St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

November 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

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. 

It has to do with the fact that everything in life is temporary. Impermanence is the rule. Our ability to embrace it determines how we experience life. Embracing impermanence brings peace of mind. Resistance brings anxiety.

St. John Chrysostom's final words as he lay dying on a dusty road, abused and tormented by soldiers on the road to exile were, "Thanks be to God for everything." One wonders how he could say that even as he suffered so terribly. It reminds me of something the French writer and philosopher Simone Weil wrote in the midst of her own great suffering, "Love of God is pure when joy and suffering inspire an equal degree of gratitude."

Faith knows that all things occur in God. All of life is suffused with grace. St. Paul tells us that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ, so if we open our hearts to him we will discover his compassionate presence even in the darkest times.  We have only to accept another incontrovertible fact of life to be able to be always grateful and that is that we are loved, very deeply and eternally and also that no matter what "this too shall pass."

Let us pray for faith like that.

Your servant in Christ,

+Fr. Antony