Summer is here!
Dearest Spiritual Ohana, Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a wonderful Summer!
The last two months have been very eventful for our Cathedral. From April into May, we experienced the celebration of Holy Week and Pascha as well as the Feast Day of our Patron Saints Constantine and Helen. I would like to thank everyone for their generous donations toward items needed for these special days and to all who participated and offered their talents to make that time of the year so special.
I take this time to convey congratulations to all of our High School Graduates, including: Stephanos Banasihan, Nate Chu, Alexander Hwu, Eu-nae Mann and Nicholas Tortora! What wonderful young people they are! On Sunday, May 22nd, our Graduates were honored by our Sunday School with Orthodox Study Bibles and gifted with scholarships from Philoptochos. The President of our Philoptochos, Alma Chu, delivered very beautiful, heart-felt, personal and moving remarks about each one of our Graduates.
Now that we approach the conclusion of the Paschal Season and enter into the summer months, let us continue to rejoice in the Lord’s constant and boundless Love and Mercy He bestows upon us! Never forget all He has done for us and still does for us!
The 2016 Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha was most memorable and meaningful to me and must have been to many of you too, personally! We had the Blessing to have in our midst, not just once, nor twice, but three times the Holy Theotokos of Iveron Icon during Great Lent, specifically at the 3rd Salutations to the Theotokos, at the 5th Salutations to the Theotokos (Akathist) and the 5th Sunday of Great Lent when we commemorate St. Mary of Egypt! This is such a vivid and “in your face” reminder that God, the Virgin Mary, the Angels and the Saints are very real especially in a time when the world is so filled with darkness, confusion, natural disasters, blurred lines for what is right and what is wrong, etc.
We need to experience the Glory of God through Great Lent and Pascha, yearly, so that we do not ever forget Him! In a brief conversation with Reader Nectarios, the Keeper of the Holy Theotokos Icon of Iveron, I mentioned to him that “it must be quite a heavy responsibility to be Her keeper.” Reader Nectarios related to me the words of his Spiritual Father, Elder Ephraim, regarding the great responsibility. He said, “My Spiritual Father, Fr. Ephraim told me that ‘the temptation is to get too comfortable having Her in your presence.’” In other words, one must never take the Blessings and Miracles from God for granted nor to allow Them to become common place!
So, likewise, we should never take what our Lord has done for us for granted! Living in the Nation of the United States, the “Land of Liberty,” we cannot forget that true freedom, liberty and joy come from our relationship with God and not to be mistaken for “doing whatever we desire,” void of His Presence. For when we follow our own selfish desires, we do not become truly free or happy but become quite the opposite: bound and left always finding a way to fill a bottomless void which can only be filled with God’s Loving Presence. For our Lord Jesus Christ Himself says: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life...” (John 14:6)
With Love in Christ