Tag Archives: joy

Preparing for Joy

Sunday, March 17 (O.S., March 4), 2019: Triumph of Orthodoxy; St. Gerasimus of the Jordan (475). St. Julian, patriarch of Alexandria; (189); St. James the Faster of Phoenicia (Syria) (6th c.); Martyr Wenceslaus, prince of the Czechs (938); Blessed Basil (Basilko), prince of Rostov (1238).

Epistle: Hebrews 11:24-26, 32-40
Gospel: John 1:43-51

Ss Cyril & Methodius Orthodox Church
Madison, WI

Glory to Jesus Christ!

If our willingness to forgive others is evidence of the truth of the Resurrection, that God in Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death and forgiven us our trespasses, then joy is the evidence of the sincerity of our forgiveness. To see this, we need to distinguish joy from its cousins pleasure and happiness.

Pleasure is a bodily experience while happiness is a psychological one. For example, I get pleasure from eating ice cream and I am happy that I have eaten it.

Joy, however, is different. Joy is the conviction that no matter what happens to me, no matter what I suffer or how I fail, God will bring good out of this.

Joy says with the Apostle Paul, “we know that all things work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NKJV). That is to say,

…to those who have united themselves to the God Who has united Himself to them,

…to those who love their neighbor because they love God,

…to those who forgive because they have been forgiven,

…God brings good out of all they experience.

And the good that God brings is not simply for those of us who are believers. The good that God brings for us is not for us alone but for those around us.

We see this in the saints of the Old Testament who endured suffering as they waited for the Messiah. They hoped for the gift we received.

We see this as well in the saints of the New Testament who, like Andrew, having personally encountered Jesus were eager to share their new found joy with others.

Without joy, without the conviction that as Julian of Norwich says that “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well,”  life becomes unbearable.

And life becomes unbearbale whether we fail or succeed.

If I fail, the absence of joy drives me to despair. How can what I have done be undone? How can my failures be made right?

If I succeed, the absence of joy drives me to anxiety. Will I succeed tomorrow? Will the things I’ve done today be undone tomorrow?

Faced with a joyless life I flee to a life of pleasure; I pursue happiness. Only to realize that happiness like pleasure is fleeting. Like an addict, if I pursues pleasure I quickly discover that what felt good yesterday, flees less good today. The same with happiness.

And so when my life is joyless, I soon give up trying to feel good. Since pleasure and happiness are fleeting, I instead work to avoid pain. But this too proves to be an illusion:

The days of our lives are seventy years;

And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,

Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;

For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.ut this too proves to be an illusion (Psalm 90:10).

Where then is joy to be found? How then do I foster a life of joy?

We need–I need–to first realize that joy is not pleasure or happiness; it is neither bodily or psychological but spiritual and as such it is a gift from God. St Paul tells us that together with love, peace ,patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23).

Of these, the only one that is at least partially within our power is self-control. To grow in joy, I must first master myself. This is the purpose of the ascetical of the Church.

Slowly, year after year, as I take on the Church’s proscribed ascetical disciplines, I grow in self-control. While never denying the fundamental goodness of pleasure and happiness, the Church’s ascetical tradition teaches me the limits of both.

But the Church’s offers more than simply a lesson of the limits of pleasure and happiness. From the moral tradition of the Church, I learn the virtuous ways to experience pleasure and happiness.

Ultimately though, I find–we find–the source of joy in the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church. Personal prayer and ascetical effort good though they are are insufficient for the joyful life.

Likewise, as good as they are, the liturgical life of the Church–the daily cycle of service, the devotional services and even the Divine Liturgy itself–is insufficient.

We find joy in the sacraments; it is born in the waters of baptism, nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion and restored by Holy Confession when we fall into sin.

The season of the Great Fast is nothing more or less than our preparation for joy!

Not simply the joy of Pascha, not simply the joy of the One Day, but of a life of joy!

During the Great Fast we intensify our prayer and ascetical efforts so that we can remove from our lives anything that quenches the Spirit. We abstain from evil, examine our lives carefully, attend closely to the Scriptures, so that we can recognize and “hold fast to that which is good” where ever we may find it (see, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22).

My brothers and sisters in Christ! Let us prepare ourselves for the joyful life that Christ stands ready to give us and, through us, to the world!

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

 

Homily: Apostles of Joy!

