Sunday, December 6, 2015

15. A blessed married couple

15. A blessed married couple

Morning Prayer

Before the sun had risen Sophia with her husband, Vangelis were kneeling and praying to their divine God. With devoutness and childish trust in their heavenly Father, they were begging Him to bless their house and flood their humble souls with the grace of the Holy Spirit. They both loved their God so much that every time they mentioned His holy name their eyes filled with tears of love, joy and gratitude.
This blessed couple believed that the more they put their Creator in their lives, the more love they would have for each other but also for all their fellow men.
When they married they had decided together to start each day with prayer, so that God would bless their every activity. Ever since their first child was born, they began praying even earlier in the morning. Before the break of dawn both of them were in front of the holy iconostasis to thank God for all the gifts that He gave them and especially for their children.
The great dream of their lives was that their children would love their divine God with all the power of their souls and live according to His Will, so that one day they would all be together as a family in the heavenly Kingdom of God and to enjoy the happiness of Paradise there. For this reason, every day they were begging Christ to enlighten their minds and to flood their souls with divine grace, so that they could live according to His Holy Will and become a good example for their children.
Both, Sophia and Vangelis were very well-mannered and loved each other very much. Their hearts were very compassionate towards their fellow man but mostly for those who suffered from some illness or misfortune. Secretly, without anyone knowing, they helped in any way, those people who were in urgent need of help.
Charity was an ornament which decorated their compassionate hearts with much grace. The assistance they offered to their unhappy fellow men was not only material but also spiritual. In their morning prayer they were begging God to have compassion for every suffering and unhappy man and to give him what his body and soul needed. They also begged, for all those sinners who lived far away from God, to be enlightened so that one day they would come out of the darkness of sin and into the light of truth.

The three paths to God

Vangelis and Sophia didn't just love their heavenly Father, but they adored Him with all the power of their souls, as a baby adores his sweet mummy. The reason for this was a sermon they once heard from a pious preacher.
This blessed preacher said that different Christians approach God in three ways, therefore, forming three groups. In the first group are those people who follow the blessed path of spiritual infancy and try to live like babies in the arms of God. In the second group are those people who want to live like young children, sometimes following their own will and sometimes their parents' will. In the third group are all those who want to live like grown-ups, who believe in their own will more.
Those who belong to the first group and want to live like babies in the arms of God, are like a newborn baby who cannot yet recognise the mother who gave birth to him with his eyes closed, but can enjoy her affection and tenderness and taste the nectar of her motherly love, which is her milk. He doesn't have desires and a will of his own, since his mummy is everything for him. She takes care of him, nourishes him and raises him with her affection. So those people who want to follow the path of spiritual infancy and allow, with absolute trust, all their lives in God's hands; God the Father himself holds them like babies in His divine hands and nourishes them with the precious Body and Blood of His Son flooding their souls with the grace of the Holy Spirit.
The people who belong to the second group are those who want to live like young children close to God. God, with much love and affection, holds those people by the hand to leads them on the path of holiness. But many times, these little children are crying and complaining about the decisions of their heavenly Father and don’t want to follow Him. Sometimes they pretend that they are tired, other times that they don't like what He gives them and other times they prefer, instead of following Him, to stay behind to do something else that pleases them.
It doesn't mean that these children don't love their heavenly Father, but prefer occasionally to sometimes do His Will and sometimes their own will. In this case, the kindness of our Heavenly Father does not allow Him to push His child more to do something by force that he doesn't want to. However, it is then that the child, choosing to do his own will, loses the many blessings that God would give him if he obeyed Him with trust in His heavenly Will.
In the third group belong those people who want to live close to God with the mentality of a grown-up. These people don't want to be like babies in the arms of God nor as young children. They want to live like grown-ups who have left their parents' supervision and now want to live according to their own thoughts and logic. They even decide whether to follow the wise proposals of their parents or make their own decisions. Of course, God also loves these people, because they are His own children. He is sad, however, that they do not trust Him and instead of doing His Will which brings many blessings, they stubbornly follow their own will which leads them most times to sadness, anxiety and great danger.
These three paths show the three different ways that every soul can approach His Creator. Depending on the path chosen by a soul, he can enjoy great or small blessings.

