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The Lion Speech By Christopher Walken

When I listen to this I see it from a spiritual perspective. We are all the Lion and throughout life we take a lot of stick and we endure the non satisfying desires of the flesh which nibbles its way at us.

But when a man decides he’s had enough, he becomes like the Lion and he gets up and he shows not the just the world but the Kingdom of God who he really is and regains his true character, the one God had endowed him with in his innocence.

We are all Lions, and at some point in our lives we became tired with secularism and not having the truth or happiness. We endured the beatings our souls took from the ivory towers of the irreligious philosophical colleges and media. Then we began our rampage and teared up every single thing that took us away from God and stood in our way.

Because every once in a while, the Lion has to get up, go to confession, come back to God and show the Jackals ( the secular world and the demons ) who he really is. hehe.

 

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Don’t Be Afraid If You Commit A Sin

Sounds heretical doesn’t it? I mean, come on, don’t be afraid to sin, isn’t that the total opposite to promising never to sin again and doesn’t Christ himself tell us to go away and sin no more?

Yes of course I’d never encourage you to sin and I’m not asking you to go out and sin but to plunge into life and not be afraid to sin.

I’m thinking of the video I viewed recently where a heroic soldier in Mosul ran from the safety and cover of a tank to rescue a child caught in the firing line upon the middle of a dirt road. He ran out and although he got shot in the leg, he came back to safety with the girl in his arms alive and well which brings me to my next point.

The man in scriptures was afraid to lose the talent he had been given because he was so fearful of his master. Many of us miss opportunities to save others or to share our faith in the world and the talent (the Gospel) we’ve been given because we view God as someone who is a big judge that should we speak wrongly or act in a way so terrible he will judge us harshly.

We must battle in the world and to expect ourselves to walk through a thorny bush and come out clean on the other side is a little silly. God doesn’t look at our sins so much as our endurance.

Here is a story I learned from Elder and Saint Paisios.

He recalled how a young monk from Asia Minor came to the monastery in his youth. He was a serious alcoholic. How it happened was his parents worked in the fields all day and when he was a baby his mother, to keep him from crying would give him a very strong drink called Raka. Seriously strong stuff.

So he grew up an alcoholic. Elder Paisios tried to help this monk from his addiction by giving him a strict prayer rule. The monk drank 20 glasses of this stuff every day but after many many years through constant adherence to this prayer rule of Paisios, managed to reduce the number of glasses right down to just 4 a day but it would still make him drunk.

He was in charge of the gates at the monastery in Mount Athos. The pilgrims always complained about this drunk Monk as the stink of alcohol off him they thought it was an absolute scandal he should even be a monk at all.

The Monk never really eliminated his alcohol addiction. Well, one day the pilgrims arrived only to find the monk in charge of the gate, the one who always smelled of drink and fell all over the place as he fetched for the keys to open the gate was not there anymore.

They soon learned that the poor man had died. They went to St.Paisios with a sigh of relief and said to him ”Ah that man is dead now the one who was always drunk” hoping the elder would agree with them he lived a scandalous life.

Well, the elder just said to them ”Ah yes, I remember when it happened, the moment he died I saw the heavens open and thousands of Angels and all the Archangels surrounded him and took him to Heaven.

The people were indignant about what the elder had said and sharply continued that ”this was impossible he was such a sinner and drunkard and drunkards don’t go to heaven”.

The Elder told them the story of the monks life and then said ”You see, what you saw was nothing but a scandalous old sinner and drunkard. But what God saw was a true warrior who endured and battled with the demons until the very end.”

What I’m telling you is don’t get too caught up on your vices and sins. Don’t be afraid to do battle and receive some scars. Don’t avoid life and bury the talent but go out into the heavy thickness of the battlefield and leave all your worries about sin behind you and just do your best.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t battle sin and avoid sin, but not to be afraid of falling into it, because the Lord sees your effort and is always ready to forgive, always waiting for you to show your worth, ask forgiveness and get back into the thick of the battle.

 

 

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The Unusual Promotion Of Rock Music In The Liturgy 

This morning I viewed a video on YouTube by soul seekers of a cistercian community in Austria who cut a record with universal of chant they perform. 

