Your Grace, Bishop James!
This day, through the laying on of hands, you have received the Grace of the Holy Episcopacy. You have been summoned to the highest office of Holy Mother Church.
You are now entrusted with the care to teach, to guide, and to protect spiritually priests, deacons and laity. Be the embodiment of wisdom, of humility, and obedience to Christ; for of that which you have received—this gift, which is a divine Grace of God—you shall be responsible at the Last Judgment Seat of Christ.
As a bishop you are a sower: one who sows seeds that are to fall upon unnurtured soil. The seeds you sow are Christ’s teachings, His words. The earth upon which they fall is the heart of man. As a sower who prepares the earth before he plants, you as a bishop need to prepare the heart of man, in order for it to be rich, and so, when receiving this seed, gain spiritual strength.
Seek no counsel of men. Do not trust in man! When one puts dependency on man, one will fall with man; for the help you receive from men, as the Fathers teach, is even weaker than a cobweb. This is the way of the fallen world in which we live.
Saint John Chrysostom teaches that when we surround ourselves by learned men of wisdom, then eventually, if we keep what they say, we embody them and become like them. Yet still there is something higher. Through prayer, you stand next to the One Who can give you necessary strength, understanding, support—and that is Christ our God.
Envelop yourself in prayer. Stand with God. Remember - “[The Word of] God became man so that man may become God”, St Irenaeus (Against Heresies, Book 5, Preface).
Receive the crosier: a symbol of your episcopal authority; and now that you are a prince of Holy Mother Church, take it, go forth and do the Lord’s bidding.
24 Oct./6 Nov. 2019
Holy Virgin Cathedral