Monday, March 14, 2016

Forgiveness: Two short Letters

Sharing what was shared with me: Forgiveness - Two short Letters

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Dan Everiss

Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 12:51 PM

 From: Saint Edward Brotherhood []
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2016 1:44 AM
To: Undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Fwd: Forgiveness - Two short Letters

From: Bishop Chrysostomos
Date: 14 March 2016 00:20:16 GMT
and the Mysteries of the Church
Εὐλογία Κυρίου!
May God bless you!
            On this very special Sunday, according to an ancient tradition of the Church, we all fall prostrate (or bow) to the ground before one another, clergy and faithful alike, at end of “Forgiveness Vespers,” saying, “Forgive me, a sinner.” I often marvel at how powerful this act is.
Yet in our lukewarm Orthodoxy today, when some modernist Orthodox do not even observe this tradition, dismissing it as “burdensome,” we underestimate its importance. On this day, a precursor to Pascha, the Passover and Resurrection of our Lord, our hearts are quickened and our inner spiritual yearnings—expressing our nostalgia for God and the “other life”—are resurrected. Moreover, there is a physical quality to this experience, such that our bodies respond to the inner call of the soul.
Having communed and having asked, at the Forgiveness Vespers, the forgiveness of all, Forgiveness Sunday becomes an image of the new life in Christ, both in the heart and in the body, bestowed on us by Christ’s forgiving Love and Sacrifice and reinforced in us by our forgiving love for one another. This day is, in short, a perfect image of the resurrection of soul and body.
I want to share with you a letter sent to His Grace, Bishop Auxentios today, which illustrates precisely what I have said. It is from the young wife of one of our Priests, the mother of three young children, who has undergone surgery and is now in the midst of an aggressive course of chemotherapy. This description of her health issues places the letter that she wrote in context.
I hope that this inspiring excerpt from the letter, which I have slightly edited, removing the writer’s name (though some of you know her), will move all of you to reflect on what I have said about the power of the Mysteries of the Church and of forgiveness.
Asking your forgiveness, † Bishop Chrysostomos
Dear Bishop Auxentios,


I want to share with you a miracle.

For the past two days I've been in utter hell (there is no other way to describe it) dealing with the drugs that I am taking in chemotherapy.  The worst thing was a migraine headache that crept up on me Friday morning.  For two days I've lain in bed in agony.  Nothing would take it away.

This morning I was weeping.  I asked Fr. [xxx] to let me commune.  As I walked into our chapel, I began to weep. At the Ambon he gave me Holy Communion. I then sat down and began to weep even more than before. When he came to sit next to me, I began to confess my sins, asking his forgiveness for everything that I might have inadvertently said or things I might have inadvertently done that might have hurt him over the past months.
He did the same with me. It was an extremely moving moment.  One that we've not experienced before. As we then left the chapel, I came in to lie down and ate some food. As of now, my migraine has completely lifted, and this without pain medication of any kind.
I find this to be a very moving experience, and especially on this Sunday of Forgiveness vespers. I know that God is in the midst of this very difficult time, and I thank you all for your prayers. Please share the story. I don't think we can ever underestimate the value of admitting one's sins, asking forgiveness for those sins, and living with a grateful heart.
Before we left the chapel we both sang "Awed By the Beauty" to the Theotokos. She is so pure and full of the love that we must always hold in ourselves for Christ, her Son.

Kissing Your Right Hand,


The Most Reverend Chrysostomos, former
Archbishop and Metropolitan emeritus of Etna

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