September 11, 2017
My Beloved Ones,
“O Lord our God… Be the Helmsman of our life,
O calm haven of tempest-tossed.
Make known to us the way in which we should walk.”
(Prayer to the Holy Spirit by St. Basil the Great)
Today is a day that will forever be inscribed on our hearts. In all of the preparation and prayer regarding Hurricane Irma, I worry that many of us have become preoccupied and forgotten that today marks 16 years since the barbaric and hateful terrorist attacks in which thousands of lives were lost, not only in the destruction of the World Trade Center, but also those onboard Flight United 93 in Pennsylvania, as well as the Pentagon in Washington D.C.
Even though 16 years have passed, we still see many similarities between the response to that tragedy and the response to the threat of this one. The news has shown us so many aspects of this storm, but what it often fails to show is how, once again, we have come together as a Church family to lift each other up. We have opened our homes, sacrificed our comfort for the well-being of others, and have come together in prayer. The response to this storm shows that with our faith in God, we can get through anything. Catastrophic events bring out the love and compassion in people that we may not see every day, but that we should try to show more regularly. Let us never forget.
It is important to note that in God’s glory, it appears we have been spared some of our worst fears with Hurricane Irma. We are continuing to hear from our loved ones in the Metropolis of Atlanta family, but as of now, aside from power outages and standing water, we have not heard of any catastrophic damages to our parish communities. If that changes, I will let the faithful know so that we can come to each other’s assistance.
May God grant the strength and peace for those recovering from Hurricane Irma, and let Him also provide comfort to those who lost a loved one on this day 16 years ago. We pray for the lives lost then, and now. I remain,
Paternally yours with love in our Lord,
+ A L E X I O S
Metropolitan of Atlanta