Monthly Reflections from Fr. Antony Hughes

Fr. Antony reading the Gospel In every edition of our parish's newsletter, Fr. Antony offers a short, but inspiring message to complement the activities, minsitries, and current events of the life of the church.  Below is a collection of these messages.

May 2011

The Paschal Season is for celebrating the goodness of God and giving thanks for all He has done for us. But that does not mean our spiritual efforts should stop. Read more »

April 2011

Orthodox theology is a beautiful thing. It speaks of God as a loving Creator and of humanity as destined for union with Him. The Holy Fathers and Mothers were not academics, although many of them were highly educated and brilliant in their own rights. Read more »

March 2011

Antiochian Women's Month (March) is here and once again we will be inviting our women to participate in the Divine Liturgy in ways they may not normally: reading the Epistle, taking the collection, offering a homily/reflection on our chosen theme, and holding a bread basket or kalima (red cloth) during Holy Communion. Read more »

February 2011

With great sorrow we greet the news that Christians in both Iraq and Egypt have been targeted by Muslim extremists resulting in the creation of many new martyrs. We will remember them in prayer during our services and Divine Liturgies from now through Great Lent and at Holy Pascha. Read more »

January 2011

During the cold, dark winter months the Church celebrates three Festivals of Light: the Nativity of Christ, Theophany, and the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. All of them are bright festivals commemorating specific revelations that brought light into our darkened world. Christmas is the birth of the Light Himself. Theophany is the revelation of the Trinity, the Source of Light. The Presentation is also commemoration of the entry of the Light Incarnate into the Temple built for Him. Read more »

November 2010

Do you know how a baby chicken is born? The baby chicken still inside its eggshell discovers that the shell is too small and confining. It has become uncomfortable, so the chick begins to tap the shell with its beak in an attempt to break free. From outside the shell the mother hen hears the sound of tapping and she begins to use her beak to tap against the shell. Eventually, the cooperation pays off and, voila! The baby chick emerges and all is well. Read more »

October 2010

The Feast of the Cross reminds us of the overarching reality of life, that we, and everything in this created order, are impermanent. Everything and everyone is passing away and there is not one thing that we can do about it. Read more »

September 2010

We are about to embark on a new year. September 1 is the beginning of the Liturgical year in the Orthodox Church. In a way it marks "the end of the summer" with everyone back at school and vacation over. I love this time of year for a variety of reasons, one of which is that we experience a reunion at St. Mary's. I am looking forward to seeing everyone again. Read more »

August 2010

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. Read more »

June 2010

Long ago, when I was a little boy, a Roman Catholic priest came to speak at our church in Erwin, Tennessee. We attended a Presbyterian church at that time having left the Baptist church just down the street a year or so earlier. The priest's name was Fr. LaFrance. He was an imposing figure for a small child: tall, a full head of jet black hair, and eyes that seem to have their own source of light. Read more »

May 2010

Christ is Risen! It is amazing how often I hear people saying that they are not worthy to receive Holy Communion as if any of us are or ever could be! Worthiness has nothing at all to do with it. Read more »

March 2010

There are many lessons to learn in Lent and one of them is this: we have only moments to live and each one deserves our full attention. That is why the Fathers instruct us to remember that life is short and can end at any time. Moments are precious. How many of them pass without a notice? Read more »

December 2009

We are made in the image of God. The question then must be asked, "How shall we live in a way that is compatible with that truth?" How we live reveals what we believe that image to be - the smallness or largeness of our ideas about God, the kindness or meanness, the miserliness or generosity, the ugliness or beauty. All is disclosed in the way we live, the things we say and how we treat our fellow human beings. Read more »

November 2009

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a radical message. In every age it is unwelcomed by prideful men and women. The Lord was not an ideologue. He was not conservative or liberal. Jesus does not fit into any category. He is above them all. Truth will not be hemmed in by our pet values, ignorance, fear or blindness. We want Jesus to be like us, to believe as we do, to justify our anger, our fear and our ignorance. This he will not do. Read more »

October 2009

When we are faced with difficulties we have options. Denial, resistance or acceptance. It does no good to deny the problem. Denial may distract us from the issue for awhile, but sooner or later it will resurface and even more energy will be needed to pretend the issue doesn't exist. The old adage about one rotten apple contaminating the whole barrel comes to mind. Read more »

September 2009

People often see the spiritual life as superfluous. Prayer does not seem relevant and church attendance even less so. The rules and regulations that make up the content of much of what passes for spirituality are off-putting, seen as cultural relics of a less enlightened age. Some of the trappings, I admit, do obscure the point. But I suspect that the real problem is that the spirituality (or lack of) people have been taught simply does not work. It makes no discernible difference in day to day life. Read more »

June 2009

Recently, as I was having lunch with one of my sons and his friend who has been coming with him to church, his friend said something like this: The difference between my church and yours is that the people in your church seem happy to be there. I was surprised, You mean the people aren't happy to be in yours? Not at all, was his reply. I had to agree with him on his first point. People are happy to be at St. Mary's. On the second I only felt sad. Read more »

May 2009

I was greatly inspired by this quote from the famous Roman Catholic mystic, Bede Griffiths. He wrote that God cannot be expressed, cannot properly be thought. It is present everywhere, in everything, yet it always escapes our grasp. Read more »

April 2009

Christ is risen! How wonderful to be able to greet you with the joyous Paschal Greeting! Once again we were blessed to journey together through Great Lent and Holy Week to the Empty Tomb of the Savior. Now we enter the Paschal Season in which there is usually some let down, perhaps even a little confusion. What do we do now? Where do we go from here? Read more »

March 2009

Jesus said, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Believe it or not, this verse is not about monetary wealth only, but about the habit of grabbing hold of things. Jesus is referring to possessiveness and attachment. Only God can bring true happiness, but we convince ourselves that we can find it in things, in relationships or in ideologies. But only eternal things can bring lasting happiness. Read more »