December 2007 letter
We have just started the nativity fast that leads to a new year and ends with Christmas. On an earthly scale we revise our accounts and study our losses and gains during the year. We should even better take this opportunity to revise our spiritual life; our weaknesses that we should struggle to depart from, and our strengths that we have learned and gained, either in our personal life or our relationship with God or relationship with others. In this respect we remember the words of St. Paul: “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged” (1Co 11: 31).
The following verses will help us look through ourselves and be ready for this New Year:
v “For now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Ro 13: 11-12).
v “And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things” (1Co 9: 25).
v “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph 4: 30).
v “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits” (1Co 15: 33).
v “Owe no one anything except to love one another” (Ro 13: 8).
v “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phi 2: 4).
v “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col 3: 13).
Our church helps us repent and revise ourselves in the New Year eve by a spiritual night. We will start on December 31st by vespers at 8:30 p.m., followed by prayers, hymns and contemplations till after midnight when the Holy Mass starts. This will give us the opportunity to start our New Year in church in the presence of the Lord, asking Him to grant us a peaceful and joyful year to our church, families and selves.
As for the church news, St. Michael’s chapel has been extended to accommodate more people on the Wednesday mass. Also reminding you of the dates of the feast of St. Philopateer Mercurius, this will be celebrated on Saturday, December 1st at 7 p.m., with vesper prayers in the presence of H.G. Bishop David, as His Grace will anoint the relics of St. Mercurius. The following day, His Grace will pray the Holy mass at 8:30 a.m. on this occasion. The eve of the feast will be celebrated on Tuesday the 4th of December at 7 p.m., and Holy Mass the following day at 10 a.m.
We ask you all to remember the church, its priest and it servants in your prayers. May the blessing of Saint Mary, Saint Philopateer Mercurius, and this Holy fast be with us all.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, December 1, 2007