I am sorry again that it has come to this, Mr. Priest, but you needed it…if you listen and put your wall of defense to the side for a minute. I love and respect you, but I must begin this conversation with you now, before it is too late. So, could I have a minute of your time please?
Dear Mr. Priest,
Did you know that when my parents fought with each other when I was young, I always got scared? Did you know that when they were not at peace with each other, I always felt that the end of the world was near? My whole life crumbled when I saw my parents upset with each other. Did you know that a broken home creates broken people? Yes, the answer is “yes”, in case you weren’t aware.
You, Mr. Priest, represent my parents. You are not at peace with yourself. You are under attack from the enemy of God, but you are too preoccupied to see it. I speak to you as your child, who wants to trust your guidance and your teachings as words inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. I want to trust you. I want to feel your fatherhood and care. I want to know that our Home, the Church, is safe when you are there.
But, I don’t feel safe with you. One day, you were a preacher on TV speaking your mind and giving people hope in God’s forgiveness. The next day, you were a famous bishop at war with yourself. Later, you were a monk who dedicated a long YouTube-recorded sermon to point at your own self as a Pharisee. I don’t understand. Why should I trust you? I am afraid under your care; there is no stability. You are like my parents when they yelled at each other. You don’t seem to care about me, but you would prefer engaging in meaningless conversations to try to prove your opinion. While I bleed thinking that you are supposed to be a light to me and help me, you do what I always feared. You abandon me. How could you?! You have become divided, you divorced yourself and me is left in pain, confusion, and anger.
Oh, did you just say that you are a fallen human being like me? Oh, I see. Then why do you give yourself a right to oppress me and separate me from Communion, i.e. my Daddy? I am confused, I thought you were just a fallen human being, or do standards change to serve your needs? When you died, they paraded your memory on TV like you were some kind of celebrity. I guess that’s fine, but you haven’t been canonized a saint yet, so your memory seemed closer to Michael Jackson’s than it is St. Pope Kyrillos’. Next week, we should parade the homeless man who died on the street because he gave all his food and clothing to his curb-mate who was cold and hungry. Why don’t we put him on TV and keep playing his stories for hours and hours…He deserves my attention just as much as you do!
I see you place yourself in a position of power. If I praise you, I am on your good side. When I don’t praise you, woe to me! Woe to the poor and needy of my kind, we don’t bring any monetary benefit to your building. Woe to us! If the building was yours, maybe that would make sense, but the building isn’t yours. Have you considered that maybe you haven’t been able to meet the demands because God is allowing this to happen?! Have you thought about that? The land remains wide open and the woman martyr hasn’t asked God to build it yet. She is weeping for the state of your children, me. They are lost sheep; I am a lost sheep without a Shepard. Your attention is on something mysterous, I cannot even imagine…what could it possibly be that takes you so far away from caring for me?
What if you were to change the pattern of corruption and stop repeating history, because right now history is actively on repeat?! What if you were to act like a real priest – after the one who made you who is the True High Priest. Imagine if you were to change the paradigm – from the love of money, fame, prestige, and accomplishment to the love of the man whose feet stink on the street and the woman who is in despair because her husbands beat her everyday and you have no clue. What if you were to build The Church – the real church, me and my likes. What if you were to plant seeds of love and hope in my heart so that I would grow in love with Christ and bring others with me too! What would you lose, except your perishable possessions? Do you love them so much? Then, maybe you shouldn’t have given them up for the black garment and the cross…just maybe!
You tell me that love is sacrifice, but your service has become an obligate job. I guess, thanks for pointing out the obvious about love with your words, but teach me with your life more than your words; I once heard that “words are cheap!” Maybe I need to point out to you that you have already lost many sheep because of your excessive self-focus instead of self-sacrifice. Dude, the story is not about you; you are loved and precious, but because of this, you also have a large responsibility. Yet, the story was never about you!
Do you know what a servant does? He walks in the background catering to his Master and the children of his Master without making a beep or a sound. He lingers in the shadows and moves not a muscle when the Master and the child are talking; this is a precious time! If the child confesses his mistakes to the Master, you sit quietly. Silence! You aren’t allowed to recount the child’s deeds! Silence, servant! Don’t you ever yell at me to be silent; my silence serves you to continue your corruption, division, and oppression. I will not be silent; its your turn now to stop talking. I know you won’t be able to help me practically in my distress, but the least you can do is be quiet for once and just listen!
I am sorry my words have become so harsh on you, but you need to wake up. The house is crumbling down on you and your children, and you are still trying just to prove your opinion is right. Give me a break! Who cares whether you carry the true Orthodox view or not?! Do you love? I think that matters more. The fruit of love is repentance and not dependance. The fruit of love is hope and not despair. The fruit of love is community and not isolation; true community and not a fake collection of individuals. I look at myself now and see that I am one arid land. The fruit is very little in me; otherwise, I would have been able to change the world. In my job, I would have been a light. In my family, I would have been a light. In my darkest days, I would have been a light. In my whole life, I would have been a light. When I needed you to kindle His fire in me, you stole my joy. May He forgive you and have mercy on you! Look at me now…all over the place and never at Home. I have become scattered, lost, and confused. I put this on you, because, after all, you are the keeper of the Mysteries…if not you then who else?
I find it strange that those of me who walk away from the House sometimes do better than those who stay, but I am sad, because you deprived me of the bosom of my Father in the House, the Church. You have NO right! If you ever thought that you can change my eternity, I want to tell you right now that you cannot. If you could change it with your abusive manipulative techniques and oppressive behavior, God would not be fair God and He would be a liar; but, God is Truth and He never lies. You, on the other hand, seem to be one made of empty promises and empty words – just emptiness.
Oh, you are sick? Poor you, I can see that you are a normal human being like me! What a wonder! Those of me who get sick need you too, just like you need me. So, don’t you even dare to pretend that you are not in need of me, and don’t you be careless with the responsibility you have towards me! You say that I put an unrealistic expectation on you and I ask you for things that you cannot accomplish. Then, let me ask you this: why do you preach with an iron fist putting mountains of guilt burdens on my shoulders? I am sowwy, you started it! It isn’t just me; it really is mostly you. What I better be doing is walk away from you; otherwise, you will suck out all drops of hope in my heart.
I wonder if you have experienced God’s forgiveness for yourself? I wonder…because otherwise you would be lifting off my burdens from me and not adding more!
I am sorry again that it has come to this, Mr. Priest, but you needed it…if you listen and put your wall of defense to the side for a minute. So, could I have a minute of your time please?