Saturday, June 29, 2013

Powers of Heaven

Letter by Charlie Williams, 12, about his battle with cancer

This is a story of a child called Charlie who was diagnosed with cancer when he was only five years old. In fact, on the fifth day of the fifth month of 2005.

My name is Charlie Williams. I could have died by now. I recently found out I was not going to die. At Addenbrooke‘s Hospital I had to endure medical treatments that included radiotherapy, which involved me going into a cylindrical tunnel for about half an hour, which is quite scary for a 6 year old, as I was at the time.

I also had several MRI scans, also in a cylindrical tunnel, with all kinds of noises while you are inside. The chemotherapy was through a drip which was inserted into my body, in my upper chest, like a transfusion, and went on for a few hours at a time every month. I also had to have lots of blood transfusions. Needles aren’t the nicest thing in the world, and I used to be petrified of them, so you can imagine what it felt like for me to have them inserted into me so often as a child. But I’m used to them now.

Do you think you could cope with all that medical treatment? How do you think it would change you as a person? Being ill, and knowing that there may be a chance that you will lose the things that make up your life, makes you value those things. For instance, material things like computers and calculators, even pens and pencils, become special things in a way, because you realise that without them you would not have the tools for your education. A simple pencil may mean nothing to a child in my school, but to a child in, say, a poor village in Uganda, it may just be the start of a lifetime of education. I think about these kinds of things now after being ill for so long. In most classes in this school, there will always be one child (sometimes more, sometimes even three) who will distract the rest of the children by doing something daft or ~. It happens so often, maybe every five minutes, sometimes every minute. The person doing it seems to want to be the centre of attention he uses the whole class as his stage, to do his performance. He doesn’t really care that there are other people there who really want to learn the subject the teacher is teaching. He just wants to distract anyone else who, like him, doesn’t care about learning. He is basically being selfish. I just look at people like him and think, ‘why’? Once in a blue moon, I will also misbehave, don’t we all, whether we are children or adults, it’s part of growing up, and part of life. But like I said, it’s once in a blue moon, not every minute of the day.

Being seriously ill makes you think about these sorts of things, because you think about what is important and what’s not. I wonder if those children, who don’t care and don’t behave, all had cancer one day, like me. Would it change them? For all you children, food is not just vital, you love good food, think about all those things you love to eat: chocolate, cheeseburgers, fries, sweets, cakes, sausages, roast dinner, and loads of other things. But imagine several days of not being able to put anything, even a drop of water, in your mouth. When you have to have so many operations and medicines, you just can’t keep anything down. While in hospital, I would go to the canteen and watch people eating, but not be able to eat anything myself. Just think if you were that person dying for something to eat and all you can think about is food, but you have to fast for so many hours. Since I couldn’t eat much, I was fitted with a tube up my nose (sounds horrible but you have to have what you need or die). It was a little machine fitted with a glass bottle which gave me everything I needed for nourishment. All that time I couldn’t eat like a normal child, made me fussy about my food; now I know what I am safe with and what I like. I have sausages every night! Parents may seem unfair or not let you do things you want, but they will always help you. They feed you, they clothe you and they give you a home, but most of all they help you when you are hurt. My mum and dad sat with me day after day in the hospital, and watched me being pulled about, having all kinds of medical treatment I couldn’t stand. I know first hand what parents go through when they see their child in pain. I’m sure that when I was diagnosed with the brain tumour, they thought I would not get through it. Can you imagine if your parents thought you were going to die?

Now you have heard from a real life cancer survivor, I hope my story has shocked you in some way into thinking about your own lives. Here I am a normal child but one who has had an awful journey in the start of his childhood. But I have also had something positive from it all in that I am more serious and thoughtful about life. It makes me behave better at school and work harder. Cancer has made me take a step back and look through the window of life at what is ahead of me.

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.

Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticedthat during the low periods of my life,when I was suffering from

anguish, sorrow or defeat,I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,”You promised me Lord,that if I followed you,you would walk with me always.

But I have noticed that duringthe most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand.

Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, ”The times when you have

seen only one set of footprints,

is when I carried you.”

