Friday, February 21, 2014
«Οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν ἢ ἀδελφοὺς ἢ ἀδελφὰς ἢ πατέρα ἢ μητέρα ἢ γυναῖκα ἢ τέκνα ἢ ἀγροὺς ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ καὶ ἕνεκεν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, ἐὰν μὴ λάβῃ ἑκατονταπλασίονα νῦν ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ οἰκίας καὶ ἀδελφοὺς καὶ ἀδελφὰς καὶ πατέρα καὶ μητέρα καὶ τέκνα καὶ ἀγροὺς μετὰ διωγμῶν, καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ ζωὴν αἰώνιον». (Μκ. 10, 29-30).
Είναι αψευδής αυτός ο λόγος του Κυρίου. Σας βεβαιώνω ότι, όταν άφησα τα παιδιά μου και τα εμπιστεύτηκα στον Θεό, Εκείνος τα φρόντισε. Τα παιδιά μεγάλωσαν σωστά και νομίζω ότι εγώ δεν θα μπορούσα να τα φροντίσω τόσο καλά. Και ο Κύριος μου έδωσε εκατό φορές περισσότερα παιδιά. Μου έδωσε όλους εσάς. Μου έδωσε τις καρδιές σας διότι γνωρίζω πόσο με αγαπάτε και εγώ ανταποκρίνομαι στην αγάπη σας με τη δική μου θερμή αγάπη. Τόσο πολλά παιδιά μου έδωσε ο Θεός!...
Και τα δικά σας παιδιά πρέπει να είναι μορφωμένα. Μόνο να μην περιορίζεται η μόρφωση και η αγωγή τους στην έξωθεν σοφία, στην σοφία αυτού του κόσμου. Να μαθαίνουν ταυτόχρονα την άνωθεν σοφία και την ανώτατη αλήθεια. Να μαθαίνουν το νόμο του Θεού και τις εντολές του Χρίστου, να μαθαίνουν την ευλάβεια, πώς να έχουν πάντα την μνήμη του Θεού και την σωστή χριστιανική οδό. Μόνο τότε δεν θα χαθούν τα παιδιά σας στις οδούς της ανθρώπινης σοφίας, μόνο τότε πάνω απ' όλα θα έχουν πάντα την χριστιανική σοφία, την γνώση του Θεού. Μ' αυτό τον τρόπο λοιπόν πρέπει να διαπαιδαγωγούμε τα παιδιά μας.
Θα δώσετε λόγο ενώπιον του Θεού για τα κακά παραδείγματα πού δίνετε στα παιδιά σας, για τούς καυγάδες πού γίνονται μπροστά στα μάτια τους, για τις φλυαρίες πού ακούνε να λέτε. Αν εσείς οι ίδιοι το κάνετε αυτό τότε τα παιδιά σας τί μπορούν να μάθουν από σας;
Εξ απαλών ονύχων πρέπει να αρχίζουμε την αγωγή, διότι μόνο σε πολύ μικρή ηλικία τα παιδιά αποδέχονται με ευκολία νουθεσίες και προτροπές. Η ψυχή τους είναι σαν το κερί μαλακή όπου κάθε δικός σας λόγος η πράξη μένουν, και τα καλά και τα άσχημα παραδείγματα, λόγος αγαθός η αισχρός.
«Μικρός βλαστός, όπου τον γέρνεις τέτοια κλίση θα πάρει, ένα καινούριο δοχείο αν θα εκπέμπει μυρωδιά η κακοσμία εξαρτάται από το με τι θα το γεμίσετε, βάζοντας μέσα είτε αρώματα είτε ακαθαρσίες» (Αγ. Τύχων του Ζαντόνσκ).
