Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
God’s grace be with you!
We are going through critical days. All of us, individually and socially, feel pressure and wonder. We wonder about the course of events and about our possible future. We seek a way out and hope for a positive outcome. As people of living faith, we have the privilege of conversing with the God of all, our Triune God, who never ceases to watch us with interest at every step of our lives.
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is the Head of our Church and we are His blessed Body and each one of us is a member of the Body (see 1 Cor. 12:27), but we are also members of one another (see Eph. 4:25) and thus we are interdependent. Our common Lord and Savior nurtures us, feeds us, cares for us, and loves us. This we must never forget.
Our Merciful and Philanthropic Savior is full of Divine Mercy. And when He sees us coming out to meet Him, when we seek Him warmly and sincerely, He hastens to heal our sicknesses (cf. Mt 14:14), primarily mental, but sometimes also physical. He is the true Physician of soul and body.
He encourages us in the storms of life, when we are threatened by the huge waves of trials and temptations, so that we may not be afraid (see Mt 14:27), but trust Him in all things with steadfast faith. But when it seems to us that we will be overwhelmed, He fatherly rebukes us as the one of little faith, and asks us the question: why do you hesitate?…
Wherever the Lord appeared, people would rush to Him. And those who touched the edge of His garment in faith received healing and salvation (see Matt. 14:36).
And we, too, have nothing but to be taught today and always by the holy Gospel, that we may approach our Lord and God in faith in every circumstance of our lives; that despite our humility and unworthiness we may receive benefit and healing. Recourse to prayer is possible at all times. And participation in the holy Eucharist is offered to us at every Divine Liturgy, after, of course, the preparation and blessing of our Spiritual Father.
In the world around us, even in our inner man, there are usually difficult and controversial issues. However, the mentality of the world is governed by the carnal mind and the secular spirit. We, rooted in our Christ, must not allow this opposite spirit to enter into us and around us to upset us. We must preserve at all costs the peace of heart through repentance and spiritual warfare. And to preserve our church unity as a precious gift of God, given to us for our salvation.
The purpose of our Pastoral Admonition, our Apostolic Decree, is to preserve Love, which springs from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith (cf. 1 Tim. 1:5), according to St. Apostle Paul.
Sin, whether open or hidden, is the cause that brings division, alienation and separation. On the contrary, the grace of Repentance and Forgiveness bring freedom, courage, joy, strength, clarity of thought, peace of mind, hope in God, love of neighbor and rich meaning in life; in a word: divine blessing!
I wish God’s blessing on all and may you be built up in faith and grow in virtue in the Spirit!
With paternal wishes of love
Humble Bishop Clement of Gardikion
Vicar of the Holy Eparchy of Moravia