St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

June/July 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Gospel is simple and is very Good News. We have been saved, deified, purified, and lifted up into the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Do you doubt this? Read these words from St. John of Kronstadt (1829-1909).

"Human nature is deified for the sake of the boundless compassion of the Son of God; and its sins are purified; the defiled are sanctified. The ailing are healed. Upon those in dishonour are boundless honour and glory bestowed. Those in darkness are enlightened by the Divine light of grace and reason."

+John of Kronstadt

The Orthodox understanding of love and how his grace permeates creation has remained constant from the beginning until now. "We are saved by grace," writes St. Paul, "and not by works." As one of my dearest friends told me only yesterday, "Don't mess around with grace," although he used rather more colorful words. That human nature has been deified means that all that humanity has been saved.

St. John Chrysostom's exquisite Paschal Sermon uses the Lord's parable of the Workers who come at various times and are paid the very same wage. That is not fair, of course, but grace has nothing to do with fairness. Grace is not fair, it is amazingly unfair. If that isn't Good News, then I don't know what is.

With love,
Fr. Antony