Happiness is a matter of choice

A 92 y.o man, who looked quite well for his age has come today at a retirement home. His 80 y.o wife has recently died and he has to leave his house. After waiting for a few hours in the drawing room of the retirement home he was informed that his small room was ready. Then he smiled politely.

After that we went slowly to the elevator while he was leaning on his stick and I described the small room and the problem with the linen sheet which was hanging at the window instead of the curtain.

“I like it”, he said like an 8 y.o child who has just got a puppy as a gift.

“Sir, you haven’t seen your room yet.” “We’ll be there shortly”, I said.

“This doesn’t matter”, he answered. “Happiness is something I chose beforehand.” “If I like the room or not it does not depend on the way it’s decorated or on its furnishing but rather on the way I decided to see it.” “I’ve already decided in my mind that I like it.” “This is a decision I take every morning when I wake up.” “I can choose to spend all my day lying in bed and counting all the problems I have with my limbs that aren’t working quite well anymore or I can stand up and thank God for my limbs that are still working properly.” “Each day is a gift and as long as I can open my eyes, I am going to focus on the new day and think about all the blessings I got from God in my life.” “Old age is like a bank account.” “You can take out later what you saved during your life.”

My advice is to save as much as you can of your thanks for God in your heavenly account. Thank you for filling up my account which I continue to fill myself.

Remember these simple pieces of advice for your happiness:

  1. Free your heart from hatred.
  2. Clear your mind of stress.
  3. Give more.
  4. Expect less from the others.

 

The physical properties of water change on Epiphany

Sysin Research Institute of Human Ecology and Environmental Health from Russia discovered a few years ago that all waters, including the water from  pipelines, changed their physical properties on Epiphany and on the day before.

The researchers studied daily the properties and qualities of water from a pipeline measuring the quantity of ionic radicals. From January 4 the level of the ionic radicals started to raise and the water became clearer. The ph level of water started to raise as well, decreasing its acidity.

As expected, the highest level of activity was reached in the evening of January 5. Due to the high amount of ionic radicals water reached an electrical conductivity equal with that of an artificial catalyzer (electron saturated water).

The electromagnetic activity of water started to decrease from January 6 and reached the normal level on January 7.

The researcher Anatoly Stekhin declared that the reason for this fast increase of the electromagnetic activity of water on Epiphany was an accumulation of ionic radicals in the earth lithosphere, a real spring of electrons which are mostly transferred in water.

The researchers measured on Epiphany the water structuring level, freezing to this effect some tap water from Moscow River and from a church well.

“Even the tap water which is far from being of a good quality looked perfectly when we froze it and studied it under a microscope”, Stekhin said.

 

Happy is the one who bears until the end

Saint John the Baptist is the one about whom Jesus Christ said that he was a lamp that burned and gave light (John 5, 35) and who was imprisoned for the truth.

The faithful, righteous confessor of God enraged – by his sincerity and by his brave attitude of condemning the sin – the depraved king who threw him to prison after he had listened to him with understanding.

As long as the saint did not talk about him, Herod had been even able to praise him but immediately after the word of the divine truth, word of fire and just condemnation admonished his debauched life, Herod became the enemy of the messenger of God.

Nowadays it happens the same. The people praise the word of God as long as it does not reveal their sins. When the soul of the sinner feels affronted and exposed, refusing to repent and improve, will revolt, will reject the Holy Gospel that woke him from his deceitful complacency and he won’t accept to obey it.

(Every Day, A Gift from God: 365 useful words for all the days of the year, Sophia Publishing House, pg.8)

Source: doxologia.ro

 

I love you all! Good enhancement! God be with you!

Peter was orphaned since he was a small child. His mother remained devoted to the memory of her husband. She dedicated herself to the upbringing of her son.

She had a good position at the bank and this helped her make the ends meet.

And because Peter was a fast learner, she decided to help him complete his studies regardless of the field he would have chosen.

“Dear Peter, it will be my joy and praise if you become a prominent scientist, in any field you’d like”, she said one afternoon, while they sat in their living room. “The soul of your reposed father will rejoice from heaven.” “And I’ll always be by your side.” “You’ll have everything you need.” “The only thing you have to do is to dedicate yourself to your studies.” “I’ll stand by you and support you as long as I live, my son!”

“Thank you, mother!” he said tearfully and embraced her…

The years passed and Peter graduated among the first the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics from Thessaloniki. He took his diploma with the highest mark. When he happily showed it to her, she could not refrain her tears because of her emotion and she kissed him incessantly. Then he took his master and with one of his friends opened a tutoring office. Their office became famous, being one of the best from their town.

