Monasteries are the center of Orthodox Spirituality and are unfortunately mostly highly underrated. For a while I thought of them as a place to pray and plant seeds. But after visiting St. John the Baptist Monastery in Warwick, MA on many occasions my perception changed.
This small monastery in Western Massachusetts has a very relaxed atmosphere. Encompassed by forest, this place is surrounded by beautiful nature. Having this relaxed, calm setting sets a deep sense of inner peace. The quiet area helps calm the soul and leave all the worldly cares behind.
There are many monasteries around the world, and all of them have a unique setting. But the important key to the quiet beauty is the peace and calmness that is in the core of these Orthodox communities.
News of the Kingdom of God first sounded not in the muggy, dusty capital cities, but on the shores of an azure lake among green groves and hills, reminding us that the beauty of the earth is a reflection of the eternal beauty of heaven.
— Fr. Alexander Men
I can still remember the strong impressions from my first time apple picking with our local Orthodox Christian School. I was a recent transplant from the Midwest, a good ole’ boy adrift in the complicated, concrete urban jungle of Boston. My idea of fun was sitting on the front porch and watching the grass grow. The city overwhelmed me, and I pined away for the countryside where a blade of grass stood a chance to survive.
Immigrants, who long to come to America, hear stories that the streets are paved with gold. But, because careless Americans leave their own trash right on the street, those immigrants find America more paved with trash than with gold.
Well then, if you are not an immigrant, then you might be a random American watching “Landfill Harmonic” feeling really bad about all the trash in the movie. And you really want to do something about it. Why not do something to help your neighborhood and all the world in beatification?!?! Almost everyday I walk around my Boston neighborhood “Wow, there’s a lot of trash on the sidewalk, because some people are too lazy to pick up their own trash in America”.
While thinking of this I remember the trash cans in Russia. They are a fourth the size of the trash cans in America. So, stop throwing trash away America and think of saving the future by of reusing and recycling! If we people in America and in all the world want to be proud for their country and live in a beautiful place, the least we can do is pick up some trash!
Always winter but never Christmas… the spell of the White Witch in Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia has a prescient quality for us here in New England where the incessant battery of snow, snow, and more snow is testing the patience of even the most ardent lover of the white wonder. Here, for those of you in warmer climes, are some of the best things seen and heard from my camera in the past several weeks.
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. We had the words of the unofficial creed of the US postal service in mind as we mounted sleds … Continue reading →