There are few joys of a blogosphere writer greater than to meet face-to-face with his readers. Such has been my experience at my time at the 16th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America. To embrace someone who can say that my articles on the death of my parents helped them to endure the death of their own parents is beyond anything I can express in words – for the love of the brethren which makes it possible to write is far extended by the tears and comfort of those who read. Glory to God for all things!
Such is also the case for all things that pertain to Christ’s holy Church. For the joy of the Church cannot be measured in words, nor can words give it true expression. My life as an Orthodox Christian has been an unending experience of the joy and strength of the brethren. Many times my heart has been broken in prayer and offered in tears and sorrow – but it has always been met in humility of love and the joyful candor of love and meekness. My sorrow has always been overcome in the love of the brethren.
The life of the Church always transcends the paucity of our own experience. The simple question, “How are you doing?” has been met by my inability to give expression to my heart.
I cannot express in words the fullness of my heart that is found in the sight and presence of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah. Any weakness which may find criticism in anothers’ words is overcome in his very sight and uncompromising love which are the fullness of my experience of his friendship. I am a weak and foolish man who easily welcomes the kindness and friendship of those whose love I do not deserve.
I have met again the many priests and laymen who, like me, are the spiritual children of Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas. I realize how unworthily his kindness and unrelenting generosity have been met by the smallness of my own Orthodox life. But my life has again been stretched. May all be saved!
An assembly of Orthodox Christians is both joy and sorrow. It is joy because the brethren constantly remind of the possibility and presence of paradise. It is sorrow because my own sin separates me from the fullness of such joy. I pray the forgiveness of my sorrowful sins and the taste of Christ’s promise. I pray also for those whose experience of the assembly of saints is itself a sorrow – God alone knows. May no one be deprived of paradise on my account.
I cannot begin to say how my heart longs for paradise and the presence of all who are readers of my own unworthy writings. Through the mercies of God, may we know each other in that place where there is no sorrow, nor sighing, but life everlasting! Glory to God for all things! May all who read be forgiven their sins! And may all pray for my soul – unworthy and empty of repentance!