Until here everything went well for Peter. The only bad thing was that he did not believe in God. He had been influenced by 2-3 of his professors from the university who with their theories made him become an atheist.

His mother noticed this. She had never seen him making the sign of the Cross when they ate together. Although she told him, he smiled ironically. But the worst thing was that he transmitted these atheistic ideas to his students at the lessons.

Although everything went so well all of a sudden something stroke him instantaneously. He felt unbearable pains in the abdominal area. His mother took him immediately to hospital and he was almost inconscious. The doctors examined him to find out what was the cause of his fever. In the end they came to the conclusion that he had an intestinal infection and focused on that problem. The pain gradually ceased but not the fever. His situation is a rare and difficult one, the doctors said to his mother.

One day three women entered his ward. They greeted him politely.

“We are an aiding team from our parish and we came to say some comforting words to the patients.” “Would you like to read a line from the Gospel for you?”

“How much are you paid for this?”

“We do this work for free, only out of our love for Christ and for our brothers who suffer.”

“I don’t believe in this, but anyway, read it to me!” “I might forget about my pains.”

This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it, it is written in the Gospel of John. It seems that God has a plan for you, brother. What is your name?

“All I know is that I feel a lot of pain.” “My name is Peter.”

“We writhe too when we are in the throes of childbirth.” “But when a new child is born, we forget about all pains.”

“I agree, but I told you, I don’t believe.” “Only your politeness makes me listen to you.”

“Then will you allow us to tell you something else about your pains?” “In our Church there is a holy sacrament called the Holy Unction which is officiated by the priests.” “All the people who participate and have faith may see miracles happening.” “Would you like to call the priest of the hospital to officiate the Holy Unction for you?” “And we’ll pray for you.”

After a few minutes Peter said:

“I told you from the beginning that I am not a believer.” “I haven’t gone to the church since I was a child and my mother used to take me with her.” “But because I saw your sincere concern about me, although I am a stranger for you, I agree.” “Call the priest.” “I will speak to him.” After a while the priest of the hospital came after he had been called by one of the three women. Then they all went out and left him alone with the priest. With the grace of God, the experienced spiritual doctor helped Peter to open his heart. He confessed all the secrets of his life and after the priest read him the prayer of absolution, his soul felt an indescribable peace. He felt better though his pains had not ceased.

While he was confessing, the three women called some of their kith who lived in the neighborhood and asked them to bring a plate with some flour and some oil for the Holy Unction. No sooner said than done. Four other women came. In the meantime Peter’s mother came too. They prepared everything and after a while the priest officiated the Sacrament of the Holy Unction. Peter watched that carefully. He was the first to be anointed. His mother and the other women looked with tears in their eyes.

After a few days he took the Eucharist, then he went back home with his hospital release note. A new life began for him. On that afternoon he went to his office. He wanted to keep the promise he had made at the confession. His colleague and the students were happy to see him back.

After they had all gathered in a conference room, he stood before them, looking affectionately at them and said excitedly:

“Thanks God that I see you again, children!”

The children looked at each other perplexed by the beginning of his speech. He continued:

“My heart is crying now when I see you again.” “I was in danger  of dying but God saved me.” “You heard me many times saying that there is no God.” “I used to tell you that I am an atheist and I poisoned your minds with that.”

“Atheism is a big lie, children!” “I beg your forgiveness for everything I told you.” “In hospital I found that there is a God and miracles happen.” “There I met some true Christians, who love sincerely.” “I love you all!” “May you have a good spiritual enhancement!” “God be with you!”

The children applauded and cried for some long minutes. For them it was the best of lessons.

There it lies the true loftiness of a woman!

While serving her husband for his ephemeral happiness the wife must also serve to his salvation and only then she is of real help to him.

But how can she fulfill this mission? Her situation helps her in this case as well and she can accomplish quietly the saving change which could not be achieved by any urges.

Let’s suppose that her husband wavers between belief and disbelief or he is not really concerned by the work of his salvation because he is too absorbed by the preoccupations of his social life or he is drawn by follies and doubt and he sees there’s someone beside him who lives in the spirit of faith.

