February 2016 Message From Father Peter
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Glory To Jesus Christ! Glory Forever
What a great time I had taking once, again, the more than five hundred mile journey around the parish blessing homes! I am so grateful that each year you willingly welcome me to your homes so that I could bestow the blessing of the Church upon your homes with the newly sanctified Jordan (Holy Water). This feast day is high on my list of favorite celebrations. It gives me an opportunity to offer back to you the many blessings that I receive from you throughout the entire year. You are my spiritual family, and like my own family in the flesh, you do so much to support my ministry.
While I have often preached about St John Chrysostom’s understanding that the Home of an Orthodox Christian is to be a “Little Church”, this year in my travels throughout the parish blessing homes, this image came alive to me.
In virtually every home I visited, I felt the presence of Christ very strongly as we prayed and broke bread together. I felt a strong sense of peace and prayerfulness. And as we reminisced, and spoke of our triumphs and tragedies over the past year, time seemed to stand still and the anxieties and cares of daily life did not seem so heavy. Like our parish church, our homes are meant to be sanctuaries, that is safe and holy places where we come to rejuvenate ourselves through, rest and prayer and physical nourishment. Unfortunately, we know all too well - even in the Parish Rectory, that we far too often lose sight of this reality and we lose this peace and tranquility.
Let us resolve this year to break this cycle and preserve at all cost the sacred nature of our homes being that little Church. With the blessing of our homes, we have re-consecrated them to God. They have been immersed with Holy Water, which has the power to drive out demons and hostile spirits. I have witnessed this first hand on a few occasions over the years when I have been called on to come bless a home, a business or a health care facility which has been troubled by the machinations of the Evil One.
Let us then be more diligent in our personal prayer rules at home. Families pray together: before meals, before bed, and especially as your children leave for school in the morning. Be sure to set aside a special place in your homes, a corner of the living room or dining room for a family altar or a holy corner, where you burn a candle before an icon, and where you keep Holy water, and a sprig of the blessed Pussy Willow or Palms. Having this visible reminder of the home being a little Church will go a long way in helping to maintain the sanctity and peace of the home.
Praying that our homes may in this New Year be places of sanctuary, peace and joy, I remain,
With Love in Christ, and Prayers