And there is Mary, descending from heaven on her errands of mercy and listening to each one of us, as her miracles prove, or even just satisfying our prayers merely by her presence which calms our excitement as that of a mother calms her child. People who suffer beyond the formulas of expression want no display of emotion, no bleeding heart, no weeping at the foot of the cross, no hysterics, no phrases! They want to see God and to know that He is watching over them. And how many of these suppliants have lost children? How many of them have looked up to Mary in Her great Icon and has felt with certainty, as though they saw with their own eyes, there in heaven, their own lost baby playing with the Christ-child at the Virgin’s knee, as much at home with the Saints, and much more at home than the kings. Before rising from their knees in prayer, everyone one of these people will have bent down and kissed the floor with gratitude for Mary’s mercy. The earth, she says, is a sorry place, and even the best of it is bad enough.. but there above is Mary in heave who sees and hears us as we see Her, and who keeps the little ones till we come, so we can wait with patience, more or less! Saints and prophets are very well, and Christ is very sublime and just, but Mary knows! — Henry Adams [Mont Saint Michel and Charters]
asker

Anonymous asked: I've always heard the concept that "our identities are rooted in Christ," but does that cancel out the other things about us? Like gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc.

diannaeanderson:

Ideally, identity in Christ shouldn’t cancel out anything. Having your identity in Christ doesn’t mean you stop existing as you - or it shouldn’t. Christ isn’t looking for assimilation. We are not robots created to fit some ideal that erases who we are as people. Identity in Christ should mean that we celebrate, grow, and accept who are as a person and embraces those identities which God created in us. We become more fully ourselves in God, not less human.

This is something American evangelical culture has wrong in a lot of ways - we see growing in Christ as giving up parts of ourselves “for the greater good” or whatever. And it does require sacrifice, but, I firmly believe, it doesn’t require sacrificing our identities and who we are as people. Indeed, a God that asks we change the core of who we are is a cruel God indeed.

If you sin, do not flee from God, but stand before Him and tell Him frankly of your embarrassment and shame, and tell Him that you are afraid. Be like the tax collector who was disturbed by his sins, yet did not flee, but came with all his sins to God and stood before Him in fear and embarrassment, unable to lift up his eyes, he stood afar beating his breast and cried out to God saying, ‘God have
mercy on me, a sinner!’
— HH Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria (via theorthodoxbritreturns)
If God is not for us, if God is not against white racists, then God is a murderer, and we had better kill God. — James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation (via assemblyoftheincomplete)

(via demanding-mercy-deactivated2014)

Do not think that you have a right to complain when your prayers are not answered. God fulfills your desires in a manner that you do not know. — St. Nektarios of Aegina (via psychosynchrony)

(via psychosynchrony)

God: Experiencing the reality of God

My own experience with God is many fold, with everything from witnessing the healing of illnesses of many people, including my own heart condition (I was on the operating table, awaiting bypass surgery, but was healed), to standing before numerous myrrh streaming icons, watching the myrrh well up. I once witnessed a cross (about 12 inches long), held by a Coptic priest friend, literally pouring myrrh into a bucket. Miracles like this are not easily dismissed when you are watching it happen. Perhaps the most impressive miracles I have witnessed over my thirty some years as a monk, have been the healing of peoples hearts. Previously evil people, totally focused on themselves, and hateful to others, have been miraculously transformed into loving, caring, individuals who have become filled with the desire to serve others.
It is important to remember that our God did not create us as puppets, but rather as persons with the freedom to respond, or not, to His invitation to enter into communion with Him. Just as a loving dad, desiring to help his child take those first steps on his own, will let go of the child’s hands, as the mother reaches out from a few feet away, allowing their child the freedom to move independently, so does our God withdraw our sense of His presence, that we might freely reach out to Him. This is because, just as the child is given freedom to make that first step, so we are given the opportunity to respond to God’s invitation, by our own free will.
I have been able to experience the presence of God because of the freedom I’ve been granted by a loving God Who has reached out to me, with His grace and mercy. I, like everyone, can experience the presence of God through the joyful and awesome encounter with Christ while participating in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. I’ve experienced God while hearing a good confession, and witnessing the results of the outpouring of God’s grace upon the penitent sinner. I experience the presence of God while witnessing the wonder of discovery in the faces of college students who are hearing of the mystical theology of Orthodoxy, for the first time. I experience the presence of God while visiting the old woman who has walked with God her whole life. I experience the presence of the Lord when witnessing the giggle of a child, who is being hugged by his grandmother. I witness the love of God in the face of my confessor, and the fellowship of my brother monks. I experience the love of God while con-celebrating with my archbishop, and my brother priests. I experience God in the early hours of the morning, while I do my cell rule.
I experience God in the sunrise, and in the sunset. I experience God in the freshly picked rose, and the lapping of the water while standing at the sea shore. I experience God as I taste the fresh corn from the stalk. I experience God in the purring sound of our cat, Hammi, while holding him in my arms. Finally, I experience God in the solitude of my heart.

