“In life we make our way by a series of decisions: taking one step rather than another, acting or refraining from acting, entering or leaving situations, accepting or rejecting offers and opportunities. We constantly move, from moment to moment, on the basis of choices. Of all God’s earthly creatures, humanity alone has the personal dignity of choosing and shaping life…by God’s grace we strive not make decisions impulsively. Rather, we modify our actions in response to the pr
010 - Blue Jacket, Yellow Boots: Author and podcaster Michael Haldas and Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick put on their bright blue jackets and yellow boots to talk the single most requested character study in all our feedback so far: Tom Bombadil! Just who is this enigmatic figure that never makes it into the movies? We close with a trivia game designed exclusively for Michael Haldas.
“In the hours of difficulty and doubt, in times of sadness and tragedy, and when it seemed that what I had to offer as a young man and priest would never be enough, I would sit at my desk, look up, and be reminded once again that this time of trial would also pass away. How consoling it was in the hour of my affliction, and how much it quieted my restless heart, to be reassured that nothing earthly goes on forever. On a deeper level, this piece of wisdom serves as a wonderful
“Death is the great leveler. People who have beauty, riches (Psalms 49:16–17), and power in this world will lose them all at death. They will be stripped of everything except their character or soul. This is why the Scriptures exhort us to pursue character development—God’s law, holiness, wisdom, and knowledge—more than anything else.” (Foundation Study Bible, Psalms 49:14) “The Book of Job deals with our relationship with God. It puts life into a perspective that is of param
“The source of afflictions is the sin of humanity. The purpose of afflictions, if we use them properly, may be our comfort and salvation, as the Father Himself preserves us through them (2 Corinthians 1:3). The means of facing our afflictions is a hope in God that allows us to enter into the afflictions of others in actual, experiential knowledge.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 1:3-11) “God comforts us for our own encouragement and also to make us comforters of others.
“In our human condition, we do not always see things as they are: the fog of war and pain sets in. It is helpful to remember that though spiritual blindness may be due to moral failure, it is also a component of the human condition, due to our fallen state…To eyes compromised by the Fall, appearances are often deceiving. Even if we accurately see part of the present situation, we do not see the beginning and the end, nor the nexus of our life with that of others: we miss the
“ ‘Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He [Jesus] was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away’ (Matthew 21:18-19). The fig tree, a symbol of prosperity and peace, withers because it is fruitless…“The fig tree is a parable of those who have heard God's word, but who fail to bear the fruit of obedience…it is also a warnin
“The law of cause and effect is most convincing to human understanding and reasoning, and by it the human mind arrives at very definite conclusions…some conclusions are correct, others are not. This is why we can trust our rational thinking only to a point. Our rational thinking serves us best when we subjugate it to God rather than elevate it in our thought to the status of the supreme power in the universe (God tells us He will both reason with us while also telling us that
“Knowing the will of God is one of the most delicate and complicated matter of our lives, especially for those who are trying to find it through prayer. For although His will is revealed according to Thy words: “Ask, seek, knock, and it shall be given you”, yet it requires patience, trials, temptations and [ascetic] experience, to extinguish man’s own will and passions that cannot withstand the inexpressible tenderness and sensitivity of divine grace.” (Elder Joseph the Hesyc
“The devil accuses the righteous before God “day and night” (Rev 12:10). With God's permission, he pummels our minds with evil thoughts and weakens our bodies with pain and illness, ever seeking to influence us towards evil. But through hardship, the righteous are clothed in the “whole armor of God” (Eph 6:13). We are called to “glory in tribulations” (Rom 5:3), knowing that we are to walk in obedience to Christ's commands (Mt 5:10).” (Orthodox Study Bible, Job 1:7) “My child