Worship Archive


A Message From Father Lou – As God Wills


A Message From Fr. Lou – As God Wills


My sisters, brother and I had the good fortune of growing up in the same town as my paternal grandparents. For the first ten years of my life or so, our maternal grandfather also lived in Cheyenne until his passing. If there is one phrase that I remember, perhaps above all others from my Yiayia and Papous, it was “Prota O Theos”, literally “First God” or “As God Wills”. Sentences would go something like this: “I will see you next summer, Prota O Theos”, or “Prota O Theos we will go fishing Saturday” or “I will fix you macaroni kapama (an incredible Greek tomato and meat sauce), “Prota O Theos”. You see my grandparents really took nothing for granted and realized that everything from the simple and apparently mundane to the complex in life is dependent upon God. From my grandparents to my parents and now to my siblings, the phrase “God willing” is a part of our regular vocabulary.
Indeed this is a part of our Orthodox Cultures. This, however, is not always the case in our American – even Western European cultures. Even Christianity has often been negatively influenced to the point where “God-willing” is looked at negatively rather than positively. Please read what Mother Raphaela, the Abbess of Holy Myrrhbearers OCA Monastery in upstate New York recently said in her address to the graduates of Saint Vladimir Seminary: “…But we have a culture, even a Church culture where the phrase “as God wills” signifies a negative, fatalistic approach to life and who in their right mind would try to find that for any future?” She goes on to challenge the seminary graduates to live a life in personal relationship with God, so that His will be slowly but continually intertwined with their will, as they live a life of intimate relationship with Him and through Him with others.
If God’s will is to become our will it requires a commitment to relationship in love to God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God’s will is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega. It is, however, not forced upon us. If God’s will is to become our will we must humbly choose to accept Him and then anything that He wills in our lives. “How we use this incredible portion of created time and space we call life, matters incredibly.” (Mother Raphaela, pg. 7) Our opportunity and responsibility is to use time and space – indeed our lives as opportunities for love, kindness, grace, forgiveness as reflections of the light of God’s glory in an alarmingly dark world.
As we enter the Fast Period of the Dormition of the Blessed Theotokos please join me in reflecting on God’s will in our daily lives. As we approach the end of the summer and the beginning of the New Ecclesiastical Year (September 1) please join me in a commitment of love to our Lord and God in Trinity and to one another.
“Those in whom wealth abounds may poor and hungry be, but those who eagerly seek the Lord never shall in want be of any blessing.” (Blessing of the five loaves)
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God the Father and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

With our Lord’s blessings,
Fr. Lou


“Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord” (Psalm 100:1)

It is a beautiful spring sunrise. The sun is just making it’s way over the horizon to the east. A gentle breeze quakes the new aspen leaves as the first sun’s rays begin to flicker and warm the dew on the apple blossoms. And then the singing begins . . . Meadowlarks and Robbins, Sparrows and Finches, Redbirds and Ravens, Falcons and Eagles welcome the day of creation, each with their own unique song of praise. It is as if they are calling friends and foes alike, those with wings, those with no legs, and those with four and those with two, to this new day. After all, they seem to be singing, “This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad
in it.” (Psalms 118:24)

We learn form God’s creatures on the one hand and yearn from our souls, on the other hand to offer our own songs of praise and worship. For me personally, these songs I have sung at times in my personal prayer time – perhaps in the country or the forest, at times in churches or holy spaces and often within the services of corporate worship. Sometimes the songs have been made up or perhaps just an original humming. Most often, they have been songs of another of praise and thanksgiving. There have been folk songs and hymns, sometimes from other Christian or religious traditions. And then there are the hymns of our own Byzantine Orthodox tradition. Some hymns – for example those from the Liturgy and from Holy Week – I recall from probably before I could walk. It’s not so much the words as the melodies. They serve to touch my heart and communicate to my so8ul the great love for me, my family, my friends, my enemies, indeed all of humankind and the entire universe, that our Great and merciful Lord possesses and offers. “God is with us, give ear all you nations and be humbled, for God is with us.” (Orthodox Hymn of Great Compline Service)

The month of February, my dear parishioners, we have chosen the theme of “Hymns of the Divine Liturgy” for our Religious Education theme. On Sunday, February 5, Church School children, teachers, parents and all St. Catherine parishioners are invited to meet in the Sanctuary at 9:00am for a presentation on “Hymns of the Divine Liturgy.” A packet will be distributed guiding personal and familial study for the month on this theme. Our hope is that we will better understand our tradition of prayers through the hymnology and hymnography of Orthodox Christianity. Our ultimate goal is that you and I will always love and worship in thanksgiving our Loving Lord and that we, as the birds of the air will “Make a joyful noise to the Lord.” (Psalm 100:1)

In Christ, Fr. Lou