Icon of the Meeting of the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth (LK 1:39-56), with Jesus and John the Baptist alive and aware in their wombs.
Dear Parish Faithful,
"To love Christ means not to be a hireling, not to look upon a noble life as an enterprise or trade, but to be a true benefactor and to do everything only for the sake of love for God." — St. John Chrysostom
Affirming the Sanctity of Life
Yesterday (January 22) was Sanctity of Life Sunday in the OCA. This is a day on which we openly affirm our belief that all life is sacred, especially the lives of preborn children in the wombs of their respective mothers. The Church affirms that life has greater priority than a "choice."
If you were at the Liturgy you will recall that I read this year's pastoral letter from Metropolitan Tikhon on the subject, adding some further commentary during the homily. This letter was firm, balanced and compassionate. It deserves a careful and thoughtful reading. This letter can be found on the OCA website, here attached for your convenience. At the end of letter, you will find the petitions and prayer that we offered to God in yesterday's Liturgy. These can be used during one's personal prayers at home. You will also find a video at the same site of Metropolitan Tikhon being interviewed. This is also well-done:
If you think that you need to be further informed on the Orthodox Christian position on bio-ethical issues - and who doesn't? - one of which is, of course, abortion; then I have included links to two remarkable books by Fr. John & Lyn Breck.
The strength of Fr. John's writing is that in addition to being an excellent theologian who writes with great pastoral sensitivity; he also has full command of the biological/scientific facts that are essential to being fully informed on these issues. Fr. John ably demonstrates how biology/science works in favor of Orthodox theological positions. Lyn Breck has years of experience as a counselor and spiritual retreat leader. In Ch. 5 of Stages on Life's Way she addresses addictions and family systems with great insight. These are two endlessly rich resources to have at hand when dealing with such important contemporary issues.
The Sacred Gift of Life : Orthodox Christianity and Bioethics
Stages on Life's Way: Orthodox Thinking on Bioethics (SVS Foundations Series Book 1)
— Fr. Steven
See also the Orthodox Christians for Life website for resources and ways to connect with other Orthodox Christians to support the Sanctity of Life.
"From ancient times, all who have believed in the One God have believed that He takes special care in the formation of each human being. As God Himself expressed to Jeremiah: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you' (Jeremiah 1:5).
"In the moment of conception in the mother’s womb, a human being comes into existence. Yet even before being conceived and formed, this human being is known by God. God exists outside of time, and already knows and loves each one of us personally, knowing what we will do and who we will become both in this life and in eternity. As Solomon proclaims, “God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things that they might exist” (Wisdom of Solomon 1.13-14). God wants us to be alive, and certainly, this is why we must speak against abortion and its legalization in our country: it is in opposition to God’s loving plan to bring a human being into the world to live..."