Prudence True

The Art of Wisdom

through Ancient Words


  Guard your heart


2 October 2010

Dear Souls -

         This morning I was thinking of advice I received from a wise soul this past winter.

          "Guard your heart."

           Maybe as an Abbess of a monastery this is standard advice you offer all souls. But even as she spoke to me in her quiet sincere voice, I knew I would ponder this message for a long time. And I confess, my immediate mental image was Buckingham Palace guards surrounding my own cardiac muscle.

            The picture still lingers in my mind.

Guard Your Heart
             If I were an avid spiritual reader I could spend hours and hours and hours reading about my palace guards; reading is not guarding, and my palace guards do not live on the pages of a book. My devoted palace guards work twenty-four hour shifts, seven days per week. When they leave for a short vacation, it is obvious; the palace walls start to weaken and there is chaos inside.

        The work of palace guards involves a system of prompt and efficient communication. As an intrusive element approaches, the guards alert those inside the palace. The palace goes on high alert if an intrusion poses a particular danger, but for routine dangers the experienced guards operate independently. The biggest challenge for the guards is when a threat approaches from an unexpected source; a danger in disguise is the most difficult to discern. If the palace guards are suspicious, then they use various tools to assist them in distinguishing a true nature. Even if something looks alright, the guards may know it is not. Listen to the guards, or suffer the consequences.

      "Guard your heart."
     Simple thoughts from my simple soul.
          Yours, Prudence


  Watch over yourself . . .


6 October 2010

Dear Souls -

        The truth is... I have nothing to say.

        I'm not a priest.

        I haven't dug deep into the depths of Christianity.

        I'm just me.

        All I know is what I've learned over a lifetime spent surrounded by ordinary Christians, who have spent their lifetime surrounded by other ordinary Christians. We all happen to be Orthodox Christians.

         You can find plenty to read elsewhere about the details of Christianity, and it all goes over my head in a heartbeat.

          A single heartbeat.

          Fancy theology, isn't the stuff of everyday living for ordinary Christians.

          A homeless person begging at the side of the road, is real life.

          Hunger is real.

          Sickness is real.

          Helping others is real.                          

          I'm real.

          And I have nothing to say.

          Yours, Prudence



A Practical Theology 

8 October 2010

Dear Souls -

                       The Father is my hope

                             The Son is my refuge

                                    The Holy Spirit is my protector . . 

       Simple thoughts from a simple soul.

               Yours, Prudence



Ordinary Christianity 

11 October 2010

Dear Souls -

         When C.S. Lewis published Mere Christianity he purposely avoided discussing the variations of Christian faiths, and he spoke of generic or ordinary Christianity. He presented Christianity in a classic simple form, hoping to guide some into the hallway of Christianity, and from there they could find their way into the rooms of the faith.

          Living as a Christian is ordinary for me; it's all I know. The room I live in is warm, cozy, and has an unchanging ancient decor. The timeless traditions provide a contrast to the contemporary lifestyle of everyday. The steadiness of the room, for me, is ordinary. I have friends in other rooms, the hallway, and outside on the porch. Believing my room is superior to another room, is trouble. Arguing with others in nearby rooms, is poor form. And I've never felt the need to pull those passing down the hall through the open door, and into the room with me.

         Ordinary Christianity is a mere way of life.

      Simple thoughts from a simple soul.

               Yours, Prudence



Mere Church 

12 October 2010

Dear Souls -

        The sequel to C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity remains unwritten. As with Margaret Mitchell's unwritten sequel to Gone with the Wind, the unwritten sequel to Mere Christianity has left a gap in the story; we want more.

        Mere Church is the title of the unwritten sequel to Mere Christianity, and it describes this hallway of the Christian Church. Many books exist on the thousands of rooms branching off the hallway, and countless souls have spent lifetimes studying books written about these other rooms; they call this study of Words, theology. Mere Church is a simple look at the original Church established by the Apostles after Pentecost, as it exists today.

       The book is not written by a theologian, or a priest . . . remember, C.S. Lewis was a writer and a man of ideas; he wrote for the ordinary person, and thus he appeals to everyone. Perhaps in the future peering back at this current era of Christianity, we will be identified as armchair theologians. Our faith today is quantified by our knowledge, and not by our experience of God. The number of rooms branching off the main hall of Christianity has evolved over 2000 years. The main hallway is now a dim or nonexistent path in the minds of most Christians. Christianity is the experience of God, not just the study of the Word of God, and a look at the Church must begin right as the Apostles entered the hall.

      Mere Church is a simple book written by a simple soul to supplement the classic Mere Christianity. Lofty ideas and complicated theology have no place in this text for the ordinary Christian. Remember, most of us have only the vaguest understanding of the Great Schism, or the filioque. Focusing on journeys through various rooms, creating a Church club atmosphere, and proclaiming our faith on car windshield stickers are all modern twists on Christian experience. The experience of Christian Tradition begins as you enter through a Divine doorway, and happens during Divine Liturgy.

