St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

September 2018

Fr. Antony reading the GospelDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Joseph the Hesychast (1897-1959) was an Athonite elder who possessed great wisdom and humility. I, and many others, have benefited from his teaching and example.

One of his quotes never fails to move me.

"God is everywhere. There is no place God is not ... You cry out to him, 'Where art Thou, my God?' And He answers, 'I am present, my child! I am always beside you.' Both inside and outside, above and below, wherever you turn, everything shouts, 'God!' In Him we live and move. We breathe God, we eat God, we clothe ourselves with God. Everything praises and blesses God. All of creation shouts His praise."

This is such a remarkable and inclusive vision that it beggars the imagination. In this light there is no room for despair or fear. The faith that gives birth to such an exposition of wonder and joy is a result of a life of detachment and stillness that is possible not only for monastics, but for all of us.

When we enter into a life of detachment, mindfulness, contemplative prayer, and stillness, and all the things that usually distract us fall away, the One who is "both inside and outside, above and below," reveals Himself as the very ground of our existence, the very air we breathe, energy that causes our hearts to beat.

The fruit of such spiritual practice, so much at the heart of the Gospel and the Church, is union with God and the awakening of inexpressible joy. This path is open to all who desire to take it.

With deepest Affection,

Fr. Antony