The Fall

The Orthodox Church believes that man's fall was preceded by the fall of the spiritual world. The angels, being God's creatures, were good. They were not "immutable" towards evil however; i.e. their virtue was not the result of necessity but of free choice. After their free choice of the good, being sanctified by the Spirit, they would remain immovable towards evil, becoming divinized through their ascent towards the first Good. This is stressed by one of the hymns of our Church:

"Being sanctified by the Spirit, The multitude of the Angels Remain immovable towards evil, Being divinized through their Ascent to the prime Good."

This however was not the case with Lucifer and his angels, who moved towards evil, towards apostasy. According to the Christian faith, Lucifer is not a condi­tion or a negative element in God's creation, but a distinct person. That is to say, we believe in the exist­ence of Lucifer, who after his fall was transformed into the Devil or Satan.

According to the Orthodox faith which is supported by divine Revelation, two eternal principles do not exist. Everything, all that came into existence, was created by God "very good" (Gen. 1,31). Lucifer's fall and that of his angels therefore was not due to their nature. The source of their fall is to be found in their evil disposi­tion. Lucifer's choice aimed at his personal exaltation autonomously, i.e. cut off from God's love. The result was the exact opposite of the aim: " I shall ascend to heaven; above the stars of heaven shall I set my throne...I shall become similar to the Most High; Now, behold, you shall descend to Hades and to the founda­tions of the earth" (Is. 14,13-15).

The Devil, out of enmity for man, lured him to apostasy. He put into his mind the evil thought that he could achieve the purpose of his life, the likeness of God, autonomy. The Devil's aim was to detach man from his communion with God and in this way to set at nought God's plan for man. He certainly knew that man had been created according to God's image, i.e. free, and that God, out of love, would not violate man's freedom.

In order to help man make his conscientious choice, God instituted a prohibition: that of eating from the "tree of knowledge of good and evil", and forewarned man that if he transgressed this commandment, he would cut himself off from union with Him, i.e., he would die (Gen. 2,17).

The Devil appeared to man in disguise, and reversed God's word, maintaining that the transgressing of God's commandment would lead to theosis (Gen.3,5). Yet still man's fall would not have come about if he with his free will had not responded to the Devil's call. Man's act of eating of the forbidden fruit was an act of communion with the Devil, and not with God, Hence, it was an act that was aimed against man's very nature, since man was by nature a communion of love with God and with His works.

The consequences of the fall were fearful. The centre of man's life was moved from God to himself. He did not take into consideration the difference between created and uncreated, between creation and the Creator. He thought that he could, by himself, overcome the ontological chasm. The result was that he distanced himself from the only road that led to the fulfilment of his life's purpose, as it had been determined by the Creator Himself. This independence of man signified his being stripped of God's grace and being led to spiritual death. These fearful ramifications of the fall are outlined in the verses of the "Great Canon":

"I have lost the beauty with which I was created, and my propriety, And now I am naked and ashamed".

God, however, did not cease to love His creature. He allowed natural death as a consequence of the fall: not as a punishment but as a protection, so that man might not sin eternally and evil become immortal. Death then is a pedagogical measure from God with a purpose to restore the apostate to the communion of love and life with the eternal and immortal God.

This truth is especially underlined in the prayer of the Burial Service:

"O Lord our God, who in thine ineffable wisdom hast created man, fashioning him out of the dust, and adorning him with comeliness and goodness, as an honourable and heavenly acquisition, to the exaltation and magnificence of thy glory and kingdom, that thou mightest bring him into this image and likeness; but forasmuch as he sinned against the command of thy statute, having accepted the image but preserved it not, and because, also, evil, should not be eternal: Thou hast ordained remission unto the same, through thy love toward mankind; and that this destructible bond, which as the God of our fathers thou hadst sanctified by thy divine will, should be dissolved, and that his body should be dissolved from the elements of which it was fashioned, but that his soul should be translated to that place where it shall take up its abode until the final Resurrection....."

