A Priest’s Duty is to Sustain the Flock of the Church

A Priest Duty is to Sustain the Flock of the Churchby Fr. Patrick Viscuso –
When imparting God’s sanctification and doing good, I can also say that there will be obstacles, for, as a 14th century Byzantine hieromonk once wrote, “Where is it necessary not without blood to struggle on behalf of the Truth?” That blood is the joy of the priesthood in its total dedication – mind, heart, soul, and body – to a loving a God, for whom our efforts are persistent and determined.

This struggle, on behalf of Truth, is to sustain the flock of the Church – an apostolic charge of Christ. As a minority, in a sea of disbelief and secularism, as ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων, “fishers of men,” we are continually challenged to work for the spiritual perfection and the salvation of the faithful. The upholding of canonical standards that reflect the strength of our faith and our community will be tested, over whom the “gates of hell” will not prevail. [Read more…]

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Orthodox Priests Challenge Met. Kallistos Ware’s Views of Monogamous Homosexual Relationships

Orthodox Priests Challenge Met. Kallistos Ware Views of Monogamous Homosexual RelationshipsFollowing the release of Bishop Kallistos Ware’s scandalous Foreword in the latest issue of The Wheel journal and the critical summary published by the OrthodoxNet Blog, several Orthodox priests and an Orthodox professor have also written articles that challenge Met. Ware’s misleading questions, manipulative arguments, and theologically unsound opinions.

Anatomy of a Foreword: Metr. Kallistos on Sexual Morality
by Fr. John Cox

Met. Kallistos Clearly Implies that the Church Should Bless Committed Same-Sex Relationships
by Fr. Juvenaly Repass

Metropolitan Kallistos and The Wheel
by Fr. Lawrence Farley [Read more…]

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Orthodox Liturgy Heals and Properly Orders the Human Soul

Orthodox Liturgy Heals and Properly Orders the Human Soulby Fr. Johannes Jacobse –
People say that the Liturgy is the Kingdom of God entering time and while this definition works I suppose, I have never really understood what it really means. Yes, I understand it abstractly, but abstraction has only a limited usefulness. So I’ve come up with another.

Worship is necessary because it creates the place where the soul can experience a measure of the necessary reordering that fosters healing. The soul has structure, and the healing of the soul, which is also the healing of the person, is one of the concrete, experiential constituents of salvation. Salvation is not metaphorical. It is real which means that it is experiential and affects concrete change and transformation measured as the healing of the person. [Read more…]

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Unpracticed Faith is Functional Atheism

Unpracticed Faith is Functional Atheismby Regis Nicoll –
Unpracticed faith—that is, faith without works—St. James writes, is dead. It has no transformative or sanctifying power; it is intellectual assent that descends into paralyzing doubt (or worse), which is no faith at all. That’s because faith is revealed, confirmed, and made perfect by our actions not affirmations (for by their fruits you will know them).

Consider a child, standing nervously at the edge of the pool, coaxed by his father to dive into the water. He has a choice: plunge headlong into the pool where the able arms of dad are ready to receive him, or remain at water’s edge frozen in fear, dithering in doubt. He may sincerely believe that his father won’t let harm come to him, but until he jumps, fear holds him captive in functional unbelief, revealing that his faith is in a danger that his father cannot save him from.

When the “rubber” of belief meets the “road” of decision, a choice has to be made. There is no middle road other than doubt, which defaults to unbelief and tosses us to and fro on the agnostic waves of uncertainty. [Read more…]

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Heretics Also Appeal to Scripture to Deceive Believers

Heretics Appeal to Scripture Also - St. Vincent of Lerinsby St. Vincent of Lerins –

Here, possibly, some one may ask, Do heretics also appeal to Scripture? They do indeed, and with a vengeance; for you may see them scamper through every single book of Holy Scripture – through the books of Moses, the books of Kings, the Psalms, the Epistles, the Gospels, the Prophets.

Whether among their own people, or among strangers, in private or in public, in speaking or in writing, at convivial meetings, or in the streets, hardly ever do they bring forward anything of their own which they do not endeavor to shelter under words of Scripture.

Read the works of Paul of Samosata, of Priscillian, of Eunomius, of Jovinian, and the rest of those pests, and you will see an infinite heap of instances, hardly a single page, which does not bristle with plausible quotations from the New Testament or the Old.