Μητέρα, το πιο αγαπημένο πρόσωπο για το παιδί, πηγή στοργής και τρυφερότητας, στέκεται προσευχόμενη μπροστά στην εικόνα του Χριστού. Το παιδί κοιτάζει πότε αυτήν και πότε την εικόνα και δεν έχει ανάγκη από μακρές εξηγήσεις για το τί σημαίνει αυτό. Να, αυτό είναι το πρώτο σιωπηλό μάθημα της θεογνωσίας. Αυτό είναι το πρώτο και το πιο σημαντικό μάθημα της ευλάβειας. Τέτοια μαθήματα μπορείτε και πρέπει πάντα να δίνετε στα παιδιά σας.
Δεν υπάρχει για την μητέρα καθήκον μεγαλύτερο και έργο ιερότερο, για το όποιο αύτη φέρει ευθύνη ενώπιον του Θεού, απ' αυτό της ανατροφής των παιδιών. Στον Θεό θα δώσετε λόγο αν αμελήσετε αυτό το έργο. Και από τώρα θ' αρχίσουν τα βάσανα σας και θα ρίχνετε πικρά δάκρυα και θα αναστενάζετε βλέποντας τα παιδιά σας. Λοιπόν, «Ὁρᾶτε μὴ καταφρονήσητε ἑνὸς τῶν μικρῶν τούτων». (Ματ. 18, 10) Να φροντίζετε τα παιδιά σας, να είστε γι' αυτούς παράδειγμα της γνήσιας χριστιανικής ζωής και η ευλογία του Κυρίου στους αιώνες των αιώνων θα είναι σ' όλους εσάς και στα παιδιά σας.
Αγίου Λουκά Κριμαίας
The spiritual life, the Christian life, does not consist in developing a strong will capable of compelling us to do what we do not want. In a sense, of course, it is an achievement to do the right things when we really wish to do the wrong ones, but it remains a small achievement. A mature spiritual life implies that our conscious will is in accordance with the words of God and has remolded, transformed our nature so deeply, with the help of God’s grace, that the totality of our human person is only one will.
To begin with, we must submit and curb our will into obedience to the commandments of Christ, taken objectively, applied strictly, even when they clash with what we know about life. We must, in an act of faith, admit against the evidence that Christ is right. Experience teaches us that certain things do not seem to work as the gospels say they should; but God says they do, so they must. We must also remember that when we fulfill God’s will in this objective sense, we must not do it tentatively, thinking of putting it to the test, to see what comes of it, because then it does not work. Experience teaches us that when we are slapped on the one cheek, we want to retaliate; Christ says ‘turn the other cheek’. What we really expect when we finally determine to turn the other cheek is to convert the enemy and win his admiration. But when instead we are slapped again, we are usually surprised or indignant, as though God has cheated us into doing something quite unworkable.
We must outgrow this attitude, be prepared to do God’s will and pay the cost. Unless we are prepared to pay the cost, we are wasting our time. Then, as a next step, we must learn that doing is not enough, because we must not be drilled into Christianity, but we must BECOME Christians…
~Metropolitan Anthony Bloom
Ιερέας ο ένας λαϊκός ο άλλος ( φίλοι και κουμπάροι ) επιστρέφανε από το Άγιο Όρος.
Δάφνη, Σταυρονικήτα, Διονυσίου η σύντομη διαδρομή ...για να γεμίσουν οι μπαταρίες.
Στο λεωφορείο της επιστροφής ανάμεσα στα σχόλια των ημερών για το Όρος...
Ιερέας: Να σου πω κάτι, δεν θα το πιστέψεις.
Λαϊκός: Πες μου, τι είναι;
Ιερέας; Μια φορά είχα πάει σε μια αγρυπνία σ' ένα γνωστό μου στη Θήβα. Ήμαστε πολλοί παπάδες γιατί γιόρταζε η Εκκλησία, αλλά και ο κόσμος έφθανε μέχρι το δρόμο. Στην ώρα της Θείας Κοινωνίας ετοιμάσαμε τέσσερα Άγια ποτήρια για να μην καθυστερούμε και τον κόσμο, είχε περάσει και η ώρα.
Εγώ κάπως καθυστέρησα, με φώναξε ο Δεσπότης κάτι να μου πει και άργησα να βγω στον κόσμο.