Death, however, remains for the mind of the faithful a fearful and unapproachable mystery. This is expressed in a unique way in the sacred texts of the Burial Service:

"I weep and I wail when I think upon death, and behold our beauty, fashioned after the image of God, lying in the tomb

disfigured, dishonoured, bereft of form. Ο marvel!

What is this mystery which doth befall us?.." "Indeed most fearful is the mystery of death: how the soul is violently separated from its harmony with the body, and how the most natural bond by which they grew together is severed by the divine will.."

For the believer, however, this is not a dead-end: "Brethren, we would not have you ignorant concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep...Therefore comfort one another with these words." (I Thessalonians 4, 13-18).

Another consequence of the breaking off of the love between God and man was the weakening of human nature itself. When Adam first saw his fellow—man, Eve, he said that she was not anything different from himself but bone from his bones and flesh from his flesh (Gen. 2,23). This attitude changed completely after the fall: Adam was not willing to share the blame for Eve's disobedience (Gen. 3,12). After the fall, man no longer saw himself in the face of his brother; he no longer understood the unity of human nature.

In the condition that came about after the fall, men lost the feeling that they constitute a communion of persons and acquired the self-awareness of particular individuals, which led to the severing of the one man­kind that God had created. Even language, that instru­ment of communication between men, when apostasy reached its height on the tower of Babel, was trans­formed into an instrument hindering communication.

Man's autonomy had fearful consequences upon God's creation. Enmity and disharmony were also transferred to man's relations with the rest of creation. Man is no longer able to hold his sovereign position within creation, and be the centre of unity and harmony of all that God created. He began making egoistical use of the world and to drag with him everything into servitude to corruption. All of creation was thus subdued unto "futility", we are told by St. Paul, not willingly but because of "him who subjected it", because of man.(Rom. 8, 20-21).

Holy Scripture says: "And to Adam he [God] said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree...cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, out of which you were taken..." (Gen. 3, 17-19).

This was a means of teaching man and aimed at his return, from within the state of corruption, to incorruption and to immortality for which God had predestined him: a new challenge for man's will.

Man, however, was not moved to repentance or nostalgia for God's paradise where he had freely sub­mitted his personal will to God's will. Hence, the march along the path of separation and fall continued. But God never ceased loving man; He never ceased challenging afresh his predisposition or preparing his final restora­tion.

Ἡ συγχώρηση (Μία ἀληθινή ἱστορία) - Πρωτοπρεσβυτέρου Στεφάνου Ἀναγνωστόπουλου

Πρίν πολλά χρόνια καί μετά τήν λήξη τοῦ ἐμφυλίου σπαραγμοῦ καί τοῦ ἀδελφοκτόνου πολέμου, σέ κάποιο χωριό, ἔγινε ἕνας φόνος, γιά πολιτικούς μᾶλλον λόγους καί ἐξαιτίας τοῦ μεγάλου φανατισμοῦ, πού ἐπικρατοῦσε ἐκείνη τήν ἐποχή. Κατηγορήθηκε, λοιπόν, κάποιος χωριανός, ὁ Πέτρος Γ. καί μέ τίς μαρτυρίες πέντε συγχωριανῶν του δικάστηκε καί καταδικάστηκε σέ 30 χρόνια φυλάκιση. Ὁ κατηγορούμενος ὅμως ἰσχυρίζετο συνεχῶς ὅτι ἦτο ἀθῶος. Κλείσθηκε σέ ἀγροτικές φυλακές, ἀλλά μέρα-νύχτα διαλαλοῦσε καί μονολογοῦσε ὅτι ἦτο ἀθῶος. Σ' αὐτές τίς φυλακές πήγαινε μιὰ φορά τόν μήνα ἕνας εὐλαβέστατος ἱερεύς καί λειτουργοῦσε στό ἐκκλησάκι πού ὑπῆρχε καί κατόπιν ἐδέχετο γιά ἐξομολόγηση ὅσους ἐκ τῶν φυλακισμένων τό ἐπιθυμοῦσαν. Ὕστερα ἀπό 5-6 μῆνες, πῆγε καί ὁ ἐν λόγω χωριανός στόν εὐλαβῆ ἐκεῖνον ἱερέα καί ἐξομολόγο, καί ἐνώπιον τοῦ Ἁγίου Θεοῦ καί μπροστά στό πετραχήλι τοῦ Πνευματικοῦ, βεβαίωνε μέ ὅρκους ὅτι ἦταν ἀθῶος.

