Our Father which Art in the Heavens


Having warned His disciples about the pitfalls of praying for the wrong things with vain repetitions , having cautioned them about the dangers of praying for the wrong reasons such as being seen by others, our Lord then directs His disciples about the way they should pray giving as an example the most widely known prayer in Christendom, the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father. Many times, we may say it without fully appreciating the significance of … [Read more...]

The Stages of Grief


Before the dawn of the internet, AAA (American Automobile Association) used to offer its “Trip Tiks” or helpful booklets that would detail one’s journey. In addition to providing the best route to a given destination, it would also suggest places to stay or visit along the way. At the time, they were very popular and I suspect their popularity was related to the human need to know beforehand about a journey’s particular details such as what to … [Read more...]

The Task of Rebuilding Oneself and One’s World in Grief

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Our relationships are our world. They define us. They place us in roles that become part and parcel to our identity. Those special connections with others form the fabric of our reality and the possibilities for our future. And when one of those fundamental relationships is abruptly removed by death, it feels like the rug is pulled out from underneath our feet and unraveled at the seams. Precious assumptions about life are no longer valid. A … [Read more...]

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”

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There is something pleasantly refreshing about direct speech that cuts straight to the point and something undeniably draining about long-winded chatter that blathers on and on, so much so that the real issue is lost to both the speaker and the listener. This is the case not only in our interactions with others, but also in our communication and communion with God. For this very reason, Saint John Chrysostom notes that the Lord’s counsel to not … [Read more...]

The Disruption of Grief

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We can all be grateful for the fact that bonds between the living and those who have departed from this life can continue, but that does not change the fact that with the loss of a loved one, established routines collapse, reliable sources for comfort vanish, and valuable input about our opinions and perceptions disappear. We all need order and balance in our lives, for a sense of peace in which we can find and love both God and neighbor. … [Read more...]

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly


Whether we call it self-presentation or vainglory, impression management or hypocrisy, being concerned about how others view us at the time of prayer empties prayer of all its blessed potential and its ultimate reward, the union between the believer and God.   According to Saint Isaac the Syrian, prayer is “a refuge of help, a source of salvation, a treasury of assurance, a haven that rescues from the tempest, a light to those who are in … [Read more...]

Grief and Human Bonds

It is so natural for small children to cling to their mothers’ embrace. After all, little ones feel warmth, safety, strength, and security close to someone who feeds them, clothes them, caresses them, and loves them. That is the first relational bond that in the best-case scenario we all form and soon other similar, emotional bonds follow suit. An author writing about grief at the turn of the 19th century, A. F. Shand, once wrote, “The bond, … [Read more...]

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward

We are all inevitably influenced by those who surround us. We want to fit in. We want to be liked. And so we present a part of ourselves to other in order to achieve those highly personal goals. Much of this we do automatically and without thinking. When we do think about it, there is usually something a bit less than honest in the mix, be it something too ingratiating in our words, something too self-assured in our demeanor, or something too … [Read more...]

5 Common Myths Concerning Grief


In the last post, I wrote about the nature of grief including its signs and symptoms. In this post, I will focus on a subject of equal importance—common myths about grief. These myths start with the reality of grief and then, after emphasizing certain aspects of that reality and eliminating others, provide proscriptions for how people should or should not grieve. These myths aim at controlling behavior and maintaining a certain comfort zone not … [Read more...]

Knowing the Symptoms and Signs of Grief

“We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.” ― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed Intellectually, we all realize that eventually we will lose our loved ones. We try not to think about that too much as if guarding … [Read more...]