St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

September 2019

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

I quoted Carl Jung in last Sunday's sermon when he wrote, "Only the mystics bring creativity into religion." This reminds me of something in Christos Yannaras' book (out of print, I believe), ELEMENTS OF FAITH. He pointed out that hyper-conservatives have nothing creative to offer. If the Church is a living, breathing, Spirit-filled organism, then it will grow and expand and continually become more and more like the Blessed Trinity who is forever creating and giving birth to new and wondrous things. The Church of Jesus Christ is forever growing and yes, changing, as the Spirit leads. Hyper-conservatism wants to keep everything "just as it has always been."

The word "mystic" often frightens and confuses people because it implies a direct, unmediated relationship with God. It is a relationship that is governed not by rules and regulations, but by love and grace. We human beings are far more comfortable when everything is spelled out for us. We find security in that. However, the spiritual life is not "secure" because it cannot be predicted or controlled. No relationship can in the same way that life cannot. How much more so the relationship with God. Life in God is an adventure. There are no cookie-cutter Christians.

The majority have come to believe over the centuries that only monks can be mystics. This gives birth to deadening conformity and rampant clericalism. I do not believe that, I like what William McNamara has to say about it.

"The mystic is not a special kind of person; each person is a special kind of mystic."

Everyone is called to this mystical life, not a simplistic imitation of the saintliness of others, but the nurturing of a holiness that is wholly unique to each person. As each one puts on the mind of Christ, the uniqueness of every person is revealed to be another magnificent facet in the jewel that includes everyone and everything. Each facet reflects the light in a particular and special way. True spirituality does not call for mindless conformity, but absolute and personal authenticity.

May God help us to discover the truth of who we are in Christ.

With love in Christ, Fr. Antony