Βγαίνοντας τελικά ίσα που πρόλαβα και κοινώνησα πέντε- έξι.
Το ποτήρι ήταν γεμάτο μέχρι πάνω και έτσι κατέλυσα μόνος. Χαιρέτισα τους πατέρες και έφυγα γρήγορα, είχα άλλωστε και διαδρομή μέχρι την Αθήνα.
Ιερέας: Ακούς ή κοιμήθηκες;
Λαϊκός: Έλα συνέχισε.
Ιερέας: Βγαίνοντας από την Θήβα να σου κι' ένα περιπολικό της τροχαίας να μου κάνει σήμα να σταματήσω.
Αστυνομικοί: Καλησπέρα πάτερ, πώς κι΄από δω;
Ιερέας: Επιστρέφω στην Αθήνα.
Αστυνομικοί: Γυρνάνε και οι παπάδες την νύχτα;
Ιερέας: Βρε ευλογημένε σε αγρυπνία ήμουν με τον π. Ν στην Εκκλησία σας που γιορτάζει.
Αστυνομικοί: Μια και σε σταματήσαμε, να κάνουμε ένα αλκοτέστ.
Ιερέας: όπως νομίζετε παιδιά
Ετοίμαζαν οι Αστυνομικοί το αλκοτέστ, σβούρα το μυαλό του παπά - γεμάτο το Άγιο ποτήρι, το κατέλυσα μόνος μου ...λες ; μπα όχι... έχει ο Θεός.
Αστυνομικοί: Φύσα παπά.
Ιερέας : Ορίστε φύσηξα, πάρτο.
Αστυνομικοί: Αρνητικό, δεν μου λες παπά δεν πίνεις καθόλου κρασί, ο δείκτης είναι κάτω από τα φυσιολογικά, άντε στο καλό.
Ιερέας: Καληνύχτα παιδιά
Ξεμάκρυνε ο παπάς, σαν άνθρωπος ίσως κάποιο δευτερόλεπτο παλαντζάρισε η ψυχή του, μα σαν ιερεύς χάιδεψε λίγο το στήθος του, ένα χαμόγελο φάνηκε στα χείλη του και ένα "Δόξα Σοι ο Θεός" έσκισε τον Ουρανό και έφτασε στο θρόνο του Θεού.
Ιερέας: Κατάλαβες ή κοιμάσαι τόση ώρα;
Λαϊκός: Κατάλαβα πατερ...κατάλαβα!
Είχε γυρίσει ο λαϊκός προς το παράθυρο, και ένα δάκρυ χαράς και ευγνωμοσύνης για τον Θεό γλίστρησε απ' τα μάτια ένοιωσε τώρα μες τα κατάβαθα της ψυχής η πίστη του μέσα του να μην είχε κολληθεί... αλλά πακτώθηκε, έγινε ένα.
Υ.Γ. Το πιο πάνω είναι αληθινό γεγονός.
Αναρτήθηκε από Όπου Γης - Στις Ορθόδοξες Γειτονιές του Πλανήτη
Όντως μέγα είναι, στην αλήθεια, το μυστήριο της υπακοής! Αφού ο γλυκύς μας Ιησούς πρώτος χάραξε το δρόμο και έγινε παράδειγμα για μας, πόσο μάλλον εμείς είμαστε οφειλέτες να Τον μιμηθούμε.
Γέροντας Ιωσήφ ο ησυχαστής
Man is born, in fact, not when his mother brings him into the world, but when he comes to believe in the Risen Christ, for then he is born to life eternal, whereas a mother bears children for death, for the grave.
The Resurrection of Christ is the mother of us all, all Christians, the mother of immortals. By faith in the Resurrection, man is born anew, born for eternity.
'' That is impossible,'' says the skeptic. But you listen to what the Risen God-Man says, '' All things are possible to him that believeth!'' ( St. Mark 9:23 )
The believer is he who lives, with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his being, according to the Gospel of the Risen Lord Jesus.
