Word Magazine December 1959 Page 3
OF THE MOST REV. METROPOLITAN ANTONY
To the Clergy and Laity“Come, let us exalt unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to God our Saviour” (Ps. 94: 1).
This invitation of the Holy Psalm-singer is especially meaningful for us in these days when we, together with the whole of Mother Church, celebrate the greatest and most joyful event in the life of mankind the Nativity of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ. “Glory to God on high and on earth peace” — these words we hear not once in these sacred days in the temples of God. They carry our thoughts over to quiet Bethlehem, to the humble, but more than all the luxurious palaces, the royal cavern, which on the night of Christ’s Birth was heralded by angelic song and which down to our day, after the passing of so many centuries, still pours forth joy and peace into our souls.
At the very Birth of the Lord, Heaven proclaimed peace to the world, and the entire life of the Saviour, with its manifestation of His almighty and gracious will, was permeated with the desire and the blessing of peace.
Sending forth His disciples to preach — He enjoins them to bestow peace upon every town and every home: “And whatever town or village you enter . . . enter the house, salute it, saying: ‘Peace be to this house’” (MATT.10:11-12).
Going forth to His voluntary Passion and Death salutary for the race of men — He leaves peace to the people as a common inheritance and comfort: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you’ (JOHN 14: 27).
Appearing to His disciples after His Resurrection, having taken on “all authority in Heaven and on earth” (MATT. 28:18), He announces peace to them: “Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’” (JOHN 20:19).
And the peace of God which transcends all minds is prepared to shelter and encompass every soul of every man who desires to receive it; it is ever-ready to descend upon the exterior world, to fill both cities and countries and to banish all ill-will from the face of the earth.
But to the shame of Christianity and humanity in general, there are still about us people who do not ardently desire that peace announced by the Angels and brought to earth by the Saviour. Without speaking of the strife and unrest in the secular world, we are suffering grievous dissensions in the very midst of the Kingdom of God on earth — the Church — and allow the “thorns of vanity and passion” to bring in a spirit of adversity in place of a spirit of peace. It behooveth, first of all, the Pastors of the flock of Christ to work for the blessed time when common peace will reign among us and, more especially, within our beloved united Archdiocese, so that none are able to point an accusing finger at those called to carry on the Saviour’s work of peace.
In this Christmastide, in the present Feast of peace and love, while greeting our beloved Pastors and Flocks, we call upon all to work together in a spirit of love and peace. And while blessing your efforts, we supplicate God to unite all our people with the firm desire of peace and grace of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, the veritable Source of true and complete peace.
May the coming New Year be for all our beloved clergy and people a propitious year, a year of God’s grace, a year of solace and joy.
CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM!
Metropolitan-Archbishop of New York
and North America.
Nativity of Christ