Our Lord expects faith from us. Faith, and nothing more. Faith in the spirit of God. Faith in Him, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.Read More
My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD:A PRAYERFUL HOME
All Things Beautiful
God created us to love that which is beautiful. He surrounded us with beauty--from the smallest flower to the majestic mountains--all that He created reveals His beauty to the world. The soul of a child is drawn to beauty. However, in this day of increasing crudeness, we can't expect our society to provide the beauty that will nourish a child's soul. Much of the art, music and architecture around us are no longer used to express God's love nor the beauty of His Creation. It is necessary for us, as parents, teachers and friends, to create the context for the expression of beauty in the young child.
Beauty is naturally incorporated into the life of the Church. We see beautiful icons, radiant vestments, the face of the clergy and the faithful. We smell the sweet fragrances of the incense. We hear the rich melodies of the sacred music, the softness of the chanting.
Just as the Church is a place of beauty, so we can and should create within our homes this same beauty and order. Even in the womb, babies can hear beautiful music and loving words from their parents, holy icons, incense, and prayers can grace their bedrooms and home. Gentle folk songs, good stories with lovely illustrations, poetry, all help to train the child's mind to nourish itself on what is good and holy. Learning to love nature and animals, spending time in the outdoors, in the forest, mountains, seashore, teach the child to respect and care of what God has created.
Our goal is to remind children of the Angelic realm. We use the natural world to lead the hearts and minds of the small child Godward. Probably the greatest impediment to this is the television. As children grow older, it is almost impossible to keep them from the influences of the media in our culture. At least in the tender years, while we are able, we can protect them. (The influence of the media is a huge subject by itself.) By limiting their use of television, we also allow our children to play. Amazingly there are many children who are so "entertained" that they do not know how to entertain themselves or to interact with others on more than a superficial level. They are unable to develop their own creativity or even be able to be alone and think.
However, we don't seek beauty for its own sake; we wish "for the beauty of the Lord to be upon us" (cf. Psalm 90:17). "The beauty of the Lord" is revealed within us through the development of the virtues. We strive for the virtues of kindness, compassion, honesty, purity, fear of God, humility, love and patience. We struggle to inspire the virtues in our children. It is in our homes, first, that we especially undertake the work of the cultivation of the virtues.
In the last part of The Path of Salvation, Saint Theophan the Recluse gives strong and direct teaching on how we are to raise our children in the virtues. Yet, the only way to successfully apply his wisdom is to first have it as part of one's own way of life. For example, he speaks of teaching restraint in eating and of eating at appointed times; of course, it is implied that the parents already follow this practice. He underscores the importance of a set schedule. He shows us that to teach a child to follow God's will he must first learn to submit his will to his parents' will. But a mother can teach this to her child only if she is submitting to the direction of her husband and both to the will of God.
Even as we are working to create the harmony and beauty in our homes, we must also ardently strive to nurture the God-given beauty of His image in our souls. Prayers, confession, Holy Communion are gifts to our Lord given to us to lead us to Him; and we, in turn, teach our children "to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" (cf. Psalm 96:9).
Tired of laundry? Parenting and homemaking are indeed a holy calling. Daily chores are a blessing to us and to our family. Even laundry is blessed--no children, no laundry. What would our life be like without them? So as we wash, fold or iron each item we can say, "Lord have mercy on (names of clothing wearer)." This works for your husband's clothing, your children's and your own clothing. "Lord have mercy on me." This sanctifies our time and work. It also helps us acquire peace and unceasing prayer.
SPIRITUAL COMFORT IN THE HOME
Elder (Geronta) Paisios the Athonite--+1994
"Worldly joy does not comfort the spiritual person. It only gives him fatigue. If you place a spiritual person in a worldly home, he will not be comfortable. Even a secular person does not really find rest there; he only thinks he does. In fact, he only feels an external, superficial enjoyment. In reality, in his heart, he is not pleased; he suffers." (Source: Orthodox Christian Parenting: Cultivating God's Creation by Zoe Press)
[Next: BOOKS AT HOME)
Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
Holy Scripture is divided into two main parts: the books of the Old Testament, before the Incarnation of the Son and Logos/Word of God, and the books of the New Testament, after the Incarnation of the Logos/Word. Both the Old and the New Testaments were given by revelation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, to the Prophets of the Old Testament by the unincarnate Logos/Word, as the Angel of the Great Counsel, and to the Apostles of the New Testament by the Incarnate Logos/Word--Christ.Read More
As one holy elder (geronta) said: "The devil rages against each of our young ones with fiery breath." I think the "problem" is that the advice most parents need, they don't want, since it involves them giving up their precious time on the various devices. Or, the parents want to live a comfortable lifestyle, one that requires the mother to work also, and so the home loses its sacred character because the mother is absent. People don't want to admit this, but it is possible to live on much less for the sake of the children if there is motivation. A lot of it is about money and the level of comfort people want to have, and so most are unwilling to sacrifice comfort or monetary security for the sake of the children.Read More
The Confession of children, especially of those who are coming for the first time into this saving Mystery (Sacrament), is a work of the greatest importance. Here, in repentance, before the priest, before the servant of God, children open their soul and receive from it [i.e., Confession] the power given to it from on High, not only forgiveness but also instruction in moral life.Read More
John was the son of Zebedee the fisherman and Salome the daughter of Joseph, the betrothed of the Holy Mother of God. Called by the Lord Jesus, John immediately left his father and the fishing nets and followed Christ with his brother James. From that time, he was not parted from his Lord until the end. With Peter and James, he was present at the raising of Jairus's daughter and at the Lord's Transfiguration, and laid his head on Jesus' breast at the Mystical (Last) Supper.Read More
"As each has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good steward of the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4:10).
Whatever gifts God has given to His people are to be used for the glory of God and in a spirit of love (see Romans 12:4-10; 1 Corinthians 12-14). Our Almighty God and Father blessed us with gifts and talents to benefit others.Read More
Saint Thecla came from the city of Iconium in Asia Minor and was the daughter of a rich pagan called Theocleus. She was betrothed at the age of eighteen to a young man called Thamyris, who loved her dearly. It was the time that Saint Paul, coming down from Antioch, stayed in Iconium at the house of Onesiphorus, a neighbor of Thecla, and taught the word of God there night and day.Read More