His wife triumphs: she accomplishes the salvation of her husband. Thus she does not preach about the Savior but incorporates Him in her life: she does not teach her husband the truths of the Gospel but she roots in him these truths by her deeds, by her words, by the whole arrangement of her life. Without explaining these truths theoretically, she makes her husband feel them. This work of the woman is not made up by us. Apostle Peter orders it explicitly linking its achievement to the woman’s submission to her man: Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands. But why is it so? So that the men who don’t believe the word may be won without preaches, by the behavior of their women, seeing closely their pure and God fearing life (I Peter 3, 1-2)

There it lies the true loftiness of a woman, despite her apparent subordination! The husband must be blind or with a completely hardened heart if he is not touched by the sight of true piety manifested in his wife’s life bearing fruits which are so sweet for him that he unwittingly wonders who gained more: he for this earthly life or she for the hereafter. And what a happiness is for the wife when she reads in her husband’s heart these divine words – it is not good for the man to be alone (Genesis 2, 18) and how bitter is for her – if she is not able to understand this – when she reads in her husband’s heart quite opposite words: It’s good for the man to be alone!

How an Orthodox family should be: 250 wise pieces of advice for the husband and wife from saints and great spiritual fathers

Source: ganduridinierusalim.com

God clothed in the garb of humility

„Christ is born; glorify Him! Christ comes from heaven; come to welcome Him! Christ is on earth; lift up your hearts!” (Canon of the Nativity of our Lord)

The Heavenly Father whose love is absolute sent His Beloved Son into the world.  Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God![1]”. God’s boundless love chose incarnation in order to bring here on earth the light of divine knowledge, to bring Himself closer to the man and help him know Him as his true Father and due to this knowledge to bring back the expelled one in the place of yore, in the celestial heaven. Thus He ordained the salvation of man.

As the devil used the snake for making the first created ones to fall and through them the entire mankind and he succeeded with the lenience of God, likewise Christ, through His human incarnation wanted to delude and fell down that one who deceived the man and to free the man from his power and take him back not to an earthly heaven but to a spiritual, celestial one.

How did the Son of God become a man? He covered the most bright light of His divinity with the human nature and thus the earth could shelter God and the man could speak to Him. The King of Kings and the Lords of Lords accepted to be born of  Virgin Mary as a Man. And He did not even have the smallest of homes and some heat, not even a simple hut as the poorest man on earth!

He wanted to avoid glory and honors and was born in the humble cave. But the Heavenly Father who knows how to glorify Him sent the star, that bright angel who preached to the entire creation the birth of His Son. The angels sang:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests!”

The shepherds with their humble eyes marveled and spread this great joy that on earth was born its King. And the wise men, enlightened by God went there having the bright star as their guide to worship God unknown on earth and they marveled but could not take part in the mystery. Even the animals who followed the shepherds, the horses gathered around the holy infant and looked at him in amazement.

Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God, who was worthy of the unparalleled honor of becoming Theotokos as a virgin, without man, at a very young age, marveled and because she could not comprehend it with her mind, she wondered: how can a man be born without taking place the natural ones and how was it possible to shelter the infinite God in her small womb.

She looked with her innocent eyes and marveled. Her heart was filled of a boundless love for her heavenly infant.

Christ preferred to appear here on earth not in His divine glory and be born in a humble cave. According to saint Isaac the Syrian, God clothed himself in this garb of humility and descended to earth so that He could meet the man. Thus the man and the entire creation could come in communion with Him. Otherwise the divine fire would have burnt them. But His humility, as a divine clad covered Him and thus God approached us with love and compassion.

Evangelist John says: „The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.[2]. God took a human body, He became a flawless man, without sin, so that He would make us his friends and sons by rebirth.

Compassion, humility, sacrifice and obedience were those who brought Christ on earth. If He didn’t love the man, He would not have humbled himself completely until the end, proving obedience „he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross”[3]. Christ did not come to accomplish His own will but His Heavenly Father’s will. And He fulfilled it in a glorified manner since with His power he destroyed the devil and hell, freeing man from his slavery. He took him on His shoulders as if being a prey and brought him before the Heavenly Father and triumphantly ascended to heaven, after having fulfilled with complete obedience His command. And through this obedience He was given a name above all names, the name of Jesus, which means the Savior.

God’s aim was not only to save the man through His Son, Who came into the world but also to leave us a divine teaching, an undying light by means of Christ’s life so that whoever wants to find salvation to be able to step through this light to God.

[1] Romans 11, 33.

[2] John 1, 14.

[3] Philippians 2, 8.

 

About the second commandment

Saint Nicolai Velimirovich

As an Orthodox believer you’d like to defend your faith against those hired ones who had denied their own nation and faith out of their impetus of Judas. They tell you that the icons are idols and worshipping them is against the second commandment of God.

It then turns out that true Christianity is idolatry! This is what sectarians say who appeared in the world only about a century ago!

