The Virtuous Life

Prayer for Nigeria
20 March 2010, 7:49 pm
Filed under: Ethics | Tags: , , ,

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:21)

My heart is heavy for the Church in Nigeria. Lift up these fellow Christians to the Lord. Pray that they will have hearts of love and forgiveness. Pray that they will resist the evil that surrounds them and continue to bring the light of Christ into their towns and villages. And pray especially that they will return evil with good, not retaliating but humbly identifying with Christ in his suffering.

Following the attacks, Archbishop Kwashi said the following:

“I am convinced that the prayers of the church world-wide are ascending like a sweet smelling sacrifice to the throne of mercy. It is my firm determination to encourage all who trust in the Lord to keep praying and never give up. One day God will enthrone good over evil, truth over lies, righteousness over wickedness and justice over injustice. It may be soon; it may be later, but ‘My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary’. I urge believers to clean and clear their minds of any form of bitterness, resentment or even any thought of vengeance against one another from within the fellowship, and then we can see clearly how to respond in times of difficulty such as this one.”

May we as the ‘church world-wide’ continue to lift our brothers and sisters up to the throne of mercy.

For the pastoral letter in its entirety, go here.


A Prayer that the Will of God may be Done
11 March 2010, 2:02 pm
Filed under: Quotes | Tags: ,

“Most kind Jesus, grant me Your grace, I pray; let it dwell in me, work in me, and abide in me to the end. Grant me always to will and desire whatever is most pleasing and acceptable to You. Let Your will be mine, and let my will ever follow and be conformed wholly to Your own. Let me ever will and not will in union with Yourself, and be unable to will otherwise than You will or do not will. Grant that I may die to all things in this world, and for Your sake love to be despised and unknown. Grant me, above all else, to rest in You, that my heart may find its peace in You alone; for You are the heart’s true peace, its sole abiding place, and outside Yourself all is hard and restless. In this true peace that is in You, the sole, supreme, and eternal Good, I will dwell and take my rest. Amen.

St. Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, 113.

Food for Thought
4 March 2010, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Quotes, Uncategorized | Tags:

“Someone who lives not by his own decisions but by the example of the ancients will never be deceived.”

John Cassian, Conferences, 67.

Fr. Alexander Schmemann on Tradition
1 December 2009, 1:50 pm
Filed under: Orthodoxy, Quotes | Tags: , , ,

“From the religious point of view, nothing is more harmful than to live by illusions in an artificially recreated past, seeking in ‘ancient, venerable and colorful rites’ an escape from a prosaic and burdensome present. Such a religious attitude, quite common in our days, openly contradicts the Christian faith, which is aimed at transforming life and not at supplying religious substitutes for life. To understand this study as an appeal simply to restore the past is to misunderstand it, for there is no simple restoration, nor can there ever be. Equally harmful, however, is the attitude which rejects the past simply because it is past, which, in other words, accepts at its face value modern rhetoric about the radical ‘revolution’ in man’s worldview that makes it impossible for him to ‘continue’ in any ideas of the past. If we do not believe that the Holy Spirit guides the Church today as He guided her yesterday and shall guide her until the end of the world, that Christ is ‘the same yesterday, and today, and forever’ (Heb. 13:8), then obviously we do not believe in the Church, and she is either a precious ‘cultural heritage’ to be preserved or an archaic past to be discarded.

If, however, we believe in the Church, then the study of her past has only one goal: to find, and to make ours again and again, that which in her teaching and life is truly eternal, i.e. which precisely transcends the categories of past, present and future and has the power to transform our lives in all ages and in all situations.”

Alexander Schmemann, Of Water & The Spirit, 149-50.

A Prayer of St. Columba
19 November 2009, 4:54 pm
Filed under: Quotes | Tags: ,

“Almighty God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
to me the least of saints,
to me allow that I may keep even the smallest door,
the farthest, darkest, coldest door,
the door that is least used, the stiffest door.

If only it be in Your house, O God,
that I can see Your glory even afar,
and hear Your voice,
and know that I am with You, O God.”

St. Columba

Nicholas Lossky on the Union of Grace and Nature

“If grace ‘perfects’ nature, it is not in some way superadded to it, as one might add a supplementary stage to a rocket (if such a modern image can be forgiven). Grace perfects nature by thoroughly impregnating it and, by the submission of man’s liberated will to the will of God, nature and grace are so intimately united that in some way they are no longer anything but one, not indeed ontologically, but existentially.”

Nicholas Lossky, Lancelot Andrewes, The Preacher (1555-1626): The Origins of the Mystical Theology of the Church of England, 267-68.

Canon A.M. Allchin on the Eucharist
16 October 2009, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Quotes | Tags: , , ,

“The once for all character of the work of Christ has been emphasized without any corresponding emphasis being given to the continuing work of the Spirit. As a result the work of Christ has come to be seen more and more simply as an event in the past. Its eternal dimensions have been lost to view. And that event in itself has been thought of more in terms of salvation from than salvation for. Good Friday has come to overshadow Easter. This can bee seen in the way in which in Catholicism and Protestantism alike, the mass, the Lord’s supper, has been thought of almost exclusively in terms of Christ’s sacrificial death. The understanding of the Eucharist as the perpetual presence of Easter in the Church, the constant renewal of Pentecost, is a rediscovery of the last forty years. It is a striking fact that in the recent growth of agreement and understanding about eucharistic doctrine, the increased appreciation of the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit in the sacraments has played a crucial role.”

A.M. Allchin, Participation in God: A Forgotten Strand in Anglican Tradition, 20-21.