Monthly Archives: March 2016

Masculine Monday- #6

*Men Only*

No Pain, No Gain.

We have all heard that mantra at least once in our life. [And if you haven’t heard it before, what planet did you come from? Totally serious here.] Athletes hear it more often than others, naturally.

Of course, not all pain is good. Some pain is a warning that something is going wrong, or has gone wrong, with our body. Thinking on it, I believe it is not so much pain but suffering that is necessary for gain. Nothing that has ever been worth gaining was acquired without suffering. Even if we are given something, to keep it usually requires suffering of some form. So a more accurate, but far less catchy, slogan would be: No Suffering, No Gain.

To excel at academics requires a certain kind of suffering. The sacrifice of time, the building up of discipline, the forgoing of certain pleasures… all are necessary to achieve success.

To excel at anything athletic likewise requires suffering. Time, effort, ache and the careful management of diet are all different types of suffering required for success.

Likewise, suffering is necessary for our faith. Deep Strength has a post up about meditation and building discipline, something absolutely necessary for a sustainable and rock-solid faith. Whether it is fasting, cold showers, the spending of time or something else, suffering is part of living the faith.

Heck, even advocates of Game will tell you that it takes a lot of time and effort to get anywhere. That is suffering of a form. Certainly learning to handle and deal with rejection involves some suffering, at the very least at first.  While I don’t agree with the purpose, I can give a grudging measure of respect for the discipline required to get anywhere with it.

The point of all of this is to remind men that we are made to persevere. Suffering is part of our life. There is no escaping that. Future posts (hopefully later this week), will cover this further. But in the meantime remember that mantra: No Pain, No Gain.


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Focused on Holy Week

Just a quick update to inform folks that I will not be posting until after Easter. Regular posting should resume some time next week.

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Saturday Saints- #108

As I have mentioned before, I can’t keep up the alphabetical listing of Saints. At least, not consistently. For the moment it will continue, but soon I will start a new method. Until then, I give you today’s saint, Saint Abdas of Susa:

Abdas, (also Abda, Abdias, and Audas) was bishop of Susa in Iran (Socrates of Constantinople also calls him “bishop of Persia”). He was born in fourth-century Chaldor to a Zoroastrian mother. The latter educated him in matters of virtue.

After Abdas was educated and reached adulthood, he was ordained a Christian priest, and built up in his hometown a monastery and a school, which he took personal care of and which grew to have around 60 teachers, as some say. Abdas baptized many converts in Chaldor, which caused the magi to arrest him. In his prison, Abdas was subjected to humiliations, hunger and pain, but remained a Christian until his release.

Engaged in a dispute with the local magi in AD 420, he was accused of burning down one of their temples, a pyramid of Ahura Mazda. King Yazdegerd ordered the bishop to restore and repair the building at his own expense; upon Abdas’s refusal the King ordered the destruction of the churches. These events soured the relationship between the Christian church and the Persian government, which had previously been good, and caused a wave of persecution against the Christians in Persia. Beyond this, Abdas is supposed to have helped Maruthas in driving out a demon from Yezdegerd’s son. Nothing else certain is known of him. Tradition adds to this that he was one of the first martyred in the persecution (he was clubbed to death), and for this he is considered a saint. His companions in the killings included the priests Hashu and Isaac, the secretary Ephrem, the hypodeacon Papa, the laymen Daduk and Durdan, and Papa, a brother of Abdas himself. His feast day is 5 September or 16 May in the Roman Catholic Church, and March 31 in the Syrian church.




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An Errant Brother… Or Something Else?

Hearthie is questioning when and where to call out Apostates. This is a good question, although I might merely think that because I ask it myself often enough (or something close to it, as you will see later). There are some things I feel pretty comfortable calling folks out on, but other matters less so. This post is going to be something of a stream of consciousness response- far less thought out than I normally go for. I don’t have the time for that, sadly, so I will For the sake of convenience, I am going to loosely follow the format of her post in my response.

I want to begin with this little snippet:

…the level of apostasy becomes absurd

The thing is, I’m not really sure there are “levels” of apostasy. To be an apostate means to leave the faith. From Merriam Webster:

  1. 1:  renunciation of a religious faith

  2. 2:  abandonment of a previous loyalty

Either you leave the faith, or you don’t. Perhaps you do it in secret, but still, you know in your heart that you are out. What I think that Hearthie is mostly talking about is heresy:

a belief or opinion that does not agree with the official belief or opinion of a particular religion
Of course, an apostate can promote heresies. But heresy can have different levels to it, depending on how far from the Truth it is. Continuing on:
But on the other hand, perhaps we’re doing a disservice to the public by not calling out those who call themselves Christian while having no adherence to the Word whatsoever.

