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In grateful heart descends grace - part of 1

In the grateful heart descends grace. (Part one)

25 May 2018 LJ cover – В благодарное сердце нисходит благодать – часть 1
Tags: Religion, Christianity

The priest says: Thank the Lord!
The people respond: It is worthy and righteous to eat! ..

Imagine an exhausted, unhappy, confused man, suddenly found and led to the palace, and they say to him:

"Look, this palace belongs to your father, he's yours, this is your inheritance."

Up to this moment, he was a hungry man, hungry, in torn clothes, a poor man, and now he suddenly became the heir of immense wealth and enjoys the cozy palace. His heart is literally filled with gratitude and gratitude to the one who gave him this inheritance. The same thing happens to us. When we see God, when we stand before Him, the first reaction of our heart is gratitude: "We thank the Lord!" We reply: "It is worthy and righteous to eat! ..", that is, it is worthy and righteous to thank Him. We have said many times about Thanksgiving (Eucharist), but we must do it again and again, because gratitude to God is a very important matter. We see that the Divine Liturgy is called the Holy Eucharist (that is, holy thanksgiving), which means that a person should always express gratitude to God. At the time when the main part of the Divine Liturgy begins, the Church calls us to thank in itself, and nothing more is required of us. We should not be frightened and startled:

- Now begins the Divine Liturgy, and woe to you! Woe to you, because you are sinners! Think about hell, torment, God's wrath, think about that all of you will fall into the underworld!

Nothing like this. Such thoughts and feelings are out of place in the spiritual life, they do not lead us to the right relationship with God. And what should be our relationship with God?

We are the children of God and we must thank our Heavenly Father

We are the children of God and we must thank our Heavenly Father. Of course, we know this, and also we know that we are sinful and not at all good children of God. Anyone who thinks he is good does not have an inner disposition to thank God. At the same time, one who considers himself a very bad person, much more sincerely thanks God. The Troparion, which prepares us for the Nativity of Christ, tells us that we are in spiritual darkness, and the Light has come upon us, and therefore we should thank Him even more. If we were righteous and kind, we would say:

- We are good, and it is natural that God is next to us!

Unfortunately, so many people think about themselves that way, and this is a painful condition - they believe that in this way they deserve the favor of God. I often hear this from people who come to me. And I ask them:

What kind of relationship do you have with God?

And they answer:

"Everything is fine with us, and we are very pleased with God"

"Very good, Father!" Very good. Whatever I ask of Him, He gives me everything! For what I pray to God, He fulfills all my requests! We are all well at home, we are healthy, we are all fine, and we are very pleased with God!

But if you have problems, then what happens to you? Do we really have a good relationship with God just because we are all right ?! This is a wrong relationship with God. The one who thinks so, of course, is a spiritually sick person. In general, in our daily life, we really do not have enough gratitude. While in the past people were more simple-minded, humble and sincerely thanked God for everything ...

Let everyone think about it. When we wake up in the morning, which of us says:

- Thank God! Thank you, Christ, my God, that You have honored us to wake up!

We wake up and start moaning:

- Oh, Most Holy Theotokos!

We hurry to get out of bed, wash, have breakfast, leave the house ... There is no time for gratitude. Or when we sit down to eat, who of us thanks God for the food He gave us? A sad picture. While the Church teaches us that when we want to do something, for example, to drink a glass of water, we must cross ourselves. There are pious people in many monasteries who, before drinking a glass of water, overshadow themselves with the sign of the cross. I remember that when I came to Cyprus and we were treated to water, and I crossed myself (I learned this at Mount Athos), I was asked:

- Is it necessary to be baptized before drinking a glass of water?

Is it so important to overshadow yourself with the sign of the cross before drinking a glass of water? In fact, it is very important to be able to drink a glass of water. A person who finds something of value in his life constantly glorifies God.

One confessor on the Holy Mountain said that once a rich man named Onassis invited him to serve in their home water service. When he went to him, he thought - how will he meet this very rich man, the richest person in the world? But I saw him sitting in a chair with a bandage on his eye. He said:

- You know, my father, I have a big problem, I can not blink, and you can not imagine how I suffer because of this!

He could not do the simplest movement that we do millions of times a day, so that the eye can be moistened and the person could see. He had this nerve paralyzed, and he suffered, suffered, his life became a torture, because he could not make this simple movement.

