St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

May 2008

Fr. Antony Portrait The cross, inseparable from the descent into hell, the resurrection, and the ascension to the right hand of the Father, is seen as fundamentally life-giving.  Its dimensions make of Christ the truly cosmic Man who transfigures the universe:  "Henceforward all is filled with light, the heavens, the earth and even hell," according to the Easter liturgy in the Byzantine rite.  To be crucified in Christ is to die to one's own death in order to enter into the sacrifice that restores wholeness, and to understand, as St. Paul says, "the breadth and length and height and depth" of love (Ephesians 3:18-19).

              -    Olivier Clément, The Roots of Christian Mysticism

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Christ is Risen!

The entire ethos of Holy Orthodoxy tends towards light and joy.  The Resurrection pervades everything we do and think.  Every Sunday is a Paschal celebration. The great mystic and saint of Russia, Seraphim of Sarov would greet every person with either "Christ is Risen" or calling by them "My joy".

St. Paul exhorts us to "rejoice always" and we do, even in Lent.  Repentance is, as Metropolitan KALLISTOS wrote "the opening of a flower" not a dismal descent into self-torment and guilt.

In this bright period between Pascha and the Feast of Ascension meditate on the wonder of Divine love and the limitless depth of Divine compassion.  The more we meditate on them the more we will become them.  After all, are we not supposed to grow continuously into God's likeness?  That is what God is like.

Surrender yourself to joy!  Practice compassion!  Chase away dark thoughts and temptations with prayer and contemplation.  "See how they love one another!"  This is what the world should see in us who follow the Lord of love Himself, Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer.

With deepest love and respect,

Fr. Antony