It reached the top ten in several countries and went platinum 7 times and as a result is visible proof if ever there was any that people prefer this and are looking for the spiritual in their lives. 

Yet still young people attempting to evangelize other young people are still choosing this music for their divine liturgies. Priests who are lazy will pick a woman with a guitar to sit on the altar and bash out a few tunes because it’s easier than the work involved organising a choir. 

But young people are not stupid and they’d prefer it if the Irish Catholic Church were more honest with them about who they are. The youth are clever, I was young too and I remember listening to this music thinking that the church is being dishonest with me. It just wants to use popular culture to convert me but this isn’t really what the church is at all. So I walked away from it. Notice that I didn’t protest like I do  now I just slowly fell away from the church because it didn’t provide me with it’s true beauty and a sincere reverence for it’s own teaching. 

Im not the only one, many young people are walking away and standing at the door because they to realise this but where else can they go? It’s not like the youth have a choice because to them it’s the true Church. 

My wife recently spoke with a priest about my desire to join the Orthodox church and his response was very relativistic. He said that the icons, incense and liturgy can be very appealing to different temperaments. 

Again Roman Catholicism has relativist views when it comes to the Liturgy. 

It says ” it’s all about what you like and what you like may not be what I like and what I like may not be what you like but that is ok “. 

There was a time when the church has discipline and structure as well as Love. But now there is no discipline and this has actually been the main cause of Irish Catholicism downfall. Not the sex scandals but abandonment of discipline and structure. It’s inability to maintain this secured it’s declining numbers. 

Using culture is if course very important when it comes to evangelization but there is a healthy use of it and then an unhealthy abuse of it. 

The Irish Catholic church needs to know where to draw the line and I think the Orthodox who have maintained this balance can show them a thing or two.

The rock music isn’t bad it just needs to be removed from the church buildings and reserved for retreat or recreational worship. It is time for the church to at least reclaim back the parish church in the musical area. 

I love rock music and I love pop music. My van is full of CDs from credence Clearwater revival, Coldplay, the byrds etc etc and you’ll be hard to find anything classical. But if I were to play the same music in a big cathedral or church setting it would look so out of place. It would be like wearing shorts and a floral shirt at a business meeting. 

Stop the abuse of the Liturgy. Enjoy your Jesus rock music but take it elsewhere. The sales of the Austrian monks CDs prove you’re on the wrong track and it’s time you grow the humility necessary to accept that your music isn’t helping anyone. 

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When Jesus Tells Us To Cut Off Our Hand

There’s that moment in the Gospel where Jesus tells us to cut off our hand pluck out our eyes should either lead us to sin.

Is it something we should take literally? No yet it is reported that one Bishop long ago actually did cut off his hand.

When something remains in disuse it goes dead, limp even. It will not even come to mind at all after a while.

Jesus calls us here to remove ourselves from a sinful situation. Monks have already done this as where they are now, have been removed from the scene of the world yet the devil attacks them still through memory so they too still need to train themselves to make this go limp and cut it off.

Remove the eye by training the eye to look at other things so that it wont be lead into sin. Train the hand and remove it from its sinful practices and by becoming a new person.

I’m going to go a step further. It is helpful to go to a monastery but not all of us can.

Living in the world is it possible to look at a woman dressed so provocatively and yet not be aroused or to be tempted to lust after her?

Yes it is but one would have to be a spiritual giant of sorts in order to maintain it. But it is possible that whilst the eye sees the naked woman, it is possible for it to at the same time be plucked out and not present. Does that make sense to you?

Because when you are filled with light the eye perceives everything through that light. So if you’re filled with the Light of the Holy Spirit it’s enough to blind you to all that is darkness and evil.

So when Jesus says to pluck out your eye and cut off your hand, he means to detach yourself from them and grow new eyes that perceives all via the Holy Spirit and to grow a new hands that shake for peace and not war.

 

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My Miraculous Meeting With St.Spyridon

SPYRIDON

St.Spyridon lived somewhere between the latter part of the 2nd and early part of the 3rd century.

He was at the first ecumenical council of Nicea and was instrumental in the arguments against Arius.

