August 2008

Fr. Antony Portrait

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Christ is in our midst!

The summer seems to have flown.  Already it is August, the Feast of the Dormition is approaching.  By the time you get this I probably will have returned from the Symposium and my annual two weeks at the Antiochian Village.  Before you know it school will be in session again and college students will be returning to Liturgy.  Time marches on and we are powerless to stop it.

As I grow older I remember my parents wondering aloud about the passage of time. It really does seem to speed up the older you are.  In this there is a lesson and a tool for the spiritual life.  Everything is impermanent.  Change is occurring all the time.  Nothing and no one can escape unscathed.  We are, in fact, dying a little everyday.

We can either resist or embrace this reality, but if we resist, we suffer. Reality does not change simply because we choose not to accept it.  While we delude ourselves into believing otherwise, the world still changes, we grow older, our kids graduate from college and move on with their lives, we get sick and eventually we die.  No amount of makeup, plastic surgery or wishful thinking can make this not so.  We are like the grass of the field, Christ tells us, here today and tomorrow thrown on the fire.  The more we grasp at anything the more it slips through our fingers.

The answer is to embrace reality as it is.  This inexorable movement of time can be a tool rather than a burden.  We need to stop resisting, allow things to be as they are and live each moment to its fullest.  All we have is this moment. If we do not open our eyes and see "this moment" we miss life as it is and we will never really live.  In "this moment" alone we can find the "peace of God that passes understanding."  In "this moment" alone we can discover the kingdom of heaven.  Everything is embodied in "this moment." St. Paul wrote that he had learned to be content in all situations.  We can too.

"Rejoice always," wrote St. Paul.  "The joy of the Lord is my strength," he wrote in another place.  If we come to see things as they really are, we will see that every moment comes equipped with the potential for joy.  "God is in all places, filling all things."  For what reason, then, do we have to complain?

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Antony