Choosing Wheat or Tares

“Just as it is impossible to stop a watermill from turning, although the miller has power to choose between grinding either wheat or tares, so it is impossible to stop our mind, which is ever-moving, from having thoughts, although it is within our power to feed it either with spiritual meditation or with worldly concerns.” […]

Learn of Jesus Christ to Pray

“Do not pray for the fulfillment of your wishes, for they may not accord with the will of God. But pray as you have been taught, saying: Thy will be done in me. Always entreat Him in this way – that His will be done. For He desires what is good and profitable for you, […]

On Fasting and Vigiling

In the House of St. Michael, we make devotional commitments each year. These are patterns of life, ways that we hear God inviting us to pursue him. Part of our commitment is to read The Philokalia together. And in the way of the writers of The Philokalia, we are encouraged to include a monthly fast […]

A Holy Selfishness: On Using Evagrios to Read Evagrios and Why I’m Not Called to be a Solitary

The Fathers of the Philokalia and I have not been the best of friends. You may recall my incessant – nigh panicked — questions the last time we read these texts about how I was supposed to incorporate intense fasting and vigil keeping and extreme poverty into my already exhausting life as a nursing assistant. […]

If You Have Friends . . .

“If you have friends, avoid constant meetings with them. For if you meet only on rare occasions, you will be of more help to them. And if you find that harm comes through meeting them, do not see them at all.  The friends that you do have should be of benefit to you and contribute […]

Doxology: A Reflection on the Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation opens, “The revelation of Jesus Christ.” From the outset the book claims, straightforwardly enough, to be about the revelation of Jesus Christ. And as a revelation it involves the “re-veiling” or removal of a veil, the uncovering of veiled or hidden things. The revelation of Jesus Christ is his unveiling. It […]

Stay In The City

“The city is prayer. Resistance is rebuttal through Christ Jesus. The foundation is incensive power. Let us stand firm in the fear of God, rigorously practicing the virtues and not giving our conscience cause to stumble. In the fear of God let us keep our attention fixed within ourselves, until our conscience achieves its freedom.” […]

Ephrem the Syrian on Virginity

In his Hymns on Virginity, Ephrem does more than write about not having sex. He also discusses seemingly tangential things like anointing oil, interpretation of Scripture, the natural world, Baptism, the Eucharist, and the Church. And it’s not like he weaves them into his reflections on virginity with the kind of subtlety that only careful […]

Ephrem’s affect on me

  A shift in perspective, experience of scripture, and beauty of our hope. St. Ephrem the Syrian, even in translation, is one of the most powerful writers and profoundly beautiful poets I have ever read.  The way the Holy Spirit illumines Scripture through his writings has opened up the horizons of my heart and mind […]

Unlimited: A Reflection on the Gospel of Luke

I expect to love Jesus. And I expect Jesus to love me. I want to be near Jesus. And I want Jesus to want to be near me. Yet when I encounter the apostles and they lead me to Jesus, I pause. I pause and I stop because Jesus looks different when he’s surrounded by […]