Every person is the painter of his own life, and choice is the craftsman [technitees - literally, artist] of the work , and the virtues are the paints for executing the image
“First the Psalter separates us .. . from the attached evil to which we have been attached (chained). And thus it scrapes and polishes our understanding by means of more delicate teachings of ideas. Then, by means of the forms of virtue, it forms Christ in us, in accordance with whose image we existed in... Continue Reading →
Commenting on Song of Songs, St. Gregory of Nyssa says about the human acquisition of virtue as mirroring God more fully. He speaks here about the spiritual senses. The bride then rightly recognizes the difference between herself and her Lord. As Light, He is an object of beauty for our eyes; He is a sweet... Continue Reading →
"Now, it is certainly required that what is subject to change be in a sense always coming to birth. In mutable nature nothing can be observed which is always the same. Being born, in the sense of constantly experiencing change, does not come about as the result of external initiative, as is the case with... Continue Reading →
Icons teach us not to look on reality as what we see but perceive its deeper reality. Asceticism in turn trains our spiritual perceptions to perceive reality properly in order to lead us to God.
"If, then, the orderly arrangement of the cosmos as a whole is a musical harmony, ‘whose designer and maker is God' (Heb 11.10), as the apostle says, and man is a miniature cosmos, and this same man has also been made an image of the one who composed the cosmos, what reason knows in the... Continue Reading →
"These pleasures rule every material pursuit, but the zeal for such things achieves no goal, for there is no way, by nature, of preserving the momentary pleasure which people experience, so that the pleasure which they so zealously acquire is stored away for them. On the contrary, it is as though those who love pleasure... Continue Reading →
As we have celebrated another joyous feast of The Ascension of our Lord and Pentecost, let us contemplate what The Ascension of The Lord means for us. In doing so we must contemplate some of the words we pray and say, but perhaps without having fully gleaned what it might mean for us. Here let... Continue Reading →
“I was small among my brethren, and youngest in my father’s house: I tended my father’s sheep. My hands formed a musical instrument, and my fingers tuned a psaltery. And who shall tell my Lord? the Lord himself, he himself hears. He sent forth his angel, and took me from my father’s sheep, and he... Continue Reading →
Commenting on the beginning of Psalm 106 St. Gregory of Nyssa teaches; "For he begins immediately by saying, Give thanks to the Lord,for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever (Ps 106.1).’ Exomologesis is to be understood here in the sense of thanksgiving, not in the sense of confession. He exhorts us here... Continue Reading →
In the age of the cell phone, instant information, constant updates and never-ending distraction, we would do well to heed the words of our forebears regarding the noon-day demon. We hate the present moment and yearn for the next one, only to hate that moment in turn. Soon we grow agitated, anxious, and dejected that life holds no meaning for me anymore. God instructs Adam and Eve that the way to combat this particularly dangerous thought is by persisting in our work and through the remembrance of death-that we live for more than the next moment we yearn for. We should become free to live here and now, towards the Kingdom.
Coming to a true knowledge of Reality, we are to die to the dead mode we have inhabited and thus remove the sandals from our feet so we might participate in Life, Christ offered to us in the Eucharist. The ascetic pursuit then is a life of removing the coverings we have accumulated so that we can see things as they really are.