Contemporary Culture, Remembrance of Death, and the Hope of Repentance

Our thoughts are precious, for they express the innermost content of our lives, but those thoughts are not entirely ours. They are in constant dialogue with what we see, what we hear, and what we do. That dialogue often unwittingly reshapes us, altering our intentions, motivations, expectations, as well as the focus of our attention. And this is yet another reason why we need to be watchful, for if we are not watchful, we will never be free. This is one of the reasons why the ancient fathers went into the desert, stripping themselves of the trappings of the sophistication of antiquity, so that … [Read more...]

The Passions, Remembrance of God, and the Jesus Prayer

In the daily struggles of life, most of us assume that the passions such as anger, envy, jealousy, or lust are engendered by the circumstances in which we live.  One who perceives a negative situation, either from a demanding boss, a critical spouse, or a difficult child and yields to the passions may think “Well, if my boss hadn’t made that comment I wouldn’t be angry” or “If my husband would just do what I ask him. . .I wouldn’t have given in to anger or judgment.”  Once we begin to think this way, we start to give in to sinful behavior ourselves.  We justify such behavior by concluding that … [Read more...]