Opportunities with the Feast of the Theophany
The Feast of Theophany (Epiphany) has just been celebrated by our Greek Orthodox Church on January 6th. The Theophany is one of the great feasts of the Church’s calendar year when we celebrate the Baptism of Christ, the manifestation of God in the Trinity to the world, & the beginning of the public ministry of Christ.
Theophany is an opportunity to remember our own baptisms and our own commitments as Orthodox Christians. It is an opportunity for renewal and repentance. It is an opportunity for a new beginning, for a change and a reorientation of our minds, hearts, thoughts and bodies, all aspects of our lives, towards what really matters, towards the Holy Trinity.
Theophany is an opportunity to remember our godfathers and godmothers. This is the time to pray for them. The godfathers and godmothers in particular have the heavy and humiliating responsibility to pray for their godchildren and to set a good example. May the Theophany be the occasion to do so!
Theophany is an opportunity turn to the Holy Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist for prayer. Saint John the Baptist, the one who baptized Jesus Christ, the one who prophesied about the Lord and saw his prophecy fulfilled, the special Angel (Messenger) who prepared the way for the coming of the Lord Jesus, is considered as the holiest of all Saints, after the Panagia, and is on the same level as Saint John the Theologian and Apostle. We know that we need reinforcements and strength in the spiritual life, that is why we must seek the prayers of Saint John! One of my beloved seminary teachers used to say that his grandmother, from the island of Aegina in Greece, where the monastery and relics of Saint Nektarios are located, advised him that if you ever had a problem or a question, a difficulty, to run to the Forerunner of the Lord for help.
Theophany is also an opportunity, after undergoing proper preparation, to participate in the sacraments of Holy Communion, Confession, and Holy Water (Agiasmos), all of which are great sources of strength for the spiritual life. January 5, eve of the Theophany, is a day of fasting that we are preparing. Coming to church, participating in the Divine Liturgy and properly preparing to receive Holy Communion, even if no one is ever worthy and even if no one ever will be, is essential. Proper preparation involves fasting, prayer, repentance, love, forgiveness, blessing from a spiritual father, and confession.
Theophany is also an opportunity for priests to bless our homes, not only these days, but in the weeks to come. That a priest comes to bless our houses is of great importance. The priest has received the grace of the priesthood of Christ through the ordination of a successor bishop of the Apostles, and is thus integrally linked to the ancient Church, which is the Body of Christ. With respect and love for the whole world, we see our Orthodox Church as that Church which is the Body of Christ, the ancient Church, the Church of the Apostles, Fathers and Saints. To bless our homes is therefore to mark them as belonging to the Lord. These special spaces where we spend a large part of our lives, where we have our daily tasks, responsibilities, routines and interactions, with the small and big decisions that can come from them, including the strengthening of marriages and the education of families. children to many, we declare that this space in our homes belongs to the Lord. As we bless our homes, we say, “Get behind me, Satan! You are not from here!” This is to affirm what Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, said in the Old Testament, “But I and my household will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
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All these opportunities! Enjoy, in a healthy way, the blessings!