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I'll Come Speak

    I write and speak on all sorts of topics: ancient Christian spirituality and the Eastern Orthodox faith, the Jesus Prayer, marriage and family, the pro-life cause, cultural issues, and more. You can contact Cynthia Damaskos of the Orthodox Speakers Bureau if you’d like to bring me to an event. This Calendar will let you know when I’m in your neighborhood.

 

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Saturday
Jun282014

A Summary of Orthodox Spirituality in St. Maximos

Every day I get an entry from the writings of St. Maximos the Confessor, from his Four “Centuries” (four sets of one hundred short sayings) on Love. They come in Greek and English. I don’t know who sends them; I expect someone has set himself a task of translating one a day.

As I read today’s I thought how absolutely mystified I would have been by it, a few years back.

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Sunday
Jun152014

Leaping into Light

Springing from her lap he leaps,

my father, into light;

Grandmother holds him tight;

and Grandad penned the frame with time:

“MAR 30-1926”

and birthday “7-MONTHS.”

But all this fails to hold him back:

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Friday
Jun062014

The Fault in Our Stars

It was “beautifully tragic,” my young companion said, and judging from the sobs and sighing all around us, this opinion was widely shared. The film is based on the best-selling Young Adult book by the same title, authored by John Green (best known, with his brother Hank, for the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers). The novel bucked current trends by not being set in a near-future dystopia ruled by vampires. Instead it’s a dying-teenager story, but not of the usual sort. It’s literate and funny. It doesn’t exploit the drama of diagnosis, horror, and teary acceptance; the characters have had cancer for years already, and have worked out believably different ways of living with their condition. (As a one-time aspirant for the Episcopal priesthood, Green spent some time as a chaplain in a children’s hospital. Hard lessons learned greatly benefit the storytelling.)

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Saturday
Apr122014

Tips for a Good Holy Week with Children (by Roxann Ashworth)

Holy Week is a long, intense, busy week, and sometimes the thought of going to all of those services with small children can be more than a parent wants to deal with, and the temptation to leave them at home or not go to church at all becomes very strong.  Let me encourage you to fight that temptation and bring your kids to as many services as possible.  I’m not saying that it will be easy or even necessarily fun, but it will be important for their future spiritual life.  You can look at it this way:  behaving in church takes practice.  With everything else in our lives, we know that practice once a week does not actually teach us much.  Consistent, even daily practice is required. Holy Week is a marathon—40 hours of church in 5 days, it is a great way to get some intense practice in for your children. 

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Tuesday
Apr012014

St. Mary of Egypt (for all ages)

St. Mary of Egypt

Feasts: April 1 and 5th Sunday of Great Lent

About 500 years after the Resurrection of our Lord, a holy monk by the name of Zosimas lived in a monastery by the Jordan River. He had lived as a monk since childhood and when he was about 50 years old he began to think that he had surpassed all the other monks in virtue and that no one could teach him anything he didn’t already know. To prevent such a prideful thought from taking root, God taught him a lesson.

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Friday
Mar072014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel is surely the most Wes-Andersony of all the Wes Anderson movies, and if you’ve never seen a Wes Anderson movie, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Try this: of all contemporary filmmakers, Anderson is the one most likely to provoke reviewers to use the words “fey” and “twee.”

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Friday
Mar072014

Unforgiveable

[St Seraphim Prison Fellowship; Winter 2013]

 Are there crimes that cannot be forgiven?

Apollo was a shepherd, and had been hardened by his rough life. One day he saw a pregnant woman alone in the field, and was seized with curiosity to know how the unborn child lay in the womb. So he killed her; there was no one there to help her. He opened her body and looked upon the dying child.

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Wednesday
Jan292014

A Miracle of Flowers

Wes Smith’s column this week for First Things is about the flowers at his church that continued to be fresh, after a parishioner poured out the last of his holy water into one of the vases.

 


The comment of a skeptic at that site clarified for me a point of miscommunication. The skeptic seems to think we are claiming that holy water is magic, and if we tested this in a controlled environment it would have this effect on flowers every time. There would be a pattern, one that kept appearing in any place and time.

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Wednesday
Jan292014

The Public Atheists Refute an Imaginary God

Oliver Burkeman, a blogger for The Guardian, says that proponents of the atheist side of the God debate (where, he says, his sympathies lie) are being intellectually lazy. They attack a concept of God which imagines him as a sort of superhero, rather than grappling with the classic monotheistic view of God as the source and ground of reality. This is like anti-evolutionists refuting a distorted and absurd concept of evolution. Burkeman recommends David Bentley Hart’s “The Experience of God” so that they might grasp and then grapple with a more theologically-accurate concept of God. 

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Monday
Jan202014

The Great Blessing of the Waters by St. Sophronius of Jerusalem (AD 634-8)

 

Priest: O Trinity, transcendent in essence, in goodness and in divinity, O Almighty, invisible and incomprehensible, who watch over all, O Creator of intelligent essences, of natures endowed with speech, O Goodness of utter and unapproachable brilliance, who enlighten every person who comes into the world: enlighten me also, your unworthy servant! Illuminate the eyes of my mind, that I may venture to praise your immeasurable goodness and your might; may the prayer that I offer be acceptable for the people here present. Let not my sins prevent the descent of the Holy Spirit upon this place, but permit me now without condemnation to cry out to You, O all-good Lord, and to say:

We glorify You, O Master and Lover of Mankind, Almighty King before eternity!

We glorify You, Creator and Maker of all!

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