Pastoral Message from the November Beacon
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On November 21, the Church celebrates the Great Feast of the Theotokos’ Entrance into the Temple. It was on this day, when she turned 3 years of age, that Joachim and Anna gave her to the Lord. From that day until she became betrothed to Joseph, the Theotokos lived in the Holy Temple. As difficult as this may have been for her parents, this was the will of the Lord expressed to them prior to her conception.
It is truly a remarkable account! When the Theotokos was taken to the Temple, she walked up the steps full of joy and never looked back! She knew, in her heart, that she was going to be with the Lord and was eagerly going to Him. This may seem unusual and difficult, and for most it is, but that is because most aren’t at that point on their journey of faith.
We are blessed to be celebrating this Great Feast this year on a Sunday. In fact, it is the Sunday immediately prior to another “Great Feast,” that of Thanksgiving. Just as the Theotokos yearned to be with the Lord, we also yearn to be with our families—especially on Thanksgiving.
As a priest, I have the tremendous blessing of being with you at the happiest times of our lives, and at the most difficult. What is almost universal—almost– is that people yearn more to be with God as they realize their mortality. When we are young, we believe the we are immortal—not really, but functionally. When we are old, we feel all the aches and pains of our bodies. This “weakness” often translates into a greater faith—as we lose our physical health, we gain spiritual heath.
The good news is that we don’t have to wait for our “weakness” in body to gain strength in our souls. Knowing consciously that this is the path that we are on, we can accelerate our growth in faith. We can allow this knowledge to travel from our minds to our hearts through spiritual obedience and adoption of spiritual practices: weekly Divine Liturgy, Holy Confession, fasting, tithing, praying, reading the scripture, becoming a disciple...and the list goes on. We can become as the Theotokos as she entered the Temple—yearning to be with God with childlike enthusiasm and love. The choice in in our minds...the work in in our actions...the result is in our souls.
In His Service,
Rev. Father Jon Boukis