Prudence True

The Heart of Wisdom

through Ancient Words

A Path to Your Heart:



A Miracle


6 March 2011

Dear Souls -

          It's not every day you witness a miracle. Miracles come in all sizes and shapes, and most of the time they don't hit you over the head when they happen. But if your eyes are open you will see them on occasion.

         Yesterday I witnessed a miracle.

          I met a close friend for afternoon coffee; this friend has had a difficult decade . . . a series of challenging life situations. But she has persevered through her hard times without bitterness, with a heart full of love, and never expecting a miracle in her life. This dear friend . . . she and God have not spoken much through all her difficult times. As she told me her story, I listened amazed at an extraordinary series of events. She finished looking at me and acknowledging,

         "I know . . . it's a miracle."

          My friend and I do not disagree about our faith, we just do not share our faith. She is a retired Roman Catholic and has avoided God in recent years. But I looked into her eyes and claimed, "God has reached out and touched your life; I think you have been given a gift." We both smiled and shared a moment of peace surging through our hearts, because we knew it was . . .

            A Miracle      




A Journey


8 March 2011

Dear Souls -

          This is the time of year when I take a journey within a journey. It's an annual trip I've taken since I was a small child, and the trip varies year to year. I see this journey within a journey as a time to dust off various exercise tools I've stored away and put them to good use. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I forget to put the tools back in the closet as the journey ends, and I continue to use them day after day . . .

            As I see it, this journey within a journey (Lent) is an increased training period for the exercise of life. Increasing our fitness for this six week trip is of importance, but staying fit all year is critical for our spiritual health. Weekend warriors (or Lenten warriors) sometimes over-train during this trip, with little effect on overall fitness. Those dedicated to training year around arrive here in condition for this year's journey within a journey. Most of us, though, are out of shape and are less prepared for this journey than we planned.

            The exercise tools for this journey within a journey are outlined as prayer, fasting, and giving alms. I include another tool . . . giving thanks. With this collection of equipment dusted off and in proper working order I'm prepared for this annual trip. After decades of living Great Lent, I understand my poor fitness level and approach this journey with well worn exercise tools. These tools are not impressive in any way . . . and they don't work as well as I wished, but they steer me in the direction I must travel.

              I'm not a weekend warrior; this journey lasts a lifetime. And with the grace of God I travel a small distance each day with these well worn exercise tools.

A Journey



A Dinner


12 March 2011

Dear Souls -

         It struck me this morning, I must move St. Symeon the New Theologian to the top of my list of individuals I dream of having dinner with. I already mentioned I would love to dine with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW, but I figure he wouldn't mind if St. Symeon joined us as well.

         Yes, I realize this is a far-fetched idea of mine, but I have a few questions I would like St. Symeon to answer . . . and of course I would share his answers with you. First, I want him to explain his understanding of Light to us in clear language using contemporary terms. In addition, I want to hear in greater detail his own personal experiences with Light, which out of respect for him . . . I would not pass on to you. I believe St. Symeon the New Theologian could set me straight on this topic better than anyone else, other than the Divine Light himself (who I figure will dine with us as well, though not in the most obvious way).

         My respect for St. Symeon goes beyond the deep respect I have for all the Saints. St. Symeon was not popular during his time, and he unhesitatingly held to his beliefs despite his differences with contemporary opinions. I imagine St. Symeon with a gruff exterior and dry sense of humor disguising a warm and loving heart, and I'm sure he was a character; the nature of individuals who tackle the status quo is unique by definition. If you want to see ordinary contemporary personalities, then turn on your TV. In St. Symeon's day ordinary personalities surrounded you as you strolled through the marketplace and listened to the popular theologians of the time. But today, hundreds of years later, we call St. Symeon the New Theologian.




A Garden of Reconciliation


13 March 2011

Dear Souls -

                      (I wrote this last Lent, but it's worthy of replanting here.)

         For me the spirit of Great Lent involves planting a garden with seeds of reconciliation.

Reconcile: make friendly again after an estrangement







    The garden of reconciliation is difficult but not impossible to plant in this climate. With love, patience, and determination this garden would thrive and sustain future generations of Christians.Others brighter and far more influential than myself advocate the planting of this garden and believe we have spent too many years whining about all the weeds in the fields.


    A garden full of seeds is better than the field of tired old weeds, which has flourished for the past thousand years. In the Spirit of Lent I will plant seeds in the garden of Reconciliation, because the field of weeds dividing The Church has overgrown.

A Garden of Reconciliation

           Please take seeds and help plant the Garden of Reconciliation.



A Tradition


17 March 2011

Dear Souls -

         Two evenings ago I attended a class at St. Katherine College (a brand new Orthodox Christian Liberal Arts College), St. Katherine College and I heard a three hour lecture on the Theotokos by Dr. Jeannie Constantinou.

        Yesterday I tried summarizing this three hour lecture for a devout Evangelical Christian friend. Although I made a valiant attempt and repeated some impressive thoughts directly stolen from Dr. Constantinou's lecture, I did not succeed in reaching through a strong cement barrier around my friend's heart. Why is the idea of the Theotokos (Mother of God), viewed as a paradigm of virtue and holiness by Orthodox Christians, such a difficult concept for some?

         "Isn't the woman who gave birth to Christ worthy of greater recognition than you and me?" I asked while soaking in a hot, hot tub. "She must have been Holy to have given birth to the Son of God, right?"

           "All  I need is in the Bible. I like to keep it simple."

            "And where did the Bible come from?" me, pursuing Dr. Constatinou's tactic.

            "It was inspired writing."

             "How was it decided what writings would go into the Bible? Who decided this? Did the Bible just fall from the sky?" I'm always struggling against an overly wise mouth.

               She looked annoyed with me.

              "Those who knew passed along their experience of Christ, and it formed Tradition," I stung.

               A Tradition.
               The steam rose, and the hot tub was now way too hot . . .   




A Lenten Journey


18 March 2011

Dear Souls - 

On Living Lent



A Prayer for You


19 March 2011

Dear Souls -

          This is not the place for reading deep theological musings . . . I've little to offer other than my own plain thoughts.

           During Lent I would rather run for cover than stick my neck out in public, but here I sit tapping away; I've got something to say:

          If you're seeking your heart,

               it's not far away.

          You must slow down;

               put the clutter away.

          Your heart is not hidden

                in the Lentil Stew.

           It's not buried

                underneath a pew.

           Your heart is there

                 right inside of you.



         As you see, I've got nothing fancy to say . . .


A Climb


20 March 2011

Dear Souls - 

One Step at a Time



A Caution Label

(Read at your own risk)

21 March 2011

Dear Souls - 

                  In America we feel obligated to warn everyone of everything. In public buildings after floors are cleaned small signs warn you about slipping on the damp floor . . . I never see the signs until after I trip over them. These obstacles, placed in the middle of hallways or just inside doorways, caution "Slippery When Wet", but they don't warn you of the tripping hazard right in your path. I'm placing a tripping hazard here smack in your path, but I'm warning you first:

Beware! Avid church infrastructurists may feel annoyed with me soon . . .

               On the door to the church an invisible sign warns:

                This sign is more obvious for some than others, but it's a sign meant for all who enter. The church as an institution requires balance and perspective by its members. Not all things church are good, and not all things church are Church. Sorting through the good and the not so good requires work and an attention to detail. Wolves disguised as sheep linger inside the church, just as they do outside the church. Perhaps the church ratio of wolves to sheep favors the wolves . . . church offers wolves a hunting ground ripe with unsuspecting sheep.
                As you seek your heart, you must see the USE WITH CAUTION! sign on the door to the church. Ignoring signs of wolf behavior amidst a flock of sheep is unwise. The inside of a church requires spiritual guidance and leadership to steer wolves away and protect its sheep. Alerting sheep to dangerous wolf behavior inside a church is not necessary if the wolves are kept at a distance, but bringing wolves into the heart of a church drives cautious sheep away. Unsuspecting sheep continue grazing with a false sense of security, never aware of the wolves presence in their flock. Without discernment at church, the heart of the sheep lie exposed and vulnerable.



A Woman


A Moment


25 March 2011

Dear Souls -

         Maybe she knew in her heart the moment before it happened. And I suspect this was not her first visit by an angel, but we will never know for sure. This woman was near the age of 14 years when an angel and a moment changed her life forever.

          As Christians we honor this moment, the Annunciation, and then move on rather than ponder her experience. But as women we know this moment was more than what is revealed through Scripture, Church hymns, and our iconography. A simple young mother in a moment altered her life and our history. We honor her today, for a moment.

          My maternal grandmother left her home near Bethlehem at 14 years of age and married, as was the custom of the time. She was a young Orthodox Christian woman living during a peaceful time in the Holy Land. Her life was far more difficult than mine. She left her home for marriage and years later, with one young son, left for America to reunite with her husband. In her new country she gave birth to four more children, and raised them with the faith she carried in her heart from the Holy Land.

          Today as a mother I live a blessed life in a country far from the Holy Land, and for a moment I honor a woman who in a moment changed the lives of women for 2000 years. In my heart I know the moment was more than a moment . . . it was eternity.




A Life Compass


26 March 2011

Dear Souls -
          We must have a fixed compass setting for our lives. Without a compass we wander through life veering off course in all directions. The needle on our life compass keeps our bearing on the right path. At times we see the compass needle clearly in our minds, at other times we hold the compass in our hearts, but when we set the compass aside . . . oh, dear! we bear off course.

           The setting for a life compass is not obvious for everyone. If it was, then this would not be the world we see here today. I'm not picky about the compass setting of others, as long as it centers on Love. For most, this centering on Love comes from a setting toward God. When the compass needle veers off this setting we may not even notice: the deviation off course is often subtle. If you're headed east, a deviation off course by a few degrees goes unnoticed until you end up headed west. But swinging back toward the east takes a major change of direction. This drastic change does not go unnoticed by your life compass.

           You must take the bearings for your compass from a map. If you have a lousy map your bearings will be off by a great deal. Finding an accurate map is essential and a misstep here will cause you endless pain. Using a compass without a map guiding your bearings will lead you astray. Today maps of all sorts are available, but selecting a map with an established track record for 2000 years seems like a safe bet to me. Newer maps are easily obtained, but they may lead you off course. Again, I'm not particular about the compass setting, if it is directed toward Love.



                       P.S.  Love


A Pure Heart


28 March 2011

Dear Souls -

         There is a pivotal line of Scripture, a hinge of Orthodox Christian faith. I'm sure every line of Scripture is pivotal for someone. But I see this (remember only my children call me Mother and no one calls me Father) as an essential compass setting. When I'm confused (which is often) this simple compass setting helps me regain my bearings. This setting conflicts with my surroundings, but also blends in just right. It's living somewhere else while I live here. A pure heart is not a heart of today . . .

                              Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.
                                                          Matthew 5:8





A Plan for Reconciliation


29 March 2011

Dear Souls -

             Oh, my! the great joy and freedom of writing via the internet . . .
             Let me share with you once again an Initial Plan for Reconciliation.

                                         Initial Plan for Reconciliation:

          - PRAY for Peace and Reconciliation of The Church.

          - Sign a Letter of Intent between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

          - Set a deadline for Initial Reconciliation (2030).

          - Overwhelm the media with coverage of the Pope and Patriarchs of choice.

          - Publicize interviews and meetings of Roman Catholic and Orthodox Hierarchs of all sizes, shapes, and flavors.

           - Identify a Transition Team.

           - Outline a Transition Program and establish date for final Transition. (Maybe after we're all  dead and forgotten like the anonymous Russian pilgrim from The Way...)

           - Set realistic Transition goals.

           - Do not put too many Hierarchs of any sort together in one room and let them debate intricacies of the Faith for another millennium.

           - Look forward, not back.

           - Forgive!

           - Remember who is the head of The Church . . . and it's not any of you.

           - Print Reconciliation T-shirts and bumper stickers designed in a contest run by the Vatican.  (Please do not try and sell this merchandise in Istanbul.)

            - Take pictures of darling Orthodox Christian and Roman Catholic children from around the world bonding together. Remember Reconciliation is for them and their grandchildren, not for us.

            - Sign a Reconciliation Treaty (similar to the United States Constitution). Include impressive signatures and place it under glass for centuries. (To avoid bickering about the location for the display rotate it every four years like the Olympics.)