St. Justin Popovich
- Σ’ εσάς την ίδια, κυρία Χ., τι έλεγε ο Γέροντας τις ώρες της μοναξιάς και του πόνου σας, που ο άνδρας σας πέθανε τόσο πρόωρα και τόσο νέος;
- Με βοήθησε πάρα πολύ ο Γέροντας τις στιγμές εκείνες, που είναι φυσικό να σε πιάνει η κατάθλιψη κι αρχίζουν να σε βασανίζουν τα ερωτηματικά: «Γιατί, Θεέ μου, γιατί τόσο νωρίς;» Ένιωθα τότε μια ακηδία κι ένα βούλιαγμα στο κάθισμα και δεν μπορούσα να σηκωθώ.
Με συμβούλευσε τότε: «Μόλις αισθάνεσαι αυτό το πράγμα, να πετάγεσαι όρθια, και να πηγαίνεις μια βόλτα στο βουνό». Κι όταν τον ρώτησα πώς να έβγαινα έξω άμα ήταν βράδυ, μου απάντησε: «Άμα δεν μπορείς να βγεις, να φέρνεις στο νου σου όλο ωραίες εικόνες, όπως, ας πούμε, εκείνο το πάρκο, που είχατε επισκεφθεί με τον άνδρα σου και τα παιδιά σου, ή εκείνο το ωραίο ηλιοβασίλεμα, που απολαύσατε στη θάλασσα. Θα διώχνεις τους άσχημους λογισμούς και θα λες: «Κύριε Ιησού Χριστέ, ελέησε τον άνδρα μου, ελέησε κι εμάς».
Μου εμφύσησε ,ακριβώς, αυτή την πεποίθηση ότι υπάρχει επικοινωνία μεταξύ της ζώσας και της θριαμβεύουσας Εκκλησίας.
When someone enters an Orthodox church, he enters into a special, heavenly world: on all sides he is surrounded by the images of angels and saints. Among these multitudes, there are people of different nationalities, of different epochs, social origins, educational backgrounds and ways of life. Here are princes and simple folk, rich and poor, educated and illiterate. What most of them have in common is that they violently left this world dying for Christ.
Those who gave their lives for their faith are known as martyrs. The Russian word, muchenik, has at its root the concept of suffering, of a violent death. The ancient Church used the term martis, which means, "witness" in Greek. Why they are so called, and what gave them the strength to stand so courageously for the Christian faith, are the issues we will discuss below.
The word "witness" is generally understood to mean eyewitness, i.e., a person who observed (or heard) something first-hand and testifies to it. Legal decisions are made based on a witness’ testimony for the prosecution and for the defense. The demand is made of the witness that he presents not opinions or hearsay, but only that which was actually observed. He must bring only facts to bear. The Christian becomes a "witness" to his faith when his words and his life bear witness to a new life in Christ, a life in which he is a participant. Here the object witnessed is not the external so much as the internal spiritual experience.
The Holy Gospel refers to our Lord Jesus Christ as "The True Witness (martis)." "Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead. … the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God" (Rev. 1:5, 3:14). Following Pentecost, the Apostles and other preachers of the Gospel also become witnesses: "… and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem … one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection" (Acts 1:8, 1:22). "I ... who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ" (1 Pet. 5:1). "I know thy works and where thou dwellest ... the souls of them that were slain ... for the testimony which they held" (Rev. 2:13, 6:9).
Our Lord Jesus Christ said of His mission in the world: "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (Jn. 18:37, 8:32). The truth to which the Son of God bore witness was not an abstract religious-philosophical system, but a divine revelation of that which He had heard from His Father and seen in that heavenly world from whence He had come. He explained as someone who knew from experience, and taught how to live as the blessed live in the Kingdom of His Father.
Those who accepted His witness, He brought, inasmuch as it was possible for them, into contact with the heavenly life, giving them a foretaste of the joy of communing with God, and helping them to see the divine light. Those who experienced this state of grace in turn became witnesses of Christ — sometimes by word, but more often by deed — in their virtuous lives.
