Sunday, September 25, 2022

Orthodox Parables and Stories: About US



A true story:

It was an August Sunday in Lent.

I had gone to church, and as usual I would occasionally say the Jesus Prayer, mixed with some "request" I had to God.

"Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me... have mercy on me... on... me"

I stopped praying when the word "me" hit me in the stomach!

"Only for myself am I praying for," I thought to myself.

I was reminded of the words of St. Porphyrios: "Since we are all "one", if you pray for yourself, you pray for everyone."

Again, though, in this case the "me" was 90% about me.

"How is it possible to pray for another with the same fervor as you pray for yourself?" I thought.

It seemed impossible for me to feel for another the same "need to pray" as I felt for myself and my problems.

So I continued: "have mercy on me... have mercy on me", while my mind was only thinking about myself.

The time was passing, "after fear of God..." was heard, I stood in line to take communion. Standing in front of me was a gentleman, around 45... nice looking.

The line was moving slowly, I was still saying the Jesus Prayer "have mercy on ME"

And then, I took a closer look at that gentleman. While we all took small leisurely steps forward, he clutched his waist with each step and grimaced in pain!

He was trying to support himself wherever he could so as not to fall down.

He was in almost excruciating pain in his lower back. But he wouldn't leave the line.


I looked at him in admiration. and compared his approach to Holy Communion with mine: I walked proud and firm, he was in pain at every step, but he continued.

I approached him, stood beside him, and inclined my shoulder towards him:

"I see your back is hurting. I've been through it too. Do you want to hold on to me until we get to the front?

He turned and looked at me with surprise and an invisible smile of joy as if he was relieved.

"No, thank you very much," he answered me. "I'll make it!"

Maybe he was embarrassed to hold on to me. I didn't insist, smiled at him and went back behind him in line.

AND THEN IT HAPPENED TO ME...

I felt a wave of love wash over me for this man, who, despite his pain, was still moving towards the Holy Chalice. He was waking as if he was walking towards his own Golgotha, his own Resurrection.

And all of a sudden, I felt the "Jesus Prayer" I was saying inside of me was for that person TOO! Again "have mercy" I said, but in some strange way the meaning of "ME" was no longer just about myself. It was mostly about that man who was in pain but kept walking towards the God of mercy.

"Have mercy on ME" had unexpectedly, in my heart, taken on the meaning of "Have mercy on US"

And so, almost effortlessly (as God always effortlessly whispers to us) I got an answer to my question: the only way to become "one" is to put ourselves in the place of the other, to feel his own path to Calvary, to give him "our shoulder" to hold on to.

Then, we both enter into Divine Mercy. 

When we freely and unconditionally accept it, "ME" becomes "US".

At Kiev Pechersk Lavra

 


Saturday, September 24, 2022

Tornado




Yesterday the rarest natural phenomenon hit the Holy Mountain - a tornado. It passed along the second "finger" of Halkidiki and did not directly affect Athos. There are no reports of any casualties at this time.

Most Holy Theotokos save us!

 

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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Archimandrite John (Krestiankin)



For life is a gift of God, mourning circumstances are sent to us by the will of God, the Lord trains the soul with sorrows for eternity, and we, because of despair and hopelessness, and lack of faith in God's Providence, shorten ours and earthly life, overturning our health with uncontrollable sorrows, and closing the Kingdom of Heaven to ourselves. - Archimandrite John (Krestiankin)

Sunday, September 18, 2022

"The emptier the cart, the more noise it makes."




“Once, a long time ago, I was walking with my father when at a bend he suddenly stopped. After a moment of silence, he asked me:
– Besides the chirping of birds, do you hear anything else?
I sharpened my hearing and, after a few seconds, answered.
- I hear the noise of a cart...
- Right, said my father.
It's an empty cart.
I asked him:
– How do you know it's an empty cart if we can't see it yet?
And he answered me:
- It's very easy to tell when a cart is empty, it's because of the noise.
The emptier it is, the louder it hums and makes more noise.
Today, as an adult, when I see a person who talks a lot, interrupts other people's conversations, proves himself to be inappropriate, brags about what he has, feels powerful and despises those around him, it still seems to me that I still hear my father's voice saying:
"The emptier the cart, the more noise it makes."

Friday, September 16, 2022

St. Isidore Pelusiot



If some escaped punishment during their lifetime (for sins), so much the worse, because, having departed from this life, they will suffer a heavier punishment there.