Sunday, April 30, 2017

St. Matrona of Moscow healing family troubles

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
St. Matrona of Moscow the Wonderworker (source)
 
Evgenia’s parents were communists, sincerely believing in the “bright Communist future,” and her family had a rule: never to be satisfied with what has been achieved, but to always push forward. Evgenia studied for many years, first at the Moscow Aviation Institute, and then at the Institute of Radiotechnology and Electronics. After graduating, she worked as an engineer on secret state projects. She ended her career with forty years of work experience, and was honored as a veteran of labour. She had always been an atheist and was completely self-reliant. Her own strength and abilities seemed boundless. When she was still young, she had done all she wanted, except having children. But that too, she accomplished. Her son Oleg was born when she was 36. She raised him alone, without a husband, but with her blind love she turned her dear boy into a heartless, selfish man.

Now she was retired, but her son was like a stranger to her. He married suddenly and brought his wife, Tatiana, home and things went from bad to worse. About to graduate from college, Oleg unexpectedly stopped his studies, and neither of the young people worked. They just lived in the flat eating and drinking whatever the mother gave them, with barely a word to her. She seemed to live in a silent sepulcher, but no, not even that: how could one call it silent with music thundering from their room from morning until night. Once, when her son was away, she argued with his wife, “I won’t have you here, I’ll drive you out! You are idle yourself and you allow him to sponge on his mother who is a pensioner. He doesn’t even study.” Tatiana replied rudely: “I’m not living with you, but with my husband. It was you who brought him up like this.” They hurled abuse and curses at each other, and that night her son said, “If you scold Tanya again, know that you no longer have a son.” Evgenia was bitter.

A friend suggested that she visit Blessed Matrona’s grave. For a very long time she didn’t go, but  finally, in desperation, she set out. It took half a day to get there: at first she was on the wrong tram, and when she found the right one, it broke down. At the cemetery, people showed her the path to Matrona, but she followed it to the end without finding the grave. A second path led to another dead end, and she wondered if Blessed Matrona wasn’t allowing her to come to her grave: she knew she wasn’t properly dressed – she was wearing pants, lipstick, her fingernails were brightly painted, and she wasn’t wearing a cross. But when she finally approached the grave, she felt enfolded in an otherworldly warmth. She was drawn to the grave as if by a magnet. There was a lump in her throat; tears stood in her eyes… And then, as if she knew all about her, the woman who cared for the grave gave her a little cross saying: “Wear it. Never take it off.” Evgenia went home as if on wings.

But at home things did not improve; they became even worse. Finally, she went to Blessed Matrona’s grave again, simply because she had nowhere else to go and begged with tears: “Matronushka, pray for me, ask God to change something, it cannot stay as it is!” When she returned home, she found a lab report on her son’s desk, confirming that her daughter-in-law was pregnant. She thought bitterly, “There have been two parasites living off me and now there will be a third, their child!”

A few days passed, and one afternoon, to her great surprise, the young people cooked dinner and, for the first time, invited her to eat with them. They said: “We have lived for such a long time at your expense, please forgive us and be patient for just a little longer.” They told her about the baby, and that her son had re-entered his college, passed the graduation exams, and only needed to write his final paper. After this he would find a job. “Forgive us, we do love you and we are grateful for your endurance and patience with us.”

Oleg found a job and Tanya gave birth to a healthy boy. The young family went to live with Tanya’s relatives, but Oleg called his mother each evening after work to ask how she was and if she needed anything. Every Sunday they gathered at Evgenia’s flat for dinner.

And so life went on. Only one thing was lacking: Oleg wanted to enter the university for post-graduate training, but after three years of being out of school, he was no longer able to pass the highly competitive entrance exams. Again Evgenia went to Blessed Matrona begging her to pray that God would help. Oleg passed the exams and entered the university, as Evgenia believes, through the prayers of Blessed Matrona.
   
Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

St. Gregory the Theologian: "Let us become like Christ..."

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
The Resurrection of Christ (source)
  
Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us. Let us become God’s for His sake, since He for ours became Man. He assumed the worse that He might give us the better; He became poor that we through His poverty might be rich; (2 Corinthians 8:9) He took upon Him the form of a servant that we might receive back our liberty; He came down that we might be exalted; He was tempted that we might conquer; He was dishonoured that He might glorify us; He died that He might save us; He ascended that He might draw to Himself us, who were lying low in the Fall of sin. Let us give all, offer all, to Him Who gave Himself a Ransom and a Reconciliation for us. But one can give nothing like oneself, understanding the Mystery, and becoming for His sake all that He became for ours.
-St. Gregory the Theologian, Paschal Homily

Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, bestowing life!

Truly the Lord is risen!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

St. Gregory of Sinai on Christ's Passion

Jesus Christ, showing "Extreme Humility" in His Passion (source)
  
Christ's Passion is a life-quickening death to those who have experienced all its phases, for by experiencing what He experienced we are glorified as He is. (Rom. 8:17)
-St. Gregory of Sinai
(source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Elder Symeon Kragiopoulos: "But, what is God’s will?"

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior (source)
  
Every now and then, some people ask:
“But, what is God’s will? I don’t know the will of God.”
  
What don’t you know? You don’t know, for example, that you should be praying a bit more than you are now? Does somebody really need to tell you this? You don’t know that the little prayer you do should be done with your whole heart? You don’t know that you shouldn’t talk back to someone, shouldn’t talk to him in a way that makes him distressed? You don’t know that you should help him? You don’t know that you should forgive him? That you should tolerate him? Should love him? And should pray for him? You don’t know that you must be patient? And that you shouldn’t get angry?
Do what you know. And God, seeing your sincere disposition to continually know his will, will find a way to make clear to you that which you don’t know, every time.
  
Continually making a new start, doesn’t mean that we will be doing unexpected things. Rather, we will do the things we know, do the familiar things, but with another spirit, another disposition. As we study the whole issue we’ll understand it and we’ll make a new start –today, tomorrow, and the day after; and it is never ending. Neither will anyone ever get tired and say: “I’m tired of making a start”. On the contrary, each day you will feel it within yourself as a necessity to do so. And this will be a witness, a sign, a proof, I would say, that one more piece of your subconscious, one more piece of your unconscious, has come out of the dark basement and is now under your control. At this point you place it under the grace of God and even this is made holy. Whatever is evil, whatever is tarnished, is dissipated and purified by grace, and only your soul remains pure.
  
And so, every particular moment, in every particular instance, remembering that you made a start and that again you delivered yourself to God –as an uncontrolled piece came out from your subconscious, which however now is able to be in your control –you will try to not let this piece conquer you, and to not do that which it urges you to do. But what then? You do that which a saint would do, that which that very hour Christ tells you to do.
  
In this way, in every moment you are inside the will of God and not inside your own will.
-by Archimandrite Symeon (Kragiopoulos), (source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!