"Now I appreciated how valuable that I did before, and now I can not do it and suffer because of this," he added.

We do many things and do not understand that for this we have to thank God

I want to note that we are doing many things and do not understand that for this we must thank God. The church teaches us that when we sit down to eat, it is necessary to pray. There is a prayer rite before eating. There are prayers that we read when we sit down at the table. Some people ask:

- Come on, even when we eat, should we pray? Pray for the sake of one plate of food? Is it not possible to eat without praying, but to get up and read prayers?

In this regard, I remembered one ingenuous young man who worked in a large company and during lunch break went to the recreation room to eat his sandwich. Closing the door behind him, he opened a cellophane bag lying on the table in front of the computer. The first thing the young man did was get up, wanted to cross himself and read the prayer "Our Father". When his hand touched his forehead, the door opened and a colleague entered the room. Since the young man was recently churched, his hand froze on his forehead. He was thought to have gone mad that the young man sets a sandwich in front of him and honors him, as the military does ... A rumor spread throughout the company that he is ill and that he needs a psychiatrist because he gives the honor to a sandwich. They summoned a psychiatrist to see the boy, but he did not say anything to the doctor ...

All those who have a family, learn this simple truth: before you sit down to eat, get up and read the prayer "Our Father". And then say the prayer after eating the food: "We thank You, O Christ our God, for you have satisfied us with your earthly blessings; Do not deprive us of Your Heavenly Kingdom, but as Thy disciples came Thyself, Savior, give peace to them, come to us and save us. "

I now remember how the second time I came to the elder Paisius. Then I was young, I was 18 years old. And he invited me to stay with him for a while. On that day, I stayed for the first time with the elder Paisius. He told me:

- Now we will eat!

I asked him:

"Father, what shall we eat?"

And he replied:

"I'll put a big table on, you're my guest!"

He joked with me.

- I have fish, cod, I will prepare you a rich meal!

We went out into the street. He did not have a table. We came to a clearing where one stone lay. He told me:

"We're going to eat here." Wait a minute, I'll set the table!

He left and brought an oilcloth on which were depicted various fruits - bananas, grapes, watermelons.

Elder Paisy said:

- I'm putting this oilcloth on when official guests come to me, not every day.

And what did he have? He had nothing but biscuits. He asked me:

"Would you like some tea?"

I do not like tea and answered the old man:

- Thank you! I do not want.

Elder Paisius on the garden grew five or six heads of green onions, and he brought a head of spring onions and one salad. For dinner we ate olives, green onions and lettuce. There was a wasteland all around, but I'll never forget that before I started eating, he said:

"Let's read the prayer."

We stood up and began to pray. He raised his hands and said: "Our Father, Who art in heaven! .."

It was the most valuable dinner in my life

Well, what can you say, there really was the Lord! After we ate, the elder Paisii said a thanksgiving prayer. And what did we eat? Nothing special - crackers, which under other circumstances I would not eat for money, a bow of spring onions and one salad. But I will never forget these moments, it was the most valuable dinner in my life.

If we do this at home, we will create a pleasant environment, which unfortunately, in our time, we have lost. And this is exactly the situation our children are waiting for. When your child comes home and sits down to eat, what we do - quarrel, shout, offend each other, do not sit down together at the table, and each one separately. How is it called - home, family? When everyone sits down to eat separately? And, of course, we are all nervous. In the absence of adults, a child, returning from school, takes food from the refrigerator, warms it up. And is this food?

Another child does not want to eat the first and second, but wants another food. Why? Because this child never prayed before eating this ordinary meal. Of course, when he turns 18 years, he will not want to return home, so as not to face domestic problems. He will find a girl who does not like his mother. And then she will remember the confessors and the Church, she will start coming to the temple and asking the priests:

"Father, pray for my child!" Shall I bring my son to the church?

When? Now? It's too late to bring your son to the church.

Now you will "eat" what you "cooked" for so many years. What have you been doing all this time? When your child was not five years old, but five days old, you had to teach him to pray. That is, you had to pray, and he had to see how you prayed. And so he would learn to pray. If he would learn to pray, he would thank God, and everything would be completely different. If we do this, even the simplest things will become useful. With this it all begins. Christ says:

- If I told you about the earthly, and you can not understand it, then how will I tell you about heavenly things? (compare In. 3, 12)

If we do not thank the Lord for such simple things as food, then how are we going to thank God at the Divine Liturgy for exalted things? But who is thanking God? Only a humble person thanks him. He who does not have humility, thinks that the Lord owes him, who must give him everything or perform it.

