“Take heart, it is I; have no fear.”
Dear to Christ the parishioners of St. George,
We are still celebrating the “Dormition of the Theotokos”. In the Gospel of this Sunday, we hear the words of Jesus to the apostles “have no fear”, I am here with you. Many times, we feel we are abandoned by God in the midst of a storm in our lives, especially if we fall sick. St. John Chrysostom says that it is wrong to ask for good health just for the sake of being healthy. He says that sickness and tribulations are given to us for 8 reasons. Here is what he said: To address this seeming contradiction, Saint John Chrysostom (c. 347 – 407), named eight reasons why God allowed sorrows for His chosen people:
1. It was necessary so that the people who had discovered great talents in themselves would not puff themselves up above the others.
2. It precluded others from declaring saints to be gods, and thus protected them from the sin of idolatry.
3. God’s power becomes most visible when it manifests itself in human weakness.
4. By accepting sorrows, they were prepared to follow God unconditionally, not in the expectation of some worldly benefit or reward.
5. By enduring sorrows, the saints testify to all Christians of the forthcoming resurrection, when all those who have withstood hardships for the sake of God will be glorified and honoured.
6. The saints who remain steadfast in their sorrows give comfort and reassurance to all who are burdened.
7. The saints experience their moments of weakness, which makes their experiences more relevant and relatable to other people – they no longer see them as super-heroes whose example they could never emulate.
8. In their torments, the saints reveal to us the true meaning of happiness and unhappiness. True happiness is to achieve oneness with God by living a virtuous life, and unhappiness is to isolate ourselves from Him behind a wall of sin. Saint John Chrysostom concludes, “Aware of this many reasons for the sorrows of the saints, let us not grumble in our trials. Let us cast aside all doubt or confusion, temper our spirits, and teach others the same.” St. Paul in todays Epistle he says: “the fire itself will test each one’s work of what sort it is.”
Orthodox Christians do not celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and party on Sunday morning. Orthodox Christians go to church on Sunday morning and celebrate the Death and Resurrection of Christ with the Body of Christ. During a fast of the Church, we should refrain from all celebrations where music, dance, and alcohol is used. A fasting time in the Orthodox Church is a time of prayer, repentance, and preparation to celebrate a feast day. Orthodox Christians arrive to church at the beginning of Orthros at 9 AM.
Sunday school is in need of 3 teachers. If you have been given a talent or a calling to teach, please contact Amanda Qaqish.
Many people ask what is confession? Here is a course on confession St. Athanasius College/confession.
St. Paul says we will be tested “the fire itself will test each one’s work of what sort it is. Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
Looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday and experience God presence in our midst.