One of the most important ministries of the Church throughout its history has been providing spiritual care to the sick. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has always being sensitive to the needs of this ministry from the years of the Byzantine Empire up until now. Its clergy are active in providing pastoral care to the ill, both on a parish level and in specialized facilities. read more...
December 30, 2016
Coming to know God in the joys and difficulties of life
The “light of knowledge” that shed upon the world at Christ’s birth has given every human being the opportunity to come to discern the path that leads to the knowledge of the love of the Father. This light shines within the different circumstances of life that, at certain times, bring joy and, at other times, bring sorrow.
We come to know God through a relationship that we will form with Him. We come to know His presence and love by way of His providential work, expressed through his pastoral concern for every person in every phase of life. We come to know Him in the special calling that is directed to each of us; a calling that leads us to different paths of life and exposes us to various situations bringing us in contact with various persons. These situations demand that we take on responsibilities that indeed can be overbearing while the people that we are called to minister to in various ways can often severely try our patience. We come to know Him in our tribulations, in temporary or chronic failings, in our sicknesses and in the sickness of our beloved ones. We also come to know Him from the help we receive from Him so as to overcome these and other obstacles and difficulties that we encounter in the path of life. It is a knowledge that helps in every person’s journey to perfection.
“It is a painful, delightful, imposing, earthshaking knowledge that arouses in us responsibility, warms our prayer life and brings us closer to God.
“According to this knowledge, I no longer see God as the Creator and the Provident of all. Neither do I see Him as the Mystery which reveals Himself to all, offering so called gifts. But I know Him from the special care which He demonstrates to me within the intimate relationship He has with me… Yet this intimate relationship between God and me does not prevent me from having solidarity with others, from being responsible for others, for my family, my nation, my homeland, for the age I live in and for the world of this age.” Thus, within this sincere relationship with God, I will not only come to know myself but I will come to discover and know others. This relationship will also motivate me to strive for the unity of faith through the bond of love, which is the true meaning of the Church.
Thoughts taken from the book Peri Orthodoxi Christiaiki Didaskalia
by Fr. Demetri Stanoloae, Armos Publications, p.46-47, 2011