But the more secretly they conceal themselves under shelter of the Divine Law, so much the more are they to be feared and guarded against. For they know that the evil stench of their doctrine will hardly find acceptance with any one if it be exhaled pure and simple. They sprinkle it over, therefore, with the perfume of heavenly language, in order that one who would be ready to despise human error, may hesitate to condemn divine words. [Read more…]

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Met. Kallistos Clearly Implies that the Church Should Bless Committed Same-Sex Relationships

Fr Juvenaly Repassby Fr. Juvenaly Repass –

In his Foreword to The Wheel magazine Met. Kallistos Ware doesn’t just say “let’s learn more about this problem,” he questions whether Church teaching is right. He asks whether it is right for us (the Church) to impose on persons of same-sex orientation, the “heavy burden” of not being able to marry. The very clear implication is that they should be able to marry (in Church)!

Or perhaps he means that they should be able to have some sort of church blessing other than marriage – but in the Orthodox Church, marriage is the only context in which sexual union is blessed; apart from marriage, it is deemed sinful, and how can what is sinful be blessed?

It is shameful that a hierarch would hold these views, and worse still (if that’s possible) that a hierarch would mislead others by disseminating these opinions. Met. Kallistos has stepped over a line, and he should be disciplined. [Read more…]

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Sin as an Offense Against the Body

Mary Magdalene Sin as an Offense Against the Body by Fr. Tim McCauley –
“Every other sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the impure person sins against the body itself.” More than any other type of sin, St. Paul is suggesting that impurity is a sin against ourselves. A deep healing of such sins cannot be limited to a correction of external behavior, but must include a renewal of a relationship with God and ourselves, and the healing of the shame of original sin through the power of Christ’s death and Resurrection.

Our secular culture is almost cunning in its naiveté, suggesting that sexual expression outside of marriage—fornication, homosexual activity, pornography, masturbation—are neutral forms of bodily pleasure, left to individual choice. Yet this same culture is forced to reckon with the prevalence of addictions in the area of sexuality. The celebration of choice becomes the slavery of addiction, as Jesus himself solemnly warned us, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.” [Read more…]

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Sloth (Idleness) a Very Dangerous Vice, Mother of Many Other Vices

Sloth (Idleness) a Very Dangerous Vice, Mother of Many Other Vices by St. Luke, Archbishop of Crimea –
“O Lord and Master of my life! The spirit of idleness give me not!” Why does St. Ephraim the Syrian begin his prayer with a request about idleness [sloth], as if there are no worse faults?

In observing idleness [sloth] from the ordinary, everyday point of view we see that idleness is contemptible, and deserves all condemnation.

Idleness is a very dangerous vice, because it is the mother of many other vices. Idle people do not concentrate their thoughts on the profound seriousness of life, the huge responsibility that lies on them not only before people, but also before God Himself. [Read more…]

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Healed Lesbian: Cruel for Church Leaders to Go Soft on Same-Sex Relationships

Former Lesbian: Cruel for Church Leaders to Go Soft on Same-Sex Relationships by Pete Baklinski –
“The Church needs to lovingly say to this person: This is not who you are. Acting on same-sex inclinations is never going to bring you to a place where you can have a right relationship with God. In fact, if you go this way, you are heading down a destructive path.” ~ Robin Beck

Robin Teresa Beck, 59, lived through 12 lesbian relationships over the course of 35 years before her dramatic conversion to the Catholic faith and healing from homosexuality, just five years ago.

Beck spoke with LifeSiteNews over the phone from her home in Michigan in the Detroit area about everything from the impossibility of creating a healthy gay relationship, to why lesbian relationships can never fulfill the emotional needs of women, to how she believes God looks on people struggling with homosexuality, to how the Church should approach homosexuals. [Read more…]

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Christians Must Witness Their Faith, Speak Up, and Resist Evil

St. Paisios the Athonite by St. Paisios the Athonite –
If Christians don’t begin to witness their faith, to resist evil, then the destroyers will become even more insolent. But today’s Christians are no warriors. If the Church keeps silent, to avoid conflict with the government, if the metropolitans are silent, if the monks hold their peace, then who will speak up?

The spirit of lukewarmness reigns. There’s no manliness at all! We’ve been spoiled for good! How does God still tolerate us? Today’s generation is the generation of indifference. There are no warriors The majority are fit only for parades.

Godlessness and blasphemy are allowed to appear on television. And the Church is silent and doesn’t excommunicate the blasphemers. And they need to be excommunicated. What are they waiting for? Let’s not wait for someone else to pull the snake out from its hole so that we can live in peace.

