Tag Archives: Christendom

The Beginning of Good

It happened that when Abba Arsenius was sitting in his cell that he was harassed by demons. His servants, on their return, stood outside his cell and heard him praying to God in these words, ‘O God, do not leave me. I have done nothing good in your sight, but according to your goodness, let me now make a beginning of good.’

—Abba Arsenius

prayer young man 1“I have done no good but allow me to make a beginning of good,” says the monk. How do we make a beginning of good? Do we go out and do a lot of good deeds, give sacrificially to others or read the Bible daily? None of those things would hurt us, and they may even help, but such actions are not the beginning of good. Jesus says that we must leave behind the things of the world and seek God. In our seeker’s journey, we will find good. That good is recognizing our helplessness in comparison to our Creator. When we accomplish that, we can then start doing the “good” things.

The beginning of good is when we learn that we are totally dependent upon God Good-Deeds-2and have the courage to admit it. Such a simple confession changes our lives and allows us to begin the path that leads to good. A professing Christian does not plan to do good but does good naturally. The Holy Spirit that lives in us guides us to situations and time that allow the light of God to shine through us.

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Filed under Abba Arsenius, Christian Journey, Desert Fathers

Living in Hope

Paperback cover of Esperanto edition of "...

Paperback cover of Esperanto edition of “Where Love is, God is” by Leo Tolstoy 

Today is the First Sunday of Advent.

Come Lord Jesus, Come.

The Christian lives in the Hope. We look to tomorrow with confidence, even absurd confidence. As the White Queen told Alice, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” There is an exuberance in the Christian Life, an exaltation which passes logic. Why? Because we belong to Christ.

Listen to Leo Tolstoy:

· I believe in God, who is for me spirit, love, the principle of all things.

· I believe that God is in me, as I am in Him.

· I believe that the true welfare of man consists in fulfilling the will of God.

· I believe that from the fulfillment of the will of God there can follow nothing but that which is good for me and for all men.

· I believe that the will of God is that every man should love his fellow men, and should act toward others as he desires that they should act toward him.

· I believe that the reason of life is for each of us simply to grow in love.

· I believe that this growth in love will contribute more than any other force to establish the Kingdom of God on earth

Lord help each of us to be people of belief. In belief we can find meaning and purpose which inspire us to be people who can make a difference. Let us use our belief for the betterment all we touch. Amen

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Real Presence

English: The sacrament Holy Communion on Alan ...

For centuries Christians have divided, argued, and even fought wars over the real presence of Christ in the sacrament of Holy Communion. For the mystic, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist was essential as it was the way that one ultimately experienced the grace of God. Communion was a time to be united with Christ, and indeed all of Christendom, for a marvelous time of grace. Many Protestants resist the idea of grace through sacrament. Martin Luther, the “Father of the Protestant Reformation,” once said (in rejection of the “Radical Reformers”): “Before I would have mere wine with the fanatics, I would rather receive sheer blood with the pope.”

“The Christian church has struggled through the centuries to understand just how Christ is present in the Eucharist. Arguments and divisions have occurred over the matter. The Wesleyan tradition affirms the reality of Christ’s presence, although it does not claim to be able to explain it fully.” This statement is taken from the United Methodist document on Holy Communion-This Holy Mystery- and it affirms the reality of Christ’s presence in the sacrament.

So much can be missed if we consider Holy Communion a mere memorial. There are none among us who deny that our Lord gave us this Holy Mystery as a way of joining with Him-joining in a way that is so real, so strong that He promised to be with us, not in memory, but reality.  As we go forward to discover the real mysteries of true faith in our Lord we must not neglect His promise to be with us in the sacrament of Holy Communion. In my tradition, Mr. Wesley asserted the doctrine of frequent communion. Christians all over the world are beginning to find more and more faith in coming to His table. May each of us approach His table with expectation and leave with His loving presence.

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Filed under Eucharist, Holy Communion, Sacrament