August 2010

Fr. Antony Portrait

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Our faith calls us to much more than simply believing a set of theological propositions and adhering to a list of moral imperatives; it calls for the radical transformation of human life from the inside out. This is not an instantaneous event. It is a process of purification that continually leads us deeper in a gravitational pull to the image of God within, to Divine love, without which there is no spiritual life at all.

But we so often get distracted when people get in the way, or circumstances, or our own crazy impulses and compulsions. We know this is happening when we become agitated. Agitation is the sign that the ego has been aroused or wounded and then, watch out!

How to guard against agitation? By leaving behind all self-interest. Here is how Thomas Merton put it.

"In order to defend ourselves against agitation, we must be detached not only from the immediate results of our work - and this is difficult and rare - but from the whole complex of aims that govern our earthly lives. We have to be detached from health and security, from pleasures and possessions, from people and places and conditions and things. We have to be indifferent to life itself, in the Gospel sense, living like the lillies of the field, seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven..."

Radical indeed! Who of us can claim this type of holy detachment and devotion to the Cross? Yet this is the Christian path of self-renunciation and denial which in practice leads us directly to true life, to freedom, and thus to God. Slowly, but surely, living moment by moment, keeping our hearts and minds on God's will as it is revealed step by step, we begin to detach from all those things that, in the ultimate sense, do not matter. In letting go of our concern over all those things we are promised that we will receive what we need in abundance.

In Christ,

Fr. Antony