St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

October 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"Faith is, above all, openness; an act of trust in the unknown." -Alan Watts

Faith is not a creedal statement; it is an emptying, a divestiture, a kenosis, a letting go. We let go of what we think we know about Him in order to know by experience God as he is. Spiritual growth comes not by addition but by subtraction.

The place that meditation and contemplation has in the life of prayer is pivotal. Silence and stillness are essential. Without them there is no deep spirituality. And from them arises the great energy of watchfulness, vigilance , and mindfulness. These are the ground of Christian life. Kenosis is the way.

We cannot know God until we learn to be still. We cannot hear him if our minds are filled with noisy dialogue and tumultuous thoughts. This is a universal truth recognized by all who earnestly seek Him.

Without faith we will not enter the path, for letting go is a fearful thing. We need to have faith that when we leap, as the Zen masters say, the net, which is God, will appear. When we divest ourselves we must know that there will be someone there and we will still exist.

The Lord assures us that if we give up our lives, we will gain them. Taking up our cross, self-denial, does not deplete us, it energizes us. We allow grace to deconstruct us, so that we may rise to new life. This takes faith; trust in the unknown, for we do not know what will come when we stop clinging to the life we have created for ourselves. Jesus tells us that, "He who loses his life for my sake, will find it."

May God bless us all and help us to have the faith to become empty vessels for the Holy Spirit to fill.

With great love,
+Fr . Antony