“I will not leave you orphaned.” At some point we all want or even need to hear these words. They speak directly to some of our greatest fears and challenges. They remind us that we are not destined to walk this earth without an identity or direction. We do not stand alone. We fear becoming orphaned. That fear points us deeper into reality that by ourselves we are not enough. It is not, however, because we are deficient. It is rather because we were never intended to be self-sufficient. We were created to love and be loved, to live in relationship as persons giving themselves to each other, to dwell, abide, and remain within each other as the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father.
“I will not leave you orphaned.” That is the promise. Regardless of the circumstances of our lives, storms, death, separation, we have never been and will never be orphaned by God. How strange that must have sounded to the disciples. In the same conversation Jesus tells them that He is leaving and coming.
Leaving and coming…presence and absence…These must be held in tension, not as mutually exclusive. That is what Jesus has set before us in today’s gospel. That tension confronts us with the question of whether Jesus, for us, is a past memory or a present reality, a sentimental story that makes us feel good or a living experience that challenges, guides, and nurtures our life.
According to Jesus the answer to that question is determined by love that is revealed and fulfilled in keeping His commandments. The commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, to love our enemies, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
Do we keep the commandments? Is our love growing, expanding, transformative of ourselves and the world? If so, Jesus is probably for us a present reality and we know the fulfillment of his promise that we are not left orphaned.
Keeping the commandments is our access to Jesus’ promise that we will not be left orphaned. Keeping the commandments does not make Jesus present to us. It makes us present to the already ongoing reality of Jesus’ presence. The commandments do not earn us Jesus’ love, they reveal our love for him, a love that originates in His abiding love and presence within us.
Every time we expand the boundaries of our love, we push back the orphanages of this world creating space within us where the father and Jesus make their home.
“I will not leave you orphaned.” Over and over, day after day, regardless of what is happening in our lives, that is Jesus’ promise. We have not been abandoned. Do not abandon yourselves or others to the orphanages of this world. Love with all that you are and that you have even as the Father and Jesus love us with all they are and that they have.
Liturgy Time Change
Beginning Sunday June 5th, there will only be one liturgy celebrated on Sundays at 10 am until the Fall.
Saturday liturgy will remain at 5 pm.
“In Defense of Christians” organization will hold its monthly meeting on Wednesday May 18th at 7pm at St.. Thomas Orthodox Church (6501 Nottingham Ave. St. Louis, MO. 63109). All are invited and encouraged to participate.
The next festival meeting is Tuesday May 24th at 7pm in the Lebanon room. The festival is a parish event that involves a lot of time and preparation. Please consider helping to make this a successful event for our parish. The money raised by the festival helps St. Raymond’s throughout the year maintain the complex.
All help is greatly appreciated!
The 2016 National Maronite Youth Workshop is
July 16-21 in Latrobe, PA.
Please contact Susan DuBois or the rectory if you are interested in going and would like more info. Information for the retreat will be on the table in the vestibule. All travel arrangements must be submitted by June 16th.
Sub-Deacon Candidate’s Corner
As part of our formation, one of the goals of our ministry is to help parishioners develop a greater understanding of our rich Maronite Catholic History and Heritage. In furtherance of that goal we will be adding a short explanation to each bulletin about some aspect of our faith.
From the Maronite Patriarchal Synod (2008), there are 5 elements of the Maronite identity, they are defined below in an excerpt from the Maronite Patriarchal Synod, Bkerke 2008, discussing the bolded portion.
“…it becomes apparent that she (the Maronite Church) is firstly an Antiochene Syriac Church, with a special liturgical heritage; secondly, a Chalcedonian Church; thirdly, a Patriarchal Church with an ascetic and a monastic aspect; fourthly , a Church in full union with the Apostolic Roman See; fifthly, a Church incarnated in her Lebanese and Eastern environment and the Countries of Expansion…”
The term Chalcedonian Church is used to signify the Maronite Rite observance of Christian doctrine from 451 AD. Although the Maronite Rite had already begun to take root in what is now Northern Syria due the life teachings of an ascetic monk, St. Maron, the Catholic Church was struggling to understand the nature of Christ. Was Jesus Christ God, Man, or something in between? The Chalcedon Council of 451 AD, set forth the belief that Jesus was both God and Man. The Dogmatic Definition of the Council of Chalcedon, 451 AD, states that…
“…our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and a body; consubstantial with the Father as regards his divinity, and the same consubstantial with us as regards his humanity; like us in all respects except for sin; begotten before the ages from the Father…”
Note the similarities of terms to the Apostle Creed we recite today, words like “consubstantial” and “begotten before all ages”
The Chalcedon Council set the stage for the “Great Schism” between the Catholic and Orthodox churches which came later.
If you have questions about Catholic teaching or our Maronite tradition, or would like to suggest a topic, please email us or tell us the next time we see you. Thank you and God Bless.
On Wednesday May 18th, there will be a memorial liturgy at 10:30am for Anthony Turco at St. Raymond’s Cathedral. May God grant him eternal rest and peace and reward him for all his good deeds. May the Lord grant his family comfort and consolation at this time of loss.
Mondays Rolling Cabbage @ 8:30 am
Tuesdays Making Kibbi Aras @ 8:30am
Wednesdays Preparing lunch 8am-11am and Serving lunch 11am-2pm.
Tuesday May 24th Rolling Grape Leaves @ 4:30pm. Please let Denise, Kathleen, or Gina know if you are able to join. We are in great need of grape leaves because Wednesday lunch is getting busier with the nice weather.
The kitchen has always run because of the hard work of all the volunteers. Please consider volunteering in the kitchen. There are many jobs that are done in the three days of preparation for lunch. No experience necessary. It’s a great way of getting involved in the parish and meeting other volunteers.
Weekly Finances May 8th-15th
Men’s Society Golf Tournament
On Sunday June 5th, the Men’s Society will be hosting their Annual Golf Tournament in Memory of Mike Buckley. The Golf Tournament will take place at Union Hills Golf Course. Registration and Sponsorship forms are available in the vestibule of the church. There is still availability, so please consider putting a team together. Any questions please contact Mike Rask.