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"O Lord put a guard around my mouth, and a portal around my lips".
Pray for peace in the world and in Orthdoxy!

Dear Father,

As always you challenge me during this time of preparation with your clear thoughts. I still have 'Stavrophobos' printed and I read it from time to time.

I have been pondering the words of my Bishop, given in different context not at all directed to the events at hand, but apropos to the discussion here. They have been a source of comforting redirection:
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I think that one reason so many bishops have fallen into controversy and scandal is because they are virtually alone. They are not loved. They are feared, or perhaps admired because they conform to the opinions of their admirers, but they are rarely loved. So, when they err, they are treated without mercy. Therefore, the bishops live in fear of their people, and so become captive to the passions, the same passions that dominate the people they are supposed to be helping.

We are losing our love for one another. We are growing cold. We are in danger of abandoning the Faith in favor of empty rituals and Gnosticism. We no longer catechize converts through prayer and spiritual experience, but rote memorization of facts emptied of their love.

Virtue is becoming a stranger. Men no longer recognize courage and honor, because they have been effeminized to value covert aggression and superficial etiquette. We are now more interested in courtly behavior or political intrigues than the quiet strength of loving humility and patience.

. . .

The Scriptures say we are to be known by our love for one another. Yet, it seems that love is all but forgotten. For example, when people complain about the overlapping jurisdictions in America, Australia and Western Europe, we never hear about love. We hear about people’s anger, despair and frustration, but those who complain almost never speak of their love for others.

I believe that God has allowed this present situation to teach us lessons that need to be learned, the greatest amongst these is love. Until we learn to love one another, we will not be united. In turn, the synod of bishops that takes up the cause of love will receive God’s blessing to shepherd the people of America.

We have hope, because God has not abandoned us. Nor will He allow the Church to be overtaken by her enemies. We have hope because God loves us.

And, it is this love that is all that we really have to offer. Everything else found in the parish can be found somewhere else in the world of much higher quality: better music, better food, better preaching, better art… the only thing we have to offer is love.

[From His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH’s Address to the Faculty and Students of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, March 10, 2008, Crestwood, New York]
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Thank you again, Fr. Jonathan, and may we greet the Paschal dawning with joy! Pray for me.

Father, bless. Thank you for this: these are the clearest words I've heard since the scandal began. I attend, as often as I can, a ROCOR Western Rite monastery in my hometown and we sing those very same words, 'Let all mortal flesh keep silence...', during the morning Mass. My favourite line from the Liturgy occurs somewhere, somewhere, I think, in the prayers the priest prays, '...that all our days be ordered in Thy peace'. I pray that this may be so. Take care.

Nice post. Reposting on my blog.

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