April 2007


Our hearts are small, our hearts are hard, our hearts are closed, our hearts are obscure, our hearts are distorted, our hearts are impure, we love little, we sing few praises, we are divisive, not at peace, we are impatient, greedy, harsh, and undisciplined. We have a large gap to fill.

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There is no spiritual desert except in the heart’s mind, and there is no spiritual homeland except in the heart’s mind. I spent a good portion of my life lamenting that industrialized civilization, the United States in particular, did not bear fruit in cultural terms as I may have defined them. But I realize now that it was foolish for me to have expected it to bear such fruit, I realize now that industrialized civilization already does all that it is supposed to do according to the things that come from men, that the ancient world, under a fundamentally different economic model, has already given us all that it can give, most of all, I would say, in terms of spiritual culture, and that the work of fulfillment depends on each soul, regardless, in the long run, of the social or cultural environment.
It is never easy for a man to maintain a straight and forward relationship with God and it has always been the case that any person worthwhile being requires hard work and constant struggle; failure or success in one’s relationship with God and in the effort, conscious or not, to bear the fruits of the spirit, do not necessarily depend, in the final analysis, on the social and cultural environment or the prevailing economic model, for there are souls from all stations in life throughout all time who have been well-disposed to God and who have bore the fruits of the spirit.
The real battle field, then, is in the heart; our charge in life is to shape the environment of the heart insofar as we have little influence in shaping the social, cultural, and economic environment among men.
We are all far-removed from the selflessness of Christ. It is already a struggle for the common man to maintain a fruitful, loving experience with his own family or brotherhood, according to whether one is married or a monk – success or most likely failure can occur in either state of the Sacraments – so how much harder must it be for a man to also learn to love his enemies, whether those in the social field or those in the battle field of his heart?
But we do live with the hope, we do have the tools to work that field, in the face of the challenge that comes with the weeds that grow with the wheat, and in spite of the industrialized world in which socially, culturally, and economically we are so far removed from that field, literally, we – as feeble and far-removed as we are – still have the tools of Orthodoxy, the straight and forward way of glorifying, prayer, Scripture, akolouthia, Tradition, and the Sacraments, and through His grace, we still have a chance to transform our hearts into the seed of spiritual fruit and so fulfill His mission for us a created persons.
Through hard work, then, rejoice with me in knowing that I continue to pray with you everyday, regardless of the social environment at any hour, and in any physical field which, through the transforming power of the heart, can become fertile ground for fulfilling the mission of the soul.

Spirituality is like the humble one-root plant that insists on growing in the tiniest nook of a stone wall or a clay roof tile or a crack in asphalt where enough soil, light, and water accumulate to give it a fighting chance in a burst of creative energy that jumps up and says “Yes!” to life.
In the same way, human being, you must struggle for spiritual life because the environment – social, cultural, economic, political – in which you must plant root, fruitful root in spiritual terms, is just as harsh as the one in which the one-root plant must grow, and yet you have no less of a fighting chance.

The Sovereign Lord thrust upon us the challenge of life, and He is beautiful for it, because He also provided us with the tools to rise to the challenge, regardless of the physical outcome, which is as He ordained, while the spiritual outcome also depends on our own will, in harmony with the will of God.

Jesus was not just a sayer, but a doer. And that is why the miracles and the crucifixion are just as important as the parables and other teachings. Moreover, what is and how to do the right thing are the very essence of His teaching: being is faith, faith in action.

God assumed enormous risk when He acted for the sake of creative love, knowing full well that the creatures with whom He endowed free will would do other than His will, generating chaos amidst the creation, and yet He also endowed us with the promise of peace through faith in Jesus Christ, His manifestation of community with the human race which is part of His creation, even endowed with free will.

Now, why He did all this, I do not know. But I do know one thing: if we are to be imitators of God, Father and Creator, then we must also assume enormous risks for the sake of creative love, physically, psychologically and spiritually, knowing full well along the path that things will go against our will, even when our intention is to act in harmony with the will of God – because we will be off the mark many times – that there will be chaos, and that we will come face to face with the enemy of man, planting weeds in our wheat field, but also knowing that Jesus gave us the Lord’s prayer and the way to peace.