Sunday, June 12, 2016: 7th SUNDAY OF PASCHA; Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council. Afterfeast of Ascension. Ven. Onuphrius the Great (4th c.) and Ven. Peter of Mt. Athos (734). Finding of the Relics (1649) and the second glorification (1909) of Rt. Blv. Anna of Kashin. Ven. Arsenius, Abbot of Konevits (1447). Ven. Onuphry, Abbot of Mal’sk (Pskov—1492). Ven. Bassian and Jonah of Pertomsk (Solovétsky Monastery—1561). Ven. Onuphry and Auxenty of Vologdá (15th-16th c.). Ven. Stephen of Komel’, Abbot of Ozérsk Monastery (Vologdá—1542). Ven. John, Andrew, Heraclemon, and Theophilus, Hermits, of Egypt (4th c.).

Epistle: Acts 20:16-18, 28-36
Gospel: John 17:1-13

We commemorate today the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council. Called by Emperor Constantine, the Council was called primarily to resolve the Arian controversy. Arius was a priest from Alexandria, Egypt. The Synaxarion for today says that Arius “blasphemed against the Son and Word of God, saying that He is not true God, consubstantial with the Father, but is rather a work and creation, alien to the essence and glory of the Father, and that there was a time when He was not. This frightful blasphemy shook the faithful of Alexandria” and indeed, the whole world.

This all matters, St. Athanasius the Great argued, because any other position not only would be contrary to the Scriptures but ultimately undermine our salvation. Or, as St Gregory of Nazianzus writes, “that which He has not assumed He has not healed; but that which is united to His Godhead is also saved” (“To Cledonius the Priest Against Apollinarius,” Epistle 101).

Turning from the feast to the Gospel, we see that the Council’s debate has another level of importance.

Jesus prays His disciplines be kept free of the divisiveness that afflicts the world. As He says in another place, in the world people “lord it over” (see Mark 10:42) each other; power over others is, in the world, a sign of greatness. But when power over others is the goal everyone is ultimately my enemy.

But what does Jesus say in response to this striving for power and control?

“Yet it shall not be so among you, but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45, NKJV). We who are disciples of Christ, find our joy in serving others after the example of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ.

Because He is not only Man but also God, Jesus offers this service freely, without any internal or external compulsion. He is able to give Himself freely to the Father’s will because being Himself co-eternal and consubstantial with the Father—He is equal to Him in all things. When Arius denies the divinity of the Son, he undermines the freedom of Jesus and so the purity and complete, all-encompassing nature of His love.

But the love of Jesus is also, yes, a human love as well as a divine love. The former means that we can imitate His love; the latter means that our love can become like His; not simply human but divine. The joy we find in serving others is possible because—in Christ—we become more than we are; we too can be free as the Son is free.

It is important to remember that become more than what we are, doesn’t mean we become other than who we are. Our personal identities and vocations don’t fade away, they are not dissolved into the divine nature. It is rather that we come to share in the divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4) and becoming by grace more than we are by nature. And it in this, becoming more than what we are, that we also become more fully who we are, more full ourselves.

And yet, the Church still from time to time is drawn into conflict as it was in the years leading up to the First Ecumenical Council.

The holy Apostle Paul warns of this when he says that “after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” Arius and the other heretics and schismatics that have emerged through the history of the Church are the savage wolves Paul warns us about. In attacking or denying the divinity of Christ (Arianism) or His humanity (Monophysitism)  or in distorting our understanding of the Holy Trinity (Sabellianism), these individuals would undermine the Gospel, seek to assert themselves over the Church and rob Christians of our joy.

But Paul doesn’t simply warn us that enemies of the Gospel will emerge in the Church; he tells us to be watchful. We can’t simply passively suffer these attacks. No mindful of Christ’s promise that even “the gates of hell shall not prevail against” the Church, we stand up and oppose those who would corrupt the Gospel, oppress the Church and destroy joy.

It must be admitted that—as dangerous as Arius and the other heretics and schismatics are—we face another, equally dangerous threat.

There have always been those among us who, though “having a form of godliness” would deny “its power’ (see 2 Timothy 3:5, NKJV). These individuals “preach Christ … from envy and strife … [and] from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction” to those who are faithful disciples of Christ (Philippians 1:15, 16, NKJV).

Who are these envious preachers? These selfish prophets of strife and affliction?

They are those who would seek to exclude others from the Kingdom of God or would use the Gospel to satisfy their own self-aggrandizing desires. They are, to borrow a phrase from one of my professors, the “joy suckers.” St Paul’s these people murmurs, those who “complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer” (1 Corinthians 10:10, NJKV) They are not destroyed because the seek to right wrongs in the Church openly.

Joy suckers aren’t formal heretics or schismatics but  murmurs, “grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage” (Jude 16, NKJV).  St Paul says of those who “complain, as some of them also complained” will themselves be “destroyed by the destroyer” (see, 1 Corinthians 10:10, NJKV) They are not destroyed because they openly and honestly  seek to right wrongs in the Church. No, they are destroyed because they destroyers who sow division and condemn others. Worst of all, they do this secretly, with whispers and innuendo. They are spiritual poisoners who are, in their own way, as death-dealing to the life of the Church as Arius. “Gossips and busybodies” (1 Timothy 5:13, NKJV), who “sow strife” and by their whispers destroy “the best of friends” (Proverbs 16:28, NKJV).

My brothers and sisters in Christ! In a week, we will stand together and, once again, receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit! Once again, like the Fishermen, God will give us the Holy Spirit, make us wise so that we can capture the whole world in our net!

In a week, in churches throughout the world, separated as we are by distance, we will stand together spiritually and, once again, receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit!

Once again, like the Fishermen, God will give us the Holy Spirit, make us wise so that we can capture the whole world in our net!

Having received so great a gift not once, not yearly, but daily, hourly, even minute by minute, let us lay aside anything is our hearts that would rob others—or us—of joy!

Let us run to the Feast, receive the Spirit and go, boldly, into the world as disciples of Christ, witnesses to the Resurrection, and Spirit-bearer prophets to a world torn by divisions and scarred by sin!

My brothers and sisters in Christ! Let us be who we are: Apostles of Joy!

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

Praise God

Sunday, April 24, 2016: Palm Sunday, Elizabeth the Wonderworker, Savvas the General of Rome

Epistle: Philippians 4:4-9
Gospel: John 12:1-18

Suffering often invokes in us a sense of failure. Whatever form it takes, the sense of personal failure seems intrinsic to suffering. Especially when the pain is intense, I say to myself that this bad thing has happened because I am a bad person. It doesn’t end here, however.

This internal dialog is complemented, if you will, by what I hear around me. I might think that my suffering is my fault. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2, NKJV)

And yet, the events of Holy Week run exactly contrary to the  association we make between suffering and personal failure. The “chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death” not because of any offense he committed but because of the grace he had received and “because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.” Lazarus, in the view of some, must suffer and die because in restoring him to life, Jesus ” confirm[ed] the universal Resurrection” (Troparion, Lazarus Saturday).

We see this in more clearly in the Person of Jesus Christ. His suffering and death, though it makes Him a failure in the eyes of the world. The reality, however, is quite different. “Like the children with the palms of victory, we cry out to You, O Vanquisher of death; Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!” (Troparion, Lazarus Saturday)

Yes, there are times when our suffering is the result of our own failure. At other times, though, we suffer not because we have failed but because we have succeeded. As disciples of Christ living as we do in a fallen world, we must expect that there will be times when suffering comes to us because we are faithful; the Cross will at times come to us because we are successful.

There are times when as Christians we will suffer because, like Lazarus, we have been blessed by God.

There are times when, like Jesus, we will suffer because we have been faithful and obedient to the will of God for our lives.

There are times when we will suffer because, in us, death has been vanquished and the resurrection of all has been confirmed.

Sometimes, in other words, we suffer because we have succeeded.

Ironically, it is in these moments that I am also most tempted. In the midst of my suffering, I likely find little comfort in Jesus’ response to the disciples, that the man was born blind not for his sin or that of “his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him” (John 9:2-, NKJV). At this moment, I might, like Judas, turn away from Jesus seeking to conceal my infidelity behind noble, but nevertheless false, motives. “Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said ‘Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it.”

The hymnography of the Church suggests that Judas’ betrayal is motivated by “avarice,” his love of money.

When the glorious disciples were enlightened at the washing of their feet before the supper, then the impious Judas was darkened, ailing with avarice and to the lawless judges he betrays You, the righteous Judge. Behold, O lover of money, this man who because of money hanged himself. Flee from the greedy soul which dared such things against the Master. O Lord, who is good towards all men, glory to You! (Troparion, Great and Holy Wednesday)

I need to be careful here.

Looking into my own heart, I might think that because avarice is absent, because I’m not greedy for money, that my heart isn’t also darkened. Yes, the love of money is always a problem but it isn’t the only reason the human heart will turn away from God. There are other, equally deadly, sins that can cause me to turn away from God. Remember what we hear later this week at Matins:

Behold the Bridegroom comes at midnight, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching, and again unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep, lest you be given up to death and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom. But rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, are You, O our God! Through the Theotokos have mercy on us!

To avoid becoming another Judas, we must be watchful, we must know ourselves. And to self-knowledge, we must add ascetical self-discipline so that our thoughts and actions reflect the great dignity of our calling.

Above all, though, to self-knowledge and ascetical struggle, we must offer our praise to God. We must join the angels and offer to God the hymns of thanksgiving.

“Rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, are You, O our God!”

This is why the Church prefaces the Gospel account of the events surrounding Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem these words from the Holy Apostle Paul:

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

It isn’t simply that Judas loved money, he lacked joy. IAs for the children of Jerusalem, they  betrayed Jesus, because their praise of God was motivated by anxiety rather than “prayer and supplication.” Their words lacked joy and so they didn’t greet Jesus “with thanksgiving” but resentment of their oppressors.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, as we begin now our final journey with Christ our true God to His glorious resurrection, let us take to heart not only the failures of Judas and the children of Jerusalem but also be mindful of our own tendencies to turn away from our Savior. Whether we suffer because of our own sinfulness or the envy of the Enemy, whether we suffer because of our own failure or because of our fidelity to Christ, let us take to heart Paul’s counsel to the Church at Philippi:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Let us, in other words, never tire or falter in our praise of God and in giving thanks to Him for whatever grace He has given us and those around us.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

St Porphyrios on Obedience

For Christians as well as those outside the Church, probably no topic is as misunderstood as obedience. And yet, obedience is foundational not only to our relationship with Christ but for the whole of the Church’s life. Obedience to Holy Tradition, to our bishop and our conscience all serve to keep us united to God and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Again, for many people—Christian or not–obedience is morally problematic. In most cases this reflects not ill-will but a lack of understanding. In the Scriptures the command to be obedience is not a command that we give a mechanical submission to an authority (divine or human). Obedience isn’t passive submission of the vanquished to the victor, it isn’t “‘giving in’ or ‘surrender’ but freely chosen, voluntary mutual cooperation–or synergy” (here).

Elder Porphyrios

In Wounded by Love: The Life and Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios. Elder Porphyrios (+1991), a Greek monk and priest “tells the story of his life and, in simple, deeply reflected and profoundly wise words, he expounds the Christian Faith today.” Writing on obedience he recalls that as a young monk

My whole life was a paradise: prayer, worship, handicraft, and obedience. But my obedience was the outcome of love not coercion. This blessed obedience benefitted me greatly. It changed me. I became sharp-witted, quick and stronger in body and soul. … Obedience shows love for Christ. And Christ especially loves the obedient (Wounded by Love, p. 25).

At a minimum, obedience requires the absence of coercion. There can be nothing abusive or forced if obedience is going to be true to what it means to be human. Obedience properly so called is always an appeal to human freedom and an affirmation of human dignity.

For the fathers of the Church, freedom is “one of the manifestations of God in human nature. According to St. Gregory of Nyssa, ‘Man became Godlike and blessed, being honoured with freedom (αὐτεξουσίῳ)’ (Sermon on the Dead). For this reason, the Church in her pastoral practice and spiritual guidance takes so much care of the inner world of a person and his freedom of choice. Subjection of human will to any external authority through manipulation or violence is seen as a violation of the order established by God.”

We can’t, however, make “freedom of choice … an absolute or ultimate value.” As it comes to us from the hand of God, our freedom is “at the service of human well-being.” This means that when a person exercises his freedom he “should not harm either himself or those around him.” Unfortunately, “due to the power of sin inherent in the fallen human nature, no human effort is sufficient to achieve genuine goodness” (see The Russian Orthodox Church’s Basic Teaching on Human Dignity, Freedom and Rights, II.1).

Elder Porphyrios is helpful here.

I can’t give you an example of what real obedience is. It’s not that we have a discussion about the virtue of obedience and then I say ‘go and do a somersault,’ and you obey. That’s not obedience. You need to be entirely carefree and not thinking at all about the matter of obedience, and then suddenly you are asked to do something and you are ready to do it joyfully (Wounded by Love, p. 19).

Freedom, love and joy; these are characteristic of Christian obedience. But these are also all inter-personal; they are social and not merely individual. Being obedient means learning to make choices that foster freedom, love and joy not simply in my life but yours as well. It isn’t so much a matter of my being obedient to you (or the other way around) but our being obedient together to God Who is the source of all good things. Obedience, in other words, is mutual; what we do together and not what I do alone.

To be obedient means to live as a member of a community in which we work together for the flourishing, sanctification and salvation of each other. It is the end of mere individualism and the beginning of life patterned after the Holy Trinity.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

Like Paul! Living in Joy, Without Fear!

