Love is the way to salvation

Giving to others seems a difficult thing, but love makes it easy. Receiving from others seems a plesant thing, but love makes it unplesant. Speaking against the others seems a plesant thing, but love makes it bitter.

Saint John Chrysostom

Love finds its greatest delight in the kind word and in the praising of all people.

Anger gives a sort of wild pleasure, but not to the loving man, because he doesn’t know any anger.

If his brother upsets him, he doesn’t get angry, he starts crying, prays and implores.

If he sees his brother sinning, he grieves and suffers in his heart. And this pain is sweet, because tears and sadness from love are above any laugh and gladness.

The peace and delight felt by those who cry for their beloved ones, are never experienced by those who laugh.

You may ask me: Love – of any kind  would it be – doesn’t it bring pleasure anyway, including the indecent one? No. Only pure love brings pure, true joy. And pure love is not the wordly one, that one from the market, which is rather malice and sin, but the Christian love, the spiritual love, that love required by saint Paul, which seeks the benefit of our neighbor. The Apostle had this love he talked about: Who is weak and I do not feel weak?Who is led into sin and I do not inwardly burn?1

Nothing angers God more than our idifference towards our brother. That’s why He asked to be severely punish the slave who behaved mercilessly with that one who was a slave like him.

That’s why He said that His disciples must have love as a sign of recognition  among them. Because love leads naturally to the care for our brother.

And you may ask me again: If we care about our brother, don’t we neglect our own salvation? Isn’t it possible such danger?

On the contrary. That one who cares about  the others, does not cause any sadness to anyone, but empathizes with them all, helps them all, as much as he can. He doesn’t take anything from anyone. He is not greedy, nor a thief or a liar. He keeps himself far away of all evil and always tries to do all goodness. He prays for his enemies, he does good to those who treat him unjustly. He doesn’t curse or gossip, regardless of what someone would do to him. By all these won’t we aid our own salvation?

Therefore love is the path to our salvation. Let’s follow it in order to inherit eternal life.

From the book – Matters of life I – Holy Monastery Paraklitou

1 2 Corinthians, 11-29

Brâncoveanu and the population growth

If we wonder for what reason Brâncoveanu was arrested, tortured and killed, it is hard to answer! Everyone knows that he was killed because he did not want to give up on Orthodoxy and embrace Islam. This is his last dialogue with the sultan and then with his executioner who cut his head.

It was a pun for covering the image for the international public opinion of those times. It is true that he resisted and did not renounce at Orthodoxy. But the reason for being arrested and in the end tortured and beheaded himself, his children and his prime minister was that he filled Valachia with children. He gave his personal example (he had 11 children) and encouraged financially the people to make children and in this way he filled the country with children. His demographic policy annoyed the Ottoman power that summoned him but he refused to go there so in the end they arrested and killed him. This is the real reason for his killing. It is also true that he did not renounce at Orthodoxy, but that was the last question, his last form of resistance.

What is required from us today? Today we are required to be less, although our population decreased from 22 millions to about 18 millions (it is said that we are 21,5 millions, but it is not true) and is still decreasing. If we are 18 millions, we are still too many, we must still sift ourselves. And we sift ourselves at the pace that favored this sifting: abortifacient contraceptives, divorce, etc, all these are destructive for us. So I would meditate about the value of life and about the freedom of the couple, that degenerated  into libertinism.

Source: www.doxologia.ro (Father Nicolae Tănase, The ideal husband, the ideal wife) Anastasis Publishing House, Sibiu, 2011, p.215

 

Teach your children to ask for God’s help!

Pious Porphyrios the Kavsokalivite

The medicine and the great secret for the children’s enhancement is humility. And trust in God confers an absolute safety. God is everything. No one can say that he is everything. This hardens selfishness. God wants to lead our children to humility. Without it neither us, nor them could do anything.

We should pay attention when we encourage our children. We shouldn’t tell the child: ”You will succeed, you are a special child, you are brave, you are perfect.” These are of no benefit for him. Tell him to pray, adding: ”My child, God gave you the gifts you have.” ’Pray so that God will give you strength to cultivate them and to succeed.” ”May God give you His grace.”

This is the best thing. In all matters children should learn to ask for help from God.

Praise harms the children. What does the Word of God say? My people, those who guide you, lead you astray. They turn you from your path.(1) The man who praises us, deceives us and turns us from our paths. How wise are the words of God!

Praise does not prepare the children for any difficulty in life, they do not adjust, they lose themselves and in the end they do not succeed in anything. Now the world became spoiled.They tell only words of praise to the small child. We should not rebuke him, we should not contradict him, we should not constrain him. And the child gets used with this and cannot react correctly anymore, not even at the slightest difficulty. If someone speaks against him, he gets annoyed immediately, he does not have any fortitude.The parents are the first ones who are responsible for the failure of their children in life and their teachers and professors follow after them.