For the Apostles, the religious experience was particularly perceptible. The Apostle John wrote of that which he and the other Apostles experienced when communicating with the Savior:
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full (1 Jn. 1:1-4).
If Christ had offered only abstract ideas, they would have been accepted calmly, and would not have caused the extreme split in society, which we see in the history of Christianity. The words of Christ, like a bright light, penetrate the sinner’s darkened soul. Therefore believing in Christ and accepting His teaching invariably leads to the reconstruction of view of the world and to the most fundamental changes in the way of life. But, at the same time, they act upon a person as a beneficial balm. Bringing a renewing spiritual force for the internal struggle with evil, they inspire in him the desire to live for a higher good.
And, as a person cleanses himself and approaches moral perfection, he experiences the love of God. New horizons open before his spiritual eyes, and he begins better to comprehend the basis of spiritual life, the passing and false nature of all that takes place around him. He understands better, what he must attain and how he must act. Feeling from personal experience his own former baseness and the joy of communing with God, he no longer wishes to return to the old darkness from which he has escaped. Just the opposite — the Kingdom of God becomes for him something precious, "…the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth" (Mt. 13:44), for which he is ready to give everything, even his own life.
Unfortunately, not all are capable of seeing the light, not all find in themselves the strength to part with their sinful habits, to refuse material goods for the renewal of their soul. The Gospel tells us how from the first day of Christ’s preaching, society began to divide into two camps — those who joyfully accepted His teaching and those who rejected it. Indeed, the latter group did not merely ignore Christ’s teaching, but actively rose against it with indignation, even with uncontrollable hatred. Jesus Christ thus defined the reaction of people to his witness: "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God" (Jn. 3:20-21). In other words, the teaching of Christ possesses the ability to expose the true nature of a person, his secret motivations. A person, who before hearing the teaching of the Gospel has been in a sort of neutral spiritual state, cannot stay indifferent any longer: he becomes either a follower or an enemy of Christ.
The animosity toward Christ held by the Pharisees and other Jewish religious leaders ultimately led to their bringing false witness against Him at His judgment, sentencing Him to death and forcing Pilate to agree to his crucifixion. Thus, the first Witness to spiritual life (Rev 1:5) — our Lord Jesus Christ — also became its first Martyr. But He defeated the leader of lies and death, the devil, and promised to all who accept the Truth that they will triumph.
The Resurrection of the Savior and the descent of the Holy Spirit were the significant events that totally convinced the Apostles of the truth of all that the Lord Jesus Christ had taught, and as witnesses, they devoted their lives to the preaching of the Gospel among all peoples. They understood their preaching to be a type of witness before people of that grace which they had received in Jesus Christ. And just as during the life of Jesus Christ, His witness appealed to some and antagonized others, so too in subsequent ages did Christian proselytism enter into society as a dividing force: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household" (Mt. 10:34-36).
The first Christian to suffer was the archdeacon Stephen, who was stoned by the Jews outside the walls of Jerusalem soon after the Apostles were visited by the Holy Ghost. In time, in different countries and at different times, all of His followers suffered for their faith in Christ. Probably only St. John the Evangelist died his own death; this was a reward for his courageous presence at the foot of the Cross.
Nero (54-68 A.D) was the first Roman emperor to embark on a course of massive and systematic persecution of Christians. During his reign, the Apostles Peter and Paul suffered in Rome. Christians were fed to wild beasts at Roman circuses or covered in tar and set aflame like torches to light the city streets.
A second-century author, St. Justin the Philosopher, who also ended his life as a martyr, illustrated how Christianity divided society in its most basic unit — the family. He related a story of how, in the city where he lived, one pagan woman converted to Christianity. Her husband, who remained a pagan, was angered by this conversion and complained to a local magistrate. Foreseeing no good in this, the woman received a continuance of her court appearance in order to tend to affairs relating to her property. While she was busy with these affairs, her angered husband brought before the court a certain Ptolemy, who, he had learned, had been responsible for his wife’s conversion. Ptolemy was interrogated, and when he admitted his Christian faith, was sentenced to death by the judge. Two members of the court felt that a death sentence was rather harsh for a man whose only "crime" was his religious conviction. The judge inquired as to whether the dissenters were also Christians. When they confirmed this, he sentenced them to death as well. Thus, in the process of preparing for the trial of the Christian wife, three other Christians were executed. Later, the wife was also tried and executed.
