FROM ARCHBISHOP ANTHONY
November 23, A. D. 2017
To the Most Reverend and Right Reverend Hierarchs, Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, Monastics,
and Faithful of The Orthodox Archdiocese of America (New York)
Dearly Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As I get older, I notice that the virtue of gratitude is increasing missing from our society.
“Thank You” is rarely heard from children and young adults as they live in a culture where everything is provided and increasingly more is expected. The Millennials, who themselves were spoiled, now do not want their children to have less than they did! So we have a generation that is growing up with things and is losing the socialization skills and cultural etiquette which are hallmarks of civilization.
People are glued to their cell phones so much that many are getting injured by falling into holes and walking into poles! This is a further indication that they are not aware of the world around them, let alone be thankful for it!
Recently, I went out to dinner with a friend. To my right was another table with a couple seated at it. The young woman was diagonally across from me and her date was seated next to me. She was about 36 years old and drop dead gorgeous. He was a good-looking man who was engrossed in his cell phone. She smiled at me and I smiled back. After about 10 minutes of his being entranced with his phone, I said loud enough so that he would hear me: “If you would like to go to dinner with me I promise I would speak with you!” She smiled. He quickly put his phone away and conversed with her for the rest of the evening.
You see, we are constantly being distracted from the world around us; and, if we do not notice, if we are not aware, how can we be thankful? The Church makes sure we are brought to attention in worship through the use of bells, greetings, (The Lord be with you!) or calls (Be attentive!). All to get us in shape for The Great Thanksgiving, (the Anaphora–the Canon of the Mass) where we give thanks to the Father for the gift of His Son. Thanksgiving is the hallmark of Christian worship. Having an “attitude of gratitude” is what the Liturgy is all about.
In our “American secular religion,” we have two feasts: Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day. The former teaches that “We the People” owe our rights and freedoms on no man, only God our Creator. Thanksgiving Day reminds us to give thanks to that God from whom all blessings flow.
In 50 years of ministry I have never met a grateful person who was an unhappy person. Be thankful!
Affectionately in Christ,
Archbishop of New York
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Over the years, some have asked to have a copy of Archbishop Anthony’s Prayer. Here it is: