Pastoral Healthcare

One of the most important ministries of the Church throughout its history has been providing spiritual care to the sick. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has always being sensitive to the needs of this ministry from the years of the Byzantine Empire up until now. Its clergy are active in providing pastoral care to the ill, both on a parish level and in specialized facilities.  read more...

Pastoral Thought of the Week

March 17, 2017

The Tears of Consolation

There is a general perception that if we take heed in living “holistically”, if we uphold the basic principles of good nutrition and physical fitness, and if we raise our children correctly with psychological sensitivity (according to the specialists in the field), than we will lessen our chances of encountering something “evil” in our life.

A similar perception exists in those that try to become perfect by upholding the “commandments of the Lord” with the hope that He will protect them from the maladies of life as a compensation for their good behavior.

There is no doubt that both of these perceptions will eventually lead them to desolation, particularly during the hour in which they will have to cope with the various difficulties that life will surely afford them.

In contrast to this, as St. Symeon the New Theologian tells us, that a truly faithful person who always tries to precisely uphold God’s commandments will quickly recognize that he is sick and unable to reach the height of the commandments, that he is poor in spirit. Attaining this awareness, he will grieve and he will become meek and full of sympathy. For, wherever there is a sense of spiritual poverty, there is also joyful sorrow; there are also the unceasingly pouring tears that cleanse the soul that loves these tears, making it perfectly bright, because of the shining power of the Holy Spirit. Those that have these joyful tears of grief and of spiritual poverty are truly peacemakers and will endure every pain and sorrow.  And St. Symeon continues by saying:

“O tears that stream from divine brightness and open up heaven itself and which engender divine comfort! Because overtaken by pleasure and yearning, again and again I say the same things. Wherever, brethren, there are a multitude of tears, accompanied by true knowledge, there also is the brilliance of divine light. Wherever there is the brilliance of divine light, there is also the dispensation of all that is good and the seal of the Holy Spirit which is implanted in the heart and from which come all the fruits of life; from here, for the sake of Christ,  is produced meekness, peace, almsgiving, sympathy, a sense of what is right and wrong, goodness, faith, abstinence; from here comes the ability for one to love enemies, and to pray for them, to rejoice in times of temptation and to endure in sorrows, to consider the wrongful acts of others as his own and to cry for them, to willfully offer his life unto death for his brothers [and sisters].”

Thoughts taken from the 2nd Catechetical Sermon of St. Symeon the New Theologian