The best choice

After this sermon, Vangelis and Sophia decided together to choose the first path and for both of them to live like babies in the arms of their beloved God. Of course, it was necessary that they allowed their souls to rest in the hands of God the Father with absolute trust and like newborn breastfed babies to enjoy His absolute affection and tender motherly love. For most people this cannot be easily understood, but for those whose dream it is to live angelically on earth, it is the most beautiful decision that they could make.
This way of life, that is, to live spiritually like a baby in the arms of God, the holy preacher named "the path of spiritual infancy", and claimed that it is the shortest way for someone to reach the heavenly Kingdom and the arms of God.
He stressed, however, with particular emphasis that, to follow this path one should, on the one hand battle constantly with every selfish desire that makes you a grown-up and, on the other hand, allow each problem with absolute confidence to the wise care  of God.  
On the path of “spiritual infancy” God doesn’t ask you  to make much effort or to make great sacrifices and special training in order to prove to Him that you love Him, but only to trust Him completely, just like a baby trusts his mum. Moreover, what mother asks her baby to make some sacrifice to prove that he loves her?
For her it is enough that her baby adores her and looks at her with absolute trust and love. The greatest joy for every mother is to feel that her child loves her, respects her, trusts her absolutely and is always willing to do whatever she asks him to do with love.
That's exactly what the Heavenly Father asks from all of us. For God, the greatest sacrifice that a man can offer Him is to love Him, to obey Him and trust in Him as a baby loves his mum.
He doesn't want us to believe in Him only as God our Creator, but also to trust Him absolutely as God the Father and Mother of our soul. We should trust the infinite motherly love that He has for us. Like a mother, her baby is her treasure which she wouldn't exchange for anything else on earth, so it is for our heavenly Father God all of us are His offspring, His priceless treasures, the babies of His heart. Those of us who believe this and want to remain the babies of His heart, give Him the right to cover us with His motherly love, to protect us with His fatherly strength and flood us with the infinite gifts of His Holy Spirit. This preacher's words moved the kind hearts of Vangelis and his wife Sophia very much, who decided to follow the great path of spiritual infancy with all the power of their souls.  

A role model of spiritual infancy

Someone from the audience, who listened to the sermon, asked the preacher to tell him if any of the Saints followed this path of "holy infancy” in order to be able to have him as a role model in his life.
The preacher said that the path of spiritual infancy was followed first and with great success by the mother of our Lord Jesus, the Holy Virgin Mary. That’s why those who want to walk this great path, have her as the perfect role model in their lives.
Our blessed Virgin Mary lived in God's heart like a baby. Like a baby she gave all the love of her heart to her heavenly God the Father. Her heart was beating only for Him out of divine love and the only thing she wanted was to always do His Will, with all the power of her soul.
God, touched by the complete love of this little daughter who, like a suckling baby, with absolute trust, had put her soul in His divine arms, He enclosed her with motherly affection, love and adoration in His divine embrace.
Nobody until then, throughout the history of mankind, had so perfectly given themselves to the Holy Will of God, with absolute faith and obedience, as our blessed Virgin Mary! That's why He made the greatest transcendence of His divine mercy. In order to save the world, He made this little daughter of Nazareth the mother of His only-begotten Son!
This little girl managed like a baby, with her absolute love, obedience and trust in her God, to do what no one else could ever imagine. The most pure Holy Mary, whom from a little baby was in the hands of God, now becomes the Mother of God himself!
Until then the Creator God had never experienced human motherly love. Now, for the first time, God himself enjoys like a baby, in the person of His only-begotten Son Jesus, human caresses and human motherly love. For the first time a human embraces like a mother, Him, who is for the whole world, both Mother and Father! A unique miracle which made all the angels admire the infinite love, humility and mercy of God!
The new path of "spiritual infancy” which the Mother of God, Mary, launches proved to be easy and quick for all those well-meaning people who would choose it. It doesn’t require great sacrifices and special training, only the absolute trust which a baby has in his heavenly Mummy, His Creator God! Those who will follow it will have the great honor from God to belong to the blessed "flock of the Virgin Mary."
Those who will choose to walk the path of "spiritual infancy" and to imitate the life of the Holy Virgin Mary in order to become babies in the arms of God, will be able, as she did, to hold in their arms the little Infant of Bethlehem, with motherly love and adoration, just like little mummies.  

A blessed married couple

Vangelis and Sophia were very captivated after hearing this sermon. They believed that God himself made them the proposal to become "His babies" and join the "blessed flock of the Virgin Mary".
The same evening, when they both knelt down to pray, Sophia said to her husband:
-My Vangelis, I want very much to be like our mummy the holy Virgin Mary and become a little baby in the arms of our Father God, as she was too!
-And I want, my Sophia, to be like St. Joseph, who held our beloved Redeemer Jesus in his arms with much love and affection, like his own child. With great longing I desire to feel one day that which he was worthy to do; to hold the only begotten Son of God and enclose Him in his fatherly embrace with so much adoration, as an affectionate father! Oh, if only I could do this, I wouldn't want anything else on this earth!
-My beloved husband, both of us have the same desires. Come then, to pray to our heavenly Father, to help us to both become babies of His heart! Come to walk along the path of "spiritual infancy", which our well-beloved heavenly Queen of our Lord, mapped out for us. I am sure we will manage it because I have you, the earthly Angel that God gave me. 
-And for me, you are my beloved Sophia, a great gift of God and I thank Him for it infinitely. You are a real angel, who, with your presence fill my soul with happiness and help me to walk the path of heaven with much pleasure.
God heard the dialogue of the beloved couple and His heavenly heart was flooded with joy and happiness. His two earthly angels, Vangelis and Sophia, had understood the greatness and the true objective of the beautiful sacrament of marriage. They had understood that the real purpose of marriage was none other than to become like a married couple one in body and soul and as one to worship together the one God of infinite love. Indeed, this was also God’s original divine plan, when He created the first married couple in paradise, Adam and Eve!
Vangelis and Sophia lived together with much love, simplicity, kindness and especially love from their souls. They were very careful to never do anything that would embitter their spouse. If it happened sometimes, accidentally or inadvertently, without wanting to sadden each other about something, they immediately asked each other for forgiveness, but also from God. They believed that their spouse was a precious gift of God and when they happened to embitter him it was like embittering God Himself. They were very careful of what they said so not to ever upset each other. Their words full of love and without hypocrisy were like precious water that was cooling and revitalizing the tree of their love.  
So many times Vangelis was enclosing his wife in his marital embrace, saying to God a thousand thanks for the woman-treasure who He gave him! But Sophia also never ceased glorifying God for the earthly angel who God gave her, her beloved husband!
The respect they had for each other didn't allow them to have personal secrets. Whatever one had in his heart, the other also knew. They did nothing, unless they both agreed. Each of them preferred to abandon his own desire and to do what his spouse liked. So, by giving up their own will, they gave up their personal selfishness and filled their souls with the rich gifts of blessed humility.

Like water with wine

On their wedding day, they were very impressed by the wise advice that the priest had given them. He told them that people approach the sacrament of marriage in two ways. Some are in a marriage with their spouse one only in body and others are one in body and soul.
The first ones, that is, those who are one only in body, are those who see marriage as a way of escape from their carnal weaknesses because the couple's carnal relationship defuses these physical weaknesses. These people are living their marriage with very worldly criteria and co-exist in their home like oil does with water in a glass. Even though they are both liquids, when you put them together in a glass, they don't mix but co-exist separately, as water stays at the bottom and the oil stays on top. 
In this case, the married couple live their marriage with total worldly and selfish criteria. They each ask with stubbornness and selfishness to keep for themselves whatever they like, regardless whether or not their spouse wants it. But this inevitably brings tensions and conflicts between them, that’s why in this marriage there is no true love, serenity and happiness.
Others, on the other hand, are coming to the sacrament of marriage with a firm decision to become one in body and in soul with God’s help. They want to live, through the absolute love and adoration between them, the wonderful beauty and happiness of their marriage. They are struggling with mutual respect to live both together as one, like water and wine in a glass.
The love, respect and adoration that they have for each other makes them one in body, in soul and in heart, that's why one cannot live without the other. When one rejoices, the other rejoices and when one is hurt, the other is hurt too. One lives for the other, the joy of one, is also joy for the other, the happiness of one is also happiness for the other, because one is everything for the other in this life, after God of course! There are no secrets between them, because they completely trust each other. 
Moreover, the secret of love and adoration they have for each other is based solely on the absolute trust they have between them. This trust is one which doesn’t allow to take root in their souls any poisonous doubt, which has the power to kill and destroy all forms of love.
However, this holy priest pointed out that the love of the married couple would never be perfect, if they don't have deep in their hearts great love, respect, obedience and trust in God their Father. Because they can only get real love and trust from Him in order to give these to their spouse later.
So, the more they will love, respect and trust their God, the more love, faith and trust they will have between them.Those who understand  this sacred secret of love will be able to experience the greatness of real happiness and joy in marriage.
Once Vangelis said to Sophia:
-My sweet Sophia, I live because you exist!
-Me too, my Vangelis, I cannot imagine that I could live without you, my angel!
Sweet words between a blessed married couple, which make God the Father bless and sanctify them!
They had both decided to live as one, like water with wine, with the intoxicating fragrance of love and adoration that they had for each other. They lived their love every day in all respects of their lives and both of them were a good example for all their acquaintances and friends. But most of all, they taught their children, who felt happy in a home where love, serenity and happiness prevailed, by their example.
One day Angela said to her parents:
-Mummy, daddy, I am so happy that you are my parents! I have the sweetest mummy and the sweetest daddy in the world! My God, I thank You so much for my parents!