Sunday, February 7, 2016: Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost & Sixteenth Sunday of Matthew

After-feast of the Presentation (Meeting) of Christ; Parthenios, bishop of Lampsakos; Venerable Luke of Hellas; New-martyr George of Crete

Epistle: 2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30

Reflecting on his own ministry, the Apostle Paul says that he “put no obstacle” in the way of anyone who—having sensed that “now is the day of salvation”—wished to become like him a “servants of God.” Paul then goes on to enumerate the cost he’s paid for fidelity to the evangelical work of the Church. He has had to bear “afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger.” All this and more he endured so that others could come to experience in their lives “the power of God.”

Not only does Paul suffer at the hands of the Gentiles, he is persecuted by the Jews. Nevertheless, he has freely and enthusiastically preaches the Gospel, “the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute” at the hands of unbelievers.

But at the ends of his recollections, his focus shifts; he hints that he suffers at the hands of those who have accepted the Gospel. Paul even suffers at the hands of other Christians. It is his fellow apostles and evangelists, not the Gentile and Jewish authorities, that treat Paul as an imposter, as someone unknown to Christ.

And yet, in spite of all this, he remains faithful to Christ and committed to “making many rich” even though he himself is “poor.” Because of his heroic fidelity to Christ and the work to which he is called, Paul who has “nothing” in the eyes of men, “possess[es] everything” in Christ.

Turning from the epistle to the Gospel, we see the example unfaithful servant who is the anti-type or moral opposite of Paul. This man allowed fear of his master to overwhelm him. Ironically, this results in his fears being realized. He is punished by his master, cast “into the outer darkness” there to weep and gnash his teeth.

On closer examination, though, we see that the unworthy servant was motivated not simply by fear of “a hard man.” No, the servant was gripped by despair; he had no confidence, no trust, no hope in the future. And all this because he simply had no confidence in his master and the gift his master gave him. He also he had no trust in himself because he had no faith in his master.

Yes, the master was “a hard man” who reaped where he didn’t sew and who gathered where he didn’t winnow. But this hard man had confidence in his servants. To be sure varying degrees of confidence signified by the greater or lesser amount of money entrusted to them. Nevertheless, the master was confident in his servants and their abilities to be profitable for him. The servant’s self-doubt and despair are the bitter fruit of his lack of faith in his own master.

On this difference hinges the difference between my being like Paul or being like the wicked and slothful servant. We usually think of sloth as laziness. While there is some overlap between them, sloth is less a matter of not doing what’s right and more of not taking joy in doing it. The slothful person is indifferent or even opposed to the joy that comes from being faithful and obedient to God.

At its foundation sloth is a refusal to accept with gratitude and joy my life as it has come to me from the hands of a loving God. Small and few though they seem to me, the gifts God has given me are able to bear fruit if only I am faithful to God. Joy, to say nothing of progress in the spiritual life, are the fruit of fidelity to our personal vocations.

This is why St Paul takes pains to say again and again that he puts “no obstacle” in the way anyone coming to Christ. Having experienced the joy of discipleship in his own life, he can’t but desire that for others. Having experienced the love of God for him, Paul wants others to come to know God’s love for them. This is why even though he was persecuted by the civil and religious of his time, even though he was criticized and rejected by some in the Church, Paul preached Christ and Him crucified (see 1 Corinthians 2:2), in season and out (see 2 Timothy 4:2). His life was rooted in faithful, hopeful ad loving obedience to Jesus Christ and not the passing approval of men.

When I look at my own spiritual life, do I see a life characterized by gratitude and joy? Reflecting on this morning’s epistle and Gospel makes me ask why do I lack the confidence of St Paul? Might I be more like the unfaithful steward and fear of my master, the Lord Jesus Christ?

Paul’s life reflects the healthy and wholesome self-confidence that is the fruit of fidelity to God. Such fidelity can’t be abstract or merely theoretical; it isn’t a matter of words, ideas or feelings. Fidelity to Christ is the fruit of the careful discernment of our own, personal vocation and our subsequent obedience to the contours and content of the life and work to which we have been called.

How do I know if I am faithful? How do I know if my self-confidence is healthy and wholesome?

We find our answer again in the person of the Apostle Paul. The sign of vocational fidelity and Christ-like self-confidence is joy. Specifically, our ability, like Paul, to rejoice in gifts God has given others and to work to foster their fidelity to what God asks of them. We do this because we know that “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (2 Corinthians 12:26. NKJV). Joy in the honor God bestows on others is the sign of our own fidelity to the will of God. To live otherwise is to fall into the divisions that plagued the Church in Corinth. Such joy is balm for a world battered and broken by sin and death and is certain and trustworthy evidence “for the hope that lies within” us (see 1 Peter 3:15).

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory