Thursday, November 27, 2014

What Makes God Happy?

Have you ever been happy to see someone?   Today I was happy to see someone, a few someones.    We were in Liturgy this morning for Thanksgiving and I only expected a few people to show.   After all, Thanksgiving is a day of family, parades, food and football.  Most people work hard all week and national holidays are the few days when the whole family can slow down and be together. 

So when I saw more and more people coming into the church this morning, I was so happy; happy to see people make the decision to come to Liturgy to offer thanks on a day devoted to giving thanks to God.   

Then it hit me.  If I am happy to see them in church, to see that they were dedicated and able to make the choice to come, then I imagine God is a million times more pleased.   It never occurred to me that going to church would please God.  I had only thought about the benefit I receive when I go.  But sure!  When we go to church, fast, pray, show charity… God is pleased.  

But why is He pleased?  Is it His ego?  Did the guilt of our grandmother’s finally pay off?  Does He make a commission for every soul that comes in the door?   Of course not!  I think He is pleased because when we do these things it benefits us in a way that brings us closer to God.  And what pleases Him more than when we are all together?  I imagine it’s the way families feel every holiday when the home is full of family: brothers, sisters, children, cousins.   I imagine that every Liturgy is a like a full house holiday for God. 

May you always please God and know the joys of a full house holiday.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Secret to Wanting Less


Do not desire many things--
more than you have, that which is far away.
Rather, seek to take care of what you have
so as to sanctify it.
- Gerontissa Gavrielia
This quote from Mother Gavrielia has comforted me for many years.  I think it's a perfect reflection for the Thanksgiving holiday.  There are many ways we might not feel satisfied and are convinced that having more and different would give us peace.  But that is rarely true.
I hope that these weeks of advertised abundance and preparation for our celebration of "Christmas" do not take away our sanctification and peace in the saving news of our Lord's Birth.  I hope these coming days are days of  feeling blessed, satisfied and peaceful; not wanting.  If we are finding ourselves in want, let us be sure we have fully taken care of what we already have. 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Life Simply Lived

Matthew 6

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


When it comes to a life simply lived, no one does it better than the monks and nuns of the Orthodox Church. Committing themselves to a life of prayer, askesis (strict self discipline) and obedience, they live with few possessions and luxuries. The monastic folk song, God’s Love Abides, brings to mind the passage in Matthew 6: 25-34, that speaks of how the birds of the air and the flowers of the field have no worries. Monastics take this to heart for comfort and assurance. It’s relevant in the lyrics that sweetly describe a person’s longing for the monastic life..

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Christmas Cards On Sale Now

Send your hundreds of friends the cheap Christmas cards from the Super Stores, 
But send your favorite people a card from V's Cardbox.  

The Thanksgiving Sale is still on!  Christmas Cards 1/2 off. 

Today's JAR - Keeping Christ in Christmas

Today's JAR just a reminder

The Advent Fast begins on Saturday, November 15th... But since the 14th is a fast day, TODAY is the last day to eat meat (and depending on how strictly you are planning to fast... )

Remember to stay focused on the feast day and less on the festivities.  After all, Keeping Christ in Christmas doesn't mean saying "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." There is a deeper meaning to this phrase.  Keeping Christ in Christmas means that we respect that this is a religious holiday and are following the traditions the church has protected.  We fill these days with prayer, fasting and alms giving not  lists to Santa for our wants, Christmas parties and overspending on gifts to give to friends, who already have everything they could possible need; meanwhile, ignoring the poor and shut-in. 

this card is available at

Keep Christ in Christmas... And remember it is a religious holiday.