Ἀπό τότε πού ἐξομολογήθηκε μέσα στίς φυλακές ὁ Πέτρος Γ., ἄλλαξε τελείως διαγωγή καί ἔγινε ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς προσευχῆς καί τῆς μελέτης τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου, πού τοῦ δώρησε ἐκεῖνος ὁ καλός ἱερεύς. Μέσα σ' ἕναν χρόνο ἀλλοιώθηκε τόσο πολύ, πού ὅλοι οἱ συγκρατούμενοί του καί βαρυποινίτες ἄρχισαν νά τόν σέβωνται καί νά τοῦ φέρωνται φιλικά. Καί μέ τήν Χάρι καί τόν φωτισμό τοῦ Θεοῦ γρήγορα πείσθηκε ὁ εὐλαβής ἱερεύς γιά τήν ἀθωώτητά του, ὥστε τοῦ ἐπέτρεπε νά κοινωνῆ κάθε φορὰ πού λειτουργοῦσε στίς φυλακές.

Ὁ ἱερεύς προσπάθησε κάτι νά κάμη μέσω κάποιων δικηγόρων, ἀλλά οἱ μάρτυρες ἦσαν ἀπολύτως κατηγορηματικοί, γιατί ἦσαν δῆθεν παρόντες στόν φόνο. Παρά ταῦτα ὁ Ἐξομολόγος πίστευε ὅτι ὄντως ἦτο ἀθῶος καί θύμα σκευωρίας. Ὁ Πέτρος Γ. ὄχι μόνο προσηύχετο μέ τό Ὄνομα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, πού τό ἔμαθε ἀπό τό βιβλίο «Οἱ περιπέτειες ἑνός προσκυνητοῦ», ἀλλά μελετοῦσε τό Εὐαγγέλιο καί κοινωνοῦσε τῶν ἀχράντων Μυστηρίων, σκορπώντας σέ ὅλους τοὺς συγκρατουμένους του πολλή καλωσύνη. Συγχωροῦσε δέ μέ ὅλη του τήν καρδιά καί τούς κατηγόρους του καί αὐτόν ἀκόμα τόν ἄγνωστο φονιά. Δέν φταῖνε, οἱ καημένοι, ἔλεγε. Φταίει τό πολιτικό καί ἰδεολογικό πάθος, φταίει καί ὁ διάβολος πού τούς σκοτεινίασε τό μυαλό κι ἔτσι κρύψανε τήν ἀλήθεια. Θεέ μου, συγχώρεσέ τους· καί ἀπό μένα νά 'ναι συγχωρεμένοι. καί χάρισέ τους πλούτη καί ἀγαθά πολλά, ἀλλά χάρισέ τους προπαντός καί ἰδιαιτέρως φωτισμό καί ὑγεία.

Ἔτσι πέρασαν 19 χρόνια. Κατόπιν, λόγω τῆς καλῆς καί ἀρίστης διαγωγῆς καί ἐπειδή ἔκανε καί στίς τότε ἀγροτικές φυλακές, ὅπου ἐμειώνετο ἡ ποινή, ἀποφυλακίσθηκε. Ἦτο πλέον 50 ἐτῶν. Στό χωριό ὅμως δέν ἔγινε δεκτός, ἐπειδή τόν πίστευαν ὅλοι γιά φονιά καί κυρίως οἱ συγγενεῖς τοῦ φονευμένου. Ἔτσι, μετακόμισε σέ μία γειτονική πόλι καί ἔκαμε τόν ἐργάτη, τόν οἰκοδόμο καί κυρίως τόν μαραγκό, δουλειά πού τήν ἔμαθε στήν φυλακή. Ἡ ζωή του ὅμως ἐξακολουθοῦσε νά εἶναι ζωή ἑνός ἀληθινοῦ χριστιανοῦ, μέ τήν ἀκριβῆ συμμετοχή στά Μυστήρια, μέ τήν σωστή τήρηση τῶν εὐαγγελικῶν ἐντολῶν καί ἰδιαιτέρως μέ τήν προσευχή. Ἡ προσευχή ἦταν τό ὀξυγόνο τῆς ζωῆς του. Ἡ Εὐχή καί τό Εὐαγγέλιο ἦσαν γι' αὐτόν «ἄρτος ζωῆς» καί «ὕδωρ ζῶν».