With love in Christ,

— Abbot Tryphon (All-Merciful Saviour Orthodox Christian Monastery)

Confession

Sometimes I wonder if I really love God. Like, I want to do and try to do my best for His sake, but do I really love God?

I’m afraid this seething lack of love on my part will land me in hell faster than any sin I commit. But at the same time, I’m aware of God’s love for me.

orthodoxwayoflife:

Our beloved Lord Jesus Christ
IC XC NI KA


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.

orthodoxwayoflife:

Our beloved Lord Jesus Christ

IC XC NI KA

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.

(via teamsoftserve)

dramoor:

"There is only one God, and no other gods but Him alone.  
He is the Most-High, All-Powerful, All-Wise, and All-Good God. All creatures come from Him, live through Him, and return to Him. 
He is the holy, mighty, and immortal God. 
He is immovable, peaceful, without beginning and without end, without need and without vice. 
On Him hang all the worlds and they all revolve around Him. 
He rests in the center, like a stationary axis in a wheel. The axel stands and holds, and the wheel turns. 
In God is all of the power, and there is no power apart from God’s. 
The power of light, and of water and wind, and of stone, is God’s power. 
The power by which an ant crawls, a fish swims, and a bird flies is God’s power. 
The power of a seed to grow, and grass to breathe, and man to live is God’s power.
Even the devil’s power is from God, borrowed and used for evil, just as a madman can borrow fire from the blacksmith to warm himself, then set his own chest on fire. 
All power is the property of God, and all creatures borrow their power from God. 
God loans everyone as much as He wants and takes it back when He wants. 
Therefore, when you seek power, seek it only from God, because God is the source of living and dreadful power, and beyond this there is no other source.”
~St. Nikolai, on the First Commandment : ‘I am the LORD your God, You shall have no other gods before Me.’
(Photo: dramoor © 2014 Sunset on the road to Novgorod, Russia)

dramoor:

"There is only one God, and no other gods but Him alone. 

He is the Most-High, All-Powerful, All-Wise, and All-Good God.
All creatures come from Him, live through Him, and return to Him. 

He is the holy, mighty, and immortal God. 

He is immovable, peaceful, without beginning and without end, without need and without vice. 

On Him hang all the worlds and they all revolve around Him. 

He rests in the center, like a stationary axis in a wheel. The axel stands and holds, and the wheel turns. 

In God is all of the power, and there is no power apart from God’s. 

The power of light, and of water and wind, and of stone, is God’s power. 

The power by which an ant crawls, a fish swims, and a bird flies is God’s power. 

The power of a seed to grow, and grass to breathe, and man to live is God’s power.

Even the devil’s power is from God, borrowed and used for evil,
just as a madman can borrow fire from the blacksmith to warm himself, then set his own chest on fire. 

All power is the property of God, and all creatures borrow their power from God. 

God loans everyone as much as He wants and takes it back when He wants. 

Therefore, when you seek power, seek it only from God, because God is the source of living and dreadful power,
and beyond this there is no other source.”

~St. Nikolai, on the First Commandment : ‘I am the LORD your God, You shall have no other gods before Me.’

(Photo: dramoor © 2014 Sunset on the road to Novgorod, Russia)

(via psychosynchrony)

What is repentance but a fall into the hands of God? — Father Matthew the Poor