St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

December 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Glory to Jesus Christ!

In this day when our society is polarized and hatred is so evident we must reflect on how we should live our lives in response. This demands that we try and understand why people cling to hate in the first place.

The great James Baldwin wrote something that applies quite well, ''One of the reasons people cling to their hate and prejudice so stubbornly is that they sense once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with their own pain." Compassion has a chance once we look deeper into the anguish that others feel.

The Gospel of the Rich and Foolish Man speaks of this in the metaphor of a man who believed that his wealth made him secure. Helen Keller famously remarked that there is no security in this world and that the very idea is a myth. In the Lord's parable this turned out to be true as death came to claim the Foolish Man quickly in spite of all his efforts to protect himself. Can hatred act in the same way, as a buffer, a wall, a defense?

I suggest that hatred is also a way to keep our fears at arm's length. We hate what we fear and we fear what we hate. Our Christian response is to face our fears in order to be able to let go of our hatred. If we come to understand why we hate and why we fear, then we can experience a healing that leads to fearlessness and love.

In this case there is no better way than to follow our Lord's example and instruction, ''Love your enemies." When we love them, then we begin to see a transformation of consciousness.

When we love our enemies, our enemies disappear and even if they don't come to love us, at least we have let go of our hatred. How wonderful and miraculous would it be to be free of hatred? How great would it be to live without fear?

With love in Christ,
Fr. Antony