St. Benedict Orthodox Church Celebrating in the Western Rite of the Antiochian Jurisdiction
A Sermon by Father Peter Kavanaugh
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who, day and night, wore a veil over her face. She was a princess in fact, though not a lovely princess. When she was younger, she often heard people whispering that she wasn’t very nice to look at, and so, as soon as she was old enough, she started wearing this veil wherever she went. Well, she lived a long life in this way. The veil over her face became a veil between her and the world. She demanded love from everyone, but she never gave any, because she forbade the world from seeing her face. You can probably imagine, she was not a happy princess. Bitterness ate at her heart. She was angry with life and with God. She demanded answers, but heaven was silent. But then, finally, the day did come when she experienced what all of us will eventually experience – she stood in a courtroom in heaven face to face with God.
For the first time since her childhood, the veil over her face was taken off. Then someone in the room unrolled a long scroll and read aloud everything that she had ever done. Not only was her face revealed, her soul was revealed. All the barriers between her and the world, her and God, vanished. The veil was torn. Now, all that remained was the princess and God, face to face.
This story is possibly the most beautiful fairytale ever written. If you don’t recognize it, it’s called 'Till We Have Faces.' In shocking depth, it looks at basic human life: our story in this world and all the barriers we put up between us and it; the veils that we hide behind, separating us from God.
But the fairytale has a beautiful ending. When all these veils are torn down, and the princess sees God for who He is and sees herself just as herself – there in that room she repents. “I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer…” She explains afterwards, “How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?” Continue
The Orthodox Church is evangelical, but not Protestant. It is orthodox, but not Jewish. It is catholic, but not Roman. It is not non-denominational, it is pre-denominational. It has believed, taught, preserved, defended, and died for the Faith of the Apostles since the Day of Pentecost nearly 2000 years ago in 33 A.D.