In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Glory to Jesus Christ. Glory forever. How much destruction can sin really cost? To what depth is a man ready to fall before he repents and returns to his real self? Is there such a thing as falling too far, a soul falling beyond the hope of redemption? If there ever was one such a soul, he is depicted in this morning’s Gospel according to Saint Luke. He is a soul who is falling so far as to be without a name. He is simply referred to as the demoniac, his possession by evil demons being so complete it seems to have swallowed up the man and he does not even speak with his own voice. Saint Ambrose of Milan says, “We are authors of our own tribulation. If someone did not live like a swine, the devil would never have received power over him. If he did receive power, it would be power not to destroy but to test him. After the Lord’s coming, the devil could already not corrupt the good. So perhaps he now does not seek the destruction of all people but only of the fickle.”
Today marks an important feast in the life of the Church, but it is an important feast for me personally, as it features someone who has helped me so much over the years. This feast of the falling asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary is the foundation of our family life. While the Russian Royal Family serves as our family feast day, this feast was our family feast day before I had a family, or rather when I was praying fervently to have one of my own.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen! On this sixth and last Sunday of Pascha, let us take stock of all that we have witnessed in this season of the Resurrection. We are presented in this morning’s Gospel with a most awesome miracle, the healing of a man blind from birth, and we are invited to behold the resurrected Christ in one last and final image, as the Light of the World. These past six Sundays have been a banquet for the senses: In the second (first after Pascha), the disciple Thomas touched His living side; in the third, the myrrh bearing women heard the message of the angel; in the fourth, the paralytic felt the ability to walk again; and last Sunday (the fifth), a woman from Samaria tasted water that satisfied her thirst forever. On this sixth and final week, a man born blind sees Him Who is the Light of the World and he receives from him enlightenment of both body and soul. Through all of these wonderful proofs of his resurrection, our Lord has turned frightened fishermen into apostles, sinful women into bold evangelists, and blind and lame people into those who could see and walk. Continue reading →
I first heard of the tragedy that struck our fair city in the form of an email call for urgent prayer. And being the prayer warrior that I am… [ahem] well, no, you guessed it. Instead of instantly falling on my knees to almighty God and begging the protection and supplication of his saints and angels, I instead worried and hunted on the internet for information when information was least readily available.
I had been just four blocks away from the blast site with my three young children only several hours before the incident. We enjoyed a lovely morning of carousel and swan boat riding and were contemplating a trip into the spectator crowds around the marathon when a wiser notion [nudge from a guardian angel?] steered us underground on the metro and back towards home. Continue reading →