The Raising of the Son of the Widow of Nain

7 October 12

Today at Liturgy the Liturgy this was the Gospel reading we heard was this:

11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.

Father Theo spoke a beautiful sermon on this Gospel today and as much as I wish I had recorded it but sadly, I did not. I shall, however, attempt to paraphrase to the best of my ability the essence of his words whilst adding a few observations of my own.

The first thing I notice is that the Lord came to this city and his first impression is that of sadness and sorrow due to a funeral. People pass away and funerals happen, but in this case we are taken from a scene of sadness to a scene of joy. The Lord comes upon the funeral procession and at first it seems as if the Apostles inquired, and were informed of the goings on. A funeral, but not any funeral, a procession of a dead son, the only son of a widow.

I can not imagine the grief of a mother at the loss of her only son. This was one of the impressions that Father Theo made today. Imagine being a mother of only one son. You are a wife to a husband and he has died, and now you lose a son. The grief which that mother must have felt having to bury a son and to be therefore, all alone.

I find the following parallel interesting. At the time of the death of Christ upon the Cross He had already seen the passing of his earthly father, Joseph at some time prior to the start of his public ministry. For the rest of His earthly life Christ’s mother follows Him in His ministry, even to His Crucifixion on the Cross. She is there from the beginning all the way to the end. I wonder if, at the death of the Saviour, if He remembered this widow of Nain, and this is what prompted Him to give to His mother His beloved Apostle John. “Woman, behold your son, son behold your mother.”

Christ takes this opportunity, this hour of grief of this mother and it becomes for her and for all present a sign and a time of joy and revelation. Christ calls the son back to life and he sits up and Christ returns to the mother the son that she had lost. THIS is love. This is compassion. This is the Christ, the God we worship. Not out of fear or expectation of some expected reward. God is not a God of vengeance and pain, but a God of ultimate, sacrificial, never-ending love. The “fear tactics” others use to “bring people in” to their version of Christianity are a far cry from the LOVE that we see in the Gospels. Christ takes us from the pain of death and the separation that would befall us at death, and He raises us up and returns us to our proper place with our Father.

This is why I love Orthodoxy. If you are looking for another application of the above concept I recommend the video below, which was made by a good friend and fellow parishioner at the Mission Church I attend. Leave a comment and let me know what you think if you feel so inclined.

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Things to Remember #4

12 September 12

Saint John of KronstadtSaint John of Kronstadt

“Love every man in spite of his falling into sin. Never mind the sins, but remember that the foundation of the man is the same – the image of God.” – St. John of Kronstadt


Lent 2012

29 February 12

Here we are again. Lots I could post about, most of which I can not.. I will ask or prayers though for my younger sister Shayne Alexandra. A LOT of drama, but we are trying our best to manage and muddle through. I just worry for my mother…

I am still working on my Montessori degree, although the house has taken priority for the past few weeks and I really need to get back on track. That is what this weekend is for, for at least part of the day.. when I am not packing up the condo..

A little closer on the house. The loan goes to title today/tomorrow and then we are just waiting on the appraisal fixes and a re-inspection. This all needs to be done by 16 March at the latest, but my lender and real estate agent want to get paid so we are hoping it goes faster. Money is a great motivator.

Please pray for my mother Barbara.

Lord have mercy!


Still Here

20 February 12

Apparently someone ( I now know who you are!) in FRESNO, CA commented on my last post on this blog and said that they were surprised that the last post I made was 6 months ago and I have not posted since. Things have been interesting,

I have begun my training for my MONTESSORI degree, I bought a home in PHOENIX, AZ and have been busy with real estate agents, lenders, insurance and a boat load of paperwork. The MISSION we attend has fond and purchased a new property where we can worship, needless to say there has not been a lot of time for posting on here, not to mention I do a lot of short postings on Facebook before I even think of posting here.

I will try and post here, maybe I will post more ABOUT Lent, rather than taking the time off.. We shall see.


On Family Love

10 July 11

WHAT IS FAMILY HAPPINESS?

Sts. Peter and Febronia
Sts. Peter and Febronia

On July 8 (June 25 Old Style) the Church commemorates Sts. Peter and Febronia—a married couple who later lived in the monastic rank. It is one of the most touching saint’s lives in the Russian synaxarion. Peter was a prince of Murom; Febronia was a peasant girl who, although of humble social status, was known as a holy woman, and pleasing to God. Peter was healed by her prayers of a serious illness. Although Peter’s noble family was against it, they married, and a chaste love so strong existed between them that they preferred life together over all riches, status, and power. When Peter’s family offered her anything she wished if she would only leave the royal house, she answered, “I want Peter.” In latter years they received the monastic tonsure in Murom monasteries located right next to each other, and reposed in the Lord one right after the other. When Peter knew it was time for him to die, he informed Febronia. Well, she said, then I will go, too. Putting aside her handiwork, she departed to the Lord.

