Saturday, August 28, 2010

Preaching Well

Here I say that I have preached a few good sermons lately, BUT, and this is an important but,

"Vainly does the preacher utter the Word of God exteriorly unless he listens to it interiorly."

--Saint Augustine, Sermon 179, I

LORD have Mercy, Brian+


‘Do not be surprised if you fall back into your old ways every day. Do not be disheartened, but resolve to do something positive about it; and, without question, the angel who stands guard over you will honour your perseverance.’

~St John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What to do about Sin

Whenever you sin, be careful not to despair but to run to the spiritual doctor to confess and seek a cure: the mercy of God. The Lord came into the world to save not the righteous, those who are healthy in soul, but the sinners, those who are ill. He will receive these with great love and mercy as He received the prodigal son, the prostitute, the thief, the publican, and millions of sinners who were saved by repentance and confession. I leave you this paternal counsel: never, never despair whenever you sin, but have confidence and hope in the immeasurable mercy of God. Repent and confess, and you will be saved.

* This excerpt is from “Father Philotheos Zervakos: Paternal Counsels, Volume I” translated by Fr. Nicholas Palis

I guess 'the followers of the Way" as the early Christians were know by, understood that the Christian Life was about a life of repentance, not an act of repentance. Count it all JOY. Also, if you are particularly beset by an echoing sin you might want to take it to a spiritual doctor: your parish priest, a spiritual director, or a trusted and wise Christian friend.

LORD have mercy, Brian+

Look up Always

I came across this image on the blogsite, Christ in our Midst. It reminded me of our need to constantly be looking to the LORD. This must remain true whether we a beset by struggle with temptation, despair, or sin, OR even false glories (which is sin afterall).

Do not direct your gaze towards the enemy. Never get into a controversy with him who you cannot possibly resist. With his millennia of experience he knows the very trick that can render you helpless at once. No, stand in the middle of your heart’s field and keep your gaze upward; then the heart is protected from all sides at once: the Lord Himself sends His angels to guard it both from right and left and from the rear at the same time.

~Tito Colliander: Way of the Ascetics

LORD have mercy, Brian+

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Skills for Praying Continually

Psalm 19 tells us that the Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament reveals his handiwork. I find that we can use the physical universe to remind us of God presence and thus prayer. St. Paul's use of the clothing of the Roman soldier to illustrate the putting on of the "armour of God," is such an example. (See Ephesians 6.11-20)

If you are making something you must call to mind the Creator of all things; if you see the light, remember the Giver of it. If you put on your clothes, recall whose gift they are and thank Him who provides for your life. In short, let every action be a cause of your remembering and praising God, and lo! you will be praying without ceasing and therein your soul will always rejoice.

~St. Peter of Damascus

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I've been praying the Prayer of St. Ephraim as of late...

O Lord and Master of my life

take from me the spirit of sloth
lust of power (Ambition)
and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity,
humility, patience,
and love to thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King
grant me to see my own errors
and not to judge my brother;
for Thou art blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.

I have to admit that at times I become discontent because of ambition, or lust of power. I found this quote today about ambition leading to surrendering prayer.

"Rushing through the ecstasies of ambition, we only
awake when plunged into dread or grief. In darkness, then, we
grope for solace, for meaning, for prayer."

John Garvey (Ed), Modern Spirituality, an Anthology,
London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1985, p.9.

LORD have mercy, Brian

Monday, August 16, 2010

For John

ALMIGHTY and immortal God, the giver of
life and health: We beseech thee to hear our
prayers for thy servant John, for whom we implore
thy mercy, that by thy blessing upon him and
upon those who minister to him of thy healing
gifts, he may be restored, according to thy
gracious will, to health of body and mind, and
give thanks to thee in thy holy Church; through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

His story HERE