They praise them all the time. They tell them things that increase their selfishness.They do not guide them towards the spirit of God and estrange them from the Church. When they grow a little and go to school with this selfishness, they estrange from faith and despise it, they lose their respect for God, for their parents, for all. They become disobedient, stubborn and ruthless, disobeying faith and God.

We gave to the society some egotists, not some Christians.

(1) Isaiah 3,12

 

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also !

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)

A very rich industrialist was irritated by the presence of a fisherman who was sitting on the riverbank near the place where he had his yacht anchored. The fisherman collected his fishing tools and was looking idly at the water surface.

”Why don’t you go fishing with your boat on the sea?” the industrialist asked him.

”Because I caught enough fish for today”, the fisherman answered.

”Why don’t you catch more than you need?” the rich man asked him.

”And what to do with it?”

”You could earn more money”, the other one answered nervously. ”Then you could buy yourself a bigger boat to catch much more fish.” ”More fish means more money.” ”In a short time you would have an entire fishing fleet and you would become a rich man like me.”

”Interesting.” ”And after that what would I do?” the fisherman asked.

”You would sit and relax and enjoy your life”, the industrialist answered.

”But what do you think that I’m doing now?” the fisherman said, looking quietly on the other side of the river. ”Don’t you see that I’m sitting and enjoying life?”

 

The greatness of God

A man who thought he was wise met once in his way a simple countryman who was going to the church.

”Where are you going, man?” he asked.

”I am going to the church”, the countryman answered.

”Tell me, do you have any idea if your God is great or small?”

”He is both.”

”It’s not possible to be both.”

”But it is, sir.” ”You see, God is so great that not even the highest heaven can contain Him, but so small that He can still dwell in my heart.”

And the apparently wise man did not have what to say hearing this wise answer of the simple but faithful countryman.

Glory to God!

There was once a poor woman who used to say all the time, for any good it happened to her: “Glory to God!”

Near her lived a rich man who got annoyed every time he passed by her house and heard her saying: “Thank you, God!”

He bore that till one day when he said to hid servant:

“Go to the market and buy two carts of food and take them to this woman. And if she asked you who sent them, tell her that are sent by the devil.”

So the next day the servant rang at the door of that woman. When she opened, she saw two carts filled with plenty of foods and behind them stood the servant.

“Glory to God!” “Thank You, God!” the woman said shining with happiness.

“Don’t you want to know who sent you the carts?” the servant asked her anxiously.

“No, son, it doesn’t matter.” “When God wants, even the devil serves Him”, the woman said gladly and went back into the house with the carts.

The love knot

At the meeting with the parents that took place at school, the headmistress highlighted the support parents should give to their children. Even though most of the parents work, she asked them to devote more time to their children.

But she was surprised when a father stood up slowly and with a quiet voice said that he didn’t find time at all during the week to take care of his son. “When I leave for work in the morning my son is still sleeping and unfortunately when I come back home I find him sleeping again.”

He explained her that he had to work very hard in order to support his family. He was worried because of the situation he was facing and felt deep remorse. In order to be reconciled with himself, when he got back home late in the evening, he kissed his son who was asleep. And for making him feel his presence, he made a knot at the corner of the bed sheet that covered his son. And he did this very lovingly, praying for him in the same time.

When his son woke up, he knew for sure that he had received his father’s kiss and that he had been beside him all night long. And thus he felt happy and safe.

The knot from the corner of the bed sheet was a way of communication between them…

The headmistress got stunned when hearing these. But her amazement was even bigger when she found out that his son was among the best students of that school.

This story makes us think about more modalities to be present in the life of the others and communicate in a better way with them. This father found his simple but efficient way. And the most important thing is that his son understood by that knot what his father wanted to tell him.

Sometimes we worry about how to say some things and forget what’s the most important, the communication by means of feeling.

For a child some simple gestures like a kiss or a knot made at the corner of a bed sheet mean a lot more than other presents and dull apologies.

What matters is that we care about people, but what counts the most is to make them feel that.

For making this communication possible we must listen to the voice of our hearts, because when we want to show our love, our feelings are much stronger than any words.

Sometimes people cannot understand the importance of lots of words, but they know how to appreciate a sign of love. Even if this sign is a simple knot. But it’s a knot full of love and kindness…

The pure heart is throne of God

Saint Nektarios of Pentapolis

Nothing is greater than a pure heart, because a heart like this makes itself throne of God. And what is more glorified than the throne of God? Of course nothing else. God says about those with pure heart: “I will dwell among them and I will walk among them and I will be their God and they will be my people.”(1)

Therefore, who is happier than these people? And what kind of good will they be lacking ? Aren’t found in their blessed souls all the good things and charisms of the Holy Spirit? What else do they want? Nothing else. Nothing else indeed. For in their hearts they have the greatest good of all: God himself.