Originally from Cyprus and buried there, when the Arabs took Cyprus he was removed from the grave to be taken to Constantinople where they witnessed he was incorrupt. In his hand was a scent of Basil indicating true sainthood.

After Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, his relics were removed by a Corfiate monk to the island of Corfu where they remain to this day in St.Spyridon Church.

One of his miracles during his lifetime was calling forth rain during a time of drought. This is where it got interesting for me.

An Orthodox Priest and friend of mine learned that I was in Corfu via facebook and highly recommended I visit this church and venerate the Saints relics. He noted that the relics are not always there due to them being moved around a lot and when he was there some years ago they were not present.

Eventually we made our way through the Venetian cobbled streets until we landed upon the Church. I took some pictures of the boys outside in front of the icon of the saint.

From there we entered and there was a short enough queue and to my surprise the relics were present with two priests at either side. Before I entered everyone was quiet. When me and Christian entered the priests began to chant ”Kyrie Eleison”.

I wasn’t sure what to kiss and didn’t realise that the priest opened the Casket for me to kiss the Saint so instead I kissed the Casket as did my son Christian.

That was all good and so we decided to go around the corner to the byzantine Museum which was an old Church now in disuse but everything still in place just used as a Museum for Icons.

I wanted to go back and buy an Icon in the shop directly across the road from St.Spyridons Church and so we headed back that way.

The woman in the shop kept me there for quite a considerable time. By the time my wife came along she was waiting on me and obviously does not share the same enthusiasm as I do for the Orthodox icons or churches so she’s impatient and wanting to leave.

She approaches me and said ”Stephen you need to hurry it up, dark clouds are gathering and it looks like it could actually rain.”

I kept calm and allowed the lady to finish showing me all her icon collection. Then a seriously heavy down pour of rain and hailstones began. It was so heavy I’d never seen anything like it not even in Ireland. The rain was so thick, heavy and chunky. You could hear it just slam into the ground.

I wanted so desperately to visit the Church again with my icons but I knew Audrey wouldn’t have it and so whilst in the shop and anxious about these things it began to rain.

I said to my wife I want to touch the icons off the casket of St.Spyridon and in this way have them blessed. We might as well go over to the Church and inside there because we are blocking entry to the shop.

The woman approached me and said ”This is such unusual weather for this time of year but it shouldn’t last long”. But it did, a whole three hours.

I was delighted to be back in the Church. This time I actually peered in and saw his face with his little skull-cap and vestments all still on him.

It was at this moment that the Saint revealed to me that it was him who, calling forth the rain all those years ago to end the drought, had called forth the rain yet again that I may have my icons blessed and venerate him once more.

Whilst I stood there, the rain plummeting from the heavens, to many it was an inconvenient moment where they had to refrain from shopping and it ended their day out in Corfu. To me however, I stood there in the church with a gleeful smile on my face knowing who it was that called forth the rain and hailstone.

It was an undeserved grace for a rotten little sinner like me. It almost seems prideful to even assume that the Saint would accommodate just one speck of dust such as myself with all the problems going on in the world but I was convinced that this miracle was simply God’s simplicity shining forth giving me the time I really needed to soak up the experience of venerating one of the churches greatest ever saints that lived.

 

 

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The Modern Prodigal Son

I’ve just arrived home from holidays in Corfu, Greece. On our last day there I took the kids for a drive to Agios Ioannis to visit Aqua land, the second largest water park in Europe.

Going down the slide was so enjoyable and I really loved the thrill of it.

Climbing up the stairs to experience the thrill again was not hard at all and, like a gazelle I had a spring in my step to climb the 100 foot stair case to have another go.

After a while though, I became tired both mentally and physically. Eventually I became discontent with it altogether and as I was climbing the stairs I thought much about how the sins and vices of this life are much the same.

In my youth, (at 32 I’m still young by the way ok?) I loved the thrill of going out and finding a woman to have sex with. The whole act of seduction and the accomplishment of getting her into bed was so great I’d look to do it every weekend.

The same occurred whenever I met with alcohol. Even the sins of anger, when they arose I enjoyed this too. I loved to argue and fight with others over trivial things.

However, after some time, like the prodigal son who had plenty to eat, pretty soon I began to run out of steam like he did his money.