Let's all look inside and see if we have a spirit of gratitude. Do you know how beautiful life is when we thank God? Let's learn every minute to find something for which to be thankful to God. Even for the simplest things. Even in our relationship. You can see how difficult it is to say "Thank you!" To our relatives. They give you a present, and you say:

"Well, thank you ... you should not have been wasted!"

Or they give you a coat, and you say:

"Well, thank you, but it does not suit me!" Not my size! I do not like this coat. It, probably, is bought not in a boutique, and in any cheap shop! Let me find out where he bought it!

We deserve pity ... Well, what can I say? Really, my child, you can not say one word: "Thank you"? We constantly grimace, wrinkled. How, then, will you create a grateful atmosphere in your home? The other person is your mirror. What you show him, he will answer you the same. We always complain about others: my husband is bad, my child is naughty, neighbors are evil! But did you know that most of all we are to blame for this? I am convinced of this on a daily basis. We complain all the time, we are always unhappy. No, my child, it's not like that. Learn to praise God for everything, for all troubles and misfortunes, for everything that happens to you, say: "Thank God!" When you say from the bottom of your heart: "Thank God!", Then it will become easier for you. But when you do not say it, you become sadder.

Abba Isaak says that a person who does not have spiritual knowledge, whatever you give, everything will be small. He can not be satisfied with anything and will never thank you. If you can not have a good relationship with your brother, husband, child, how will you have them with God? Let's not deceive ourselves. "He who does not love his brother," says St. e. John, does not love God either "(compare 1 In., 4, 20). If we do not thank our neighbors, then we will not thank God either. With this it all begins. To achieve the great, you must start small.

I know many people who are grateful to God, and they are very valuable people. I remember some grandmothers who experienced great problems, and their eyes radiated calmness, kindness, goodness. Why? Because they said:

- Thank God! Father, thank God! I'm not complaining, I'm not angry!

Gratitude makes hard moments in life easy

They do not express discontent - this is not fatalism, but the valor of the soul. A man must accept his daily routine, as if he is served from the Lord's hand, and thank Him for everything. It is gratitude that makes the hard moments in a person's life easy.

Imagine children who never saw their parents thanking God at home. What will happen to them then? I remember a monk in Mount Athos who worked in the garden. In Nea Skiti there were no vegetable gardens, there the cells were among the rocks. Therefore, we went to other monasteries that had large gardens to give us alms, and we would prepare our own food. Wherever we went, one monk always gave us a lot of vegetables.

"Father, do not give us so many vegetables!"

- Take it, take it!

"But what will we do with them?"

- Nothing, take it!

And every time he loaded us with food. He was very tired from work, and we did not come to help him - to dig a vegetable garden or water the vegetables - but only took food.

"That's enough for us, sir!" Thank you!

- No, I thank you! Thank you very much!

He was very glad that he gave us something from the products.

And I remember about another monk who lived in the saint's capital of Karelia. We went there on business from the monastery. Often we came suddenly, without warning, and late at night. Or they telephoned and told him:

"Father, we'll come tonight."

- Come, for me it will be a great joy! This is a great honor for me!

And how much trouble we created for him! He cooked us dinner, served the table, heated the stove, took care of us - we changed all his plans for the upcoming day. Nevertheless, he was very pleased with us.

When such a person stands before you, you, even if you wanted, you could not do him any harm. I will tell you about St. Moses Murine, who lived in Egypt - he was a robber, a murderer and a villain. It is said that he decided to go to a monastery to rob nuns. He said to himself:

- There women are defenseless, they live alone in the desert, I can do everything I want!

Approaching the holy abode, he climbed over the monastery cheese factory and went inside. Nuns, in their simplicity, not thinking that he could cause them some evil, immediately, as they saw him, they said to him:

"Oh, welcome!" Sit down!

And immediately went and brought water to wash his feet. He tried to say something to them, but they said:

"Sit down, sit down, you're tired!"

They brought him a basin of water and eat. His heart was touched. He refused this way of life, and then became a great ascetic.


Metropolitan of Africa, Athanasius of Limassol
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