Department of Y2AM @Y2AM
Official ASK of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
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I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for all you do. I love OL with FJ and Be the bee!!!!! I'm always excited for the next episode and podcast to come!!!!
Thank you! Anytime you have any questions or ideas for episodes, let us know!
I just want to say that your be the bee episode on, What is Sin?, was one of the best you guys have done! AMAZING! Keep them coming++
Thank you! We really appreciate your prayers and support. God bless you!
Can you make a be the bee on confession? Thanks!
Well, since you asked nicely. :-)
Xristos Anesti! Thank you do much for this program! It truly helps us bring Christianity to our youth- And there is a need for that in today's society.
Truly He is Risen!
Thanks for these kind words! Please let us know where we can do better, and what new things we can do for you all.
Hello be the bee! I recently had 2 deaths in my family and they were very close. They were my grandmothers sons and they passed two weeks apart. My grandma is very strong but so depressed and upset. How can I comfort her. I'm not sure how to. Thank you
We're so sorry to hear this. May their memory be eternal, and may God console your grandmother!
At times like this, it may not be possible for us to offer comfort. Death is a very difficult thing, and we all deal with it as best we can. Don't worry about having the right words to say. Honestly, what words are "right" in the face of such pain?
The best we can do at times like these is just be there for people. Even if it's something as simple as sitting in silence with your grandmother, with no distractions like cell phones: our honest presence can be much more powerful (and communicate love more effectively) than words. Be there for her, as best you can.
Also, be sure to offer prayers for those who have fallen asleep, and for your grandmother. Ask others to pray for them as well. And ask a priest to commemorate them during the Liturgy, and by offering prayers for the departed. When we offer ourselves and each other to God, we can find comfort in unexpected ways.
May God remember us all in His Kingdom!
Hello, I've always wondered how does a priest become a confessor? Thank you Y2am!!! -Lia
Great question Lia! A presbyter (the people we normally call "priests") serves with the permission and in the name of the bishop: the bishop ordains him, and he only serves with the blessing and permission of the bishop. For instance, a presbyter always serves on an antimension (or antimins), a special liturgical cloth that the bishop signs his name upon. It's how a bishop shows he's given permission to a presbyter to serve the Liturgy.
Similarly, a presbyter needs the blessing of the Bishop to hear confessions.
Because a presbyter needs a certain degree of preparation and maturity to hear confessions and be a spiritual father, they usually serve for at least a few years before receiving the full blessing. And sometimes, bishops grant this blessing in stages (so a presbyter can hear confessions from kids at summer camp first, then eventually from anyone).
Sometimes, if a presbyter is mature enough, he may receive the blessing very soon after being ordained.
Hi Y2AM, I have a question- are ordiniations the only time someone can assume a new name, or can they change they name anytime they want with the approval of the church? Thanks!
Interesting question! The only times we've ever heard of people receiving a new name is during monastic tonsure (becoming a monk or nun) or sometimes after ordination (it's not technically part of the ordination service, or necessary to be ordained).
What stance does the church take with confession and communion to teenagers. Is it required that I take confession before communion or am I (16 years old) allowed to have communion without weekly confession? Please help and Xristos Anesti +++++++++!!!!+++++
Truly He is Risen!
This is a great question! There's no one-size-fits-all answer. The best way to approach Holy Communion is with a spiritual father. You can work out with him how often you should confess. Some people go to confession every week, some people go every month, some go every month.
Doctors give different people different prescriptions, depending on what they need to be physically healthy. In the same way, spiritual fathers give different people different prescriptions, depending on what they need to be spiritually healthy.
You're on the right track, though, because we should all do our best to prepare to receive Holy Communion. The details (how much we fast, how often we confess, etc.) will differ from person to person, and also differ at different points in our lives. Remember you're not alone, and God has given us wonderful priests to help!
God bless you!
I'm 15 and I really want to pray, can you please help me I'm not sure if I need to pray a lot or a little
We're often told to worry about how much or how little we pray, but that can be a bit misleading. Prayer is about our relationship with God, and that's something we can develop every moment of every day if we approach prayer moment by moment, rather than in big intimidating chunks of time.
We actually made some Be the Bee episode on prayer. We hope they help! Also, do you have a spiritual father? Someone who knows you and what you're going through can give you the best possible advice.
God bless you!
