St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

October 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In these times of turmoil, the Church must be the place of peace and refuge for all people no matter who they are or where they come from.  It is not our job to judge whether or not someone is worthy of our lovingkindness.

In Paul Kalanithi’s wonderful memoir of the last years of his life, WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR, he reaches a conclusion about his Christian faith that he had given up before his diagnosis with terminal lung cancer, “the main message of Jesus...is that mercy trumps justice every time.” 

That is just another way of saying that Love is preeminent to us. Love is the governing principal of our Faith, and we must not allow anything to replace it or weaken it. In fact, we must dare to become radical about it! Even at the risk of our own welfare.  Perhaps we should read St. Paul’s admonition to Love more often and with greater attention.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

What could be plainer than that?  What do we see here – patience, kindness, humility, selflessness? Those are marks of an authentic human person; one deserving our attention and emulation.

Love is of God and God is Love and wherever there is Love, God is.  A person who practices Love is near to him and already to a large degree, one with him. And we must understand that there is no facet of life where Love can be set aside or ignored.  We do so at the peril of our souls. Love must be our governing principal always and everywhere. In this day and age in particular, we who follow Christ must become radical about love!  We must become Love. 

Nor is it is our job to keep Love in the confines of our sacred four walls, but to spread it, to share it, to be like yeast in the world, in our society, in our country.  Either that or we must admit to ourselves that our faith is not really in Christ at all. His way must be our way. Christ must be “all in all” to us or he will be nothing at all to us. There is no halfway.

Rumi wrote, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” He is right. There is no need to seek for that which is the essence of life. There is a need to recognize when there is anything, any excuse, any reason we have within us that keeps us from being Love in this world.

Your servant in Christ,

Fr. Antony