St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

December 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I wonder sometimes if being a Christian and being a disciple of Jesus Christ are not synonymous anymore and, if not, was there a time when they were? Jesus once asked this piercing question, "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8) He was speaking to his disciples then, I think he is speaking to us now. I wonder if he finds faith in us. The question is always personal. It comes down to this. Does he find faith in me?

The fact is that Jesus is always coming. He comes with every breath we take. With every beat of our heart. With everyone we meet. So, the question we must ask is, what does he find in me...now?

What does a faith-filled life look life? It is a life filled with charity and beauty, courage and creativity, self-sacrifice, and love for all. It looks like Jesus. It looks like heaven. It is free and happy, peaceful and loving, quiet, joyful, kind, generous, balanced. It is mindful, aware, conscious, enlightened, genuine, and unselfish, in touch with the God who is everywhere and in everything. It bears suffering with equanimity and thanksgiving and is always aware that our highest vocation is to serve the poor, needy, the prisoner, and the stranger.

All this beauty can grow in us, if we choose, but we must choose; choose to nurture the seeds of faith that have been placed in us by God's gracious hand. How? By practicing them. To become love, we must practice love; to become peaceful, we must practice peace; to be courageous, we must practice courage; to become like Christ, we must follow Him, obey Him, and love Him above all things.

Faithful people are often fearless and prophetic. They rise to the occasion, when life is hard. It is their default setting. It is natural for them to care more for others than for themselves when it is and isn't easy, because they have spent their lives nurturing selflessness. They have become selfless.

The faithful person is a source of light and comfort. A faithful person is luminous even in the dark. A faithful person worships at the altar of the heart of every human being they meet.

The adage is, "There are no enlightened people, only enlightened actions." Faithful people produce enlightened fruit. "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit." What was it that Jesus taught, "By their fruits you shall know them?"

"By their fruits you shall know them." Ah, yes, there is that.

With much love and many blessings to all of you.

Your servant in Christ,
+Fr. Antony