Thursday, March 24, 2011

The most important thing I learned when I was seven years old.

First base - Who
Second base - What
Short stop - I don't care
Third base - I don't know
Pitcher - Tomorrow
Catcher - Today
Left field - Why
Center field - Because
Right field - undefined

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mixed Marriages

I have several friends, Orthodox Christian women, who are married to, or are dating, or are engaged to pagan or heterodox men.  All of them, for whatever reason, have chosen to walk down a difficult path, one St. Paul says to stay off of.  I am sad for every one of them, but also hopeful.  For every mixed marriage I have seen end in divorce I have seen several more result in happy marriages, and even in the conversion of the unbelieving husband.

Centuries ago a bishop in Rome named Boniface wrote to a Christian queen married to a pagan king.  St. Bede thought the letter worth saving for all posterity and included a copy in his book about the history of the Eglish people.


"To the illustrious lady his daughter, Queen Ethelberg, Boniface, bishop, servant of the servants of God. The goodness of our Redeemer has in His abundant Providence offered the means of salvation to the human race, which He rescued, by the shedding of His precious Blood, from the bonds of captivity to the Devil; to the end that, when He had made known His name in divers ways to the nations, they might acknowledge their Creator by embracing the mystery of the Christian faith. And this the mystical purification of your regeneration plainly shows to have been bestowed upon the mind of your Highness by God's gift. Our heart, therefore, has greatly rejoiced in the benefit bestowed by the bounty of the Lord, for that He has vouchsafed, in your confession, to kindle a spark of the orthodox religion, by which He might the more easily inflame with the love of Himself the understanding, not only of your illustrious consort, but also of all the nation that is subject to you.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

It's the Cheese

The week of Cheesefare is always a lot of fun.  Probably, the Church fathers didn't design it to be fun but it is, regardless of their intention.  It's a week that is like Great Lent but isn't.  Bishop Savas of Troas explains it below:

How is the week “kind of like” being in Great Lent?
· We fast all week, but in the most unique way of the entire year, fasting from meat only, with all other foods being allowed, even on Wednesday and Friday. 
· We are using hymns from the Triodion in Vespers and Matins services throughout the week, and they are decidedly Lenten in tone. 
· On Wednesday and Friday, we do not celebrate the Divine Liturgy, just as in Great Lent we do not celebrate it on most weekdays. The readings on Wednesday and Friday are of a Lenten character; we do not read the usual Epistle and Gospel, but instead read from the Old Testament (on Wednesday, all the selections are from Joel, and on Friday, from Zechariah). We follow the Lenten format of having a reading during the Sixth Hour and Vespers.: The Gospel readings on days when the Divine Liturgy is celebrated are all taken from the Passion account of St Luke. We will return to these readings during Holy Week. 
· Daily Vespers on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday begin in a “non-Lenten” way just as during the rest of the year, but the end of Vespers is ”Lenten” with the usual prayers with bows after the Aposticha, and the prayer of St Ephrem.· Wednesday and Friday Vespers are Lenten in tone, with an Old Testament Reading, and the prayer of St Ephrem, but the ending is non-Lenten in tone.  
· The quintessential prayer of Great Lent, the “Prayer of St Ephrem”, is said at every weekday Vespers beginning on Tuesday evening.  

How is the week “kind of like” being outside of Great Lent?
· Sunday and Monday evening Vespers are just like in “regular time”, but there are selections from the Triodion for Vespers and Matins, which definitely point us toward Great Lent. 
· All days except Wednesday and Friday we can serve Divine Liturgy, with its usual Epistle and Gospel readings.· As noted above, we are “kind of” fasting, and “kind of” not fasting.