Friday, September 13, 2013

Let us pray.

I've been thinking about starting a whole new blog dedicated to prayer but being that I am crunched for time, it's much easier to just use this one.

It has come to my attention that almost every.single.night after the daily tragedies are read on the news, most of them end with "and our thoughts and prayers are with the family/town/survivors."  It made me wonder, sheesh, with all these people praying you would think that the world would be in a much better spot than it is presently.  If you have been living on Mars and have sketchy Internet service, and the only website you can get is my blog (my apologies to you), it's really awful. Truly awful.  One would not be incorrect in saying that we are probably at this point:

 “A time is coming when people will go mad and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, “You are mad, you are not like us.” - St. Anthony of the Desert, 4th century.


For the next year, or maybe for the life of this blog, posts will be dedicated to all things prayer. Of course, it will be the Orthodox Christian we-have-2000+years-of-experience-with-prayer viewpoint.

First posting, if I don't have to work, will be Monday.  Praying for you all to have a peaceful weekend.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Orthodox Wood Art

A little plug for a friend of mine...

Please visit his website at Mike's Best Work to see (and purchase!) more of his beautiful creations.

Friday, June 7, 2013

And for my second post of 2013...

You know...when I started blogging I got off to a super duper start.  Holy smokes, I was pumpin' stuff out like there was no tomorrow!  And now...you can hear the crickets chirping.

It's time consuming and sometimes I feel a bit guilty sitting at the computer when I have tons of housework that needs to be done.  Crazy people that they are, my family likes to eat and they appreciate clean underwear.  The kids also liked to be picked up from school when it's completed for the day.  So between driving, cooking, cleaning and other stuff, my life of blogging becomes stymied.

Well now that it is summer, I'm starting up again. I hope.

First up...I may be a little late to the party but dear Orthodox peeps you have got to get yourself a copy of Everyday Saints.  You can find every human emotion in this book..you will laugh, you will cry, you will jump out of your seat and want to hug God for being so awesome.  I can barely type the words "Egyptian Cat" and not start giggling.  Like the name implies, Everyday Saints allows you to relax just enough to realize that salvation isn't only for the spiritual superstars.  It's for bums like us too.  And if that isn't enough to convince you, Amazon has it rated 5 stars with 54 reviews.  On Amazon it looks like it only has the Kindle Version.  I know it's been selling out everywhere so a copy may be hard to come by.  I have one left at my parish's bookstore if you happen to be the area (Sts. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Phoenix). 

That's it for now. I think I hear an 8 year old boy attempting to make Kool-Aid by himself, so 'tis best that I leave.  See you all soon!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cleaning up 2012

I've got two things to wrap up from 2012...so here it goes:

1 - The last time we met I posted about my grandmother's departure from this life to the next.  Her funeral was a beautiful occasion and when you compare it to those outside of Orthodoxy, there simply is nothing to compare.  If you have the inkling to do so, I suggest you find the service online and read through it. An Orthodox Christian's death is a feast of love.  I walked away from my grandmother's funeral with a refreshing perspective on death.  It "reminded" me how much I am loved from birth to death by not only God and my immediate family, but also by the entire Church, both triumphant and militant.  And it wasn't a mental reminder either. It was more like a transformation that didn't come from rational thinking like "Be happy!  She's in a better place and I can go there too!"  It is something much more sublime and indescribable.  Sort of how you really can't describe that state of being after the Orthodox Paschal (Easter) service.  Actually I feel it more acutely on Bright Monday after I have finished cooking/cleaning and had some sleep.  The world is illumined and you feel exceedingly hopeful in all things and the boundaries between heaven and earth seemingly don't exist.  Blessed are those who have attained the ability to walk around this world perpetually in this state!  

And then there is this:

2 - Prior to that post about my grandmother's death, I had been giving my own thoughts on Markides' book, The Mountain of Silence.  All in all, I liked the book and found it to be edifying and you can read through the comments for a little more discussion between myself and an anonymous poster.  I don't think I'm going to comment anymore on his books only to say that I quite liked his latest, Inner River: A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Christian Spirituality, especially Fr. Maximos' conversation about the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  His teaching was that these fruits were listed in a hierarchical order and that without the one listed last, self-control, that the others are not truly attainable.  I suppose that is why the Church has such an emphasis (almost daily) on fasting, the tool to self-control when practiced correctly.   Obviously the book goes into more more depth than my two sentence synopsis.  There is also a chapter on Markides' journey to St. Katherine's Monastery at the foot Mount Sinai in Egypt.  As someone who has very little chance of visiting the Sinai desert, I rather enjoyed that chapter. To wrap it up, like I wrote in my prior post, not everyone likes Markides' books.  For me, however, the first book really had a positive effect on my life and perhaps that's why I have enjoyed the two that followed.     


So now what's in store for 2013 for Desert Deliberations?  I don't know really.  Maybe just random ramblings that I come across.  I did just read a lovely little book called Crazy John, which recounts the life a modern day Fool-for-Christ in Greece.  It can be purchased here through St. Barbara's Monastery bookstore. 
Here's an excerpt:
 
In this particular neighborhood that may not differ from all others, not even from our own--whether we live in the city or in a village-- the foolishness of a single person, a model of Jesus Christ, was enough to provoke a pleasant revolution. It is pleasant because it is unique, one of a kind, a novelty through time. This revolution breaks the demonic bonds of souls admittedly captured and attached to ephemeral and inferior things. It restores them to the frequency of heaven and to the invigorating, salutary, doxological pulses of the Holy Trinity. It attires them with the sense of the Greek "philotimo" and unselfishness, honesty and purity, patience and perseverance, sacrifice and love, humility and repentance. It is only with this attire that the soul can attend the unceasing everyday table, which God gives us bounteously.
 
It's a refreshing read for sure.

Wishing you all a marvelous New Year that brings transformations that you never thought possible!