They’re silent out of indifference. What’s bad is that even people who’ve got something inside have begun to grow cool, saying: “Can I really do anything to change the situation?” We have to witness our faith with boldness, because if we continue to be silent we’ll have to answer in the end. [Read more…]

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On the Virtue of Goodness

On the Virtue of Goodness, Choose Goodby Fr. Lawrence Farley –
In his list of virtues which comprise the fruit of Spirit working in one’s life, St. Paul lists that of “goodness” (Greek agathosune, αγαθοσυνη) about midway in the list (Galatians 5:22f). One scarcely speaks of goodness as one of the virtues anymore. In our culture describing something as “good” is rather tepid praise; it is like saying something is “okay”, and “good” comes first in our ascending ladder of praise—“good, better, best”. Love, joy, and kindness are praised and admired, but goodness is hardly remembered at all.

Indeed, though it stood toward the summit of virtues in the ancient world, our culture replaces “goodness” as the summit of virtues with “tolerance”—a tolerance always subject to the whims of fashion and standing within a world which knows no unchanging moral compass. Those whims might dictate almost anything. One season eating meat is declared unethical, and the next the wearing of fur. But apart from these arbitrary declarations of fashion, pretty much everything is tolerated—except, paradoxically, true goodness. [Read more…]

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Man Saved from Homosexuality: There’s No Such Thing as a ‘Gay Christian’

Man Saved from Homosexuality: There's No Such Thing as a Gay Christianby Matt Moore –

The grace of God is so much stronger than any sin that may have a hold on you. I am living, walking proof of that. He will pour His mercy and grace on those who truly surrender to Him, and repent of their sins.

It is extremely difficult for me to talk about this, but I have decided to let Jesus be glorified in my weakness, and to let Him use my past and my experience to further His Kingdom by communicating the amazing and saving truth of His Word.

This note is not geared towards non-Christians. It is geared towards those of us who are professing believers of Jesus Christ and who believe in the God of the Bible. But I hope that even if you are not a Christian that you will read this with an open mind and evaluate your own beliefs and do your own research on Christianity and the Bible.

Our faith is NOT a blind faith. There is plenty of evidence, and I encourage you to seek it. [Read more…]

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On the Character of Men and on the Virtuous Life: 170 Texts (Philokalia, Vol 1)

St. Anthony the Great Character of Men and the Virtuous Lifeby St. Anthony the Great –

1. Men are often called intelligent wrongly. Intelligent men are not those who are erudite in the sayings and books of the wise men of old, but those who have an intelligent soul and can discriminate between good and evil. They avoid what is sinful and harms the soul; and with deep gratitude to God they resolutely adhere by dint of practice to what is good and benefits the soul. These men alone should truly be called intelligent.

2. The truly intelligent man pursues one sole objective: to obey and to conform to the God of all. With this single aim in view, he disciplines his soul, and whatever he may encounter in the course of his life, he gives thanks to God for the compass and depth of His providential ordering of all things. For it is absurd to be grateful to doctors who give us bitter and unpleasant medicines to cure our bodies, and yet to be ungrateful to God for what appears to us to be harsh, not grasping that all we encounter is for our benefit and in accordance with His providence. For knowledge of God and faith in Him is the salvation and perfection of the soul. [Read more…]

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Mystery and History Collide on Christmas

Nativity God with Us Jesus Christby Regis Martin –
When we consider the Christmas Miracle, it is worth recalling the fact that Joseph does not at once repudiate his betrothed, despite his discovery that she is pregnant with another’s child. It is an astonishing development. How painfully bewildering it must have been for him, however, to try and account for a conception for which he was not at all responsible. Still, for all that Joseph is entitled to collect in the way of punitive damages, including death by stoning, he refuses to go that route, resolving instead “to divorce her quietly.”

At which point, of course, an angel of the Lord intervenes, advising Joseph in a dream not to heed the counsel of fear, nor to give way to the demands of justice, but to welcome Mary into his home. How so? Because the Child she bears is the Son of the living God. [Read more…]

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Thou Shall Not Judge – The Misunderstood 11th Commandment

hou Shall Not Judge - The Misunderstood 11th Commandmentby Robert Meyer –
The idea that we can never judge about anything is patently absurd. To say that we can never judge is to wander aimlessly. The Scriptures tell us that we should reprove each other, speaking the truth in love. What our society lacks is righteous judgment. What we have an abundance of is knit-picking and indifference. Neither of those two alternatives promotes justice and righteousness.

Regardless of the level of theological sophistication, we can always be sure the critics “know” one thing: The Bible says that we should not judge one another. Anyone who would do so is clearly being un-Christian. Such obtuse reasoning is employed against Christians who offer a negative commentary on certain cultural trends, behaviors or lifestyles. Still, I wonder how many people have taken this concept to its logical conclusion? [Read more…]

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