Newsletter for February, 2002
Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:
Greetings in the Faith and Love of our Lord
and God and Savior Jesus Christ!
Remember our note about RANDOM ACTS
Well, you'll recall it went this way: Every
now and then people talk about "random acts
of kindness." Indeed, I have even see a bumper
sticker that read PRACTICE RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS.
I don't know about the "random" part,
but I've experienced a lot of kindness in my time
-- kindness that often came unexpectedly. And
I suppose that is what is meant by random acts
of kindness. Looking back, some of them stand
out particularly. For example (and you may have
heard me tell this story before): in June 1950,
I enrolled in graduate school at the University
of Iowa a week before graduation at Purdue University.
Having very little money, I hitch-hiked from West
Lafayette to Iowa City and hitch-hiked back a
week later for graduation. That evening I got
a ride out the highway to hitch-hike back to Iowa
City. After some uneventful hours I got a ride
on a steel-hauling truck about 30 miles up the
road. There I was on US41 outside of Kentland,
Indiana -- shivering in the night cool -- at about
2:00 o'clock in the morning with few cars going
by, and none slowing down. Suddenly, out of the
dark came a shiny new Cadillac convertible which
stopped. The driver gave me a ride and asked questions
about where I was going and why, etc. Instead
of stopping in Hammond, where I would have taken
US6 across to Iowa City, he drove me into Chicago
to the train station, where he bought me a ticket
to Iowa City and handed me a $20 bill. I do not
know the name of that man, but his kindness was
a memorable event in my life -- one of so very
many I have experienced that I could never begin
to so much as list them all.
I suspect what was done for me that June night
so long ago fits in the category being labeled
"random acts of kindness." If we consider
just a bit, we will realize that we are all called
by God to engage in such behavior -- that this
is precisely the point made by our Lord in the
parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37).
And if we reflect just a little more, we will
see that "random" is hardly the right
adjective -- especially to describe what we are
called upon to practice. For it is clear God does
not wish us to throw acts of kindness randomly
into the mix of our daily lives. Rather, kindness
is to be central to our way of life. As St. Paul
says, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control. Against such there is
no law" (Galatians 5:22-23). If we had a
bumper sticker concerning such matters, it perhaps
should read "PRACTICE
OF KINDNESS." Forget the "RANDOM,"
we should be kind at all times.
PRISONER EDUCATION PROJECT
In the summer of 1992 we received a letter from
an inmate at a prison in Texas. Shortly thereafter
he became a student in our Correspondence Studies
Program. From his success and enthusiasm others
followed. This prisoner and a number of those others
were converted to the Orthodox Christian faith,
and some years ago Fr. Duane Pederson of The
Orthodox Christian Street and Prison Ministry
visited that prison and baptized and chrismated
a number of prisoners. There have been more since,
and finally they asked for a catechism suitable
for prisoners. Eventually, a project was laid out
for the development of a concise catechism appropriate
for this purpose. Providing this group of prisoners
with materials to work from, Fr. Duane set them
forth on the project. Back and forth went the product
of their work, and the catechism was produced. Now
it is being published by The Orthodox Street
and Prison Ministry as part of the Orthodox
Christian Journey Series Book Two: Orthodox
Christian Catechism with copies due sometime
in February. Although The Prison Ministry (now directed
by Fr. David Ogan) will provide them free to prisoners,
prison libraries and chaplains, as long as funds
are available, the rest of us must pay for our copies.
If you would like a copy, just write, and we will
have Fr. David send you a copy for $10.00.
THE ORTHODOX STUDY BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT PROJECT
In spite of having accomplished so much - we have
most of our material in - we are very frustrated
on this project. We very much need a meeting of
our general editors and then of all of our editors
very soon - and I mean in the next six months (should
have already done so). But we are still short of
the funds to do so. Can you imagine that money
of all things would be our problem??! Yet it is.
Make no mistake, we are very pleased with the
work being done by our participants, who are academically,
spiritually, and personally qualified. But we
are held up because we don't have enough funds
to do our work!
As you can see, your prayers and gifts will
be of great assistance to us!
In the love of Christ our Lord,
P.S. You can use the enclosed coupon to obtain
a copy of our booklet, THE ROAD TO PASCHA:
SELECTIONS FROM ST. ATHANASIUS. From the magnificent
reservoir of the writings of St. Athanasius we
have chosen choice passages dealing with our annual
progress through Lent to Pascha.
Keep the Light within Shining Outward
for all to Witness
and be Joyful!