The throne of God 

In Vangelis' and Sophia's house there was a calmness which was perceived by everyone. Their friends always felt this serenity every time they had the chance to visit them at their house. Many times their friends saw them as a role model and tried to be like them. Their simple way of life as well as their love full of sincerity which they had for each other, and which they also gave richly to others, made them an example of a Christian marriage.
Once, Sophia’s cousin asked her how they managed to have so much love for each other as a married couple and so much serenity in their hearts, as well as how they solved, with prudence and wisdom, all the problems that arose. She even wanted to learn how and what they are teaching their children, so that they behave with such kindness and goodness, while her own are full of opposition and stubbornness.
Instead of saying another word, Sophia took her by the hand and led her into her bedroom. She showed her the beautiful iconostasis with the many holy icons which adorned it and said:
-My dear cousin, here is the secret of the happiness of a house; in this iconostasis and also in the prayers my husband and I say, for ourselves and for our children. We, as humans, as much as we teach our children, we will never manage to convey to them the most beautiful lessons of love into their hearts. Of course, our own good example, as parents, also plays a very important role to our children. However, we will never be able to work on their childish souls so hard and well unless God our Father would help us in that. Here, in front of the iconostasis, my husband and I kneel every morning and evening and beg our good God to enlighten us how to raise the children He gave us. But first of all, we beg Him to have mercy on us, as parents, to forgive the mistakes we commit and hurt Him and then to flood our hearts with the love and peace which the coming of the holy Spirit brings.
- We, unfortunately, don’t have such an iconostasis in our house, my cousin. We have a large television which is on almost all day and there is always someone there to watch it. When I told my husband to make a beautiful iconostasis in our house, he categorically refused, saying that our visitors would laugh at us.  Because he saw that I was very sad with his denial, he finally made a small iconostasis and he put it high up behind a door, where it can't be seen.
-My dear cousin, if there is not a throne of God, which is the iconostasis, in the house and if we do not kneel there all together as a family to pray to God our Father, in order to give our house his blessings, how can we have joy, love and peace in our family?
-Do you pray all together as a family in front of this iconostasis?
-Yes. Early in the morning before our children wake up my husband and I  first pray on our own, but later when our children wake up we pray all together saying little prayers. Nobody leaves the house in the morning, unless he first kneels before the throne of God and asks for His help  in order to start the day with His blessing.  How will we  be able to face the many problems we will encounter during the day, if God doesn’t enlighten us by  the grace of the Holy Spirit, in order to solve them with prudence and wisdom? The secret, my beloved cousin, for someone to make a blessed family is in this iconostasis and in the unwavering will of parents to raise their children as God wants us  to. If you also want to make a blessed family together with your husband, you should first make the throne of God in your house. Use the television only to watch something useful and don't allow yourselves to watch films which offend God and moral values. It is very dangerous.
-Why is it dangerous to watch such films?
-Because Satan’s cunning is hiding behind the bad films that people watch on television.  Without you realizing it, he secretly teaches and writes in people’s hearts the wretchedness of violence and immorality. And although they justify to themselves that they aren’t affected by what they watch, because as grown-ups they know what's good and what's bad, he's working undisturbed on their souls, making them susceptible to every kind of immorality and meanness that he is teaching them through the television. However, the worst thing is that he manages, my dear cousin, to destroy with their own acceptance the innocent souls of their children, since he becomes the great teacher of children. How would these children be able to have serenity in their hearts, when instead of teaching them the true life that they have to live, they surrender to Satan the right to teach them with immorality and to direct their lives? Do you realize, as parents, the great harm that they are doing to their children? So, how is it possible for real love, joy and peace to exist in a house, when Satan manages to turn everyone's attention to the television and every evil thing that it shows?
-You're absolutely right, my dear. Thank you for helping me to understand and reflect on what is happening in my own house. I will try to change them and to live in our house with my husband and my children with joy and serenity like you. 
Sophia’s cousin left, but Angela who had silently listened to everything, ran immediately into her mum’s arms, put her childish arms around her mother’s neck, kissed her sweetly, like a small child knows and said into her mum’s ear:
-My sweet mummy, I adore and love you and my sweet daddy so much! Thank you God for the world's best parents that You gave me!