I became hungry for a different kind of food but not even the scraps of the worldly philosophy, Buddhism or Hinduism could satisfy me yet I ate them anyway. I was so tired of the transient vice I found myself stuck in that these fed me for some time.

After time had passed and I became even more tired, the Lord came to me and brought me back to Christianity. I heard his call and of my own free will I came home to him.

Sin is enjoyable but it is not long lasting. We may repeat it time after time but there will come a moment in a mans life when he hungers for something much greater than himself and his sins.

He may look deep inside himself and hear the call and heed it, or ignore it. Although the Lord will often bring home those who never sought him, such a thing is rare. It is more likely that the person who seeks the Lord will find the Lord as long as he resolved to endure in his search.

The Lord is always watching for those who seek him, not through worldly arguments or even religious ones (I.e my doctrines are greater than yours) but those who seek out a relationship with him.

Those who are just looking for proof or to take a peek behind the curtain will never find him because God does not approach the wise.

Those who seek him through some sort of theological argument (I’m not speaking of those who ask questions) will likewise not find him because again, the Lord does not approach the proud and wise.

Those however seeking the Lord for the sake of the Lord himself and to develop a relationship with him because they have become tired of the transient things of this world have more of a chance of finding the Lord or that the Lord will approach and open the door to them.

To be brought back to Christianity is a grace of God and His grace is reserved for those whom he pleases but especially those who seek him with an honest, open and contrite heart because like a clean woman will not tolerate a dirty house, the Holy Spirit will not tolerate a dirty soul and be unlikely to make it his home.

We sin, we enjoy it, we sin again, we enjoy it again. There comes a time however when through the prayers of the Church and the saints, a man in this state will be given the grace necessary to begin a journey on the way….the way home. Like a man whose legs cramp after a days walking in the hot sun, the soul and it’s intellect will likewise begin to experience it’s own cramps and long for the cure to these.

When this longing will happen is up to both the soul and God himself through the prayers of those of us in the Church.

Many however are quite content with the sinful life they lead. For these people only the Grace of God can touch them through both his own will and our prayers. How do I know? Because I too was once indulged in such a frame of mind. It takes one to know one so they say right? Well I was one, my guardian angel is confident I’m still one and have a lot of work to do.

Up next….I talk about my encounter with the relics of St.Spyridon in Corfu town, Greece last week.

 

 

 

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Is Religion The Most Poisonous Thing In The World? 

I am by the beach this morning having a drink when I see a status on my Facebook from a nice man. 

He proposed the idea that there is something much more dangerous in the world than spiders and snakes and that is religion and politics. 

When I was 19 years old full of vitality and wilfully immersed in secularism, I would have agreed with this considering that I was naturally taught that both cause trouble. 

Here is however what I think now and in comparison to then, the idea that religion and politics is the cause of all the world’s woes is so distant from the truth. 

As humans it’s naturally for us to blame someone for something. We blame our wife, kids, even inanimate objects for our pain. When we trip over a rock we say “stupid rock. Who put that there?” We call the rock stupid and seek out the person who put it there looking to blame them. 

If our eyes were open in the first place we wouldn’t have tripped over it.

We have a habit of creating a circle in which we are the centre and everything else is to blame. 

Religion is a broad term as it encompasses all religions but even religion isn’t to blame. Man himself is the blame for our misuse of it. 

There is a perfect religion out there and I won’t tell you I call it Catholicism it IS Catholcism. 

Men who don’t use it right misrepresent it. They  misuse it to an extent that one concludes ” This priest abused kids and therefore the Gospel he represents that tells us to love children is to blame” but who talks like that….crazy people right? It sounds so insane to arrive to such a conclusion but that’s because it actually is insane to do so. 

The knife on the table can be seen in it’s perfect sense a useful tool. But many use it for killing but the knife didn’t do a single thing. All it did was simply be itself.  It was man who decided he would use it for his own ends. Therefore man is to blame. 

As for politics this too can be misused when not practiced properly in light of the Gospel we can have a destructive society that wants to abort it’s children and euthanize it’s elderly. Where mans own needs and sexual desires precede that of truth is a recipe for disaster.

