Mary, Our Cause of Rejoicing

by His Grace Bishop Basil

Her relationship with Christ was a unique relationship, something that no one else can have. It gives her a unique place in salvation history. Until the coming of the Archangel Gabriel to the dwelling in Nazareth, the people of God would make pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem, to worship God who was present there, and to revere the very stones of the temple. Yet at a moment in time, in an obscure Palestinian village, in a young virgin, that temple became passé and irrelevant. She became the temple, and it is for that reason that we venerate her. She became the temple, a unique thing that gives her a unique position in our salvation. It was from her blood that God took blood, blood that would become the fountain for our immortal life. It was of her flesh that God took flesh, the flesh that is now offered to us as the food of immortality.

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Dachau 1945: The Souls of All are Aflame

by Douglas Cramer

In the open air, behind the shanty, the Orthodox gather together, Greeks and Serbs. In the center, both priests, the Serb and the Greek. They aren’t wearing golden vestments. They don’t even have cassocks. No tapers, no service books in their hands. But now they don’t need external, material lights to hymn the joy. The souls of all are aflame, swimming in light.

Blessed is our God. My little paper-bound New Testament has come into its glory. We chant “Christ is Risen” many times, and its echo reverberates everywhere and sanctifies this place.

Hitler’s Germany, the tragic symbol of the world without Christ, no longer exists. And the hymn of the life of faith was going up from all the souls; the life that proceeds buoyantly toward the Crucified One of the verdant hill of Stein.

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Everything is Like an Ocean: On the Essential Role of the Saints

by Fr. John Oliver

There is a scene in The Brothers Karamazov, the novel by the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, featuring a long thoughtful speech by the elderly monk Zossima, who is nearing the end of his life. Fr. Zossima tells those under his care that they will come to a point in their spiritual lives when they will not think it strange to ask forgiveness from the birds. “That sounds senseless,” Fr. Zossima says, “but it is right.” Then the good monk offers this: “Everything is like an ocean, all is flowing and blending; a touch in one place sets up movement at the other end of the earth.”

This sense of the interconnectedness of all things, that there exists a fundamental unity to all life, that all humanity is like a finely woven fabric wherein all threads are in some kind of relationship with one another—this may be the primary reason why the saints of God are so critical for our time and so necessary for all times. When the holiness of God—in the form of a saint—enters through the surface of our world, the ripples go forth and somehow raise all that exists toward the Kingdom of Heaven.

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