Feast of Our Lord and Giver of Life 2022: A Letter from Patriarch Craig Bates

Dear brothers and sisters,

In November of this year, I tested positive for COVID 19.  It happened, even though I was double vaccinated with the Moderna Vaccine.  I ended up very sick for several days, and continued for a significant time not feeling well and being weak and tired.  But I survived and, for this, I am grateful.  

As you know, COVID 19 is a respiratory disease like the common cold, the influenza, or pneumonia.  I have had all of them several times.  None of them are pleasant, particularly pneumonia. The concern with COVID 19 and the variants is that it is highly contagious and can lead to death, particularly with the elderly or those who have immune difficulties and other factors such as obesity, diabetes, or respiratory issues.  The primary issue with respiratory ailments is that they effect your breathing.  Very simply, you are short of breath and at times feel like you are not going to be able to breath.  

In the case of COVID 19, if your breathing gets worse, it means you end up in the hospital, either on oxygen or on a ventilator.  There are now some therapeutics that help like the monoclonal antibody infusion.   

While sick, I discovered a gadget called a “pulse oximeter” that measures your oxygen level in your blood.  You need to remain above 90, and I was told if it got below 90 then I had to go to the hospital.  I became somewhat obsessed with the gadget and Cathy had to take it away from me.  Obviously, my blood level was okay and still is.

This time with COVID 19, and my 14 days of quarantine, the Holy Spirit has reminded me once again, not only that all life is sacred, but the life which is given to us is a grace from Him.  He is the giver of life.  In fact, He is life.  Life is a person named Jesus.  Every time we take a breath, which we do usually without any awareness, we participate in the life of God.  We participate in the life of Jesus.  God is as close as the next breath.

Abortion is the taking of human life.  It is not a reproductive procedure.  It is the exact opposite.  Abortion is an attack on the reproduction and creation of human life. It is an attack on the image of God.  God desires for the  reproduction of human life  to take place.  It is the law of creation and nature that we reproduce life.  Abortion is anti-creation, anti-nature, and anti-God.

Once again this year, our communion will celebrate worldwide the Feast of Our Lord the Giver of Life.  On that Sunday — January 16 this year — we take up a special offering, to the glory of God, that will be given to CEC for Life for its work in the Pro-Life Movement.  All churches and clergy are asked to submit their memberships to CEC for Life at this time.  And,  hopefully, the vast majority of CEC members will join CEC for Life through their special offerings.   

Life will always be victorious in every circumstance and on all levels.  Death has been defeated by the Lord, the Giver of Life.  The cross reminds us that death is not the final word, but rather the death of the cross is the beginning of life.  Breathe on us, O breath of God.

Under His mercy,

The Most Rev. Craig W. Bates

Patriarch, ICCEC