You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Spiritual’ category.

Dostoevsky:

“Dostoevsky relates the story of a woman who was almost saved by an onion. She had been a person of absolute selfishness and so, when she died, she went to hell. After all, she had chosen hell every day of her life. Even after her death, her guardian angel wanted to save her and so approached the Savior, saying a mistake had been made. “Don’t you remember? Olga once gave an onion to a beggar.” It was left unsaid that the onion had started to rot, and also that it wasn’t so much given as thrown at the beggar. The Savior said, “You are right. I bless you to pull her out of hell with an onion.” So the angel flew into the twilight of hell — all those people at once so close to each other and so far apart — and there was the selfish woman, glaring at her neighbors. The angel offered her the onion and began to lift her out of hell with it. Others around her saw what was happening, saw the angel’s strength, and saw their chance. They grabbed hold of the woman’s legs and so were being lifted with her, a ribbon of people being rescued by one onion. Only the woman had never wanted company. She began kicking with her legs, yelling at her uninvited guests, “Only for me! Only for me!” These three words are hell itself. The onion became rotten and the woman and all the others attached to her fell back into the disconnection of hell.”

Fr. Stephen looks at the image of Christ with the unrighteous gathered around Him and recalls a famous passage in Dostoevsky. March 13, 2010 Length: 5:59

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/freeman/publicans_and_harlots_and_the_last_banquet

“March 18, 2010 Length: 22:26

In this podcast Steve references an article he wrote for AGAIN Magazine on the Orthodox Church and same sex attraction. In it he shares the results of several interviews with Orthodox men and women who shared their backgrounds and experiences as homosexuals before and after becoming Orthodox Christians.”

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/stevethebuilder/orthodoxy_and_homosexuality_part_one

“Heaven is full of those who believe that they do not belong there, and curiously absent of those who agree.”

http://nothinghypothetical.wordpress.com/

“Somewhere in Northern Russia in a small Russian Orthodox monastery lives a very unusual man. His fellow-monks are confused by his bizarre conduct. Those who visit the island believe that the man has the power to heal, exorcise demons and foretell the future. However, he considers himself unworthy because of a sin he committed in his youth. The film is a parable, combining the realities of Russian everyday life with monastic ritual and routine.”

(The rest of the movie can be seen by clicking on the video twice to open it on youtube where you will find the other clips listed by number.)

By: Archimandrite Sophronius (Sakharov)

Sin is primarily a metaphysical phenomenon whose roots lie in the mystic depths of man’s spiritual nature. The essence of sin consists not in the infringement of ethical standards but in a falling away from the eternal Divine life for which man was created and to which, by his nature, he is called.

Sin is committed first of all in the secret depths of the human spirit but its consequences involve the individual as a whole. A sin will reflect on a man’s psychological and physical condition, on his outward appearance, on his personal destiny. Sin will, inevitably, pass beyond the boundaries of the sinner’s individual life, to burden all humanity and thus affect the fate of the whole world. The sin of our forefather Adam was not the only sin of cosmic significance. Every sin, manifest or secret, committed by each one of us affects the rest of the universe.

The early-minded man when he commits a sin is not conscious of its effect on himself as is the spiritual man. The carnal man does not remark any change in himself after committing a sin because he is always in a state of spiritual death and has never known the eternal life of the spirit. The spiritual man, on the contrary, does see a change in himself every time his will inclines to sin- he senses a lessening of grace.

Saint Mary of Egypt

As the Canon [the canon of St. Andrew of Crete] approaches its conclusion, St. Andrew brings together all the Scriptures he has been contemplating in a symphony. It is hard to repent, because we find it hard to trust God to be merciful; because we shield ourselves from recognizing our own sinfulness; and because the murky realm of our sins is something we don’t even understand very well. But St. Andrew holds up as examples multitudes who have gone before us, in order to show us what heartfelt repentance looks like and how God responds to it.

Peter betrayed Christ; when servants of the high priest questioned him casually around the courtyard fire, he backed away in confusion, swearing by an oath and invoking a curse on himself, “I do not know the man!” (Matthew 26:72, 74).

Judas also betrayed Christ. When he realized that Jesus had been hauled off for execution, he was stricken. He went back to the temple and tried to return the money he’d received. He told the priests, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood’… And throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:4-5).

Both apostles, who sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to Him every day, who received the bread and wine from Jesus’ own hands at the Last Supper, betrayed Him mere hours later. But one of them repented. Peter “wept bitterly” and returned to Christ, and now is a pillar in the house of God. Judas was consumed with bitterness, self-reproaches, and misery, and cast himself into Hades. The kind of despair that causes a person to give up on God is a particular kind of deadly sin, often translated (misleadingly) “sloth”. It’s not laziness that’s the problem, but the conclusion that no matter what you do it will make no difference, so why try? Healthy repentance, on the other hand, ends in hope.

The lesson of Judas and St. Peter is that the nature of the sin does not matter. Any sin can be forgiven. The only thing preventing salvation is a person’s willingness to repent and come back to God in humility. Don’t be afraid to bring God your very “worst” sins; you probably don’t even know yet what your worst sin is. God knows, and already forgives; it is up to you to come for reconciliation.

Excerpt taken from the book: First Fruits of Prayer, By: Frederica Mathewes-Green

Post from: http://theinnerkingdom.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/any-sin-can-be-forgiven-byfrederica-mathewes-green/

And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
1 John 2:1b

“A priest once told about a man who came to see him about becoming Orthodox. The priest said, “Okay, we’ll need to discuss who Christ is, the Church, the Sacraments ….” The man interrupted him saying, “I’m gay.” The priest said, “Okay. But if you want to become Orthodox, we’ll need to discuss who Christ is, the Church, the Sacraments ….” “Dang it! Didn’t you hear me? I said, I’m gay!” “I heard you,” said the priest, “but if you want to become Orthodox, we’ll need to talk about who Christ is, the Church, the Sacraments ….” Crying, the man told the priest that other pastors had either told him it didn’t matter, or to get out!”

For Fr. Honeycutt’s entertaining and often enlightening pod-casts concerning the American (and often “dixie”) Orthodox experience: http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodixie