Archive for September, 2007

worth more dead or alive?

September 22, 2007

Except for the fact that I am aware that my life-insurance would pay off the house if I were to die, I have confirmed that I am worth more (in dollars and cents) alive than dead –good to know.

According to ‘The Cadaver Calculator’ my corpse would be worth a whopping $3520.00

The way I figure it, that works out to about $9.65 a day for 1 year.
I guess I need to take better care of myself.

But the dead can teach us something; something worth more than money, as is evident from the following story from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers:

A brother came to see Abba Macarius the Egyptian, and said to him, “Abba, give me a word, that I may be saved.” So the old man said, “Go to the cemetery and abuse the dead.” The brother went there, abused them and threw stones at them; then he returned and told the old man about it. The latter said to him, “Didn’t they say anything to you?” He replied, “No.”

The old man said, “Go back tomorrow and praise them.” So the brother went away and praised them, calling them, “Apostles, saints, and righteous men.” He returned to the old man and said to him, “Did they not answer you?” The brother said, “No.”

The old man said to him, “You know how you insulted them and they did not reply, and how you praised them and they did not speak; so you too, if you wish to be saved, must do the same and become a dead man. Like the dead, take no account of either the scorn of men or their praises, and you can be saved.”

rhymes with duped

September 21, 2007

This post is a bit… earthy. You have been warned.

We are trying to teach Andrew, our 3 year old, to use the toilet. Unlike his older siblings when they were his age, he has no real desire. The way I see it, he has figured out that he can go to the bathroom and have his diaper changed all while watching his favorite TV show. For him it is a win/win situation.

So my dear wife has come up with a plan to get him using the toilet– the bribe.

Every time Andrew uses the toilet and actually goes to the bathroom he can choose a prize. Nothing big, but then when you are three it does not always take much to dazzle you.

So one day while Andrew was on the toilet he farted, and with that fart came a… nugget. Now is accidentially going the bathroom actually going the bathroom??? My wife says that Andrew got her on a technicality; I just find it humerous that she got played by a 3 year old.

the Softening of Stone Hearts

September 20, 2007

The following news article was shared with me by Vara.

mother-of-god-softening-of-evil-hearts-2-tatiana-vodicheva.jpg

‘Miraculous’ Russian icon to be on display in Czech Republic
By ČTK / Published 19 September 2007
Prague, Sept 18 (CTK) – A Russian Orthodox icon of the Mother of God which allegedly weeps oil and blood tears will be on display in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia, Orthodox Church bishop Jiří Stránský told journalists Tuesday.

The icon called the Softening of Stone Hearts has allegedly caused many miraculous healings and brought many people to belief in God.

After the accident of the Russian submarine Kursk in 2000, in which 118 men died, the icon started weeping bloody tears, Svatava Kabosova, editor-in-chief of the Czech magazine the Voice of the Orthodox, said.

“It is one of the biggest miracles of the 20th and 21st centuries because it was not the original but a paper copy of the icon that started weeping,” Kabosova said.

The copy that is to be displayed in Prague as of Saturday was originally found in a pre-fab house in Moscow.

“The aim [of the exhibition] is not a desire to stir up sensation or to persuade somebody about a miracle,” Stransky said. A visit to the icon should rather help all people seeking consolation and help, he added.

The icon has so far been on display only in Russia.

After Prague it will be displayed in Brno, south Moravia, Plzen and Karlovy Vary, both west Bohemia, and in Kosice, east Slovakia.

The Orthodox Church estimates to have 30,000 believers in the ten million Czech Republic and 70,000 members in the five million Slovakia.

The church also serves foreign church-goers, mainly Russians, Ukrainians, Serbs, Bulgarians, Greeks, Romanians and other nationalities living in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The significance of this article for me is my own experience with this Icon.

The first time that I had seen this Icon was when I had stopped at Matthew‘s house one day. My heart was cold, but during our visit I noticed an Icon that was in his home (It was a variation of the ‘Softening of Stone Hearts’ Icon.) I asked him about the Icon; I do not recall the exact conversation that followed other than he had shared that the Icon was often used for those whose hearts were hardened; when I left his house that day, the Icon went with me to our house for a visit….

Most Holy Theotokos, please pray for us who follow your Son.

and good morning to you Mr. Greenspan

September 17, 2007

Alan Greenspan has recently been quoted as saying: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

“‘…the Iraq war is largely about oil.’ Wow! go figure that.” (says papa herman with a hint of sarcasm.)

know your role – the post-apocalyptic survival test

September 12, 2007

It is so nice to know what my place will be in a post apocalyptic world. I had always pictured myself as a jawa sort of character, who would have thot that I had set my goals to low:


Your Score: The “Doctor” You scored 47 Strength, 60 Guile, 71 Morality, and 52 Survival Rate!



You’re intelligent and you care about the well-being of your fellow man. Maybe to a fault. You’re just bearly keeping yourself together. Regardless, everyone is glad to have you around. Just make sure you look out for number one once in a while.


Link: The Post-Apocalyptic Survival Test written by Blair-bot

Illumined Heart podcasts

September 10, 2007

Illumnined Heart Podcasts has a three part series regarding Fr. Seraphim (Rose) featuring interviews with Abbot Gerasim and Fr. Damascene.

These podcasts are located online at: http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/illuminedheart/

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descriptions of the podcasts:

:Father Seraphim Rose – Spiritual Father:
Join Illumined Heart co-host Kevin Allen on his pilgrimage to Saint Herman of Alaska Monastery, Platina, California to talk with its Abbot Fr. Gerasim and Fr. Seraphim Rose legacy-keeper and biographer Monk Damascene. September 2nd marks the 25th anniversary of the repose of Fr. Seraphim Rose. In part 1 of this 3 part series, Kevin is in the cell constructed by Fr. Seraphim and now occupied by Monk Damascene where he talks with the monk about his spiritual father.

:Fr. Seraphim Rose – The Man, The Struggler:
Enter once again into the rustic cell of Fr. Seraphim Rose with Kevin Allen as he talks with Fr. Damascene, the biographer and spiritual child of Fr. Seraphim. This is part 2 of a 3 part series and provides a unique glimpse into the life of a man who many say will someday be venerated as a Saint.

:Fr. Seraphim Rose – Prayer and Orthodox Spirituality:
In the conclusion of our 3 part series commemorating the 25TH anniversary of the repose of Fr Seraphim (Rose), Kevin Allen is seated on a wooden bench overlooking a panoranmic view of Mt. Yolla Bolly with the Abbot of St. Herman of Alaska Monastery, Fr. Gerasim. Listen for valuable lessons (as well as birds chirping!) on the spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting from a spiritual child of this venerated American monk and writer.

Holy Father Seraphim please pray for us.

nineteen

September 10, 2007

Today: Sept 10, 2007; my wife and I celebrate our 19th Wedding Anniversary.

travelogue (pt. 2)

September 8, 2007

I had mentioned on a previous post that I went to St. Herman’s Monastery in the midst of a period of spiritual struggle in my life.

These struggles seem to have a reoccuring theme in my life, they had brought me to the wall where I was trying to make myself okay with throwing in the spiritual towel.

I have considered how I wanted to share about my struggle as well as how I was encouraged. I have decided to just share my notes from that time. What comes first are the notes I made regarding my struggle, and following those notes are the ones I made following my conversation in the Kitchen. I have decided to not explain them, or clarrify them; although some could use a bit of clarification… instead I will just leave them as they are. I do this for a few reasons– A) To avoid over thinking about them in order to explain them. B) That they might encourage someone else. C) As a reminder to myself for when these struggles arise again as to what I have already learned.

And I do this in the hope that no one will stumble because of my words.

May God be glorified in this example of His strength in the midst my weakness.
~papa herman

-I have been Orthodox for 7 years and I still feel like I am in a strange land.
-It seems that alot of what I do as a Christian now– i.e. follow the Fasts, struggle against the passions, and etc is so that I can receive the Eucharist, be considered by others as faithful, and to stay on course for my Godsons.
-I don’t feel any closer to Christ.
-I feel like my struggle against the passions is a work of personal discipline…
-I think about how St. Mary of Egypt struggled for 17 years. But I feel like I struggle on my own… as a parent I know that if I do not offer some sort of encouragement that my kids can become discouraged.
-My prayers are often filled with wandering thots.
-I am aware and acknowledge that I struggle with depression and that I am in that Season currently. But also as these feelings of depression subside all is good. But these similar thots and feelings seem to arise each time.
-I feel boxed in, while at the same time not fully understanding what the Church teaches… as a Protestant I felt more comfident; now I am afraid to step out and say I believe this or that for fear that I am wrong — Our Church holds the right Faith, the right belief and so I want to know and proclaim that… I have done it my own way for years.
-I feel discontent, yet too scared to do anything about it.
-I get discouraged by some of the externals.
-I read about the Saints and Righteous Ones and the do not seem all caught up in regulations, theology, etc… They just seem to flow, loving Christ, His Mother, the Saints and etc. I would like that.
Sure of course there are others you read and the authors seem to focus on others.
-Is it just my struggle to not be at peace?

– – – – – – – – – – – –

+Ascetiscism/Ascetic life, the struggle against the passions is to get the stuff out of the way that keeps us from loving Christ.
That gets in the way between us and Christ. It is like a bulldozer plowing/pushing the junk out of the way.
+It is not performanced based, attempting to please God or earn His favor–
+We can’t force God’s love–we ask for it.
+Spiritual reading is to know Christ, the One I love.

This morning I had coffee with Compadre David, I share a bit with him about this. I mentioned how silly I felt being willing to throw in the spiritual towel over something that was able to be dealt with in 10 minutes. David reminded me to consider where I was at the time… “And…” I added, “…whose prayers I had asked.”

These things, especially the things that ministered to my heart and soul so much, may not seem like alot… but they sank deep into my heart bringing healing and Salvation.

How fragile we humans are… how easily we can get knocked off course. Will this be the last time I struggle? No.
King David said, “What is man that Thou are mindful of him?” I am thankful that God is mindful of us; that He understands our weaknesses way better than we do.

God is good and loves mankind.

danielson: did i step on your trumpet

September 8, 2007

I like Danielson.

travelogue

September 7, 2007

roadtrip.jpg

September 2, 2007 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Repose of Fr. Seraphim (Rose). A crew of myself with some brothermans (Athanasius aka: Arum, Jesse, and Matthew) from Walla Walla made a pilgrimage to Saint Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina, CA where Fr. Seraphim is buried. What follows are some memories from the trip.

Friday-Saturday (one day blurred into the other so I have put them together)

We left Friday evening around 6pm-ish. Sometime around midnite I fell asleep, good thing I was not driving. Because of my partaking of road-slumber I have no real recollection of events from La Pine until Redding, and I am okay with that.

In Redding I woke-up as we were heading towards a Denny’s it was O-dark thirty in the morning.

The sun had already risen as we pulled up to the Monastery. Matthew and I went to the Church were Services were in progress, we met up with Fr. Moses who showed us where we could put our tent up at. Apparently Arum was ready for sleep because when we returned to the car we found him in his sleeping bag already sleeping in a pile of leaves.

Leaving Arum in the leaves, we went and put the tent up; while Jesse went in to get some rest Matthew and I returned to the trapeza for coffee as the Fathers and other pilgrims ate breakfast.

The day proceeded with periods of slumber mixed in by the four of us. Arum and I went to the garden for parsley. While there I shared just a bit about some discouragements that I had been struggling with. Later we helped out in the kitchen a bit where we were able to talk with Fr. Adrian as we worked. Arum brought up the topic we had been talking about in the garden for Fr. Adrian’s input. The conversation was very healing to my heart and soul– I later wrote down some notes so that I would remember the content of what was shared.

Later in the day a Pannikhida was served at the grave of Fr. Seraphim; followed by Small Vespers and Compline.

Afterwards it was time for dinner. A tasty meal of tabouli, humus, pita bread, and stuff grape leaves was served for dinner, with baklava for dessert.

Following dinner was a Vigil in the Church.

Sunday

Divine Liturgy was served at the gravesite of Fr. Seraphim. A Priest visiting from Ontario, Canada co-celebrated with Hieromonk Damascene.

After the Liturgy they gave all of the pilgrims a gift of a CD of the last talk that Fr. Seraphim gave, approx 3 weeks prior to his repose, a picture card of Fr. Seraphim and oil from the vigil lamp over his grave.
Note: It is my understanding that this CD will be made available from St. Herman’s Press.

Lunch was served and afterwards memories were shared by some people who knew Fr. Seraphim when he was alive.

Fr. Vladimir Anderson shared about his memories. His daughter (who was 6 years old at the time) was the first woman to walk on to the grounds of St. Herman’s Monastery. She has since reposed and is buried in the Monastery cemetery. He was followed with some memories shared by Matushka Anderson.

Thomas Anderson shared his memories. He had lived with Fr. Seraphim and Fr. Herman at the Monastery when he was a teenager. Due to his living there he was able to share some about some of the day to day goings on of the Monastery at that time. It was impressed on me the importance of taking Becket (and later Andrew) to the Monastery to allow them to build relationships with the Fathers, and to let them experience life at the Monastery.

The final memories were shared by a man, whose name I unfortunately do not remember. He knew Fr. Seraphim back when he was Eugene Rose. One thing that stood out in his talk were his final words, “Holy Father Seraphim pray to God for us.” An encouragement that it is okay for me to acknowledge Fr. Seraphim as a Saint.

After a brief break Father Damascene shared about the last days in the life of Fr. Seraphim.

The final weeks of Fr. Seraphim were marked with the St. Herman Annual Pilgrimage that coincided with the commemoration of the Cannonization of St. Herman of Alaska. This is the same Pilgrimage that the recorded talk (above) was from.

Fr. Damascene shared about Fr. Seraphim first showing noticeable signs of not feeling well. How this lead to his leaving the Monastery to go to the hospital in Redding; as he left he said, “Glory to God for all things” the words of St. John Saint Chrysostom as he reposed exile. Fr. Damascene mentioned how this trip to the hospital was Fr. Seraphim’s own going into exile; as he reposed in the hospital when Fr. Seraphim would have probably preferred reposing at the Monastery.

It was in Fr. Seraphim’s final days that Fr. Damascene (then just John) was baptized by Fr. Herman –he was initially to be baptized by Fr. Seraphim. Later, after Fr. Seraphim’s repose, it was in this newly baptized Christian’s baptismal robe that Fr. Seraphim was buried in.

In the question/answer time after Fr. Damascene’s talk, one woman shared how a Church she visited in Russia was having Fr. Seraphim painted onto the Iconostasis.

After this talk we broke camp and made our way home. We drove all nite getting home around 530am on Monday.

It was a quick weekend and it was good weekend. Good times with the guys; accented by much laughter! I returned home encouraged in heart by my conversation with Fr. Adrian and Arum. (I hope to share about this specifically in the future.) Thanks to the grace of God and the prayers of Holy Fr. Seraphim.