Monthly Reflections from Fr. Antony Hughes

Fr. Antony reading the Gospel In every edition of our parish's newsletter, Fr. Antony offers a short, but inspiring message to complement the activities, minsitries, and current events of the life of the church.  Below is a collection of these messages.

November 2016

It is news to no one that life is filled with happiness and disappointment. We cannot expect that what happens will always please us. Light and darkness, good and bad, joy and sorrow are not really opposites; they are interwoven in the fabric of life. This we know if we think about it. Read more »
 

October 2016

In these times of turmoil, the Church must be the place of peace and refuge for all people no matter who they are or where they come from. It is not our job to judge whether or not someone is worthy of our lovingkindness. Read more »
 

August 2016

I am pleased to announce that on October 1 of this year St. Mary's will be hosting a workshop on Orthodox Spirituality. Under my guidance we will be utilizing the skills of the psychiatrists, therapists, licensed clinical social workers and hospice chaplains who are members of our parish and who will facilitate small group discussions. Read more »
 

June 2016

I have loved reading John Sanford’s books with his deeply spiritual and psychological insights informed by his expertise as a Jungian analyst. He appreciates the metaphorical richness of Holy Scripture and manages to bring it out in his wonderful book THE KINGDOM WITHIN. Read more »
 

April 2016

The Crucifixion is more than history; it is a call to participation. The Crucifixion of the Lord is both his and mine. It is also not a calamity; it is a great blessing. Through the Wood of the Cross we are liberated, or, as Joseph Campbell writes, “we are unshelled” as we voluntarily go with him and suffer with him and die with him and not just at Holy Pascha, but day by day and moment by moment. Read more »
 

March 2016

We will hear much talk of spiritual warfare and internal battles during Lent. I think we need a new understanding of what this means. Too often this perspective turns into a kind of self-hatred. We end up battling incessantly against the most damaged parts of us, turning our suffering into an enemy to be extinguished rather than an injured part in need of tender loving care. In this way, we make things worse for ourselves. Read more »
 

February 2016

It is important to remember that the reason St. Mary’s exists is to celebrate what God has done for us through our Lord Jesus Christ. We exist as a community for the propagation of Gratitude. The heart of an Orthodox parish is the Eucharist, the Great Thanksgiving, and it is in this divine service that our gratitude is expressed in unison. The one reason the Divine Liturgy is celebrated is to give thanks for the gift of salvation that has been freely given to us. Read more »
 

January 2016

On Sunday, December 13, a group of young adults came together to brainstorm about developing a young adult ministry at St. Mary's. We have a database of over one hundred names of people who are potential volunteers. The meeting was vibrant and exciting. Many great ideas were shared and four volunteers stepped forward to be leaders in various categories of ministry. Specific projects were chosen out of a larger list and we are up and running. The meeting was a tremendous success. This was Jamil Samara's idea born out of the changes in the Fellowship of St. John the Divine nationally and it has now been shared with at least tens of willing others. This is how it works. What ideas do you have? Read more »
 

December 2015

This year it will be impossible for me to celebrate Christmas without thinking of the suffering of refugees and migrants who are trying to flee the murderous insanity that is gripping their homelands. I was moved by this portion of a poem by the wonderful Somali poet Warsan Shire. I found it online among the thousands of peoples' responses to the terror attacks in Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and France. Read more »
 

November 2015

Now that we are in the cusp of Advent when spiritual effort is called for it is important to know what ascetical work is about. We think of it as gloomy and negative. It often brings to mind guilt and shame for things we have done. It becomes in our minds a kind of self-punishment as if by harming ourselves we can undo or make up for the past. Read more »
 

October 2015

The beginning of happiness is to repent of the belief that God is not with us, that we and he are not always, inextricably connected. In his first sermon Jesus invites us to, Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Among possible interpretations is this: to change our minds about the nature and geography of the kingdom. In essence the kingdom of God is wherever God is and God is by definition everywhere. Read more »
 

August 2015

Now that the Archdiocese Convention is over and the dust is settling, I want to thank all of you who worked so hard, some for over two years, to make it successful. I will not try and thank everyone by name, since someone always gets left out. I must, however thank, above all, Mary Winstanley O'Connor and Raymond Sayeg, our co-chairs. The hard work and time they put into this massive endeavor was monumental. Because of their diligence and dedication, everything went exceedingly well. We and the Archdiocese owe them a large debt of gratitude. Read more »
 

June 2015

The 52nd Archdiocese Convention is drawing near (July 20-26). His Beatitude JOHN X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East will be presiding. This will also be Metropolitan JOSEPH'S first Archdiocese Convention as our Primate and the 100th Anniversary of the Falling Asleep of our Father among Saints, Raphael of Brooklyn. So many reasons to celebrate! So many reasons to volunteer! Read more »
 

May 2015

Jesus encountered a lot of poor and marginalized people. He seemed to like them and even prefer them. He was very much at home with them. No judgment. No criticism. Just understanding and openness. Unless I am utterly delusional (don't laugh), that's the example we ought to be following. Read more »
 

April 2015

'We must start to meet: people must meet people; we are all human beings. Before being Christians or Jews or Muslims, before being Americans or Russians or Africans, before being generals or priests, rabbis or imams, before having visible or invisible disabilities, we are all human beings with hearts capable of loving. Read more »
 

March 2015

We are horrified by the martyrdom ofour brother Coptic Christians at the hands ofbarbarity incarnate. There are many others who have met this fate, but these brave men are now uppermost in our hearts. With such examples of inhumanity we must demonstrate what it really means to be human and to believe. It is hard to know what we as Christians should do in the face of this evil. One thing I do know is that whatever we do, we must do it without fear, with courage and compassion by following ever more closely the teachings and example of our Lord Jesus Christ. Read more »
 

February 2015

When we speak of the sanctity of life it must not only be in reference to abortion. We speak of the reverence for all human life at every phase of existence from womb to tomb and we must address how it is that we are to respect life in all its manifestations. Read more »
 

January 2015

Thomas Merton once wrote of the Incarnation of the Son of God as sunlight through a magnifying glass. The rays are captured and focused like a laser. This focused light is able to set things on fire. The Incarnation is like that. All creation is set afire by the coming of God in the flesh. All the light of God was concentrated in this miraculous event in one divine person, specifically in one place and one time. Read more »
 

December 2014

The Nativity fast is about growing in love so that we may make ourselves ready to receive the King of Love on the Great and Holy Feast of Christmas. The beauty of this season is resplendent with warmth and light and peace and love, that is, all of those wonderful things that are revealed to the world when God is born in the flesh. Read more »
 

November 2014

I am a voracious reader. You probably know that. My sermons are often speckled with quotes I glean from books because other people say things better than I could in a shorter amount of time and, frankly, I don't want to waste your time trying to say in paragraphs what Aristotle managed to say in a sentence. Read more »
 
 
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