Μία κοπέλα 42 ἐτῶν, θεολόγος σέ κάποιο Γυμνάσιο τῆς περιοχῆς, πληροφορήθηκε ἀπό τόν Πνευματικό τῶν φυλακῶν, πού ἦτο καί δικός της Πνευματικός, τά πάντα γιά τόν Πέτρο Γ. καί ἰδιαιτέρως γιά τό πόσο ἦτο ἀφοσιωμένος στόν Χριστό καί στήν Ἐκκλησία Του. Πῆγε, τόν βρῆκε καί κατόπιν τόν ζήτησε ἡ ἴδια σέ γάμο!. Ἀπό τόν εὐλογημένο αὐτό γάμο προῆλθαν δυό παιδιά, ὑγιέστατα.

Ὕστερα ἀπό μερικά χρόνια, στό χωριό πού ἔγινε ὁ φόνος, κάποιος ἀρρώστησε βαρειά μέ ἀνεξήγητους φοβερούς πόνους σέ ὅλο του τό σῶμα. Ἡ ἐπιστήμη μέ τούς γιατρούς καί τίς κλινικές ἐξετάσεις, πού ἦσαν προηγμένες, στάθηκαν ἀδύνατον νά τόν βοηθήσουν!!! Οὔτε κἄν τήν αἰτία δέν μπόρεσαν νά ἐντοπίσουν!

Ἔτσι, μιὰ βραδυά στό σπίτι του, ἀφοῦ ἐπέστρεψε ἀπό τό νοσοκομεῖο, σ' αὐτήν τήν φοβερή κατάστασι, ἄρχισε νά κραυγάζη μέσα στούς φοβερούς του πόνους ὅτι αὐτός ἦτο ὁ φονιάς καί μέ τούς 4 ψευδομάρτυρες, τούς ὁποίους ἐξηγόρασε μέ μεγάλα χρηματικά ποσά, κατηγόρησαν τόν Πέτρο Γ., ποὺ συμπτωματικά περνοῦσε ἀπό ἐκεῖνο τό σταυροδρόμι, τήν ὥρα πού ἔγινε ὁ φόνος.

Φώναξαν τόν ἀστυνόμο τοῦ τμήματος τοῦ χωριοῦ, ὑπέγραψε τήν ὁμολογία του κατονομάζοντας καί τούς 4 ψευδομάρτυρες καί συνεργούς του. Ποιά νομική διαδικασία ἀκολουθήθηκε μετά, δέν γνωρίζω. Ἡ ὁμολογία του ὅμως ἔκανε κρότο στό χωριό, προκαλώντας σύγχυσι, ταραχές καί πολλές κατάρες, οἱ ὁποῖες βάραιναν τόν φονιά.

