02 Nov 2016

A Psalm for Tearless Eyes

Why art thou not cast down, o my soul, Why art thine eyes not flowing as rivers after the winter thaw, washing away thine every stain and uncleanness? Thou liest with unplucked eyes and uncircumcised arms and unquenched passions for the unquenchable fire. If a thou burnest a candle from both ends thou art in timeless darkness. Why, o my soul, dost thou not sleep in peace, since thou eatest the bread of idleness? Instead,

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
20 Oct 2016

St Xenia and What Prayer Can Look Like

I went on a walk with a friend recently, we saw trees fully green and trees with delicate yellow leaves, falling in the wind, on green grass. Autumn in Northern New Jersey! While sitting on a bench, we talked about books, ideas and our dreams for life. I reminisced a bit. I told her how when I was in school, years back, outside Vancouver and new to the Orthodox Church. I saw 2 icons for

Elizabeth Roosje 0
19 Oct 2016

We Don’t Belong in the Woods

This poem was mostly written on the Appalachian Trail between Max Patch and Hot Springs, NC, where I was walking for two days with my son Andy last week. You can see our hike in photos here: Ken & Andy Hike the AT I suppose my attitude may morph with remembrance rather than endurance, but I think my final conclusion still holds true.   God put nature out where we Can ignore it except on

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 3
06 Oct 2016

(A Brief Synopsis) What I have been given in the Church ~ The Protection and Shelter of the Saints ~ Part II

Icon of St. Herman of Alaska from Holy Dormition Monastery. Icon of St. Herman of Alaska, made by my Ottawa Parish, from a print from Greece; Picture taken by author. Note: This is a continuation of my series on what I have been given in the (Eastern Orthodox) Church.  Part One is found here. The Protection and Shelter of the Saints ~ Part II: Saints Herman and Nicholas Saint Herman of Alaska While at St.

Elizabeth Roosje 1
05 Oct 2016

Will Beg For Work

Ray Gator was the owner of a successful family hot dog stand named O’Peter’s Pedigreed Dogs. Ray decided it was time to expand his borders, so he went to the best corner in town to open a new stand. When he got there, he found the corner was already occupied— by a homeless man, holding a sign that said “Will Work For Food”. Ray saw this as a boon: he acquired a corner and a

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 3
21 Sep 2016

Walking on Waves

I am always walking on waves – the formless void of earth Whose walls are made of the wind And whose roof is the cloud Like Peter I sink in the storm Thinking it is the storm outside And not the Charybdis within Although I am looking only inside I reach up before I look up Hands have more faith than eyes What comes into an eye twists And colors everything wrong You see with

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
08 Sep 2016

“Do not be afraid” ~ {While Experiencing the Abandonment of God}

I1 am nearing the end of a really beautiful book, called Dimitri’s Cross.2 Right now I am reading the letters he wrote his wife, Tamara, from his first place of imprisonment.  I already know, from reading this book, that he is later sent to Dora, a camp called the “Man-Eater” where Fr. Dimitri is forced to work in horrid, extreme conditions, ages quickly, becomes very ill and at the end, speaks of feeling the abandonment of

Elizabeth Roosje 3
07 Sep 2016

Podcasts in Review

I’ve fallen into a routine of listening. Not to background music, not even to audiobooks—although I enjoy both—but shorter form podcasts. These present information in an episodic and serial manner, which can be completed without as much fear of getting lost in either the length or the breadth of the material. As I’ve formed the routine, the podcasts have lined up naturally for me in basic time slots and order. These podcasts are not all

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
24 Aug 2016

#OneLifeMatters

Lest I be misunderstood: ____ Lives Matter because this one does.   One life matters, there is no other Passed down to you from Son to mother A life that only begins with death A spirit bequeathed with latest breath A breath that whispered a single Word That by the hosts of Heaven was heard And even the depths of Hell were stirred As living corpses were given breath Having died with that one in

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
Do You Have to be Anti-Western to be Eastern Orthodox?
23 Aug 2016

Do You Have to Be Anti-Western to Be Eastern Orthodox?

