they will say that this structure was held together politically, which it was

I do not believe or hope in this as the last word on our dear country, but this does describer our sad empire rather well in several ways. Of The Empire We will be known as a culture that feared deathand adored power, that tried to vanquish insecurityfor the few and cared little for theContinue reading “they will say that this structure was held together politically, which it was”

God to whom we pray is nearer to us than the very prayer itself

The God to whom we pray is nearer to us than the very prayer itself ere it leaves the heart. George MacDonald in Paul Faber, Surgeon, chapter 35, “A Heart.” You were more inward to me than my most inward part and higher than my highest. Augustine in Confessions (3.6.11), in Latin “interior intimo meoContinue reading “God to whom we pray is nearer to us than the very prayer itself”

reading books is good but possessing nothing is more than anything

Icon of St. Macarius the Great with a cherub. (The one written more recently is in higher resolution and from this blog.) Saint Macarius, commemorated today, has many sayings collected. Here is one that should be a warning to me: Theodore, surnamed Pherme, had three good books. He went to Macarius, and said, ‘I haveContinue reading “reading books is good but possessing nothing is more than anything”

a mysterious sanctuary where we are inseparably joined to God

And so there is, over and beyond our faculties, at the point where they originate, a mysterious sanctuary where we are inseparably joined to God and maintained by him upon the abyss of void, posed as a living mirror of his life and being. In this mirror, beyond habitual consciousness, our interior gaze meets thatContinue reading “a mysterious sanctuary where we are inseparably joined to God”

do whatever you see that your soul desires according to God

One of the fathers asked Abba Nistheros the Great, the friend of Abba Antony: “What good work should I be doing?” He said to him: Are not all actions equal? Scripture says that Abraham was hospitable, and God was with him. David was humble, and God was with him. Elias loved interior peace, and GodContinue reading “do whatever you see that your soul desires according to God”

not in the head but in the chest

The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology, edited by E. Kadloubovsky and E. M. Palmer (London: Faber and Faber, 1966), pp. 190 to 194: To stand guard over the heart, to stand with the mind in the heart, to descend from the head to the heart—all these are one and the same thing. The coreContinue reading “not in the head but in the chest”

the great compassion that burns without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God

What is a merciful heart? It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that gripsContinue reading “the great compassion that burns without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God”

a profound and meaningful silence

Having life “abundantly” has something to do with quality, not quantity. Quantity belongs to the mind. Issues of quality belong to the heart. …The language of the heart is silence–not a bleak, empty silence, but a profound and meaningful silence that ceaselessly sings the glory of God. From Bread & Water, Wine & Oil byContinue reading “a profound and meaningful silence”