Happy New Year to All! 2018 is here!

With each “ringing in” of the New Year, we are given a stark reminder that time does not stand still, but continues to march on! When each year comes and goes, I am reminded that our earthly lives are constantly in motion: changing, growing, maturing, rising up, declining, etc. We can predict and anticipate what lies ahead of us, but we really do not know ultimately and exactly where the future will take us. We remember the times that have past and share cherished memories and we also recall regrets, sorrows and everything in between. The past is gone and will never come back, but will remain a part of our history in the recesses of our memory. The present is always in the constant “now” and at this very moment. Such is the phenomenon of the passage of the created element we call “time” which includes the past, future and present!

In celebrating the incoming 2018 New Year, I would like to share with you some beautiful words of wisdom and guidelines for proper and worthy use of time from one of the Holy Elders of the Church, Metropolitan Philaret Voznesensky, the New Confessor:

1. Remember, you are a son (daughter) of the Orthodox Church. These are not empty words. Remember the commitment this entails.

2. Earthly life is fleeting; one is hardly aware of the swiftness of its passing. Nevertheless, this transient life determines the eternal destiny of your soul. Do not forget this for a moment.

3. Try to live piously. Pray to God in church, pray to God at home--fervently, with faith, trusting yourself to God's will. Fulfill the holy and saving precepts of the Church, her rules and commandments. Outside the Church, outside obedience to her, there is no salvation.

4. The gift of words is one of God's greatest gifts. It ennobles man, lifting him above all other creatures. But how this gift is now misused by and corrupts humanity! Safeguard this gift and learn to use it as befits a Christian. Do not judge, do not speak idly. Avoid, like fire, bad language and seductive conversation; do not forget the words of our Lord and Savior: By thy words thou shall be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Mt 12:37) Do not indulge in lying. Holy Scripture (Continued on page 2) 2 sternly forewarns: The Lord shall destroy all them which speak a lie. (Ps 5:4)

5. Love your neighbor as yourself, according to the Lord's commandment. Without love there is not Christianity. Remember, Christian love is SELFSACRIFICING, and not egocentric. Do not miss an opportunity to show love and mercy.

6. Be meek, pure and modest in your thoughts, words and deeds. Do not imitate the profligate. Do not take their example, and avoid close acquaintance with them. Have no unnecessary dealings with unbelievers-unbelief is infectious. Observe meekness and propriety always and everywhere; avoid becoming contaminated by the shameless habits of today’s world.

7. Fear vanity and pride; run from them. Pride caused the highest and most power angel to be cast down from heaven. remember, 'thou art earth and to earth shat thou return...' Deeply humble yourself.

8. The fundamental task in life is to save one's soul for eternity. Keep this as the most essential task, the main concern of your life. Woe to those whose indifference and neglect bring their souls to eternal ruination.

The words of Metropolitan Philaret are truly gems for us to practice as most sensible resolutions, today, and throughout our entire lives, especially for us as Orthodox Christians!

I pray that you have a most blessed and fulfilling 2018 New Year!

In the month of January, we have quite a bit happening! We will have with us our two Hierarchs from the Metropolis of San Francisco, His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, and our Chancellor, His Grace Bishop Apostolos. They will join us for part of our Epiphany Celebrations and will visit our Maui Orthodox Mission for celebrations there as well. We will have the “Oath of Office” for our 2018 Parish Council and will have the Vasilopita on Sunday, January 14th. We wish our Nisiotes and Nisiopeda Dancers and our Aloha Choir great success and fellowship at FDF!

With Love in Christ,
+Fr. Alexander

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