Thoughts which words can’t express

From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers: One day Abba Arsenius consulted an old Egyptian monk about his own thoughts. Someone noticed this and said to him, ‘Abba Arsenius, how is it that you with such a good Latin and Greek education ask this peasant about your thoughts?’ He replied, ‘I have indeed been taught … Continue reading Thoughts which words can’t express

Do not be ashamed to enter the Church

John Chrystotom once said, “Do not be ashamed to enter again into the Church. Be ashamed when you sin. Do not be ashamed when you repent. Pay attention to what the devil did to you. These are two things: sin and repentance. Sin is a wound; repentance is a medicine. Just as there are for … Continue reading Do not be ashamed to enter the Church

The quick comeback of Amma Sarah

A story is told of Amma Sarah, one of the many desert mothers during the early centuries of Christianity, who refused to be denigrated for being a woman: "Another time, two old men, great anchorites, came to the district of Pelusia to visit her. When they arrived one said to the other, 'Let us humiliate … Continue reading The quick comeback of Amma Sarah

The minimalism of the desert monks

The abbot Theodore of Pherme had three fine codices. And he came to the abbot Macarius and said to him. “I have three codices, and I profit by the reading of them. And the brethren also come seeking to read them, and they themselves profit. Tell me, therefore, what I ought to do?” And the … Continue reading The minimalism of the desert monks

My Fear of the Sound of an Axe

Celtic monks left the forest standing at the sites of their monasteries rather than cut them. Adaman, Columba’s biographer, tells the story of how the Irish King Aedh gave a plot of land in Doire to Columba: And he [Columba] had so great a love for Doire, and the cutting of the oak trees went … Continue reading My Fear of the Sound of an Axe

The gospel has many layers

One of the things I find fascinating about the gospel is how it operates on a number of different levels simultaneously. The Christ. The gospel is first and foremost the story of the Christ promised by God,  who entered history as Jesus of Nazareth. It tells of his life, death, resurrection, and promised return. We might … Continue reading The gospel has many layers

A story about Calum Cille

Isabel Mac Eachainn said that a widow woman at Tabal, Mull, had a cow ill with the tarbhan (swelling from surfeit), and she was wringing her hands and beating her breast to see her beloved cow in pain. At that moment she saw Calum Cille, Columba, and his twelve disciples in their curachan (little boat … Continue reading A story about Calum Cille

The beginning of the good news about Donald the Messiah

The Russians Visit the Anointed One 1 After Donald was born in Queens in New York, during the time of Hillary, Russians from the east came to Washington 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born President of the Americans? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” … Continue reading The beginning of the good news about Donald the Messiah

What did Jesus achieve?

What did Jesus achieve? Jews at the time of Jesus expected the messiah to achieve a number to things: to defeat the enemies of Israel; to restore the Temple; to gather the exiles of Israel; and to teach the Torah to the nations. The earliest Christians, who were Jewish by and large, saw Jesus as … Continue reading What did Jesus achieve?

Exploring the Bible story as a chiasm

I have not often made this so explicit, but I tend to view the Bible story as a five act drama with a chiastic structure. I would illustrate it most simply as follows: A: Creation       B: Covenant            C: Christ       B': Church  A': Coming Soon  In each … Continue reading Exploring the Bible story as a chiasm