Hitler, Stalin and Mao are all people who butchered millions in the name of no religion but via a politically charged ideology. Again politics is not to blame. It is actually ordained by God and needed for the general holding together and structure of society when done the Orthodox way in light of his truth. 

When man stops placing himself at the centre of everything and abandons his ego and self esteem only then will he realise that he and his fellow men are the problem. 

But it is hard for us to view it that way when we’ve been spoon fed a delicious recipe to escape having to look at ourselves and like a baby too old for the breast it’s used to its not easy becoming weaned from self glorification. 

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The Five Reasons Why God Allows The Devil To Attack Us

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Many of us wonder why God would allow the devil to bother us at all. But it is actually to our own benefit.

Our successes are actually shaped many times by our numerous failures. The spiritual scars we carry are there is a reminder that nothing is ever gained in life without a little toil and effort.

”There are said to be five reasons why God allows us to be assailed by demons. The first is so that, by attacking and counter attacking, we should learn to discriminate between virtue and vice.

The Second is so that, having acquired virtue through conflict and toil, we should keep it secure and immutable.

The third is so that, when making progress in virtue, we should not become haughty but learn humility.

The fourth is so that, having gained some experience of evil, we should ‘hate it with a perfect hatred’ (cf.Ps. 139 : 22).

The fifth and most important is so that, having achieved dispassion, we should forget neither our own weakness nor the power of him who has helped us. ”

Source: St.Maximos The Confessor – Second Century On Love – Para 67 – Page 76

 

 

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The Arabic Instrument The Oud

I have one of these. But the heads on it are so old and it wont tune properly for me. I need a brand new one and maybe use this one I have for decoration or something.

The Oud is said to go back to the time of Adam and Eve that is how old it is. I love its sound. I’ve played guitar my whole life but I am a lover of exotic and strange instruments of the eastern kind. The Duduk is one but the Oud takes first place.

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True Life In God

I know many out there both the Orthodox and Catholics view True Life In God in a negative light. But there are also many Orthodox and Catholics who view it in a positive light. Such is the way of the Church from the beginning where many viewed Jesus in both a positive and then a negative light.

If the whole world believed we’d be a much better place but that’s never really the reality I’m afraid.

The same is true with both prophetical/private revelations. Private revelations can be ignored to the extent that they are great to look at but not really necessary in terms of our salvation, even so they require a certain amount of our respect.

But what about prophetical revelations such as Fatima? When it was ignored we had two world wars followed by Communism.

True Life In God is not just a private but prophetical revelation and like all the others it comes under fire and persecution by both the traditionalists and the modernists within the church in part because it does not preach what it is they want to hear.

All those criticisms can be answered here: http://www.defending-vassula.org

So before you think I’m going to entertain your onslaught of negativity towards it think again. My goodness how I’ve been through every argument against Vassula over the years none of which ever bore fruit of any kind.

I have come to the conclusion that True Life In God is for those who have ears to hear. You don’t wanna hear it? Change the channel, God will fall upon whom he wills.

It is not my duty to convince anyone nor is it Vassulas. True Life In God exists as an invitation to the Gods banquet and that is it really.

The messages play a big role in my life and conversion. If it were not for the messages I would not have returned to the Catholic faith and I’d be Orthodox long ago. I wouldn’t have this blog, my wife and kids and I’d be down in the pub looking for the next girl I can have a one night stand with.

It is the pillar and bulwark of my study of Orthodox Catholic Theology and became a sort of school of theology where Jesus himself taught me all about how to connect with him.

If it were not for the messages I would not be able to see the errors of both the left and the right in the church. I definitely wouldn’t and would have fallen into either of their hands but the messages kept me on the right path.

Even though in recent years I’ve wavered, the messages kept me on the loyal road. Always in the back of my mind my experience with the messages and everything that happened me was always there as a constant reminder I can go nowhere else.

I’d invite you to read them from Volume I-III at least. I have a spare copy somewhere of the complete volumes in one book if you care to take it from me all you need to do is comment, pay me only shipping via pay pal and I will ship it to you.

go to http://www.tlig.org to read a brief background on Vassula.

God bless

 

 

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