Saturday, February 9, 2019

St. Luke of Simferopol on the Raising of Children

Christ blessing the Children (source)
"Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life."
(Mark 10:29-30)

This word of the Lord is not a lie. I confirm to you that, when I left my children and entrusted them to God, He took care of them.*** My children grew up well and I think that even I couldn't raise them so well. And my Lord granted me a hundred-times more children. He gave me all of you. He gave me your hearts, because I know how much you love me and I return your love with my own fervent love. So many children has God given to me!

And your own children must be educated. But do not only make plans for their education in outward wisdom, in the wisdom of this world.  They should learn at the same time the wisdom from above, and the highest truth. They should learn the law of God and the commandments of Christ, to learn with reverence how to always have the memory of God and the true Christian path. Only then will your children not be lost on the ways of human wisdom. Only then, above all else, they will have Christian wisdom, the knowledge of God. In this way, therefore, we must educate our children.

You will have to give an account before God for the evil examples that you give to your children, for the arguments that occur before their eyes, for the chatter that they hear you say. If you yourselves do this, then what will your children learn from you?

We must begin this effort from the beginning, because only very small children easily receive our advice and suggestions. Their soul is like a soft candle, which every one of your words or deeds make an indelible impression on, whether good or evil.

"A small plant, wherever you train it, that shape it will take, and a new container will bring forth either fragrance or stench based on what you fill it with, placing in it either perfumes or filth." (St. Tikhon of Zadonsk)

Mother, the most beloved person for the child, the source of tenderness and nourishment, stands in prayer before the icon of Christ. The child looks at her then at the icon and does not need long explanations about what is happening. Here is the first and silent lesson of godly knowledge. This is the first and most significant lesson of piety. This lesson you can and you must give to your children.

There is no greater responsibility for the mother, no holier work, for which you will have a responsibility before God, than the raising of your children. To God you will have to give a word if you are negligent before this work. And from now you will begin your tortures and you will shed bitter tears and you will groan seeing your children.

Therefore: "Do not neglect one of these little ones." (Matthew 18:10) You must take care of your children, that you might be for them an example of the true Christian life, and then the blessing of the Lord will be with all of you and with your children unto the ages of ages.

***Note: St. Luke was forced to leave his children when he was exiled and tortured on behalf of Christ.
Icon of St. Luke the Blessed Surgeon of Simferopol and Crimea, from the newly-built and beautiful Church of Sretensky Monastery (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

No comments: