Happy New Year 2022!

Dearest Spiritual O’hana,
Happy New Year!
We, once again, find ourselves at the beginning of
another New Year. And, again, for a second
consecutive year in a row, we remain amidst a time
unlike any other time in history with so numerous
great challenges, especially dealing with the
pandemic and world-wide environmental and
economic crises, catastrophes and issues.
In normal circumstances, we make our usual
resolutions for the incoming year, only to find we
usually do not accomplish them.
I bring to your attention, realistic resolutions we
can achieve in our spiritual lives as members of the
Body of Christ, His Church.
Please see the following, from Fr. Stephen Lourie,
an Orthodox Priest from the Orthodox Church of
America (O.C.A.)- See what you are able to
achieve and apply in your life, as reachable and
achievable goals, of course, given the times we live

1) Arrive for Church Services on time! We
take for granted the Divine Liturgy at the best of
times. Often we believe that as long as we are there
for the Gospel, Sermon and Communion we have
had “a good enough dose of God for the
week.” Partaking of the Matins or Orthros service
and the full Divine Liturgy will prepare you fully
for stepping up to the precious and life giving
Chalice of Christ. This will in turn fortify your
spiritual journey into the world for the coming
week. Our responsibility to Our Lord is to respect
the schedule laid out for us, at least once a week.

2) Ask for forgiveness from our family, friends
and Christian brothers and sisters in our
parish. Forgiveness is a difficult virtue to put into
practice and even more difficult to use regularly.
Let us, therefore, use the virtue of forgiveness as a
basis for our continued commitment to theosis and
by regarding our earthly relationships with one
another as truly important. Let us practice
forgiveness, as it is the first step in preparing for
Holy Confession and Holy Communion each and
every Sunday.

3) Learn about praying and prayers. We tend to
use the prayers we were taught as children. There
are many prayers available for parishioners to use:
check the prayer book and ask your Priest, he can
assist by providing prayers that pertain to your
specific situation(s). Pray often, more than once a
day. If you do not have a prayer corner set up in
your home, ask your Parish Priest to assist you in
setting one up.

4) Become a steward in your parish and
community. Become an active, involved, caring
Orthodox Christian. Donate to your Parish, become,
if not already, involved in keeping our environment
clean (God placed us on this earth to care for His
creations!!!), donate to food banks, school lunchprograms, etc.

Create an organized community
outreach for the less fortunate residents of your
area. As stewards of humanity, it is incumbent upon
us, as Orthodox Christians, to lead by example.

5) Attend more than one (1) Church Service
per Month. Don’t be a “C ” &”E “(Christmas &
Easter) Parishioner. Placing prayer, worship and
Church Services on your list of priorities, above all
other spiritual life, will lead you to many rewards in
the future.

6) Put your God-given Talents to use. We all
have hidden talents, or talents not used to their full
potential. Recognize them, ask for guidance from
Our Lord, and put them to use for the benefit of
God’s Holy Church.

7) Invite your children, grandchildren, siblings
and friends to Church Services. Become a host to
your own family. Guide them and explain to them
that the One Holy Universal and Apostolic Church
is the One True Church. Explain that Orthodoxy
offers all to its faithful. Bring at least one guest to
Church per year and allow God to do His work.

8) Contact your family members that have
stepped away from your family; or if you have
stepped away, call your family. Practice patience,
understanding and forgiveness. We are on this earth
but once. We have one opportunity to practice
forgiveness and ask for it as well. It is never wrong
to come back home, even after a lengthy absence.
We should never be embarrassed to admit our faults
to our families and our desire to renew our
relationships. We must remember, we are not
perfect, we all have faults and we never know when
we may be called by God to return home.

9) Experience the life of the Church and her
many gifts to heal you. Attend Church services;
come to Confession and Communion on a regular
basis. We were born unto this earth dependent upon
our Lord. Use Confession to unburden your sins and
Communion to heal you. Rely on your Parish Priest
to be your Father Confessor and Spiritual Guide.

10) Recognize that we are tested by Our Lord
and tempted by the devil himself, daily. We are
put to the test daily, as in school, so in life. Pray
frequently, ask for guidance, see beyond the test,
look for the good only in all situations. Avoid
temptations that are “too good to be true.”
Recognize that we are accountable for all of our
thoughts, actions and deeds.
With Love in Christ,
+Fr. Alexander