Ask them: who destroyed the idols from the Balkans? Who emptied Athens and Rome of their statues and temples? Who took down Jupiter, Diana of Ephes, Astarte from Babylon, Isis from Egypt? Who took down Perun from the hill of Kiev and threw it in Dnieper? Who cleared of idols Asia Minor, North Africa and the entire Europe? Were they these new sectants or the Great Church of Christ that gave millions of martyrs in the cruel fight against idolatry and filled its calendar with the names of these martyrs for the faith in the Only True God? Their sect has no martyrs for the faith in Christ and didn’t destroy any idol in the entire world. They don’t even have a Christian calendar. And even if they had it, they could not include in it anything else but their lampoonists and pamphleteers. If they care about the fight against idolatry what are they doing in the Balkans where pagan idols are found only in museums? If their hearts are burning with zeal against idols, why don’t they go in Asia and Africa and among the American Indians where paganism is unfortunately at power just as it was one thousand years ago? Obviously they don’t go there because in those lands the life of a missionary is in danger. You read about Don Quixote who considered the mills of the peaceful people as fortified castles of his enemies and attacked them armed for war wanting to defeat them. In the same way the sectants proclaimed our holy icons as idols and attack them as if they were mad – because they don’t want to go in the Asian and African jungle.

You should know that as it differs day from night, the Christian icons differs from the pagan idols.

The idols are representations of imaginary beings while the icons are representations of saints who lived on earth for real. They glorified Christ by their faith and they became worthy of the Heavenly Kingdom of God. There is an illusion, here’s reality. There is a lie, here’s only the truth. The idols separate the man from the true God while the icons lead him to the True God. By His second commandment the Creator wanted to drive the men away from what separates them of Him, fencing them off from all lies, and demonic illusions.

Source: Answers at the questions of the world of nowadays, vol. I, Sophia Publishing House, 2002, Saint Nicolai Velimirovich

 

The girl who was crying with her hand on the reliquary

I graduated university and I had been abroad with a scholarship. During college I had fallen in love with an extremely beautiful girl. But her views were in contradiction with my ideals of life. She had a pure heart but she was influenced by persons who were not on the straight path of faith. After painful and endless talks, seeing that I couldn’t make her give up on her obstinate unorthodox ideas, we decided to break up. We loved each other very much but our ideas about the future were completely diverging.

I could not give up on a program of life and thought which I had promised to God since I was a child. The year when I was abroad was one when every moment was full of pain and longing for that girl. I made myself an armor of fake contempt for her and I refused to admit that I still loved her. No other girl could make my heart gallop when seeing her. My day was always a painful one when thinking about her.

When I arrived back home, I went to Iasi, to the relics of Saint Paraskevi. I was with my father. We worshipped them and I shed some tears there thinking of the girl of my dreams and said to the saint: Show me please if this is the girl with whom I should live, if she’s the one God have chosen for me. I was so heartbroken that I couldn’t even imagine that I would ever see her again.  In that moment I felt a touch on my back: my father was pointing something to me.

At least than a meter behind the reliquary with the relics of Saint Paraskevi, the girl I loved was crying with her hand on it. Then she went to the bowl with holy water and drank a big mug of holy water. It was the answer for my question. So I didn’t hesitate. After some time I called her, we became friends again, her ideas were now clear and full of faith. Now we are married and we have three children.

Joseph

Saint Paraskevi’s Blessings – Testimonies of the worshipers, Doxologia Publishing House, p. 136-137)

 

She didn’t believe that there are still some young men who put their faith in God above fleshly pleasures

Raluca, who was a student, fell in love with a university mate, Mircea. Being friend with his sister Helen, with whom she was going all the time to discos they tried to lure him in a trap.

The boy was living alone in a studio. He left his home because he was not getting along with his parents anymore, since they didn’t want to let him go to the church. They said that the church stultifies people, turning them into some robots who don’t know how to enjoy the pleasures of life.

One night the two girls came to his place:

“Please house Raluca here tonight.” “At her place there is a party going on because it’s her sister’s birthday.” “But we didn’t want to stay any longer because tomorrow we’re going to have a difficult exam.” “And we didn’t like the music either.” “I would have taken her home but you know there’s no place where she could have slept.”

“And do you think here’s more space?”

“No, but you have two beds.” “And in fact she doesn’t want to come to us anymore because she’s not in quite good terms with our father.” “I don’t remember why but they had a disagreement.”

Before he had the time to wake up to the situation, his sister had already left. Raluca brought some cookies. After they ate them, she lied in bed and didn’t take her eyes off him.

He went to the kitchen and started to read from the Psalter. He felt attracted by her.

“May I take a shower?” she asked him.

“If you want that, then do it.”

After a couple of minutes Raluca came to him with her breasts naked:

“Can you give me a towel, please?”