In his Second Apology to the Roman Senate, St. Justin tells us that all this took place because the wife, having become a Christian, refused to participate in her husband’s unnatural perversions, deeming them to be sinful.
Although we know the names of only a few thousand martyrs, their actual number runs into the tens of millions.
The persecution of Christians never completely subsided; however, its intensity alternated between greater and lesser, and its geographic focus shifted. Certain periods of time were especially difficult for Christians. Many Roman emperors and pagan rulers directed bitter campaigns of persecution against believers during the first three centuries of Christianity. After a period of relative calm, Moslem Arabs began a new wave of persecution in the 7th to 9th centuries. The Turks followed in the 13th to 18th centuries. Notice the contrast between the methods used to spread Christianity and Islam: The Apostles came to people preaching love; they were full of gentleness and often became victims of unbelievers. However, from the first day of its appearance, the Moslem religion, spread literally by sword and flame. Finally, in our own century, ferociously anti-religious Communists attempted to root out all Christian faith mercilessly. Every new wave of persecution becomes more murderous and bloody than the previous one. The Holy Gospel predicts even greater persecution before the end of the world.
Thus, the battle against Christian faith is a continuing theme of all New Testament history. As the Holy Gospel explains, this warfare is directed by the fallen angel, the ancient dragon, become the "prince of the world."
But, even having suffered physically for Christ, His witnesses were not destroyed. Just the opposite — they, like Christ, were victorious and now sit with Him in Heaven: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Rev. 3:21).
The conditions of death are unique for every Christian confessor. They have a common logic in that the Lord Jesus Christ and the state of grace they found in Christianity became for them the most important element of their lives. "A Christian would sooner give his life for his faith than a pagan would give a piece of his cloak for all the gods," wrote Origen (circa 182-215 A.D), in his letter to Celsius (7:39). To disavow Christ and His teaching meant for them the forfeiture of that which was dearest to them — God and eternal life. It would have meant to bow their heads before evil and untruth in order to prolong their insignificant earthly existence — and to do so would have been a terrible tragedy for them.
Christian martyrdom is at its core quite different from the self-sacrifice of fanatics. Fanaticism is a blind attachment to an idea. Fanatics are capable of sacrificing their lives in order to prove something to others, for example, as Buddhist monks recently set themselves on fire in order to draw public attention to problems in their country. Christianity forbids suicide as a great sin. "When they persecute you in one city, go to another," said Christ (Mt. 10:23). Martyrs did not suffer in order to "prove" something, but to guard the spiritual grace their lives had acquired in the Lord Jesus Christ. To them, spiritual life was more important than physical life.
"For to me to live and die in Christ is a gain," said the Apostle Paul (Phil. 1:21). He taught Christians to accept persecution with joy, as an honor and opportunity to receive an even greater reward in Heaven: "For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (Phil. 1:29).
Our Lord Jesus Christ knew of the sufferings that his followers would endure and sought to prepare them for their sacrificial deeds by saying:
I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues ... And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell ... Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God ... And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say. For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say... And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved... Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin and not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows (Mt. 10:16-42; Lk. 12:2-12; 21:12-19).
Upon witnessing the unshakeable faith of the Christians, the great courage with which they accepted suffering and death, many pagans saw the truth of the Christian teachings and were themselves, converted to Christianity. This justified Tertullian’s comment in the 3rd century that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity."
So Christian martyrs bear witness to eternal qualities, spiritual wealth and true life. Leaving this mournful world, they stand forever, in indescribable joy, near the throne of God, just as envisaged by the Apostle John:
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palm branches in their hands... These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall shepherd them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes (Rev. 7:9-17).
