First looking at St. Basil’s three hundred and something letters, I was afraid I would not find direction toward the spiritual life for quite some time. Well, I was wrong. In Letter II: Basil to Gregory, that is St. Gregory of Nyssa, a friend of his, I hit a key word that really sparked my curiosity and which did lead to some of St. Basil’s “secrets” to the spiritual life.
He went on to say, “For it is no more possible to write in wax without first smoothing away the letters previously written thereon, than it is to supply the soul with divine teachings without first removing its preconceptions derived from habit.” For to reach that end, “solitude gives us the greatest help, since it calms our passions and gives reason leisure to sever them completely from the soul.”
He said, “We must try to keep the mind in tranquility.”
Continue reading “Silence is the School of the Soul”
Ukraine’s top Church leader, Metropolitan Onufriy, not only called on his people to pray (early on in the war), but gave them a prayer rule. It is short and simple, and he asked them to pray it at least once a day.
Pray Psalm 90 (91) with twelve prostrations or bows. “He who dwells in the help of the most high shall abide in the shelter of heaven’s God.”…
Bishop Daniel of Chicago, who spoke to one of the Ukrainian bishops in those first few days, suggested we all join them in their prayer rule, as well as fasting for them. The war started right on the verge of Great Lent, and with such a disruption of daily life, many Ukrainians likely could not keep to the fast as they normally would have. Now, we are on the verge of another fast, the fast in preparation for the Dormition of the Mother of God on August, 15th. So, this is an opportunity to take up our brother’s burden and carry it for him.
Continue reading “How to Pray for Ukraine”