Recovering the Millennia-Long Track Record of Praying with Icons in Christian Homes

Surviving the recent death of my mother after her five-year battle with cancer, my father (an ordained Presbyterian minister who works as a college literature professor) asked me for some simple suggestions regarding how to make use of icons in his home where he lives with my four youngest siblings. Two of these siblings are […]

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 that […]

we search for You in prayer

From a selection of prayers excerpted by Bishop Theophan the Recluse from the works of Holy Father Ephraim the Syrian: We search for You in prayer, O Lord, for all is comprehended in You. May we be enriched by You, for You are wealth that does not diminish with the changes of time. May Your […]

if she ever took to praying it would be for that time and all those people

From Lila by Marilynne Robinson: She meant to ask him sometime how praying is different from worrying. His face was about as strained and Weary as it could be. White as it could be. Now here she was again, worrying over people who were long past help. You can’t even pray for someone to have […]

Tips I’ve Heard About How to Pray and Worship in an Orthodox Church

In no particular order and from various sources, here are some tips that I’ve heard regarding how to pray and worship in an Orthodox church (and which also double as tips for all of life): 1. Keep your mind quietly within the present moment and only in the present moment. God only meets with us […]

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 grips […]

the full participation of the living with the dead

How the First Christians Changed Dying by William E. Kangas: The fathers of the church did not view theology as being dangerous if it denied God’s wrath, but rather if it denied God’s suffering. …As many Christians were killed for their faith, the book of Revelation opens up heaven and shows the reader that death […]

using my most tender memories as tools

Poem by Nate Pruitt. Mist Everywhere When the afternoon light touches the broad orange petals of the tiger lilies, mute tongues curled, I pray hard for such joyous sights to continue. But I pray wrong, selfishly. I don’t know where the words are going. I struggle to recall even the names of my old friends. […]