I’ve been thinking about this topic for quite some time. We are invited by our Lord to love everyone we encounter in life. We are also challenged by our society to love others who might be different from us, be it politically, physically, intellectually, morally, but lately most especially religiously. In truth, our Lord would not disagree with this challenge, but does the society express love in the same way as God?
There is a story about an American cabbie who was visiting Greece with his family. One day he went looking for a taxicab only to find all the drivers in the cafeneion. One after the other, they each refused to take his fare. Finally, he asked one cabbie, “It is only NOON, why won’t you take my fare?” He answered, “I have made all the money I need for today. Tomorrow I will drive more.” The American was shocked, so he pressed.
We’ve all heard them; those pious commandments from our grandmothers (yiayias) about how we are supposed to live our Orthodoxy. Sometimes our yiayias are spot on, while at other times they’re not quite right. Either way, we are always blessed when we follow the advice of yiayia. They are the unknown saints of our day, faithfully praying for us. Thank you yiayias. In this episode, we answer questions about timing for baby blessings, female prohibitions, and godparents traditions.
Every year on Judgment Sunday before the beginning of Great Lent, the Church reminds us of our Lord’s invitation to serve others. “'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'” (Matthew 25.34-36)
There are most likely several seniors in your Community who are unable to leave their home for even the simplest daily activities. Many times, these men and women spend the day alone in their room wanting someone to talk to. Summer is also a time when their own memories of family vacations and holidays can create a sense of depression and loneliness. That’s when our youth can be the most help.
As part of our mini-series offering summer activities for our children, today’s suggestion is to take a day trip. Everyone enjoys a nice day trip to a favorite beach or nature walk, but have you ever considered a day trip to an area church? There are many beautiful Orthodox Churches close enough to your home for an inspirational and enjoyable day trip.
Summer can be a time filled with anxiety about the activities in which our children participate. School has come to an end for the year, and many of us will be searching for activities to help our children not only stay busy but keep them stimulated. Over the next few days I will try to offer ideas for summer activities for our youth and any other adult who wishes to give them a try. Today my suggestion is about reading.
In the Gospel, shortly before He ascended the Holy Cross, we hear how Christ promised the Holy Spirit would come and guide the Disciples “into all truth.” (John 16.13) As Christ ascended His Throne 40 days after His Resurrection, He urged the Church to wait for the Holy Spirit. For the past two thousand years, the Church has protected the truth of God, as revealed to the Holy Disciples by the Holy Spirit. You learn about God by reading the Holy Scriptures and hearing the witness of those who knew Him personally, but there is only one way to truly know God.
When God reveals Himself to us, as He did in the story of the healing of the man born blind in the Gospel of John, He allows us to use our free will to believe Him or not to believe Him. Then it is up to us to put that belief into action. Some “say” they believe, as the ancient Jews, but don’t follow that with action. When we see God revealed, will we believe and act?
We eventually learn in life that our bodies don’t always want what we offer them. Any casual trip to the refrigerator will prove that point. The same can be said about our soul. We go through life, searching and buying and never being satisfied. That is because out soul doesn’t want material things. Our soul craves God, and only when we offer our soul what it truly craves, will it ever be satisfied.