Embracing the Fullness of God's Love and the Jesus Prayer
Orthodox Way of Life
by Fr Dn Charles Joiner
2d ago
Reflecting on the depth of loving God with all our heart and mind, we must ask ourselves: do our thoughts during prayer truly reflect this love? When worldly distractions permeate our prayers, it might reveal our shortfall in living up to His commandment to love God with our whole being. Saint Silouan articulates this challenge with profound clarity. He teaches that when our thoughts drift away from God, even during prayer, our attention is divided. At such moments, we are not fully living the commandment to love God "with all thy mind and all thy heart." True adherence to this commandment, a ..read more
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Theosis 7 - St. Symeon and the Experience of Theosis
Orthodox Way of Life
by Fr Dn Charles Joiner
4d ago
  Brief Summary of Session 7: Experience of Theosis In our seventh session, we explored the profound question, "Can we know God?" from the perspective of Theosis, a central concept in Orthodox Christianity that implies a union with God and affirms that we can indeed know Him. This concept is often contested by those who argue that God is ultimately unknowable and that the Orthodox theological foundation of Theosis is therefore invalid. To address this, we turned to Saint Gregory Palamas, who provided significant insights into the ancient Orthodox understanding of Theosis. He articulat ..read more
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Theosis 8 & St Symeon's Use of Parables and teaching of St Paul
Orthodox Way of Life
by Fr Dn Charles Joiner
4d ago
  In our final session on Theosis and the teachings of Saint Symeon the New Theologian, we explored his use of Jesus’s Parables and the spiritual support from the writings of Saint Paul. Our discussions delved into three biblical parables—the Pearl of Great Value, the Mustard Seed, and the Leaven—along with the symbol of an oil lamp, each rich in spiritual meaning. In the Parable of the Pearl of Great Value, Saint Symeon illustrates the profound treasure of the Spirit within, symbolized by a pearl hidden within an oyster deep in the sea. This pearl represents the divine presence within ..read more
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Theosis 5 - Participation in the Eucharist on Journey to Theosis
Orthodox Way of Life
by Fr Dn Charles Joiner
5d ago
  https://youtu.be/xF0oIblrUDg?si=TQoMzTWqv_eUqPnx Brief Summary Partaking in Holy Communion should transcend mere obligation; it should not be viewed as a formal requirement imposed by parents or clergy. Instead, our souls should leap with joy at the opportunity to commune, to be united with our God, yet tempered with a sense of contrition for our sinful nature. This acknowledgment of our sinfulness, coupled with the understanding that communion with Christ purifies and fortifies the soul, aids us in gradually conforming more closely to His likeness. Merely attending church for the e ..read more
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Theosis 4 - On Conscious Awareness of Holy Spirit - Saint Symeon on Theosis
Orthodox Way of Life
by Fr Dn Charles Joiner
5d ago
  https://youtu.be/gZOfnRRvhoA?si=Pnlh088V-Eo2QFG_ Brief Summary In our fourth session, we delved into the crucial need to become acutely aware of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon us during Baptism and Chrismation. After Baptism we continue to grapple with sinful inclinations and acts, which obscure our perception of the Spirit and alienate us from God, increasingly leading us to prioritize our will as we navigate the myriad challenges of worldly existence. Previously, we explored St. Symeon's insights on creation, aligning with the scriptural understanding that we are made in the Image ..read more
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Theosis 6 - On Prayer on Journey to Theosis
Orthodox Way of Life
by Fr Dn Charles Joiner
5d ago
  https://youtu.be/THWyofpNpbw?si=jzkrbaZQMSy6Ga-N Brief Summary: In this session, we delve into the teachings of Saint Symeon the New Theologian, exploring how it is possible to experience God within the context of a busy secular life. Saint Symeon, despite being immersed in the affairs of the world as a layperson, encountered God in a profound and direct manner. This experience did not stem from extraordinary ascetic practices but emerged from his earnest yearning to know God, his humility in endeavoring to fulfill God's commands, and his dedication to prayer. Saint Symeon's life exe ..read more
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Theosis 3 - Saint Symeon Teaching on Theosis
Orthodox Way of Life
by Fr Dn Charles Joiner
5d ago
  https://youtu.be/70CQgS0SVfg?si=4MIbF99j9MlRqUgI Brief Summary: We further learned in this third session that another crucial step towards Theosis and salvation is obedience to God's commandments. Scripture underscores this, reminding us that it was Adam and Eve's failure to adhere to a single commandment that resulted in their expulsion from Paradise. Thus, St. Symeon reminds us that we are called to obey all of God's commands. At the final judgment, those who have lived in accordance with God's will be granted entrance into Paradise, while th ..read more
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Theosis 2 - Lessons from the Life of Saint Symeon
Orthodox Way of Life
by Fr Dn Charles Joiner
5d ago
 https://youtu.be/P-x_unflGgo?si=xKKAh_wu1skxf8Gj Brief Summary The life of Saint Symeon not only exemplifies the profound connection one can have with God but also illuminates the path we are all called to follow—a journey toward theosis, living and acting with the mind of Christ. Through his lived experience, Saint Symeon demonstrates and reminds us that we are each created in the image of God, endowed with the Holy Spirit at Baptism, and drawn closer to Christ with every participation in Holy Communion. These truths underline the essence of our existence: the pursuit of theosis, an a ..read more
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Is the Jesus Prayer "Vane Repetition"?
Orthodox Way of Life
by Fr Dn Charles Joiner
1w ago
The Jesus Prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner," is a profound expression of faith among many Orthodox Christians. Far from being vain repetition, the prayer becomes deeply meaningful when one prays with a sincere heart, recognizing oneself as a sinner in need of God's mercy—much like the tax collector in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9114), or the blind man who sought Jesus's healing (Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43). This prayer is a call from the depths of one's being, in recognition of God as both Creator and Savior, and expresses a longing to ..read more
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Reclaiming Ancient Wisdom: The Orthodox Christian View of Atonement
Orthodox Way of Life
by Fr Dn Charles Joiner
2w ago
Grasping the nuanced Orthodox view of atonement can be challenging. Salvation in Orthodox Christianity is not merely about forgiveness of sins; it's a transformative journey towards theosis, or deification, signifying the union with God. This journey involves a rebirth through the Holy Spirit in Baptism, participation in the sacraments (such as Baptism, the Eucharist and Confession), plus a disciplined Christ-centered life dedicated to prayer, fasting, and following the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church. It's a path towards a loving relationship embodying God's love and holiness, facil ..read more
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