St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

December 2007 Monthly Message

Fr. Antony PortraitDear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

St. Ignatius of Antioch writes that the Nativity of Christ is a "mystery wrought in the silence of God."  Olivier Clement writes the Nativity is a "secret recreation" of all things in the womb of the Virgin Mother.  So much of God's work is done in secret and in silence.  The desire for fame and notoriety are not in God's interest.

The work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the faithful is like yeast in a ball of dough.  Moisture and warmth cause the dough to rise because of that little bit of organic material called yeast.  The Lord speaks often of seeds.  Falling to the earth, they die.  They are forgotten, but under the proper circumstances, with light, warmth, and water, they germinate and from them can come great and majestic trees.

Grace in our lives is like that.  The image of God lies hidden inside of us like a seed.  The grace of Holy Baptism that recreates and awakens the image lies hidden in us like yeast.  Our efforts in producing fruits worthy of this grace, the conscious nurturing of virtue is like fertilizer, the sun and water that will eventually cause the seed to sprout and the yeast to grow.  When? We do not know.  When the time is right and this only God knows.  

The effort is ours, but the results are God's.  We do what is beneficial and leave the results to Him.  Enlightenment and deification are gifts over which we have no power, but the field must be tended and the dough must be kneaded.  This is the work that will produce great things in due time.

Faith is letting go of certainty, of control, of needing to see results when we want them.  Faith is knowing that God in His infinite wisdom and unconditional love will bring about all good for us in ways beyond our understanding and control.  Faith is the ability to be grateful in all situations.  Faith is a sign that the dough is rising and the seeds are preparing to sprout and that the "secret recreation" includes even us.

Christ is Born!

Fr. Antony