I am 16 and fast every wed and friday throughout the year. I was wondering if i am now old enough to do the full 40(50) days for lent? With school and sports and upcoming exams it is very hard to do but i want to do it? Do you have any input?
Christ is Risen!
It's wonderful that you recognize fasting as important, because it is!
This is a difficult question to answer in the abstract. Many young people fast, and many older people do not. Fasting is a discipline, and we need to properly develop it in our lives. Some people make the mistake of pushing themselves to fast too much too soon, and give up entirely. Others don't push themselves enough, and miss out on the benefits they could receive with more work and preparation.
Plus, fasting is about much more than just food!
Having a trusted Spiritual Father who knows you (and your strengths and weaknesses) will help you find the right path and fast in the way that will be best for you.
We've done a few episodes of Be the Bee on fasting. Have you seen this one?
Xristos Anesti!!!!!!!
Truly the Lord is Risen!
Hey y2am! I love be the bee ❤️
Thanks! Glory to God!
And we love making Be the Bee!
Our Faith is so rich, and we have had so many amazing teachers over the years. God, through the Saints and Church Fathers, has given us more treasures than we can count!
One treasure is this image of the bee. It's an idea that's centuries old, and goes back at least to St. Basil the Great. St. John Chrysostom and Elder Paisios also used it through the years. Fr. Jason inherited the idea from them, and we've been running with it ever since!
How can we resist the devils temptations and block bad thought from our minds?
This is one of our toughest battles. But it doesn’t have to be a battle. There is a better way than fighting sin head on! And an easier way!
St. Porphyrios suggests that we not waste our energy on trying to stop the thoughts, but rather:
"Let all your strength be turned into love for God, worship of God and adhesion to God. In this way your release from evil and from your weaknesses will happen in a mystical manner without your being aware of it and without exertion...It is better, that is, to devote ourselves to love through the study of hymns and psalms. This study and preoccupation directs my mind to Christ and refreshes my heart without my realizing it. At the same time I pray, opening my arms in longing, love and joy and the Lord takes me up into His love.”
We talked about this "easy way" in an episode of Be the Bee. Check it out:
Now that Lent has begun, I'm hearing a lot about going to Confession. I'm 8 years old and I was wondering at what age you should go to Confession?
Great question! There's no one-size-fits all answer. You are never "too young" to go to confession. It depends on what you're spiritually ready for, and what's best for you. Confession is a beautiful sacrament of the Church that allows us to release all our troubles and offer them to God. He can bear them much better than we can!
Is there something that bothers you? Go to confession. Is there something you want to tell someone, but have trouble saying? Go to confession.
In fact, it may even be helpful for you to start now. Confessing our sins can be hard, and we can be tempted to hold some things in. Going to confession now rather than when you're "old enough" can make it easier to open your heart and allow God to take your sins away.
Hello y2am!! I have a couple questions.. What is the orthodox view on American / western Christian music. Is it bad for Orthodox Christians to listen to this music. I think it gives a false teaching message and confuses me. Thank you!!!
Thanks for your question! Maybe the best way to think about this is to look at how music confuses you. What about the music leads you astray, do you think? Is it the music? The lyrics?
We can't really point to any teaching about music generally, so let's think about this in terms of temptation. If something leads you into temptation, whether it's music or movies or anything else, then it's best to (like we said in the last question) "pluck it out" from your life. Maybe that means listening to different kinds of music. It's hard to say in the abstract, it depends on your particular struggle and your particular needs.
This is why it can be so helpful to have a spiritual father, someone that's gotten to know us and how we struggle (whatever it may be), and can give us the support and advice we need to keep our focus on Christ.
God bless you!
Why is it wrong to castrate oneself if Jesus said to remove your eye or ear if they make you sin??
A human being is body and soul, together. Our bodies are a great gift, an important part of who we are, how we relate to each other, and even how we relate to God (remember, we are physically baptized, we physically eat Holy Communion, etc.).
Matthew 5:29 is an example of the words you mention. However, to properly understand the Scripture, we need to look at the verses in context. In this case, if we look at the verse right before it (Matthew 5:28), we see that Christ is talking about lust in the heart.
St. John Chrysostom explains that Christ isn't speaking about our physical bodies, about literally plucking our our eyes. "For it is not the eye that sees, but the mind and the thought." Christ is teaching us about temptation and sin, and how dramatically we need to remove ourselves from the things that cause us to stumble. The image he offers is a powerful one, which pushes us to think about our relationship to sin and temptation.
