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.

February 2009

Most of us believe this can be ours if we have the right relationships and own the right stuff, but experience should teach us, if nothing else, that getting what we want does not make us happy for long. Soon the thrill of getting what we want gives way to disappointment and craving all over again and the cycle continues. Read more »

January 2009

St. John writes in his first epistle that we cannot love God whom we cannot see, if we first do not love our neighbor whom we can see. We are exhorted to put people above ideology. Why? Because that is what God does and we are called to be like Him. When we do the opposite we end up serving only our egos because we make ourselves judge and jury of all who deserve to be loved. Read more »

December 2008

I love the Gospel reading that combines the raising of Jairus’ daughter and the healing of the Woman with the issue of blood. The overwhelming compassion of the Savior comes alive for us in these two vignettes in which he literally releases these people from the chains that bind them. Read more »

November 2008

We are about to enter into a period of preparation called Advent. It is the forty day time of fasting and prayer that leads us to the celebration of the Great Feast of the Nativity of Christ. Fasting, if done properly, should not lead to despair and a heavy heart, but rather to a greater desire to enter into communion with God. Therefore, we should be careful how we enter into the fast. Read more »

October 2008

October 2008 is going to be historic for St. Mary's and for the Diocese of Worcester and New England as we prepare to participate in two blessed events. This month we celebrate a milestone in the life of our beloved parish, her 80th Anniversary. We will soon welcome His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV of Antioch to our Diocese. Read more »

September 2008

I look forward to the beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year (September 1) with joy. Fall is my favorite time of year for a variety of reasons, but one of the most important to me is the return of our parishioners from vacation and the many college students that call St. Mary’s home. September marks a time of new birth every year. Read more »

August 2008

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. Read more »

June 2008

This beautiful world is filled with people who have not experienced it as beautiful. Whether it is from childhood trauma, or war, or disease the result is the same: people who are in distress often for reasons they do not understand. Read more »

May 2008

The entire ethos of Holy Orthodoxy tends towards light and joy. The Resurrection pervades everything we do and think. Every Sunday is a Paschal celebration. The great mystic and saint of Russia, Seraphim of Sarov would greet every person with either Christ is Risen or calling by them My joy. Read more »

March 2008

The laying down of burdens is what Great Lent is all about. We lay aside the earthly cares of sin and self-indulgence that lead to suffering. We need not see Lent as a time of sacrifice, but rather as a time of letting go of the things that do us harm. That, my friends, is not sacrifice. That is sanity. Read more »

February 2008

The world often appears to be filled with darkness, but what is its source? It is evident that there is much suffering in the world and that evil is alive and well in the land. There are some who rail against the darkness, organize religio/political movements to combat immorality, raise armies and start wars to advance peace through bloodshed and create legislation meant to curb the evil intent of the so-called 'godless'. But all of these are vain because they do not recognize the source of the darkness itself. Read more »

January 2008

When I read this beautiful poem from the great Sufi mystic it moved me deeply. The imagery is unabashedly passionate, even erotic, but for Orthodox Christians this is not at all shocking. We believe that the love between God and his creation is most intimate. The works of Orthodox mystics often reads like love poetry. Read more »

December 2007 Monthly Message

St. Ignatius of Antioch writes that the Nativity of Christ is a "mystery wrought in the silence of God." Olivier Clement writes the Nativity is a "secret recreation" of all things in the womb of the Virgin Mother. So much of God's work is done in secret and in silence. The desire for fame and notoriety are not in God's interest. Read more »

November 2007

The pursuit of peace is a major tenant of our Faith. This means peace within and peace without. Peace is in the heart and mind for our neighbors. We pray for it in every service because we are commanded by God to "seek peace and pursue it." St. Seraphim's famous advice that makes peace in our own hearts will bring thousands around us to salvation seems to encompass the whole of the Orthodox spiritual life. Read more »

October 2007

The new Liturgical Year has begun with the return of our parishioners, Church School children, and college students. We are so happy to see you! There are many new faces among us. New couples and new students. If we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact Marilyn or me in the church office. A wonderful thing about St. Mary's is that hospitality is serious business with us. Read more »

Summer 2007

We have come to our fourteenth year together. My family and I arrived in July of 1993. It has been a wonderful and eventful time together. The parish has grown and prospered. We have watched both our sons grow and mature and, as of September, our youngest will join his brother at UMASS Amherst. In one way, our "nest" will be empty. In another, we know it never will be. The community has become our family. Read more »

September 2007

A letter from a former visitor to our parish thanking members of our community for their warmth and kindness in welcoming her and praying for her. Read more »

May 2007

Bishop KALLISTOS (Ware) in his wonderful book THE INNER KINGDOM points out that our "lack of concentration, this inability to be here and now with the whole of our being, is one of the most tragic consequences of the Fall." It is possible to pass through life without being aware of being alive. Read more »

March 2007

It is easy to drift into lethargy. Trying to stay spiritually alert takes energy and effort. Just a little goes a long way, as they say, but conscious and sustained effort each day makes a huge difference. What are the first two things we need to begin? Read more »

February 2007

One traditional approach to the Orthodox Christian life says that there are three stages: catharsis, enlightenment, and theosis (deification). The first stage is where the necessary purification of heart and mind are accomplished. Read more »