Through their sacrifice, the martyrs in Christ bear witness to the reality of spiritual values and the existence of another life, far superior to our own. They call on us to struggle courageously against evil, to love God and to feel for ourselves what a great gift it is to have Him in our souls. Through the prayers of the holy martyrs may the Lord grant to us a strong faith and the valor necessary to attain the quiet haven of the Kingdom of God.
Obedience constructs and self-will destructs. A child has to learn to be obedient to its parents and to God. It’ll remember the words of its parents all its life and will always respect its elders, and not only those but people who are younger, too. It’ll be polite and careful with everyone. Unfortunately, there are very few families who bring their children up in this way.
The spirits of evil provide a distraction in the minds of our children and they try to upset them. Children have to be taught obedience, especially before they’re five years old, because it’s at this age that their characters are formed. So the traces of the way their characters have been shaped will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Parents should teach their children total obedience at this time of their lives. When one of the parents says something, the response should be: “Whatever you say”. Today, unfortunately, parents don’t know this and teach their children exactly the opposite. But then they’re bringing them up…
If parents say, “Stay here” then the child should stay where it’s been told to. But the child’s a child; it can’t stay still in one place. What usually happens is that the parents smack the child for its disobedience. This isn’t a good way to teach a child obedience. It may be that, sometimes, such a reaction is necessary, but it should be performed with love and the child should feel this love. Parents should never smack their children in anger. Because if you start chastising someone when you’re angry, you’ll get nowhere. You’ll damage the person in front of you and yourself, as well. If you want to set someone on the right road, you should teach them and advise them. You should first humble yourself and speak to them with a great deal of love. They’ll accept your advice if it’s given with love. But if you want your own will to be imposed at all costs, you won’t achieve anything at all. That’s what makes children react badly. When a child is disobedient, the answer isn’t to smack it.
Parents berate their children over the slightest things. It’s as if they don’t know how people can speak calmly and gently to them. When a parent has to set boundaries for a child, it should feel that, behind the strictness, there’s love. It’s a great mistake to punish children at the moment that they’re doing wrong, because that won’t do any good. You should wait for them to calm down and then, with lots of love, tell the child it’s done wrong and that it has to accept some form of punishment. If the same thing happens again, then the child is given a more severe punishment and, in this way, learns.
The holy will of God works within us from our parents or through our teachers or our employers. If we need to correct the behaviour of a child, we have to do it with great love and care. If the only thing we have in mind is to change the life of the child, we’ve already given it a slap just with our thoughts. I’ve noticed this during my time as an abbot: I’ve often seen one of the brothers not acting properly, but at the moment when I was about to tell him off, I’ve felt that I’d already given him a slap.
Our thoughts can be very intrusive and have great power. This is true particularly in the case of the thoughts of parents. A parent needs to put up with much and forgive everything. We can forgive others only if we have good and kindly thoughts. If we have thoughts aimed at correcting other people’s mistakes, it’s as if we’re striking them. Irrespective of how close somebody is to us, they’ll be driven away, because we’ll have given them a slap, through our thoughts. And we’re of the opinion that thoughts are a mere nothing!
We punish our children, but, in fact, have no right to do so, because we’ve failed to teach them the right way. A lady doctor told me some time ago in a letter: “I’ve got a son by my husband, who’s also a doctor. Our son has written off three cars- thank God he’s still alive. Now he wants us to buy him another car, but we can’t afford it any more. When we get home from work he tries to get money from us, even by force. What can I do to solve this problem?” I told her that the only ones to blame were themselves. They had a son and they’d allowed him to do whatever he wanted, even from when he was very little. When he was a child, his demands were commensurately less, but now he’s older, so they’d become greater. The only thing they could now do would be to give their son lots of love and care so that he might come to his senses and realize that the only thing his parents were concerned about was his own good. There’s no other way except the way of love. Do you see from this example how we can improve our own lives and those of our neighbours, with our thoughts? We hope that your own efforts in this direction will bear fruit.
Kakve su ti misli, takav ti je život ((Какве су ти мисли, такав ти је живот; Our Thoughts Determine our Lives).