We need to remove ourselves from sin, not our body parts. Our body isn't the problem, it's a blessing!
This question is rather sensitive and for older youth. How does a teenage boy in particular deal with the passions of lust and self pleasure? It seems that once one is trapped by the demon of lust it is nearly impossible to escape. I have been dealing with this sin for years now and cant stop.
This is a very difficult question, and there's a lot to say. First, let's not be afraid to call these problems what they are: pornography, masturbation, etc.
Perhaps the first thing to realize is that we are not alone in our struggles. When it comes to addictive passions in particular, it is a huge help to have someone by our side: someone we can call when we are struggling, someone who can help us during our most difficult moments. When temptation appears, it's much easier to handle it with someone at our side.
When we read the Desert Fathers, we also see how aware they were of the progress of sin in their lives. They observed how they sinned, so they could avoid those mistakes in the future. If we look carefully and see how we've fallen in the past, we can take steps to avoid sin in the future.
And don't forget the obvious: the Church is always with us. We have the gift of confession to unburden ourselves, and Communion to strengthen us. Sometimes, because our own shame, sin drives us away from the Church. But Church is exactly where we need to be when we are struggling. Great Lent offers us more services than normal, more opportunities for peace and healing.
Take heart and remember that no demons are impossible to escape. Christ has conquered all, and invites us all to draw near Him. He invites us, not to struggle against sin, but to deepen our love for Him. This is what St. Porphyrios called the "Easy Way." Focusing on our sins can be stressful, and cause us to lose hope. Keeping our eyes on Christ encourages us, and keeps us moving forward.
How can I best explain to my Protestant friends what we believe about the role of faith and works in our salvation?
This is a difficult and deep question to answer in just a few sentences! A good place to start may be that we don't see it as an either/or question. It's not whether faith or works saves us, it's how faith and works saves us.
Whose faith? Whose works? Ultimately, they're Christ's. And we unite ourselves to Christ in Baptism, Chrysmation, and the Eucharist to be members of His Body and receive His life. By uniting ourselves to Him, we take on His faith, His works, His victory. We don't earn salvation, we receive it from Christ.
Of course, our faith and works are a part of this as well. God invites us to work with Him, to believe and act. But the mystery is that God grants us the faith to believe, and the strength to act. We owe everything to God!
Salvation is sharing in God's eternal life, by being joined to Him, by becoming a member of Christ's Body. The normal way of thinking about "faith and/or works" may not be helpful to understand this (not that we can ever fully understand the mystery of salvation).
this is not a question but i would just like to thank Steve and everyone on Y2AM for all the videos and help you provide. You don't know how helpful it is to get advice from these videos and even this question site. THANK you so much. Your work is filled with God's love! THANKS!
Thank YOU for all your love and prayers.
Through God's grace, Fr. Jason has assembled a great Y2AM team to work with him. And all four of us (Fr Jason, Alexis, Nick, and Steve) are so humbled by your kind, encouraging, and generous words.
Please help us spread the word, and share it all with more people!
When I have a lot of stress and am sometimes upset, I don't realize it but I'm upsetting my family also by taking it out on them. How can I work on being the bee and doing as God says. "To honor my father and mother". Please help!!! - thank you
Feeling stress can be so draining. May God grant you peace of heart.
And don't worry too much about the mistakes you may have made in the past. Remember, we're all imperfect, and we all need God's help. So God came to help us, to reach out His hand and lift us up! Because He loves us, no questions asked, totally and unconditionally. Mistakes happen, and God is ready to forgive when we're ready to turn back to Him!
No one does His will perfectly, but we can try to get a little closer to Him everyday, patiently, bit by bit.
Why do you think you're feeling this stress? Is it something at home? At school? If you figure out what's causing the stress, you can then take steps to lessen it.
It can be hard to love people when other stresses are bothering us. Different people find different strategies work. Some people try to find quiet time, alone, to wait for the stress to go away. That way, when they're back with their family, they're in a better mood.
You may want to talk with your family, explain to them that you're under a lot of stress, and apologize for taking it out on them in the past. Seeking forgiveness is a great way to draw closer to people, and to God. And this can open the door for your family to help you with your stress, so you can all work together to create a more peaceful environment at home.
