Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
One year ago my daughter who was five then paid attention for the first time to the crucifix from the church. Seeing the image of Christ crucified she started to ask me questions which I answered, though not as I wished. Now after almost a year I think I know how I could help her make the choice she has already made without my help.
`Mummy, look, blood!`
My daughter points towards the Crucifixion. In her eyes are shown many emotions: lack of understanding, compassion and fear…She tries to hide behind my back as if she was frightened by her discovery.
`This is Christ `– I explain, trying to keep my voice at the right tonality for wining her confidence. `He died so that we could live`…
I kiss the feet of the Savior suggesting with this gesture to my daughter that she should have done the same thing, but she remained in place, irresolute. The expression from her face and her gaze obviously tell that her fear is replaced by curiosity. She watches Christ the Savior carefully.
`If He died does it mean He doesn’t exist anymore?`
She speaks softly almost inaudible. Her fear disappeared completely but now her words express her bewilderment.
`God always exists` – I answer being surprised that even for me it is not quite clear everything, but my daughter seems happy. `God died then was resurrected.` `He is always with us and helps us when we ask Him.`
Her mistrust disappears.
`And we will be resurrected too after we die?`
She doesn’t speak in a whisper anymore but not too loud either. On her lips and in her eyes it’s shown a vague smile.
`If we love God, He will resurrect us.`
Her expression becomes again serious and musing. She points towards the blood from Christ’s wounds.
`They didn’t love God?`
`They.` Interesting. What can she imagine when saying this `they`?
`Maybe they were afraid of Him` – I try to speak confidently. Although it is even harder to go on answering to her questions.
`They could have just asked Him and He would have driven away from them any fear!`
My girl says these words with an expression like that of Newton when discovering the law of gravity.
`He taught them.` `He taught them to love.` `But it’s not that easy to love`…
The girl stood still. She muses at the words she has just heard. Probably the thought that to love is harder than to crucify cannot be comprehended by her. I stand still too.
Involuntarily in my mind appears a prayer: `Lord, help me understand and accept what I have just explained to my daughter.` `God, help me learn to love and not to crucify.`
My daughter turns her gaze towards me. Her eyes are wide open. I remain silent. She looks again at the Savior’s face and raises her hand as if she wanted to touch the Crucifixion. We keep on being silent for a few minutes. She takes my hand. Her fingers tremble and her eyes are brimming with tears.
`I don’t want like them` – she says in a whisper – `I want with Him`…
We stood a little like that while I was trying hard to put my thoughts in order. But all I could do was to pray to God to help us. Not for something particular, just to help us for ever… To help us in what He considered it was necessary. I had no idea what my daughter was thinking about but I know that her thoughts were not that of a child in those moments.
Of course after this incident she has not become more obedient or less prankish, she remained the same five years old girl. But from that moment on I have many times noticed that my daughter prayed in a whisper and I saw her inexpressible joy when she realized that her prayers were heard. And her sincere and unconditioned faith support me in moments of despondency.