Saturday, July 14, 2012

Either Do Not Sin, or Repent

The grace-filled Christian life is supposed to begin in baptism. But those who preserve this grace are rare; the majority of Christians lose it.
We see some people who are more or less depraved in their present lives, because they had poor beginnings which were allowed to develop and take root in them. Others perhaps had good beginnings, but during the early years of their youth, whether by personal inclination or through temptation from others, forgot these beginnings and acquired evil habits. Such people no longer lead a true Christian life.
Our holy faith offers the Mystery of Repentance for this. We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (I Jn. 2:1). If you have sinned, acknowledge the sin and repent. God will forgive the sin and once again give you a new heart...and a new spirit (Ez. 36:26).
There is no other way: Either do not sin, or repent. Judging by the number of those who have fallen away from Baptism, one could even say that repentance has become for us the only source of true Christian life.
St. Theophan the Recluse (+1894)

Friday, July 13, 2012

St. Ambrose of Optina, on the Importance of Correct Belief

[H]e who possesses an incorrect, contradictory and false understanding of the Faith and Christian Truth has difficulty finding salvation, even when he wants it.  Even more difficult is it for him to possess a Christian spirit and the spirit of Christ. ... 
You write that your brother graduated from a Petersburg university.  If someone were to tell your brother that in order to obtain a good position as a district attorney or even a judge one does not need any high school or university education, but only love for his fellow man, would he believe it? It is just as impossible for a man who does not have a correct and true knowledge of the dogmas of the Christian Faith to possess a Christian spirit.
Elder Ambrose of Optina (+1891)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Robert Burgoine, 1921-2011

Today is the one year anniversary of the falling asleep of my grandfather, Robert Burgoine.

This picture of him (and me) was taken the day I was sworn into the California bar, back in 2004. I miss him very much.