Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
"Nothing in the world is permanent, and we're foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we're still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it."
- W. Somerset Maugham
The death of our Father in Christ, Metropolitan PHILIP has come as a shock to us and also as a reminder. We are shocked because we respected and loved him. Sometimes we took delight in him, sometimes we disagreed with him, and yet this is what families are like - like waves of the sea, now calm and the next moment troubled. But the sea is still the sea. In the depths there is calm even when the surface is disturbed. The grace of the Holy Spirit through him brought us together and we remain together.
Like the sea and also like an oak. At the root was love and respect even while the branches and leaves quivered from time to time in the wind. His firm hand was steady. He knew where he wanted to go. We knew it and I for one rested in knowing it. A renowned and wise priest once said to me during one of those difficult times, "You will weep on his grave." Now is the time for that.
And now let us remember. Visionary, prophet, dreamer. Often misunderstood. Aren't these kinds of people always misunderstood? Enlightened leaders always are. If we did not delight in his presence among us while he was here, will come to see those things that constituted his greatness now that he is gone. The wisdom of hindsight. The truth is his vision was often greater than ours. Perhaps it was that he could see deeper and farther.
We stood together on the dais at one of the conventions. He grabbed my hand strongly and smiled at me and spoke my name. I whispered to him, "Sayidna, you were right." He stopped for a moment. "About what?" I answered, "Everything." I had certain things in mind when I said that, of course. No one is always right. Still, I do not regret the exchange. That was a moment for delight!
The growth and strength of the Archdiocese and the thousands of people he touched as the fruit of all his remarkable labor bear eloquent testimony to all that was good and true in him and that was very much indeed. In innumerable ways we are all a part of that company. All part of his legacy .
May his memory be eternal.
+Fr. Antony Hughes