When I read this message from our archbishop on the first day of Lent, it lightened my heart and gave me a boost. Today Emily posted exhortations gleaned from Pope Benedict XVI that reminded me to point to Metropolitan Jonah’s message, which Father L. read to us last night at church. Two excerpts:
“Do you want to be made well?” Our Savior addressed this question to the man who was paralyzed thirty-eight years (John 5:6). A similar question could be asked of us: “Do you want to go home?” The answer is not a foregone conclusion. “Do you want to return to your Father’s house? Do you want to leave the pigpen of the passions? Do you want to be washed clean, filled with light, robed in dignity, and transformed with the glory of God?” Whether we know it or not, we respond yes or no to these questions every day of our lives, every hour, every minute. One moment we may set our face toward Jerusalem – to the cross that awaits us there, and to the joy and glory that come only through the cross – but the next moment we go running back to our comfortable passions and delusions. We waffle and vacillate, reassuring ourselves that before time has run out we will surely have made an irrevocable commitment to Christ.
In our Father’s house are many dwellings, and Christ has gone ahead to prepare a place for us. He will come again and take us to Himself, that where He is, we may be also. We know the narrow way He has trod. He Himself is the way, and the truth, and the life (cf. John 14: 2–4). If we are with Him, we have nothing to fear! At the last and great Day, at the end of the age, we will behold the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband (cf. Revelation 21). With joy we will enter in to celebrate an eternal Pascha – God with us and we with Him. He shall wipe away every tear from our eyes, and at long last we shall be home.