How wrong are the people who seek happiness far from themselves, in foreign countries and in travels, in wealth and glory, in big fortunes and luxuries, in pleasures and in all riches and vanity, whose end is bitterness. Building the tower of happiness outside our heart is like building an edifice on a ground that is ceaselessly shaken by earthquakes. Such a building will soon collapse to the ground…

My brothers! Happiness lies within each one of you and happy is the man who understood this. Search your heart and see what’s its spiritual state. Didn’t it lose its audacity to God? Doesn’t your conscience rebuke you for violating God’s commandments? Doesn’t it accuse you for injustice, lies, the neglection of your duties towards God and towards your neighbor? See if your heart did not fill itself to the brim with wickedness and passions, if it did not slip on crooked and impassable paths.

Unfortunately, that one who neglected his own heart deprived himself of all good things and fell in a lot of misdeeds. He drove away all gladness and filled himself with bitterness, grief and sorrow. He drove away peace and got anxiety, trouble and fear. He drove away love and got hate instead. He drove away all the charisms and gifts of the Holy Spirit he received at his christening and appropriated all evils that make man pitiful and three times villan.

My brothers! The most Merciful God wants happiness for us all, both in this life and in the other. That’s why He founded His Holy Church. To cleanse us of our sins, to sanctify us, to reconcile us with Him and give us the blessings of heaven.

The Church has its arms open to receive us. Let us run hastily, we all who have our conscience cluttered. Let us run, for the Church is ready to raise the weight of our burden, to give us audacity to God and to fill our hearts with happiness…

MAKE YOUR HEART A GARDEN OF VIRTUES AND NOT A DESERT OF PASSIONS.

(1) Corinthians 6-16

 

The parable with the hawk and the crow

A hermit saw once a hawk in the forest. The bird carried a piece of meat to his nest: he rent it in many small bits and started to feed with them a wounded crow chick.

The hermit was surprised that a hawk was feeding a crow chick and thought: “God gave me a sign.” “He does not forget even a wounded crow chick.” “God made that terrible hawk feed a defenseless bird from another species.” “I understand from this that God gives everything is necessary to all creatures.” “And we worry so much about ourselves…” “From now on I’ll stop taking care of myself!” God made me understand what to do.” “I won’t look for food any longer.” “God does not abandon any of His creatures, so He won’t abandon me either.”

No sooner said than done: he sat there, in the forest and didn’t move anymore; he prayed and prayed all the time and did nothing else but this. He spent three days and nights like this, without drinking any water or eating any food. But after three days the hermit was so weakened that he was not able even to raise his hand. Being so powerless, he fell asleep. And he had a dream with an angel. The angel looked sadly at him and said: “It’s true that the sign was for you.” “But you should have learnt to follow the example of the hawk, not that of the crow!”

 

Answer to a man who says that he has faith in God, but he doesn’t pray to Him

Strive to strengthen your faith. In time you will feel the need to pray. Your faith is not strong, that’s why it doesn’t urge you to pray. Once I saw that on a mill wheel was falling only a bit of water. And the wheel remained motionless. Then it fell a lot of water and the wheel started to move.

Faith is a spiritual power. A small faith doesn’t set your mind in motion towards mediation about God, nor does it set your heart in motion towards prayer to God. Big faith moves both mind and heart and the entire human soul. As long as  someone has a big faith, by its power it moves his soul towards God.

You say that you read the words of the Savior: Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him and from these words you drew the conclusion that the prayer is of no use.

God knows indeed beforehand everything we need, though He wants us to pray to Him. It is easier to explain this thing to some parents and not to you who are not married. Look, the parents know beforehand what their children need, but they still wait to be asked by them – because the parents know that the prayer softens and ennobles the heart of their children, making them more obedient, humbler, milder, more dutiful, more merciful and nobler. You see how many divine sparkles are woken by the prayer in the human heart?

I read that a traveler stopped at a house beside the road. In that house the workers held a gathering. Silence fell instantly over the whole house. The workers knelt down for prayer and one of them got out and started to walk in front of the house. The traveler asked him what was happening inside.

“They pray to God.” “But I felt ashamed so I got out.”

The traveler remained silent and waited.

“Who are you waiting for?” the worker asked him.

“I am waiting for someone to get out of the house so that I could ask him about the way.”

“But why don’t you ask me?” “I can show you too.”

The traveler nodded and said:

“How could someone show the right path when he is ashamed of God and of his brothers?”

I think that you aren’t ashamed of prayer, but you have a weak faith, therefore look after the child inside yourself. When he grows up and becomes brave, he will reward your painstaking a hundredfold. The brave faith will set in motion the inner wheel of your being and you will gain a new life.

Peace to you and blessing from God!

Source: Bishop Nikolai Velimirovici, Answers at questions of the world of today, volume I, Sophia Publishing House, 2002