Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Over the last weeks, Pani and I have been struggling in trying to entice into the house a feral cat mom and her two kittens. The mom is pretty much in favor of it. She has seen the life of Riley that our house cats lead, and seems to understand that a side benefit would be that she would not have to sleep in the rain. On the other hand, she has an interest in trying to catch birds (unsuccessfully, thank goodness) and also seems to understand that she would have to give up that passion if she were to move indoors.

The kittens, though, want absolutely none of it. To them, the presence of a human is nothing more than terror personified, and they race pell mell to scramble off the deck, and into the dark safety under it. Never mind that there are raccoons and snakes, dogs and hawks, roads and heedless cars. This is all the safety they know.

For those of us already in the Church, we are sometimes like the mama cat. We are attracted to what is inside, and understand on some level that it represents a better life, one with hope and an expectation of much greater things. But often, we have residual fears, or hold on to things that we love as much or more than the the joy that is in the Church. We hold back, with one foot in and the other out, never finding safety and contentment.

Others, especially those outside the Church, are like the kittens. They don't understand it, they don't see the benefits that it brings, and they flee into the darkness, despite the dangers that lurk there.

As Christians, we need to be like the indoor cats. Ours go out on the screen porch, and the ferals are attracted to them, even rubbing cheeks with them through the screen. If we reflect the joy of the life in Christ, we will draw others to us and to the Church. But, if people cannot see in us what is good and winsome and joyful, they will remain outside the Church, and away from Christ.

1. This week: It will be a busy weekend! On Saturday evening we will serve Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy will be on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m., followed by our annual parish meeting. 

On Wednesday evening we will brave the ghouls, and serve small compline at 6:00 pm. 

2. I want to thank Van and Tom for their hard work in putting up places for us to hang icons and oil lamps in various places along the concrete stucco walls in the back of the Church. They did a great job, and both icons and oil lamps have gone up. It makes a lot of difference when the back of the Church is not so bare.

3. If you haven't done so, please pick up a copy of the prayer for the re-unification of the Churches of the Orthodox faith, and add it to your daily prayer rule.

I hope to see you all this weekend!

In Christ,

Fr. James