Maybe you can all set aside special family time that's totally stress-free: you can play games together, have dinner as a family, talk about your day, say evening prayers together. That way, you're all ending your days together, in a loving and peaceful way, and keeping your hearts centered on Christ.
May God always bless you and your family!
Hi Steve and Y2AM. How does one know if they have a calling to God's priesthood? You see, i have always wanted to become a priest ever since a child. It feels like a burning warm flame inside of me that never seems to fade. Problem is, I am in Grade 11 and want to also become doctor. I feel confused
Thanks for this great question! First off, it's hard to talk about these in the abstract. This is why it's great to have a spiritual father: someone you trust, who loves you and wants nothing but the best for you. It's kind of like a doctor: doctors need to know who you are and how your body works so they can give you the right medicine.
It can be very hard to figure out if God is calling you to be a priest. Is it something you want? Does it feels like God wants this for you? Is it both?
If God is calling you, He will be persistent. So you don't need to be in a rush, necessarily. Take the time to pray about it, get to know a spiritual father (who already has experience of that kind of call and can help you make sense of things). You don't need to figure it out right away, it'll come together in God's time.
Also, don't think about it as an "either/or" situation. Some priests started in other careers before they went to seminary. Some were doctors, some lawyers, some writers, some artists. Maybe God is calling you to be a doctor first, and then a priest?
Or maybe he's calling you to be a doctor AND a priest. There's a priest in the Chicago area who does that. There was a Russian saint who passed away in 1961 like that, too: St. Luke, Bishop of Simferopol and Crimea, the Blessed Surgeon.
Whether God is calling you to be a priest or not, He's definitely calling you to be a saint! May God always guide you on the path He's prepared for you. Your friends at Y2AM are here to help in whatever way we can!
Why did we ever introduce Western Music and the organ into American Greek Orthodox worship? Byzantine Music, and especially a Byzantine Choir with an Ison, is the music of Angels. The use of a musical instrument is even prohibited by the Church Fathers. It makes no sense.
Thanks for this question. It can be a little tricky to answer, because people have their preferences on both sides of this question.
We should start by realizing that one of the beautiful things about Orthodoxy is that the Church adapts itself to the needs of the people. So, for instance, Orthodox Christians celebrate the services in different languages, depending on the names of the people. In some places we use English, in other places Greek, in other places Arabic, in other places Russian, etc. That’s one reason we honor Sts. Cyril and Methodios. When they brought the Church to the Slavic people, they didn’t insist that everything stay in Greek, they translated services and books into the local language.
The same goes for music. Church services sound different in Greece and Russia. Even places that use Byzantine music have local variations.
As for the Church canons, we need to be careful about how we understand and apply them. That’s a complicated issue in itself.
When it comes to music and worship, we should also look at Scripture. Even the psalms we chant during the Matins (Orthros) service before Liturgy reference instrumental music as part of worship. "Praise the Lord with the harp; Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.” (Psalm 33:2).
Does that mean that we should use instruments in Church? No, not necessarily. But maybe certain people benefit by having that as a part of the service. When it comes to issues like language and music, there is no “one size fits all” approach.
Hello Be the Bee. My question that i have been wondering about for a while now is: how can high school teenagers be close to god and the church and at the same time have boy/girl friends and date?
Hello! This is a tough one to talk about in the abstract. We’ll offer a few thoughts but, for your own life, it’s best to talk to your parents, your priest, someone who knows you and loves you.
Of course, being with someone doesn’t necessarily pull us away from God. Some people get married, others becomes monks or nuns, and they can all get closer to God in their own way.
If you’re dating in high school (or other times), you should ask yourself why you’re dating, and what your limits are. Are you looking to be with someone who will help draw you closer to God? Will your actions show God’s love to the person you’re with?
Some people can date in high school and benefit from it (some even stay together and get married when they’re older). Others can date in high school and end up making choices they regret. It’s hard to say in the abstract. The first thing we should all do is make sure that we’re moving towards God rather than away from Him.
Would you prefer to have the power to fly or be invisible?
Be the bee…and fly.
Or maybe be the bee, not the fly, and be invisible?
We can’t decide. Either way, be the bee.
Do you believe in fate?
We wouldn’t say that Orthodox Christians believe in fate. Instead, we believe that God in His Providence guides all things, and gives us the freedom to act, too.