St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

August 2018 Reflection

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

We must not fail to remember the glorious truth that we, and all human beings and all of creation, are loved, madly, insistently, unconditionally, and infinitely. The only ones who apply conditions to love are us. God never does.

The Lord provides for us the prime example. His Incarnation was an embrace of all "his friends." His life from birth to death to resurrection and beyond was from start to finish a laying down of his life for us. There are other examples.

The saints who show the same incontestable regard for others are the ones who most inspire me. Great ascetical feats may be impressive and yet love for others is the surest sign of a true lover of God. The life of St. Maria of Paris celebrated on July 20, whose life became a living sacrifice for others, is an example for us of a path of discipleship every one of us can emulate.

We can love one another. We can love our neighbors. We can even love our enemies. We can feed the hungry, care for prisoners, widows and orphans, embrace the lonely, and be lights in this world to those who dwell in darkness. Every one of us is capable of living such a life right where we are. That is what Mother Maria did up to her death in Ravensbruck, as some accounts read, saving the life of a young Jewish mother. Let us "go and do likewise."

The point is not to be noticed, nor applauded. Our goal is not to become an icon in a church somewhere or to be written up by a hagiographer. Our good works may never be known to those beyond the witnesses. But God sees. Our goal is to incarnate the love of God in utmost humility. In secret is best.

This little quote from Maharaj encapsulates this Gospel truth: "Leave fame for others. Become so small that you cannot be seen."

With Love,
 Fr. Antony