My beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
While expressing to the Creator of the Universe our infinite and grateful thanks for the New Year, which His unspeakable philanthropy has bestowed upon us, let us ask ourselves on the first day of 2023, what we shall do, so as to make it a blessed one, as well as a peaceful, fruitful and delightful one.
The most necessary precondition is to struggle to obtain the grace of God. And, if we have the grace of God, then we will have possessed everything else during the New Year. Our late spiritual father, Metropolitan Soterios, used to say: “When we have obtained the Grace of God, it takes care of all our needs, spiritual as well as material. It is enough to stay connected to Christ. Therefore, let us obey God’s will and constantly express our sincere gratitude to Him.”
Nevertheless, in order to receive God’s grace to accompany us in the New Year, we must make sure we ask for it. “Ask and it will be given to you; ask and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you” (Mt. 7:7), the Lord Himself has told us. And of course, the only certain way by which to ask God for His grace is nothing more than prayer, which is the “oxygen of the soul”.
Prayer is a unique privilege for man. No other of God’s earthly creations have the privilege of prayer. Only humans can communicate and converse, through prayer, with their Creator. And in fact, man’s communication with God is unconditional. That is, man can talk to God for as long as he wishes, at any time he needs, and wherever he is. Moreover, our Heavenly Father, as the recipient of our prayer, never refuses to communicate with us and never tires of lovingly listening to us.
Let us, therefore, use the almighty weapon of prayer, each of us personally, but also altogether as an Orthodox Church community, during the New Year. In other words, let us set this year as a program to devote more time each day to our private prayer, but also to our more frequent weekly participation in the worship of the Church.
Let us start a Prayer Campaign by fervently asking our heavenly Lord:
. To grant us His grace so that we may progress spiritually;
. To bestow on us a repentant and fighting spirit, so that we can fight our passions and cultivate the virtues;
. To bring Peace to His worldwide Church;
. To enlighten those responsible, so that the war in Ukraine, in Syria; and elsewhere in the whole world to be stopped;
. To bless the projects that we have launched in our Church in Korea, for the further spread of Orthodox witness in our country;
. Reunification and reconciliation to be realized on the Korean Peninsula;
. To overcome the global energy, climate, and food crisis.
. To free us from the Covid-19 pandemic. AMEN
On behalf of the clergy and our associates of the Church in Korea, we wish all of you good health, and longevity, and may our Incarnate Lord bless the New Year 2023.
With much love and honor in the Lord
+ Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea and Exarch of Japan