Παρά ταῦτα, ἡ ψυχή τοῦ φονιᾶ δέν ἔφευγε. Κι αὐτός ἐξακολουθοῦσε νά τσιρίζη καί νά κραυγάζη. Ὁ Πέτρος Γ., ὅπως ἦτο ἑπόμενον, τό ἔμαθε. Δέν κίνησε ὅμως καμιά διαδικασία γιά τήν ἀποκατάστασι τῆς τιμῆς του μέ ἀναθεώρησι τῆς δίκης, μέ μηνύσεις κατά τῶν ἐνόχων καί ἄλλων ἐνδίκων νομίμων μέσων. Ἀλλά τί ἔκανε; Πῆγε στό σπίτι τοῦ φονιά!...Οἱ πάντες πάγωσαν. Οἱ περισσότεροι χωρικοί, ὅταν τόν εἶδαν νά περνάη μέσα ἀπό τό χωριό, ἀπό τήν ντροπή τους κρύφθηκαν. Πάγωσε καί ὁ φονιάς ὅταν τόν ἀντικρυσε, καί μέ γουρλωμένα τά μάτια ἀπό τήν ἔκπληξι καί τήν φρίκη, τόν ἄκουσε νά τοῦ λέη: Γιῶργο, σέ συγχωρῶ μέ ὅλη μου τήν καρδιά. Καί σ' εὐχαριστῶ, γιατί ἤσουν ἡ αἰτία νά γνωρίσω τόν Χριστό μέ τήν Ἐκκλησία Του καί τά ἅγια Μυστήριά της. Εὔχομαι νά Τόν γνωρίσεις κι ἐσύ, μέ μετάνοια καί προσευχή! Τόν ἀγκαλίασε, τόν φίλησε καί ἔφυγε, ἐνῶ κάποια δάκρυα κρυφά ἔτρεχαν ἀπό τά μάτια του.

Ὁ θρίαμβος τῆς δικαιοσύνης τοῦ Θεοῦ ἦλθε, ὕστερα ἀπό 35 χρόνια! Ἀλλά ὑπῆρξε καί θρίαμβος τῆς ἐμπιστοσύνης, τῆς πίστεως καί τῆς ἀδιαλείπτου προσευχῆς τοῦ ἀδικημένου Πέτρου Γ. στήν Πρόνοια τοῦ Θεοῦ. Καί ταυτόχρονα στέφανος δόξης στήν ὑπομονή καί μακροθυμία, πού ἔδειξε τόσα χρόνια. Εὐλογήθηκε ἡ μετέπειτα ζωή του, ὅπως προείπαμε, μ' ἕναν χριστιανικό γάμο καί μέ οἰκογένεια πού ἦτο «κατ' οἶκον ἐκκλησία» καί μέ δύο τρισευλογημένα παιδιά. Καί μάλιστα, μετά τήν ὁλοκάρδια συγχώρησι πού ἔδωσε καί τήν ἀγάπη πού ἔδειξε πρός ὅλους, πολλαπλασιάσθηκε ἡ εὐλογία τοῦ Θεοῦ στό σπιτικό του. Εἶχε τήν Χάρι τοῦ Θεοῦ πάνω του, τήν εὐλογία τῆς Παναγίας, τήν προστασία τῶν Ἁγίων καί τήν συμπαράστασι τῶν Ἀγγέλων.

Ἐκοιμήθη ὁσιακῶς σέ ἡλικία 80 ἐτῶν, τό 1999. Παρών στήν κοίμησί του ἦτο καί ὁ ἐννενηντάχρονος ἱερεύς τῶν φυλακῶν, πού μοῦ διηγήθηκε αὐτό τό γεγονός, γιά νά μέ διαβεβαιώση ὅτι λίγο πρίν τό τέλος τοῦ Πέτρου Γ., Ἄγγελοι καί Ἀρχάγγελοι πλημμύρισαν τό δωμάτιό του, τούς ὁποίους ἔβλεπε ὄχι μόνο ὁ ψυχορραγῶν μέ τά μάτια του, ἀλλά καί ὁ ἐν λόγω ἱερεύς. Αὐτοί καί παρέλαβαν τήν ψυχή του, μετά τό τελευταῖο σημεῖον τοῦ σταυροῦ πού ἔκανε ὁ Πέτρος Γ., λέγοντας:
- Ἄγγελέ μου! Ἄγγελέ μου!, δέν τήν ἀξίζω αὐτή τήν τιμή. Καί τοῦτο εἰπών, ἐκοιμήθη!.

Ὁ ἄνθρωπος αὐτός, παρ' ὅλο πού ἦταν ἔγγαμος καί ζοῦσε μέσα στόν σημερινό κόσμο, μετά ἀπό τήν τεράστια καί ἄδικη δοκιμασία καί ταλαιπωρία του στήν φυλακή, μαζί μέ βαρυποινίτες, εἶχε καρπούς τῆς Εὐχῆς, τῆς θείας Κοινωνίας καί τῆς εὐαγγελικῆς ζωῆς. Ἡ ἔγγαμη ζωή του δέν τόν ἐμπόδισε νά λέγη μέρα-νύχτα τήν Εὐχή, ὅπως τήν ἔμαθε ἀπό τό βιβλίο «Οἱ περιπέτειες ἑνός προσκυνητοῦ».

Ἀπὸ τὸ βιβλίο, Ἡ Εὐχή μέσα στόν Κόσμο, Πρωτοπρεσβυτέρου Στεφάνου Ἀναγνωστόπουλου

Οἰκογενειακὲς στενοχώριες καὶ ἁγιασμός ( Γεροντας Πορφύριος )

Γιὰ νὰ διορθώσει σ’ ἕναν ἀδελφὸ τὰ πολλὰ ἐλαττώματά του, ὅπως καὶ σὲ ὅλους μας, ἔπαιρνε ὁ Γέροντας παραδείγματα ἀπὸ τὴ φύση καὶ τὴ ζωή του καὶ τοῦ ἔλεγε:

- Νὰ ξέρεις, παιδί μου, τίποτε δὲν ἔγινε εἰκῆ καὶ ὡς ἔτυχε. Ὅλα ἔχουν τὸν σκοπό τους. Καὶ τίποτε δὲν γίνεται χωρὶς νὰ ὑπάρχει αἰτία. Οὔτε μιὰ πευκοβελόνα δὲν πέφτει ἀπὸ τὸ πεῦκο ἂν δὲν θέλει ὁ Θεός. Γι’ αὐτὸ θὰ πρέπει νὰ μὴ στενοχωριέσαι γιὰ ὅ,τι σοῦ συμβαίνει. Ἔτσι ἁγιαζόμαστε.

Νά! Ἐσὺ στενοχωριέσαι μὲ τὰ πρόσωπα τοῦ σπιτιοῦ σου καὶ βασανίζεσαι πότε μὲ τὴ γυναῖκα σου καὶ πότε μὲ τὰ παιδιά σου. Αὐτὰ εἶναι ὅμως ποὺ σὲ κάνουν καὶ ἀνεβαίνεις πνευματικὰ ψηλά. Ἂν δὲν ἦσαν αὐτοί, ἐσὺ δὲν θὰ προχωροῦσες καθόλου. Σοῦ τοὺς ἔχει δώσει ὁ Θεὸς γιὰ σένα. Μὰ θὰ μοῦ πεῖς, εἶναι καλὸ νὰ ὑποφέρουμε ἀπὸ τοὺς ἀγαπημένους μας; Ἔ! Ἔτσι τὸ θέλει ὁ Θεός. Καὶ ἐσὺ εἶσαι εὐαίσθητος πολὺ καὶ ἀπὸ τὴ στενοχώρια σου σοῦ πονάει τὸ στομάχι σου καὶ ἡ κοιλιά σου ἐκεῖ χαμηλά. Ἔτσι δὲν εἶναι;

- Ναί, μὰ εἶναι κακό, Παππούλη, νὰ εἶναι κανεὶς εὐαίσθητος; τὸν ρωτάει ὁ ἀδελφός.

- Ναί, τοῦ ἀπαντάει ὁ Γέροντας, εἶναι κακὸ νὰ εἶναι κανεὶς πολὺ εὐαίσθητος σὰν ἐσένα, γιατὶ μὲ τὴ στενοχώρια δημιουργεῖς διάφορες σωματικὲς ἀρρώστιες. Δὲν ξέρεις ἀκόμα ὅτι καὶ ὅλες οἱ ψυχικὲς ἀρρώστιες εἶναι δαιμόνια;

- Ὄχι, τοῦ λέει ὁ ἀδελφός.

- Ἔ! μάθε το τώρα ἀπὸ μένα, κατέληξε ὁ Γέροντας.

(Ἀνθολόγιο Συμβουλῶν Γέροντος Πορφυρίου, σελ. 76)

Ο Χριστός είναι το παν ( Γεροντας Πορφύριος )

Ο γέροντας Πορφύριος ένα βράδυ, στις 3 το πρωί, στο Ησυχαστήριο της Μεταμορφώσεως του Σωτήρος μιλάει σε λίγα πνευματικά του παιδιά για την αγάπη του Χριστού:

“Λοιπόν, ζωή χωρίς Χριστό δεν είναι ζωή. Πάει, τελείωσε. Αν δε βλέπεις το Χριστό σε όλα σου τα έργα και τις σκέψεις, είσαι χωρίς Χριστό. Πώς το κατάλαβες; Θυμάμαι κι ένα τραγούδι. «Σύν Χριστώ πανταχού, φόβος ουδαμού». Το ‘χετε ακούσει; Έ; Το λένε τα παιδιά, δε το θυμάμαι.

Λοιπόν, έτσι πράγματι πρέπει να βλέπομαι το Χριστό. Είναι φίλος μας, είναι αδελφός μας, είναι ό,τι καλό και ωραίο. Είναι το Παν. Αλλά είναι φίλος και το φωνάζει:

«Σας έχω φίλους, βρε, δεν το καταλαβαίνετε; Είμαστε αδέλφια. Βρε εγώ δεν είμαι … δεν βαστάω την κόλαση στο χέρι, δεν σας φοβερίζω, σας αγαπάω. Σας θέλω να χαίρεστε μαζί μου τη ζωή». Κατάλαβες;

Έτσι είναι ο Χριστός. Δεν έχει κατήφεια, ούτε μελαγχολία, ούτε ενδοστρέφεια, που ο άνθρωπος σκέπτεται ή βασανίζεται από διάφορους λογισμούς και διάφορες πιέσεις, που κατά καιρούς στη ζωή του τον τραυμάτισαν.

Ο Χριστός είναι νέα ζωή. Πώς το λέω; Ο Χριστός είναι το Παν. Είναι η χαρά, είναι η ζωή, είναι το φως, το φως το αληθινό, που κάνει τον άνθρωπο να χαίρεται, να πετάει, να βλέπει όλα, να βλέπει όλους, να πονάει για όλους, να θέλει όλους μαζί του, όλους κοντά στο Χριστό.

Όταν εμείς βρίσκουμε κάποιον θησαυρό ή ό,τι άλλο, δεν θέλομε να το λέμε πουθενά. Ο Χριστιανός όμως, όταν βρει το Χριστό, όταν γνωρίσει τον Χριστό, όταν ο Χριστός εγκύψει μέσα στην ψυχούλα του και τον αισθανθεί, θέλει να φωνάζει και να το λέει παντού, θέλει να λέει για το Χριστό, τι είναι ο Χριστός. Αγαπήσατε το Χριστόν και μηδέν προτιμήστε της αγάπης Αυτού. Ο Χριστός είναι το πάν, είναι η πηγή της ζωής, είναι το άκρον των εφετών, είναι το Πάν. Όλα στο Χριστό υπάρχουν τα ωραία.

Και μακράν του Χριστού η θλίψις, η μελαγχολία, τα νεύρα, η στεναχώρια, οι αναμνήσεις των τραυμάτων της ζωής, των πιέσεων, των αγωνιωδών, έτσι, ωρών. Όλα, ζούμε εκείνα εκεί της ζωής μας. Και πάμε εδώ και πάμε εκεί, και τίποτα, και πουθενά δεν στεκόμαστε. Όπου βρούμε το Χριστό, ας είναι μια σπηλιά, καθόμαστε εκεί και φοβούμαστε να φύγουμε, να μη χάσουμε το Χριστό. Διαβάστε να ιδείτε. Ασκηταί, που γνώρισαν το Χριστό, δεν ήθελαν να φύγουν από τη σπηλιά, ούτε έβγαιναν έξω να κάνουνε πιο πέρα θελαν να είναι εκεί που αισθανόντουσαν το Χριστό μαζί τους. Ο Χριστός είναι το Πάν.

Ο Χριστός είναι η πηγή της ζωής, της χαράς. Το Πάν”.

Γεροντας Πορφύριος

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