Monday, May 15, 2017

Thank You!

Dearly beloved in Christ,

Christ is risen!

Once again, I wish to thank all of you for your prayers and good wishes during my recent hospitalization. I apologize and ask your forgiveness for the inconvenience my illness has caused you, especially the members of my much-loved flock.

For those of you who don't know, I was taken to the hospital at 3:00am on Monday morning (May 8th) for internal bleeding. I remained in the hospital until my release this past Friday, May 12th.

No one likes to be sick nor do any of us want to be a burden to others, but it is during such difficult and trying times that one gets to see the real faces and personalities of others. During times of difficulties, adversity and sickness, one's faith and beliefs are truly put to the test. You also get to see what Christianity means to those of your fellows who bear the name of Christ through Baptism.

I am grateful to God for my illness for it has helped me grow spiritually and in humility. The experiences of my illness coupled together with my incarceration have proven to be the most precious gifts I have ever received. My journey in faith has been enriched by both experiences and my current medical situation has opened new doors in my relationship with Christ.

While none of us wants to suffer, it is nevertheless something greatly beneficial for our souls and bodies. Suffering is a means of enlightenment and purification. It allows us to see things more clearly and appreciate things more profoundly. When we suffer, we appreciate more the things we have and we no longer take things for granted. 

Suffering changes lives and we we are firm and strong in our faith, those changes are all for the good and better. We should not fear suffering when it visits us in any form, but we should welcome it and embrace it and deal with it in prayer and gracefully. The context in which we handle our suffering manifests the depth of our faith in Christ and our belief in His promise to save. Therefore, if we truly believe that Christ can do all things, then we should rejoice in our suffering as an opportunity to manifest the truth of our Orthodox Catholic Faith.

May our sufferings always be to the greater glory of God and may we always give thanks to Him for the opportunity to join our sufferings to His.

Once again, i thank you all for your prayers on my behalf. Please know that you are also always in my prayers and in my heart.

With love in the Risen Christ, I remain,

Your loving father and brother,
+Stephen