Bishop Benedict of Bistrita urges faithful to bear the pain of not going to church services with humility, without despair

The assistant bishop of the Archdiocese of Vad, Feleac and Cluj has called on the faithful who cannot attend church services due to the restrictions adopted to fight against the new coronavirus epidemic to accept the measures ‘with a spirit of repentance,’ without giving in to resentment.

The Assistant Bishop Benedict of Bistrița posted a message on the website of the local church-owned Radio station Renasterea.

“It is essential to assume the pain of the absence, without turning into victims, without unnecessary revolts, without dramas, but rather, to live it in the most natural spirit of repentance,” the hierarch said.

“It’s time to abstain from the longing for the Bridegroom, because we miss Him, there in the Chalice. But without despair.”

Under the conditions imposed by the pandemic, the assistant bishop wrote that “this year, Good Friday began earlier. And I believe that this ordinance of God will be for our benefit.”

Why? Because the longing for communion with the Saviour of our souls intensifies.

“I think that Christ, with His specific delicacy, offers us this time to feel the deep and sweet longing for Him, to crave more for His things, so that we may long to eat the Passover with Him.”

His Grace instructed the believers to participate actively, through liturgical gestures, in the services broadcast online, thus being in communion with the ministering priests and becoming “a part of the Eucharistic prayer.”

“It is vital for all those who love the Divine Liturgy, who watch it on TV, on the Internet, or listen to it on the radio, to participate physically and spiritually as you would in the Church, accompanied by the same liturgical gestures and the same vigilance.”

Through this dynamic behaviour, believers transform the world into a Church, the bishop said.

“In this way, the Church inside the walls widens. Your houses become churches, and eventually, the whole world unites in the Divine Liturgy, and everything becomes the Church. God’s Spirit that we call upon in prayer will rest upon the world like at the beginning of creation.”

Photography courtesy of the Metropolis of Cluj

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