In Russia, this day is presently being celebrated as a day of “Family, Love, and Faithfulness.” What better patrons of such a day could there be? Priest Gleb Grozovsky writes on this theme.

*   *   *

What is family happiness? When you hear the word “happiness,” a bright feeling of the joy of living, of participation, is born in the soul from the word itself. Happiness is harmony of spirit, soul, and body. It is when the body submits to the soul, and the soul to the spirit. Not the swan, the crab, and the fish, as in Krylov’s fable, but when the feelings and movements of the flesh are in submission to the reason. Just look at what catastrophic consequences can come from a bodily movement that is not in submission to the spirit. The body sees a beautiful woman and goes off in answer to the call of lower demands not in submission to the spirit. His reasoning says, “Family happiness is not in this…” But the body does not ask anyone for advice; it just wants something, then goes and does it, without thinking about the consequences.

In Trinity Leaves From the Spiritual Meadow there is a story. One day a woman learned of her husband’s unfaithfulness. She cried bitter tears and asked God to forgive her husband’s sin. When her husband left for work, his wife, not saying anything, with tears in her eyes, blessed her husband as she usually did. When they said good-bye, the husband could not bear it, and fell on his knees asking his wife’s forgiveness—so sincerely, that he never sinned again. This was the true repentance of the husband. Thanks to the wife’s longsuffering, the marriage was saved, and happiness and harmony returned to their relationship.

Oh, how important it is to submit the body to the spirit in order to escape a family break-up. Today in Russia over fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce [and America is not far behind]; every second union of loving couples falls apart. Is this really love? The causes of this may be various, but the meaning is the same. Thoughts draw us in one direction, feelings in another, and the body is off to the side. Every day a sentence is passed on children in the wombs, who never had a chance to be born. Over ten thousand of these helpless infants are being killed ever day in Russia alone! Can happiness be built upon the blood of children? Nevertheless, even amongst those who call themselves Orthodox are people who continue to live with an unrepentant heart, who continue to sin. And how many women are there who have to endure alcoholic husbands, smokers, and adulterers? How much violence and beating?

Many families today are experiencing a state of crisis. However, every person, in the depths of his heart, wants family happiness—this hierarchical, harmonious existence. In order to achieve this state, we have to bind our passions with good thoughts.

Let us suppose that a family has come together, it is functioning well, there were no abortions, and the husband is not an adulterer or a drunk; but there is no happiness… Is there a chance that it could be saved? I recall a story about this.

In one city lived a married couple. They lived together a long time, but always felt that something was missing in their relationship. They tried everything, and after twenty years of marriage, they broke up. They broke up so that they could find a union that would be stronger. It turns out that they had built their lives without a foundation; although they were baptized in childhood, they were not very religious. Finding themselves in an extremely unhappy state, they both went, each to his and her own church, to place a candle. There they met people who invited them to a catechism class. After the classes, they met in order to be wed in the Church, and they never left each other again.

Of course, if this couple had been taken to church from childhood they would never have had to smash their porcelain hearts in order to gather the pieces together again later. It is very important to explain to children in their teenage years the difference between love and being in love. A great example of this is the following story told by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.

A young couple came to Vladyka to ask his blessing upon their marriage. He looked at them and asked the young man, “Do you love your bride-to-be?” The man answered that he loves her very much. Then Vladyka said to him, “Imagine that you now go home, you have received my blessing for marriage, and suddenly you have an accident. Your beloved becomes an invalid for life. Would you be ready to repeat the words you just said?” No words were needed—it was enough to see the young man’s facial expression in reaction. That is how greatly love (sacrifice) differs from superficial “being in love.” It is very important to bring this home to those who want to have family happiness.

One last word. Without mutual love and faithfulness, it is impossible to have family happiness.

Best wishes to you on the holiday, dear Christians!

Priest Gleb Grozovsky

 

07 / 07 / 2011

 


Easier than Expected

28 August 10

It’s funny when you wonder something for a long time and you fear asking the questions because of the answers your will receive.  If one chooses to live in fear when all that is required is faith and obedience.

When one realizes that these to gifts are at their disposal, it truly makes the more difficult decisions in life so much easier.

I realise that some things in life are given to us for our benefit.  The same can be said of the things in life that God chooses to not grace us with. I received one of these today.  It was not really a shock,  but at the same time it was a harsh reality of who I am and what I am called to.

I must continue to persevere in my salvation without worrying about this unattainable aspect of my life.  It does not defined me.  I am more than this and in a sense i have been called to greater things.

When I started this journey it was because I was seeking something greater than myself.  I was granted that grace and that must be sufficient for me.  I am happy with this decision.  It was feeding to know that I was not shackled with not knowing and now that I know I can focus on living with the grace I have been granted and not worry about anything else.

Glory to God for all things!


At the Gates of Repentance

17 January 10

Well, apparently we are there again. Zaccheus Sunday a.k.a. The gates of Repentance a.k.a. the pre-beginnings of Lent.

I did not figure it would come up so quick. Talk about totally unprepared.