TJ Humphrey’s latest article, Why I Didn’t Convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, is making the rounds on the internet as voices on social media and elsewhere join in to echo his main critique. The enthusiasm with which this article was received is indicative of a failure on our part as Eastern Orthodox Christians in general and a failure of Eastern Orthodox Christian converts in particular. What this calls for is not a defense of Holy Orthodoxy

Benjamin Cabe 10
10 Aug 2016

Hey Jude

~Apologies to Paul McCartney   Hey Jude, don’t leave her burning Save a lost soul out of the fire Remember, hate the garment spotted with sin Then you’ll begin to make it better Hey Jude, build up your faith You were made to go out and get her In God’s love and in the Spirit pray Then you can say it can be better And any time you feel hope’s gone, hey Jude, keep on

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
27 Jul 2016

St Matthew

Matthew was only working the system Didn’t make him right or wrong, just smart You know you would have done the same If you had been the one playing his part You’ve got to play by the rules If you want change the game Then the rulemaker came And nothing was the same   Why would the rabbi sit and eat with you? Doesn’t he know you are not a good Jew? Consorting with sinners

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
13 Jul 2016

Two Theives

Everything is contained in the crux Alpha and omega, beginning and end Foundation and destruction Shame and glorification Sin and redemption Wrath and love As infinity figure-eights around We get two sides to the story Right and left, down and up Scorn and supplication Sheep and goats Heaven and hell Let’s steal a look at the two thieves Also lifted up on the cross drawing us One on the left hand, on on the right

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
29 Jun 2016

Ascension

This could be the sky Jesus flew up through And this could be the ground with the city around Where he left his disciples to wait for him too Because we still stand looking where he went Even though the angel is here we don’t seem to hear That he went away so we could stay and be sent Perhaps we are those same five hundred fed Who want to be given things and make

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
15 Jun 2016

Dressing the Dead

This weekend, we buried a beloved member of our parish, retired priest Father Gregory Heers. As a member of our burial society, I had the privilege of participating in his preparation. We wash and anoint the body, and dress the reposed, in this case in the vestments he wore in caring for us. It is humbling to be allowed to pay your respects to another member of the body in this way; and, like Lent,

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
01 Jun 2016

Coffee Hour

An essential part of any Orthodox Sunday morning liturgy is the coffee hour. Whether it’s literally just coffee and baked goods, or a full meal, this is where the Church, renewed as Christ’s body through the Eucharist, practices self-care before going out to work in the world. Everything culminates in coffee hour Not that being on time isn’t important, But the Kingdom will be blessed before you’re there Just like the food will be blessed

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
18 May 2016

When You Give Death Its Sting

When you give death its sting And it is finished Nothing left but darkness and torn curtains And a bloody mess You’ve crucified Christ afresh And you’re both hanging dead How do you get to the resurrection? What gets you both down? Joseph and Nicodemus came sorrowful Begging for the body Can you feel that sorrow, too For your Lord’s death for you? When you realize you have killed him And so have no life

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
04 May 2016

The Hart of the Morning

The Hart of the Morning – Memories of a Song by the Spectator’s of Christ’s Passion (click to listen) 1 For three long hours a darkness that could be felt pressed down on the land. Those who came only to see what they could see left those who came to love and those whose duty it was to look. The hillside was still as death. From a dying man, the necrotic darkness was ripped in

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
06 Apr 2016

Great Lent 2016 Week 2

The poems below were inspired by the Lenten Triodion readings for each day, which can be found here: http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/prayers/triodion/triodion.html Sunday of Orthodoxy 2016 The first icon was written By the hand of God in red clay And the first kiss it received Was to fill it with breath But the first iconoclast Made the icon just a picture Removing it from the temple And preparing it for the fire And so the prototype came In

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
23 Mar 2016

Clean Week

For Orthodox Christians, Great Lent began just a little over a week ago. We begin Lent with a service called Forgiveness Vespers, during which we go around and ask each individual for forgiveness for all of our offenses. After this joyful and cathartic service, we call the next week Clean Week. The poems below for Clean Week were inspired by the Lenten Triodion readings for each day, which can be found here: http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/prayers/triodion/triodion.html Forgiveness Sunday

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0