Poverty in Spirit More Important Than Material Poverty

St. Basil the Great Orthodoxby St. Basil the Great –
Poverty is not always praiseworthy, but only when it represents a free choice according to the Gospel commandment.

Many are poor in terms of possessions and very miserly in spirit, and those people will not be saved through their poverty but damned by their attitude of mind.

Not every poor person therefore is worthy of praise, but only those who of their own choice put the commandment of the Lord before all the treasures of the world.

Those people the Lord says are blessed when he proclaims “blessed are the poor in spirit.” He does not say the poor in possessions, but those who have freely chosen poverty in spirit.

What is involuntary cannot merit blessedness. Every virtue, and poverty in spirit more than any other, must be a free choice. [Read more…]

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Making the Most of Your New Year – 2014

How to Make the Most of Your New Year 2014by Allen West –
On his blog, Allen West reflects on Pastor Scott Eynon’s sermon titled “How to Make the Most of Your New Year” based on the core scriptures in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV): “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Pastor Scott emphasized four points:

1. Accept responsibility for your life, your actions, no blame game. He emphasized that you will never reach God’s potential for your life by blaming others. The Bible even addresses that premise in Galatians 5:6, “for each one should carry their own load.” I also liked this quote from John Maxwell: “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.”

2. Believe you can change and set goals. If you want something to be different, first you have to want it, and second you have to commit to hard work, focus, and discipline in achieving it. [Read more…]

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Self Awareness and Self Control Key to Living a Virtuous Life

Self Awareness and Self Control Know Thyselfby Fr. George Morelli –
Many are familiar with the famous ancient Greek adage: “Know thyself.” Countless philosophers and spiritual teachers as well have used this theme. To my best recollection, I first came across this aphorism while reading Plato in a philosophy course my first year in college. Interestingly, this aphorism was also used by the ancient Egyptians, who gave it a religious connection. In the temple of Luxor (1400 BC) is the inscription: “Man, know thyself … and thou shalt know the gods.”

The importance of self-awareness and self-control also can be found in other religious systems. In the Buddhist tradition one reads: “Though one should conquer a million men on the battlefield, yet he, indeed, is the noblest victor who has conquered himself.” [Read more…]

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St. John Chrysostom on the Terrible Passion of Homosexuality

St. John Chrysostom virtue of faithby Fr. Sarantis Sarantou –
“Because of this did God give them up to dishonorable passions, for even their females did change their natural function into that which is against nature; and in like manner also the males having left the natural use of the female, did burn in their longing toward one another….” (Romans 1:26-27)

The Apostle Paul, according to the Holy Fathers, is the holy mouth of Christ, and divine Chrysostom is the mouth of the Apostle Paul. Commenting on the very important Epistle to the Romans of the holy Apostle Paul, the divine Father gives a divinely inspired analysis of homosexuality, among other issues.

All the passions are degrading to humanity, but especially the mania of men for men. He summarily characterizes homosexuality as an unforgivable passion, not because it really is, but because the entire male personality becomes so distorted that there is a chronic allegiance to this abomination, which is a difficult passion to restrain by the fallen.

The golden words of Chrysostom are remarkably balanced. His unshakable logic, which he uses to spiritually support his flock, is universally acknowledged to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. [Read more…]

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The Secret Sloth of Busy, Active People

Secret Sloth of Busy, Active Peopleby Dave White –
Slothful people, to many people’s surprise, are often active, busy, and hard-working people who have given their lives to trivial matters, not transcendent ones. They have immersed their lives with empty pleasures. Slothful people regularly find themselves bored and struggle to compensate by filling their time with self-centered diversions. It’s not that their lives are filled with motion, energy, and bustling about; it’s that their lives are slothful regarding the things that really matter!

Slothful People Embrace Escapism
Sloth is not mere laziness. It’s not a couch potato. Sloth is escapism of the deadly sort—including drug users, TiVo addicts, and obsessive video gamers. Yet escapism also includes most workaholics! Sloth saps our time and emotions through positive activities like clubs, hobbies, and sports—while leaving scant energy for our marriages or kids or preeminent duties. [Read more…]

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Recognizing and Overcoming the Sin of Sloth

Sin of Sloth by Paul Kokoski –
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

Sloth, often called acedia, is described simply as the sin of laziness. However, while this is part of the manifestation of sloth, the central problem with sloth as a capital sin is spiritual laziness – which leads to lukewarmness.

Sloth is connected with sensuality. It proceeds from a love of pleasure, inasmuch as it inclines us to avoid effort and hardship. There is in all of us a tendency to follow the line of least resistance, which paralyses or lessens our activity.

Sloth is an inclination to idleness or at least to aimlessness, to apathy in action. At times this is a morbid disposition due to poor condition of health. More frequently it is a disease of the will, which fears effort and recoils from it. The slothful person wants to escape all exertion, whatever might interfere with their comfort or involve fatigue. Like the real parasite, they live on others to whatever extent they can, becoming gruff and ill-tempered when one tries to rouse them from their inaction. [Read more…]

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Our Love of God is Tested Beyond the Church Walls

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk by Metropolitan Hilarion –
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!

In today’s Reading of the Gospel, we heard the story of how our Lord Jesus Christ, at the request of His disciple, fed up a multitude of people with bread and fish. The Gospel speaks of five thousand men who were fed by the Lord, not counting women and children. So, we do not know the exact number of people. The Lord fed them with five thousand loaves and two fishes.

This miracle of the multiplication of loaves in a desert reminds us that the Lord is the Giver of every blessing, the Giver of both material and spiritual food. It is not accidental that every time before eating we ask the Lord to bless our meal and after the meal we thank Him for satisfying us with His earthly gifts and ask that He may not deprive us of His Heavenly Kingdom.

This miracle of the multiplication of loaves in a desert reminds us that the Lord is the Giver of every blessing, the Giver of both material and spiritual food. [Read more…]

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