Tag Archives: love

Do not Resent, do not React, keep Inner Stillness

Please see http://www.monasteryofstjohn.org/documents/abbatialessays/Do_not_react.pdf for the entire discussion:

(Please note this is an Eastern Orthodox view, they do not view original sin the same way as the Western Church)

Amazing, the ability of some simple questions to lay bare our sin:

Loving God

Do I love God? Do I really believe in God, or just go through the motions?
Do I pray, and when I do, do I connect, or is it just mechanical? Do I rush through prayers, Scripture readings, and spiritual literature? Do I seek the will of God in all things? Do I rebel against what I know to be God’s will, and the Christian life? Do I try to be obedient, and constantly surrender my life to God?
Do I go to church, go to confession and communion regularly, keep the fasts?
Do I try to be conscious of God’s Presence, or not?
Do I try to sanctify my life? Or do I give in to temptation easily? Thoughtlessly?

Loving our Neighbor

How do I treat the people around me? Do I allow myself to judge, criticize, gossip about or condemn my neighbor? Do I put people down? Do I look for their faults? Do I condescend and talk down to others?
Do I treat others with kindness, gentleness, patience? Or am I mean, rough and nasty? Do I try to control others, manipulate others?

Do I regard others with love and compassion?
Do I bear anger or resentments against others? Hatred, bitterness, scorn?
Do I use and objectify others for my own pleasure or advantage? For sex, for profit, or for anything else which de-personalizes him/her?
Do I envy and bear jealousy towards my neighbor? Do I take pleasure in his misfortunes?
Do I act thoughtlessly, oblivious to the feelings or conscience of the other? Do I lead my neighbor into temptation intentionally? Do I mock him or make fun of him?
Do I honor the commitments I have made? Marriage vows? Monastic vows? Do I honor my parents? Am I faithful in my relationships? Do I have stability in my commitments? Am I conscious of how my words and actions affect others?

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Ash Wednesday falls on St. Valentine’s Day

What a bitter irony. It must pain Valentine so. The day the ancient church decided to celebrate his martyrdom is now used as an excuse for all sorts of debauchery. Now, please don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the day entirely. I bought my little girl a teddy bear and my wife her favorite perfume.

But, it’s more known nowadays as “a day for lovers” rather than a day to celebrate good Christian love. And a day for lovers has come to mean 50 Shades of Grey films and other soft porn offerings.

There are several possible St. Valentine stories. All of them bear witness to the brutality of the Roman Empire in trying to stamp out the early church. They are stories of men who had the strength of their convictions and faith in Christ Jesus to lay down their lives rather than recant of their faith. To use any of these martyrs to sell a pair of undies is just despicable.

So it’s rather appropriate that is falls on Ash Wednesday this year. A day of repentance. A day to remember we will return to dust. It may prick the conscience of a few nominal Christians to see how lukewarm their faith is, this I fervently pray. It will be barely a blip on the larger culture’s radar.

Sisters and Brothers in Christ, let us revive our love, divine love, agape love, pure and holy Love for God and for one another and to witness to a dying world about the Love of Christ and the only Hope of Salvation that is found in Him.

1 Corinthians 16: 13-14

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.

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Post script: Our church offers confession either before or after the service of ashes. If yours doesn’t, I urge you to go visit one that does. It’s necessary to experience it, my explanations as to why will all be insufficient. Repent!

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Why Amateur?

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