Author Archives: sethearl

“Grant Me Not to Judge My Brother”

Those familiar with Lenten liturgy will recognize the title as part of the Lenten “Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian”, which reads in part, “O Lord and Master of my life…grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for You are blessed unto ages of ages.”  This prayer is not the only part of our tradition which forbids us to judge.  The counsel of the Desert Fathers is replete with admonitions not to judge our brethren.  And Holy Scripture says the same.  St. Paul says, “Let not him who eats disdain him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats…Who are you to judge the servant of another? (Rom. 14:3f).  St. James says the same:  “Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother speaks against the Law and judges the Law…There is only one Lawgiver and Judge” (James 4:11f).  Such an apostolic attitude goes back to the Lord Himself.  In His sermon on the mount, He said, “Judge not, lest you be judged.  In the way you judge you will be judged…Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?  First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye ” (Mt. 7:1f).  The teaching is clear:  we are not to judge.


the rest of this article is found here @ the oca website…

a heart that gives..

It is not enough to give. We must have a heart that gives. In order to give, we must have a

compassion deep enough for our gift to be forgiven, because if we give dutifully, if we are

charitable only in our actions, the recipient receives humiliation and sorrow and pain together

with our gift.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

What is Theology?

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware from Ancient Faith Radio:


What is Theology?

Met Anthony of Sourozh on the Sunday of the Adoration of the Cross

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

As we progress deeper and deeper into the weeks of Lent, we can say with an ever-growing sense of gratitude and of joy, of a serene and exulting joy the words of a Psalm, ‘My soul shall live, and with gratitude I will give glory to the Lord’.

In the first week of Lent we have seen all the promises of salvation given in the Old Testament fulfilled: God became man, salvation has come, and all hopes are possible. And then, in the second week of Lent, we had the glorious proclamation of all the saints of Christendom that not only did God come and dwell in our midst, but He has poured out upon us, into the Church and into every human soul ready to receive Him the presence, the transforming gift of the Holy Spirit that makes us gradually commune ever deeper to the Living God until one day we become partakers of the Divine nature.

And today, if we ask ourselves, ‘But how that? How can we be forgiven, how can evil be undone?’ — one step brings us deeper into gratitude, deeper into joy, deeper into certainty: when we consider, when we contemplate, the Cross.

There is a passage of the Gospel in which we are told that when Christ spoke of salvation and of its conditions, Peter said to Him, ‘Who then can be saved?’ and Christ answered, ‘What is not possible to men is possible for God!’ And He Himself came; the fullness of God abided in a human person, and He has power to forgive because He is the victim of all the evil, all the cruelty, all the destructiveness of human history. Because, indeed, no one but the victim can forgive those who have brought evil, suffering, misery, corruption and death into their lives. And Christ does not only forgive His own murderers when He says, ‘Father, forgive — they don’t know what they are doing': He goes beyond this, because He had said, ‘Whatever you have done to one of My smaller brethren and sisters, you have done it to Me’ — not only in good, but indeed, the worst: because in compassion, in solidarity, He identifies with every sufferer: the death, the pain, the agony of each of those who suffer is His. And so, when He prays, ‘Father, forgive! They do not know what they are doing, what they have been doing’, He prays for each of us not only in His own name, but in the name of all those upon whom evil has visited because of human sin.

But it is not only Christ who forgives; everyone who has suffered in soul, in body, in spirit — everyone is called to grant freedom to those who have made him suffer.

And so, we can see why Christ says, ‘Forgive so that you may be forgiven’ because both the victim and the culprit are tied in one knot of solidarity and reciprocal responsibility. Only the victim can say, ‘Lord — forgive him, forgive her’, and only then can the Lord say, ‘I do!’

But do you realise what responsibility it puts on each of us with regard to all and everyone? But also the depth, the glorious depth of hope which opens up to us when we look at the Cross and see that in solidarity with all mankind Christ taking upon Himself all the suffering of the world, accepting to die an impossible death has said in the name of all the sufferers, ‘Yes, we forgive!’

This is one more step towards freedom, this is one more step towards the moment when we will be faced with Christ’s resurrection that engulfs us also because the risen Christ is risen and is offering all and each of us the fullness of eternal life.

And so, again and again we can say that Lent is a spring of a new life, a new time, a time of renewal, not only in repentance, but in being taken by Christ Himself as the shepherd took the lost sheep, as the Lord took up His Cross, brought it to the place of death and undid death, undid evil by forgiveness and giving His life. Once more we are confronted with another step of our freedom and of newness. Let us enter ever deeper into this mystery, into this wonder of salvation, and rejoice in the Lord; and rejoicing, step after step, more and more, let us also express our gratitude by newness of life. Amen!

‘A full stomach abhors examining spiritual matters, just as a prostitute dislikes talking about chastity.’ (The Wisdom of St Isaac of Syria

‘A full stomac…

st theophan …

When Moses and Aaron began to intercede before Pharaoh to let their people go, the answer to this was increased work for oppressed Israelites, to the point that they raised an outcry against their intercessors: ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh (Ex. 5:21). This is exactly what the soul of a repentant sinner experiences. When the fear of God and one’s conscience—the inner Moses and Aaron—begin to inspire a soul to finally rise up onto its feet and shake off the yoke of sinful slavery, joy passes through all of its members. But the enemy does not sleep; he heaps mountains of mental obstacles—thoughts that sin is insurmountable, and brings in fear from all sides—fear for one’s prosperity, for external relationships, for one’s influence, even for one’s life. It even happens that one stops having only just begun. Be inspired brother! The Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgement, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness (Is. 5:16). God is stronger than the enemy. Cry out to Him, and you will hear the same thing that Moses heard then: Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh (Ex. 6:1).

examine yourself, o soul…

“Examine yourself, O soul, and see in what land your portion lies; and if you have crossed over to that field which bears a harvest of bitterness for those who till it, wail and cry aloud, with groaning and great affliction, those words which give rest to your God more than sacrifices and whole burnt offerings.” – St. Isaac the Syrian


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