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On this day seventeen years ago, the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the airliner crash in Pennsylvania took place, killing thousands of innocent people. Regarding the Pennsylvania crash, some brave people on board prevented the plane from reaching its target. That day drastically changed the way our country operates. Much was done to make our airports safer for flying with a major increase in security measures. I am thankful to God for these measures. Since September 11, 2001, we have not had a major terrorist attack in our country involving our airports and jets.

Yet in many ways, there is much about our world today that remains unsafe. We have seen hundreds of young people lose their lives in school shootings throughout the country and over 50 people recently slain in the Las Vegas Hotel sniper attack. During a recent weekend in Chicago, 19 people lost their lives in gun-related incidents. We see scores of people dying from addiction to opioids such Heroin laced with Fentanyl. (Ohio is a major area in which this is happening). The womb continues to be an unsafe place where many conceived infants are not allowed to develop and be born. The number of infants who lose their lives by abortion far surpasses the loss of life in the above scenarios.

I have spent a good amount of time in my weekly notes addressing these topics. The solutions of the world have their limits, whether they be making abortion illegal, banning certain weapons, arming people with guns in schools, or fighting what seems to be a losing battle on the war on drugs. What words can I share with you as parents who are striving to form your children in the Orthodox Christian Faith?

The only solution I can think of is getting people to a point that they wouldn’t think of getting an abortion, wouldn’t think of experimenting with dangerous drugs, wouldn’t think of taking a gun into school or using it on a family member.

This week we celebrate the Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is during this feast that we take an instrument of death and scandal, an instrument that is cursed, and transform it into an instrument of victory, of joy, of reconciliation, and of peace. The Kontakion of this feast puts it so well:

“As You were voluntarily raised upon the cross for our sake, grant mercy to those who are called by Your Name, O Christ God; make all Orthodox Christians glad by Your power, granting them victories over their adversaries, by bestowing on them the Invincible Trophy, Your weapon of Peace.”

Go as a family to a church near you and celebrate this Great Feast of our Lord this week. May this Feast bring us the joy and peace we are seeking in our lives. This is the prescription I have written for you this week.

The blessing of the Lord be upon you, with love,

The unworthy +Paul

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