     And Divine Liturgy began in the hall.

     Mere Church.

    Simple thoughts from a simple soul.

               Yours, Prudence



Besides Homilies 

21 October 2010

Dear Souls -

         In my attempt to bring you an Orthodox experience while visiting my small home here on the Web, I've added another page featuring material Fr. Jon Braun prepared for a radio show called The Orthodox Christian Hour. I've titled the page Besides Homilies, because there is more here besides homilies . . .             

                                                               Besides Homilies

         I will add more over time, because furnishing and decorating a room happens slowly... at least it does in my simple home.

      Simple thoughts from a simple soul.

               Yours, Prudence




22 October 2010

Dear Souls -




                                     The gift of responsibility

                                          A response to a petition


                                       The gift of responsibility

                                           A response to a prayer

                                        God gives a gift

                                              and expects an answer

                                         A miracle goes unnoticed

                                             a prayer untouched

                                               a lack of communion

                                                 with a living


     Simple thoughts from a simple soul.

               Yours, Prudence



Petty Politics 

26 October 2010

Dear Souls -

          Skirting around petty politics takes years of diligent work. It doesn't matter where you are, petty politics are there. Work politics, Church politics, and National politics, they are all soul stealing politics. Petty politics will suck you into their vortex under the pretense of something else.

          Think it over for a moment, and ask yourself a few simple questions:

          - Are you sending aid to those in need?

          - Are you feeding the hungry?

          - Is someone hurt?


          If your palace guards are in place, then they should communicate a high alert, as you enter the dangerous realm of politics. Maybe someone will accuse you of burying your head in the sand, but tell them you are,

          Guarding Your Heart.

Heart Guard Squad
            "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."   (Mt 7:3-5)

                      I confess my inspiration is this excellent interview,
              link here: Interview with Metropolitan PHILIP
Photo by Misha Maslennikov
       Simple thoughts from a simple soul.

               Yours, Prudence



Rich in Worship 

27 October 2010

Dear Souls -

          When it comes to church I'm a purist, and I prefer church without all the extras.

           Please leave the garnishes off my serving of church.

           I hear the squawking groans of avid church infrastructurists.

           But I prefer church without all the complicated fixings: a bare bones Divine Liturgy experience.

           If I want coffee, I'll go to a coffee house.

           If I want social time, I'll go to my friend's house.

           If I want work, I'll go to work.

           If I want worship,

              I'll go to Divine Liturgy.

            A simple church

               does not require

                  lots of bells and whistles.

            "We need to grow The Church,"

                      implies The Church

                      is too small,

                          too short,

                          too empty,

               and not content with itself,

                            as it is . . .

                 The Church is  . . .

                      for the worship of God.

                 A growing Church

                      has thriving parishes,

                      rich in worship.

A Simple Thought
                   Yours, Prudence


  Not a Secret . . . 

28 October 2010

Dear Souls -


          "To many persons this Book [the book of Acts] is so little known, both it and its author, that they are not even aware that there is such a book in existence. For this reason especially I have taken this narrative for my subject, that I may draw to it such as do not know it, and not let such a treasure as this remain hidden out of sight. For indeed it may profit us no less than even the Gospels; so replete is it with Christian wisdom and sound doctrine, especially in what is said concerning the Holy Spirit. Then let us not hastily pass by it, but examine it closely."

                                                            (Saint John Chrysostom - Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, 347-407)

           Yesterday I asked a university student where she believed the Bible, as we know it today, originated. She said she didn't know, but all that mattered was the Word.
            Do you believe Christ ran around handing out pamphlets which contained The Word? I asked.
            She was certain this was not the case.
            Next I tried out my 30 second history lesson of the ancient Church . . . and lost her in 10 seconds.
            St. John Chrysostom's homilies on Acts intended to introduce Holy Scripture to Christians.
            Today Christians know Holy Scripture, but have forgotten all the rest that belongs right alongside.

Not a Secret
     Simple thoughts from a simple soul.

               Yours, Prudence



  Simple Kindness and Respect 

29 October 2010

Dear Souls -


          "Why, what is simplicity, I pray you, but prudence? For when you suspect no evil, neither can you fabricate any; when you have no annoyances, neither can you remember injuries. Has any one insulted you? You were not pained. Has any one reviled you? You were not hurt. Has he envied you? Still you had no hurt. Simplicity is a high road to true philosophy. None so beautiful in soul as the simple."

                 "For with regard to personal appearance, he that is sullen, downcast, and reserved , even if he is good-looking, loses much of his beauty; while he that relaxes his countenance and gently smiles, enhances his good looks.
         So with respect to the soul, he that is reserved, if he has ten thousand good qualities, disfigures them, but the frank and simple, just the reverse. A man of this last description may be safely made a friend, and when at variance easily reconciled."

                           (Saint John Chrysostom - Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, 347-407)
         Simple thoughts from a simple soul.

               Yours, Prudence