Τετάρτη, 15 Ιανουαρίου 2014

Approaching 2014 NEW YEAR’S ENCYCLICAL by Metropolitan Sotirios



As we approach 2014, both you and I should sit back and contemplate what we will face and confront. If it pleases you, we should ask the question a bit more clear. What do we want to face and what do we not want to confront in 2014?
Neither you nor I are clairvoyant or prophets. Moreover, we can see and determine certain things we will confront.
The events of 2014 depend on God, on the world and on every one of us. Without God, we cannot go too far. "If the Lord does not set the foundation, the labourers labor in vain."
People can act in a positive or negative way, causing us to be benefited from their actions, or to harm us. We are not, however, responsible for the actions of others.
The most responsible for the events of 2014 and the effect they will have on the world is each and every one of us. No matter how small and insignificant that we might seem, our role is basic and essential.
Of utmost importance is how we prepare and face every problem. The Prophet-King David says, "I am prepared and I am not afraid". Every single one of us should prepare for the events of 2014 which are dependent on us and those events which we have no control over.
As we approach the new year, we should clean up the garbage of the past - that is, clean up our souls and our sins. We should plan out 2014 with a pure heart and sober thoughts. If you plan correctly and stick to your plan fervently, you will find yourself closer to God. Nothing greater can happen. It will bring one's conscious at ease. It will calm the spirit. One can face events and the world around them in general without becoming agitated. You cannot dictate what will happen in the future when it comes to those around you. You can, however, dictate what will happen in your future and - with confidence in yourself - help in what happens to others. This can be done on a personal level.
The same needs to be done by every family. Every organization. Every nation. If every person, family, organization and nation acts correctly, the future will be bright, progressing with great results for every person.
A bit more specific: For us, the Greek Orthodox Church of Canada, what must we do and what must we confront?
We must be honourable, helping every person who is in a position of authority and power to succeed - and not to preach war against them so they may fail. The success of every leader is the success of the whole.
We must live as a true family. We must see those around us as true children or brothers and sisters. Every type of offering to the community must be generous. Open-hearted. Unstingy. Filled with joy.
In this way, we will progress in 2014 and surely we will know and rejoice in our advancement. Progress as individuals, as families, as communities.
We should not keep to ourselves. We should look a bit further. To the people who are suffering, both in Canada and all over the world. We should especially pay attention to those who suffer in our nation of Greece and our beloved Cyprus. To the Christians of the Middle East who undergo such hardships. To the sick and the elderly. To every single brother and sister who suffers. Everyone - without any exception - is a child of God. Living icons of the God-Man Christ.
From the depths of my heart, I hope and pray to wish you and yours that the Incarnate God reign in your hearts and souls. To bring them peace. Serenity. Joy. I hope that all of us, with the Grace of Christ, become vehicles of love, peace and reconciliation. I pray the New Year be blessed by God. May all of humanity become acquainted and meet the True God. May He live in the hearts and souls of all, guiding the world from success to success, glory to glory.

With fatherly love and warm wishes,
Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios of Toronto (Canada)

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