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The Twenty-Ninth Day of Great Lent. Love, Not Atonement »

April 8th, 2019    Posted in Daily Meditations

All the great religions of the world talk a lot about death, so there must be an essential lesson to be learned here. But throughout much of religious history our emphasis has been on killing the wrong thing and avoiding the truth: it’s you who has to die, or rather, who you think you are—your false self. It’s never someone else! Historically we moved from human sacrifice to animal sacrifice to various […]

The Twenty-Sixth Day of Great Lent. The Ladder of Divine Ascent and Moral Improvement »

April 5th, 2019    Posted in Daily Meditations

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 11, 2016  The Fourth Sunday of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church, is dedicated to St. John Climacus, the author of the ancient work, The Ladder of Divine Ascent. It is a classic work describing “steps” within the life of the struggling ascetic. There is an icon associated with this work, picturing monastics climbing the rungs of a ladder to heaven, battling demons who are trying […]

The Twenty-Fifth Day of Great Lent. “. . . BUT BY PRAYER AND FASTING” (Part III) »

April 4th, 2019    Posted in Daily Meditations

[Fasting] should be practiced on two levels: first, as ascetical fast; and second, as total fast. The ascetical fast consists of a drastic reduction of food so that the permanent state of a certain hunger might be lived as a reminder of God and a constant effort to keep our mind on Him. Everyone who has practiced it—be it only a little—knows that this ascetical fast rather than weakening us […]

The Twenty-Fourth Day of Great Lent. “. . . BUT BY PRAYER AND FASTING” (Part II) »

April 3rd, 2019    Posted in Daily Meditations

What then is fasting for us Christians? It is our entrance and participation in that experience of Christ Himself by which He liberates us from the total dependence on food, matter, and the world. By no means is our liberation a full one. Living still in the fallen world, in the world of the Old Adam, being part of it, we still depend on food. But just as our death—through […]

The Twenty-Third Day of Great Lent. “. . . BUT BY PRAYER AND FASTING” (Part I) »

April 2nd, 2019    Posted in Daily Meditations

In the Orthodox teaching, sin is not only the transgression of a rule leading to punishment; it is always a mutilation of life given to us by God. It is for this reason that the story of the original sin is presented to us as an act of eating. For food is means of life; it is that which keeps us alive. But here lies the whole question: what does […]