October 2023

Dear beloved in the Lord,

On October 1st we celebrate the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God with this hymn:

Today the faithful celebrate the feast with joy, illumined by thy coming, O Mother of God. Beholding thy pure image, we fervently cry to thee: “Encompass us beneath the precious veil of thy protection; deliver us from every form of evil by entreating Christ, thy Son and our God, that He may save our souls.” (Troparion for the Feast of the Protection, Tone 4)

The search for safe haven is a significant part of our human experience. The one traveling the open seas seeks safe haven in the calm harbor. One who finds themselves in a storm seeks the safety found in a warm and dry shelter. A young child seeks the protection and safety found in the strong arms of a father or the warm embrace of a mother. A conversation with a good friend, a warm cup of tea, watching a beautiful sunrise over the ocean, a gathering with loves ones, etc. All of these things bring to us a sense of comfort, safety, and protection in this life.

As Christians, we can certainly find the good and enjoy the comfort of these experiences but are ultimate safe haven is not external but internal. Christ says, And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20-21)

Our true peace is found in Christ, through the prayers of His Most Holy Mother and all the saints. The Mother of God is a refuge for us because she intercedes before her Son on our behalf. We can lose all the safety and comfort the world offers and still hold on to peace of soul when we find it in Christ.

We have been given the gift and opportunity to, at any time, turn to the Mother of God and find a good mother who is always willing to help her child. Who sees our tears and hears our cries. May we turn to her more and more trusting in her love for us and her veil of intercessions for all of mankind.

With Aloha in Christ,
Fr. Benjamin