Seeing her, Mircea blushed. He gave her the towel and started reading aloud. When the girl got in the bathroom, he took his belt and started whipping his legs. He whipped himself till his legs turned red. He didn’t realize that Raluca was looking at him, covering her body with the towel.

“Why are you whipping yourself, what’s wrong with you?”

“I am whipping myself so that you could not hurt me.” “If I stay any longer near your, I feel I’m on fire.” “There was another girl who stayed here once overnight and then I couldn’t resist.” “I confessed myself after that and decided that I won’t ever touch again a girl until I get married.” “You know something, stay here till dawn, I’ll go to sleep somewhere else.”

He put on his shoes in a rush and went out, without asking the girl if she agreed with that.

In the morning when she came to see them expecting they had already befriended, Helen found Raluca very upset.

“What’s the matter with you, what has he done to you?” “Have you already had a row?”

“No, no. He just told me he has another girlfriend and went to her”, Raluca said, trying to hide her tears. When she was about to leave, she stealthily took the Psalter and put it in her bag. Instead of going to the university, she went in the park and mused on what had happened to her. She didn’t believe there are still young men who put their faith in God above the satisfaction of the fleshly pleasures.

She read for a while from the Psalter and felt sorry that she didn’t know almost anything about God. She went to the bank and took out her savings she intended to use for paying her silicone implant surgery and instead of silicone she bought some Christian books. From that day she changed her life.

From the Paterikon of the Laymen, Parables for the 21st century published by Egumenita Publishing House, Galati, 2004

 

Blessed is the man who trusts in God!

Saint Nektarios of Egina

How beautiful, how pleasant, how full of grace is the face of the one who trusts in God Who saves us, in the God of mercies, in the good God who loves people. Indeed, blessed is the man who believes in God! He is always his helper and he is not afraid of any harm which might be done to him by man. He trusts in God and makes good deeds. He put his whole hope in Him and he confesses to Him from the bottom of his heart. He is his praise, He is his Lord and he calls Him day and night. His mouth is beautiful, because it praises God. His lips are sweeter than the honey and the honeycomb when they open and sing to God and his tongue is full of grace and is moving in the doxology of God.

His heart is ready to invoke Him, his thought is ready to rise towards Him. His soul is attached to God and God’s right hand supported him. His soul will glory in the Lord. He demands and receives from God what his heart demands. It beats and the doors of mercy open for him.

The one who trusts in God rests near quiet waters and God gives him his rich mercies. God’s right hand will guide his steps and God’s finger will show him his paths.

The one who trusts in God will not miss his aim. His hope will never die. God is his expectation, the ultimate desire of his heart. His heart is sighing all day long towards Him: Lord don’t be late, rise without delay! Come and chase away from my soul all trouble! Take my soul out of prison! I will praise You with my heart, Lord. To You I shall address each word that comes out of my mouth.

The one who trusts in God, praises the most high God, his Savior and sanctifies His holy name.

He hopes and cries to God from the depth of his soul: ”Lord, when will You come and show me Your face?”

The one who trusts in God will pray to Him to allow him enter His Holy place, to see and enjoy His wonderful things and God will listen to the voice of his prayer.

The one who trusts in God finds his delight in perfect peace. Peace governs his hearts and absolute serenity reigns over his soul. When he has God as his helper why would he be afraid? Even if wars rose against him, he is not afraid because he trusts in God. If the cunning ones persecuted him he is not afraid because he knows that all these are under the reign of God. He does not put his trust in his bow and his quiver and his salvation does not depend on his sword but on his Lord Who can save him from the hands of the ones who fight against him, from the trap of the sinner and from the storm. He trusts in the power of his Lord and in His powerful arm and the Lord will save him.

The one who trusts in God travels peacefully on the path of his strife and he crosses the way of his inner toil without worrying. He ceaselessly works for the perfect good that pleases God and God blesses his deeds. He sows blessings and reaps the rich harvest of his toil. He has boldness before God and the temptations which surround him never make him get off his trail.

In the trials of life he does not give in, but hopes because where things seem unsolvable, God reveals him the exit. Due to his faith he waits and has the hope for justice.

Who trusts in God, does not put his trust in money or in his power but finds his peace in the help God gives him.

Who trusts in God is full of faith and love for God, he lives having boldness in his good conscience, he behaves like a son with his heavenly Father and calls Him for sending His kingdom on earth, so that His will be done on earth as well as it is in heaven.

Who trusts in God is completely devoted to Him and raises his heart to the Kind and Immortal God. He asks from Him the highest good and immortality in the Kingdom of heaven and God listens to him.

Blessed is the man who trusts in God!