I think we often are. Our Lord and Savior told us that the Truth would set us free. It stands to reason that the opposite is the case, and lies therefore enslave us (to sin, I would imagine). They might not see their chains if someone else doesn’t point out to them where they are in error.

Is this a thing where some folks are gifted with the calling out, and some folks gifted with the chilling out – as parts of the body of Christ?

Yes, I think that correcting/rebuking others is a spiritual gift. At least, doing it effectively is. Not everyone is called to do it, at least regularly. We all still might have to do it from time to time.

Is there a line beyond which one cannot cross before every Christian should refuse fellowship and communion until repentance is reached?

Yes, there is. Several lines, actually. Although that is me speaking as a Catholic there (I imagine my Orthodox readers would mostly match up with me on them). Where those lines are is the subject of another post (or the comments).

Can we differentiate between the folks who are in grave error, and potentially apostate vs. those who are unquestionably out of the family?

Yes, I think we can. Some lines are so clear that there really isn’t any debate (denying the divinity of Jesus, for example).

Of course, many of us make small errors, perhaps even frequently. Often those are the easiest to correct, especially if done gently. This is where humility becomes so important, and why I think it is essential to having a strong spiritual life.

But these dudes are *still alive* so there’s still hope of their coming to repentance.

Yes, as long as they are alive there is hope for them. Even better, if they repent then they can also make this public and undo some of the damage they have done.

That’s all I have for now.


Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, The Church

Saturday Saints- Registry

Today’s post is long overdue. I am going to use it to list all of the saints who I have covered thus far with this series. I intend to add new saints as time goes on, and add links as I get a chance.


Aidan of Lindisfarne

Saint Alypius the Stylite

Athanasius of Alexandria

Acacius of Amida

Abdus of Susa


Saint Basil the Great


Benedict of Nursia






Catherine of Alexandria

Cyril of Alexandria

Chad of Mercia


David of Menevia

Dorotheus of Gaza

Declán of Ardmore







Pope Eugene I



Francis of Assisi


Pope Felix III




Gregory the First

Gregory of Nazianzus



Pope Hormisdas


Pope Hilarius


Ignatius of Antioch

Isaac of Nineveh

Ite of Killeedy

Isidore of Seville


Joseph of Arimathea

John of Damascus

John Climacus

Juliana of Nicomedia

Joan of Arc


Katharine Drexel

Kevin of Glendough




Lucia of Syracuse

Leodegar of Poitiers

Luke the Evangelist

Livinius of Ghent



Maximus the Confessor

Pope Martin the First

Maximus of Turin

Moninne of Killeavy


Nikephoros I

Nothhelm of Canterbury

Pope Nicholas I

Nilus the Younger


Oswald of Northumbria

Odo of Cluny

Opportuna of Montreuil

Olga of Kiev




Philip of Agira

Pope Pius I


Quintian of Rodez


Quadratus of Athens



Rose Venerini


Rabanus Maurus




Sabbas the Sanctified


Simeon Stylites

Saint Stephen I of Hungary


Theodore the Studite

Teresa of Avila

Thomas More



Ulrich of Augsburg

Ubald of Gubbio


Ursula Ledóchowska


Pope Vitalian

Vladimir Sviatoslavich

Vergilius of Salzburg

Venatius Fortunatus


Wolfgang of Regensburg





Xenia of Saint Petersburg

Xenia the Righteous of Rome

Xenophone of Robeika

Xystus I





Yakym Senkivskyi


Pope Zachary


Zosimas of Palestine



[This post will be updated as new saints are given posts.]



