The Sermons – Fragments Against Ruin http://tonywoodlief.com Sat, 20 May 2017 00:31:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 The Paradox of a Good Friday http://tonywoodlief.com/2017/04/14/paradox-good-friday/ Fri, 14 Apr 2017 16:04:32 +0000 http://tonywoodlief.com/?p=5429 “Keep your mind in hell, and despair not.” This admonition from St. Silouan is appropriate for Good Friday, when most of Christendom commemorates Christ’s descent into hell, where he shatters its captives’ chains. Many modern Western theologians have abandoned this teaching, but even if you reject it you are still, if you are a Christian, …

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Of mice and men http://tonywoodlief.com/2017/01/31/of-mice-and-men/ Tue, 31 Jan 2017 16:22:10 +0000 http://tonywoodlief.com/?p=4735 The mice think I am a god. Not the God, but definitely a god. Their tithe is a fresh-hollowed hazelnut, rolled into the center of my floor every morning. The nuts come, no doubt, from the two-pound bag they stole last month. I don’t know how long it took them, only that one morning the …

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The unlovable http://tonywoodlief.com/2016/11/10/the-unlovable/ http://tonywoodlief.com/2016/11/10/the-unlovable/#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2016 17:56:15 +0000 http://tonywoodlief.com/?p=4720 I guess before you read the rest of this you should decide how you feel about the fact that I didn’t vote for either of them. Nor did I vote for the Libertarian, or the lady who makes Bernie Sanders look like Milton Friedman and whose name I’ve already forgotten. I voted in every other …

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A Word for Those Who Would Draw Near to Grief http://tonywoodlief.com/2016/02/17/a-word-for-those-who-would-draw-near-to-grief/ http://tonywoodlief.com/2016/02/17/a-word-for-those-who-would-draw-near-to-grief/#comments Wed, 17 Feb 2016 23:15:20 +0000 http://tonywoodlief.com/?p=4662 An electric wire runs through her, scalp to sole, and this grief has stripped it bare. His despair inhabits him, and inside he is falling down a dark shaft, falling into himself, into the shadows there. And here you stand, and you would offer words. Why? Because this is what decent people do. Because I …

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Single-minded http://tonywoodlief.com/2015/07/22/single-minded/ http://tonywoodlief.com/2015/07/22/single-minded/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 02:17:12 +0000 http://tonywoodlief.com/?p=4643 Maybe you’ll like my latest Image essay, about the struggle for single-mindedness among we sophisticated, double-minded types. Here’s an excerpt: “The soul will follow the body,” is how Fr. Stephen Freeman summarizes a point made by the Christian monk Evagrius in the fourth century A.D. Do what is right, and your resistant soul will learn. …

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A Darkness That May Be Felt http://tonywoodlief.com/2015/03/09/a-darkness-that-may-be-felt/ Mon, 09 Mar 2015 14:30:27 +0000 http://tonywoodlief.com/?p=4595 Some of you may like my latest essay at Image, about the 21 young men murdered by ISIS in Libya. Here’s an excerpt: These stories are now fantasy to us, or nearly so. Abraham holds the knife to Isaac’s throat, Jacob wrestles a holy messenger, David fells Goliath—the action rises and falls in an old …

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Temple of bones http://tonywoodlief.com/2015/01/19/temple-of-bones/ http://tonywoodlief.com/2015/01/19/temple-of-bones/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 20:43:17 +0000 http://tonywoodlief.com/?p=4566 Every baptism in the Orthodox Church entails an exorcism, as I learned last Easter when I was baptized into the Church. It was nothing desperate and dramatic like some of us remember from The Exorcist; in truth the devil and his minions flee from Christ and the Cross, having been sundered by both. There was …

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Fair http://tonywoodlief.com/2015/01/15/fair/ http://tonywoodlief.com/2015/01/15/fair/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 14:59:58 +0000 http://tonywoodlief.com/?p=4554 I’ve been working on contentment, which mostly means I’ve been praying for God to help me be content in whatever circumstances I find myself, then griping at him when I face trials that might help me learn contentment. But I’m trying, I swear. Those of you who know me know that my life thus far …

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The turned back http://tonywoodlief.com/2014/08/27/the-turned-back/ http://tonywoodlief.com/2014/08/27/the-turned-back/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:19:29 +0000 http://tonywoodlief.com/?p=4533 I will tell you something about courage and cowardice. I will speak primarily about men, because I am a man, and because the evil that grieves me was glimpsed by men, and these men turned away their eyes. News accounts from England reveal that over 1,400 children in the borough of Rotherham were systematically brutalized …

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Thy kingdom come http://tonywoodlief.com/2014/07/03/thy-kingdom-come/ http://tonywoodlief.com/2014/07/03/thy-kingdom-come/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 14:28:27 +0000 http://tonywoodlief.com/?p=4521 I don’t think they love their children any less than I love my own, which tells me something about what their lives must be like, to send their babies away. Their children stream northward in droves—as many as 60,000 this year—and we don’t want them. We don’t want their skin lesions and their hungry bellies, …

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