- See more at: http://pemptousia.com/2014/02/children-and-obedience/#sthash.2HZ7YOyY.dpuf
Κοίταξε να πετάξεις τον εαυτό σου, γιατί αν δεν πετάξεις τον εαυτό σου, θα σε πετάξει ο εαυτός σου.
Αν πετάξεις τον εαυτό σου, μετά θα πετάς. Τι τον κρατάς τον εαυτό σου για τον εαυτό σου; Το κομμάτι της αγάπης που κρατάς για τον εαυτό σου, το αφαιρείς από την ολοκληρωτική αγάπη που πρέπει να έχεις για τους άλλους.
Αν γνωρίσεις τον εαυτό σου, θα δεις ότι δεν έχεις τίποτα δικό σου και τίποτε δεν μπορείς να κάνεις χωρίς τη βοήθεια του Θεού.
Αν λοιπόν καταλάβεις πως ότι καλό κάνεις είναι από τον Θεό και όσες χαζομάρες κάνεις είναι δικές σου, τότε θα πάψεις να έχεις εμπιστοσύνη στον εαυτό σου και θα απαλλαγείς από την αυτοπεποίθηση.
Σε κάθε σου ενέργεια, ακόμη και στην παραμικρή σου κίνηση, κέντρο να είναι ο Θεός. Στρέψε όλο τον εαυτό σου προς τον Θεό.
Μια μέρα, ένας άλλος πτωχός με πολυμελή οικογένεια κτύπησε την πόρτα της επισκοπής του. Πλησίασε τον άγιο και με δάκρυα του ζήτησε ένα δάνειο. Το ήθελε για να πληρώσει κάποιο χρέος του σ' ένα πλούσιο, που απειλούσε να του πωλήσει το σπίτι του. Πού να βρει όμως ο άγιος ένα τόσο μεγάλο ποσό;
Στον πόνο που του δημιουργούσαν τα πικρά δάκρυα του πτωχού, που από τη θλίψη σπάραζε, ο στοργικός επίσκοπος καταστενοχωρημένος άρχισε να βηματίζει. Ξάφνου εκεί μπροστά του πήρε το μάτι του ένα φίδι να σέρνεται μέσα στην πρασινάδα.
Σαν αστραπή πέρασε από τον νου του το ραβδί του Ααρών, που στο παλάτι του Φαραώ τ' αφήκε να πέσει στη γη κι έγινε φίδι. «Άς ήταν, Κύριε, το φίδι αυτό να γινόταν χρυσάφι για τον πτωχό αυτόν οικογενειάρχη, είπε σιγανά. Ναί, Κύριε. Άς γινόταν χρυσάφι, για να βοηθηθεί το δυστυχισμένο αυτό πλάσμα σου», ξανάπε και σήκωσε το χέρι. Το φίδι σταμάτησε. Κι ο άγιος έσκυψε και το πήρε. Στο χέρι του το σιχαμερό ερπετό μεταμορφώθηκε κι άστραψε τώρα χρυσαφένιο.
- Πάρτο, παιδί μου, είπε ο άγιος με καλωσύνη. Πάρτο να κάμεις τη δουλειά σου.
Κι ο πτωχός γεμάτος χαρά πήρε το χρυσάφι κι έτρεξε και το 'δωκε ενέχυρο στον πλούσιο δανειστή. Όταν αργότερα με τη βοήθεια του Θεού πλήρωσε το χρέος του, ο δανειστής του επέστρεψε το χρυσαφένιο ενέχυρο.
Κι ο πτωχός το πήρε και με δάκρυα ευγνωμοσύνης το γύρισε στον άγιο. Αυτός, αφού το έλαβε στα χέρια, έστρεψε τα μάτια στον ουρανό, δόξασε τον Θεό για την άπειρη φιλανθρωπία του κι ύστερα το έριξε στη γη. Και ώ του θαύματος!
Το χρυσάφι έγινε και πάλι φίδι κι έφυγε από μπροστά τους.