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Tradition Thursday- #53

A recent topic du jour has been the role of women with regards to teaching. Given this, I think it appropriate to quote from some of Saint John Chrysostom’s homilies on the subject. First we have 1 Timothy 2:

Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in [through the] child-bearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Great modesty and great propriety does the blessed Paul require of women, and that not only with respect to their dress and appearance: he proceeds even to regulate their speech. And what says he? Let the woman learn in silence; that is, let her not speak at all in the church; which rule he has also given in his Epistle to the Corinthians, where he says, It is a shame for women to speak in the church 1 Corinthians 14:35; and the reason is, that the law has made them subject to men. And again elsewhere, And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home. 1 Corinthians 14:35 Then indeed the women, from such teaching, kept silence; but now there is apt to be great noise among them, much clamor and talking, and nowhere so much as in this place. They may all be seen here talking more than in the market, or at the bath. For, as if they came hither for recreation, they are all engaged in conversing upon unprofitable subjects. Thus all is confusion, and they seem not to understand, that unless they are quiet, they cannot learn anything that is useful. For when our discourse strains against the talking, and no one minds what is said, what good can it do to them? To such a degree should women be silent, that they are not allowed to speak not only about worldly matters, but not even about spiritual things, in the church. This is order, this is modesty, this will adorn her more than any garments. Thus clothed, she will be able to offer her prayers in the manner most becoming.

But I suffer not a woman to teach. I do not suffer, he says. What place has this command here? The fittest. He was speaking of quietness, of propriety, of modesty, so having said that he wished them not to speak in the church, to cut off all occasion of conversation, he says, let them not teach, but occupy the station of learners. For thus they will show submission by their silence. For the sex is naturally somewhat talkative: and for this reason he restrains them on all sides. For Adam, says he, was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

If it be asked, what has this to do with women of the present day? It shows that the male sex enjoyed the higher honor. Man was first formed; and elsewhere he shows their superiority. Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man. 1 Corinthians 11:9 Why then does he say this? He wishes the man to have the preeminence in every way; both for the reason given above, he means, let him have precedence, and on account of what occurred afterwards. For the woman taught the man once, and made him guilty of disobedience, and wrought our ruin. Therefore because she made a bad use of her power over the man, or rather her equality with him, God made her subject to her husband. Your desire shall be to your husband? Genesis 3:16 This had not been said to her before.

This brings us to Titus 2:

The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness.

That is, that in their very dress and carriage they exhibit modesty.

Not false accusers, not given to much wine.

For this was particularly the vice of women and of old age. For from their natural coldness at that period of life arises the desire of wine, therefore he directs his exhortation to that point, to cut off all occasion of drunkenness, wishing them to be far removed from that vice, and to escape the ridicule that attends it. For the fumes mount more easily from beneath, and the membranes (of the brain) receive the mischief from their being impaired by age, and this especially causes intoxication. Yet wine is necessary at this age, because of its weakness, but much is not required. Nor do young women require much, though for a different reason, because it kindles the flame of lust.

Teachers of good things.

And yet you forbid a woman to teach; how do you command it here, when elsewhere you say, I suffer not a woman to teach? 1 Timothy 2:12 But mark what he has added, Nor to usurp authority over the man. For at the beginning it was permitted to men to teach both men and women. But to women it is allowed to instruct by discourse at home. But they are nowhere permitted to preside, nor to extend their speech to great length, wherefore he adds, Nor to usurp authority over the man.

Ver. 4. That they may teach the young women to be sober.

Observe how he binds the people together, how he subjects the younger women to the elder. For he is not speaking there of daughters, but merely in respect of age. Let each of the elder women, he means, teach any one that is younger to be sober.

To love their husbands.

This is the chief point of all that is good in a household, A man and his wife that agree together. Sirach 25:1 For where this exists, there will be nothing that is unpleasant. For where the head is in harmony with the body, and there is no disagreement between them, how shall not all the other members be at peace? For when the rulers are at peace, who is there to divide and break up concord? As on the other hand, where these are ill disposed to each other, there will be no good order in the house. This then is a point of the highest importance, and of more consequence than wealth, or rank, or power, or anything else. Nor has he said merely to be at peace, but to love their husbands. For where love is, no discord will find admittance, far from it, other advantages too spring up.

So the teaching here seems to be that:

  1. Women cannot preach or teach as part of the Liturgy
  2. Women may teach at home, principally to other women
  3. Women may not teach in a way such as to usurp authority over man

Part of me thinks I’ve mentioned these before, but since it has been a while a refresher seems appropriate. If I get a chance I will look for other writings by the Saints and Church Fathers on these matters and post them as well.



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Called Out

I have been following the discussion in Deepstrength’s latest post, Women teaching women in Church. A longer post is in the works for Thursday which is aimed at the central point of DS’s post, the teaching role of Women. However, the discussion got me thinking about another subject, namely, how in Protestant circles it seems to be a frequent occurrence for Pastors/Ministers to “call out” the men in the congregation (I suppose this can also be happening in Catholic parishes, but I’ve never seen it).

I got to thinking about this whole “calling out” process and its roots. Jesus calls out several specific groups in the Gospels. Among them are the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. However, He keeps this either very specific (individuals, or members of groups like the aforementioned) or very general (everyone). I cannot recall a single instance where Jesus called out men, as a group, or women, as a group. Admittedly, my knowledge of Scripture still needs improvement. So I am asking my readers if they know of any examples that I might have overlooked.

It seems to me that Jesus never did any such thing, in part because it would be destructive, not constructive. This is because it would set men and women against each other. The Devil was/is the one who set women against men, and men against women. God wouldn’t do such  a thing. At least, that is how I read it. I am curious to hear what others think.


Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, God, Men, The Church, Women

Masculine Monday- #5

*Men Only*

Today’s short post has a simple theme: Don’t make excuses.

Seriously. Just don’t.

If you screw up, then admit it. If you are at fault, then admit your fault, vow to do better, and move on.

There are few things more pathetic than a man who won’t take responsibility for his actions. Making excuse after excuse is a sure-fire way for a man to lose respect in the eyes of his fellow men.

One thing that gets missed in this day and age about the Gospels is the overall lack of excuses made. When the woman at the well is confronted with her sin by Jesus, does she make excuses? Nope. How about the tax collector, Levi? Nope, no excuses again. Our faith is not one for excuses. From what I recall, the only role they play is in punishment (Luke 12:48).

So when you are working on eliminating bad habits from your life, add excuse making to the list.


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Saturday Saints- #107

Once again we find ourselves at the end of the alphabet with the letter Z. As is common in this section of the alphabet, not many saints begin their names with this letter. Today’s saint is Saint Zita:

Saint Zita (c. 1212 – 27 April 1272; also known as Sitha or Citha) is an Italian saint, the patron saint of maids and domestic servants. She is often appealed to in order to help find lost keys.

Saint Zita was born in Tuscany in the village of Monsagrati, not far from Lucca where, at the age of 12, she became a servant in the Fatinelli household. For a long time, she was unjustly despised, overburdened, reviled, and often beaten by her employers and fellow servants for her hard work and obvious goodness. The incessant ill-usage, however, was powerless to deprive her of her inward peace, her love of those who wronged her, and her respect for her employers. By this meek and humble self-restraint, Zita at last succeeded in overcoming the malice of her fellow-servants and her employers, so much so that she was placed in charge of all the affairs of the house. Her faith had enabled her to persevere against their abuse, and her constant piety gradually moved the family to a religious awakening.

More can be found out about this saint at her wiki, located here.

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Masculine Monday- #4

*Men only*

Over the ages a lot of philosophers have lectured on the importance of knowing oneself. Setting aside any deeper mystical meaning some of them might have had in such statements, there is definitely a kernel of truth in this. As a man you need to be aware of your strengths, and your weaknesses, in order to effectively carry out your life’s whatever that may be.

For a man looking to attract and hopefully marry a worthy woman, knowing yourself is especially vital. For one, such knowledge might clue you in to a glaring weakness that would get in the way of your interactions with women. Second, truly knowing yourself can help you determine the kind of woman you want or need as a mate. Third, different “techniques” for interacting with women work for different men. A lot of the guys who dabble in things like “Game” and who meet no success are making the basic error of trying to use methods that don’t mesh with their personalities. They come off as unnatural because what they are doing is unnatural for them.

Even as you take the steps to get a better understanding of your own nature, you need to be careful. How you think and what motivates you might be very different from how others think or what might motivate them. All human beings have a tendency to project- to project our own beliefs, motivations and concerns onto others. I’ve written on projection before because it is an extraordinarily common tendency.

Men need to be especially careful with projecting when women are concerned. Women do not think as men do. They are motivated by different factors and forces- oftentimes ones that are seemingly indecipherable to us men. When a woman does something, be very wary about assuming that she is doing it for the same reason you would do it, or for the reasons a man would do it. Never forget that she doesn’t follow the same rules that you do. This is something which isn’t taught in the modern age, yet at the same time is something all men need to internalize. A lot (although not all) of the pain of the modern age comes from men not simply failing to understand women but from them assigning their own male motivations to women.

Don’t do that. You are a man. Women are not men, no matter the clothes they wear or the surgeries they get (and vice versa). Once you internalize that this difference exists, and apply a separate analysis to how women act, female actions will start to make sense like never before. This will benefit not only you, but also the other men, and yes, even the women in your life.


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