Taking Captivity Captive: The Role of Mindfulness in Overcoming Mindless Compulsions

In our busy world we often perform routine tasks without giving them much thought.  We’ve performed them so often that after the rote tasks are completed we often wonder to ourselves, “I don’t remember doing that” or “I was so deep in thought about work or family that I don’t remember the drive to work this morning.”  This isn’t to say the work was done in a sloppy fashion or the drive to work was reckless.  It does tell us however that we didn’t have our focus on what we were doing at that particular time.   Most of the time there aren’t any adverse consequences in “spacing out”.  Yet, when … [Read more...]

So Much More than Healing: Newness of Life Through Obedience

“He has renewed the heaven, because foolish men had worshipped all kinds of stars; He has renewed the earth which had grown old in Adam.  With his spittle there took place a novel fashioning: He who is capable of all things puts aright both bodies and minds.  He is the Creator’s Son, whose treasure stores are filled with every benefit.  He who needs pupils, let him approach him: He will fashion mud, and transform it, fashioning flesh and giving light to the eyes.  With a little mud he showed how, through Him, our dust was fashioned; the soul of the dead man, too, bore witness to Him how, by … [Read more...]

Beyond Thought and Feeling: The Cross of Christ

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness” From the moment our Lord first told His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem to suffer and die, the cross of Christ has been a scandal and a stumbling block to many.  Even those who have some respect for the teachings of Christ and admire His treatment of the poor and downtrodden experience difficulty with this central tenet of our faith, especially on a personal lived level. Logically speaking, it doesn’t seem to make sense. Emotionally speaking, it’s counterintuitive, but when the grace of … [Read more...]

Bodily Asceticism and Spiritual Health

One of the most important aspects of the Christian patrimony involves the universal counsel on the value of bodily asceticism. Just as doctors encourage exercise for the sake of physical and psychological well-being, so the spiritual physicians of the Church encourage bodily asceticism for the health of soul and body. To those that are sick with spiritual ailments, bodily asceticism can be an important part of their cure. To those who are in a state of spiritual health, bodily asceticism can help keep them spiritually fit and ready to make sacrifices for the love of others. Sadly, this sage, … [Read more...]

Fasting, Feasting and the Pursuit of Happiness

For a relatively small community, this period of the year is marked by vigilant fasting in preparation for the Savior’s humble birth from a Virgin most pure.  It is a time punctuated by the vigilant yet joyful expectation for this blessed moment of radiance in the night of human history.  Through the ascetical practice of fasting, through the mystery of confession, and through the liturgical commemoration of the prophets of old, we prepare our hearts for the glad tidings of great joy: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” For the larger … [Read more...]

The One Thing Needful

“To leave this bruised and wounded state, there is but one path, that of repentance.” We may speak at length about strategies for coping with bad thoughts; we may carefully develop approaches for cultivating good thoughts; we may wax eloquent about all the ills that afflict humanity; but without repentance (μετανοία), that deep change (μετα) in the basic orientation that governs our life (νόησις), we remain very much and very sadly the same.  This is true because what fundamentally ails us is our estrangement from God. In order for the therapies, strategies, and reconstructed schemata to be … [Read more...]