people that you do not know personally, but you are so aware of and so influenced by, that you feel like you belong to them. It may be a grandparent, it might be your priest, it could be anyone. You feel insecure when they are gone. This is how I feel about Anba Serapamon. From the get-go, I want to make it clear that I am not pretending that His Grace (HG) and I were personally close. I have some personal experience with him, and I have seen the effect of him on many of his children (including my Bishop). It’s his very existence, however, that mattered to me and the whole Church.Continue reading In Memoriam: Anba Serapamon (1937-2020)
Q: I’m having some troubles dealing with suffering, and I don’t want just the “Jesus loves me” answer. Any thoughts or insights?
This is not meant to be a political post, nor is it an angry rant that the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of homosexual marriage. This has been expected for a long time, so really, nothing shocking occurred. Rather, it’s a personal rumination and critique over how in our being so cliché, we are actually being very inconsistent and harming society. I want to get at the reasoning behind the ruling, and why it is not carried forward to other types of ‘love’. This blog is more explicit than I am usually comfortable with, so reader discretion is advised.
I am not interested in debating whether or not I think it should be legal or not for homosexuals to marry, as I’m not online to discuss the human rights aspect of things. The same freedom that allows homosexuals to marry is the same freedom that allows me to practice Orthodoxy in North America. Really, I want to get at the issues underlying everything: total superficiality, a worship of ‘rights’ and a forgetting of ‘wrongs’.
I am breaking from my retreat to write with tears a tribute of honour and veneration to our newest martyrs, the 21 martyrs in Libya. These valiant men have offered themselves as a living sacrifice as a testimony before the whole world and all nations.
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?
There’s a monastic story that left an impact on me and comes to mind a lot. The story goes like this:
There was a monk who entered anchoritic life – that is, he became a solitary. In this mode of life, he gave himself up to the sweet love of God, and felt many comforts that came from heaven. He felt the active presence of God, he felt joy in his prayers, and the supernatural was ever-present with him. There were physical and spiritual signs of God’s love at all times.
Continue reading The hermit who became a Bishop.
Please close your eyes for a moment and use that innate tool called the imagination. Take away your current surroundings, and follow me to North America, 300 years ago.
Continue reading Simple thanks: then and now.
The smell of sweat, smoke and lust is still fresh in the club. Nick Sanchez, the custodian, is ready to bring out his gear and clean up after the hundreds of people who have danced into the wee hours of the night. Instead of Ne-Yo, he turns on Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri. He needs something mellow. The song actually seems appropriate enough to him, but the messed up lover is the club, and the victims are the clubbers.
Continue reading The Afterparty: Nick
“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…