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At present the ship of the Church is being rocked by buffeting winds. High passions are revealed. It seems that any attempt to pour water on the flames will in fact pour oil on the flames, not gathering, as is the intention, but dividing. This situation will grow worse and spread over the next few months. What then can be said to all, whatever side we are on?

1) Let us not lose sight of the main thing, which is the salvation of our souls. In a paraphrase of the famous words of St Seraphim - we cannot hope to help others, if we are not ourselves saving our own souls. In particular, we should turn to those who, as has been revealed through the Church, have already saved their souls. These are the saints. Let us read their lives at this time and the Gospel and Epistles which they followed.

2) Let us follow our bishops. It is true that sometimes we may not agree with them. It is also true that we all make mistakes. Nevertheless, our bishops have been appointed to care for us. Here obedience is the greater virtue. For where wrong has been done, Providence will adjust it. The Church belongs not to us, but to Christ. We are merely Her poor servants.

3) The Great Fast is already approaching. That is a time of renewed prayer, fasting and repentance. Let us remember to pray for all, those who are near and those who are far, those who have helped us and those who have not helped us. Brotherly and sisterly prayer for all, without exception, will surely calm all, help others and help ourselves.

4) Let us recall that our task is to discern God’s Will and do it. At Optina it was said: ‘It is not he who sees angels who is great, but he who sees his own sins’. It is only our sins which blind us to discerning God’s Will.

5) The main virtues at this present disturbed and disturbing time must be humility, calm, peace and moderation. Let us all do our best to observe them.

A sinner, I ask for the prayers of those who read this.

Fr Andrew

4/17 January
Feast of the Holy Apostles


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