Marriage: The Great Sacrament – Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra Monastery, Holy Mount Athos, Greece

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HAVE FAITH – ORTHODOXY

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AIMILIANOS

Marriage: The Great Sacrament

by

Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra Monastery,

Holy Mount Athos, Greece

Source:

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/47495.htm

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

On (June 25 / July 8), the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Saints Peter and Febronius, and the nation celebrates an official “Day of “Family, Love, and Faithfulness.” To honor the day, we have posted a classic homily on this theme by Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonopetra, Mount Athos from the website, Orthodox Christian Information Center. Fr. Aimilianos gives excellent advice not only to young people thinking about marriage, but also to married couples, who are carrying their saving cross in life, travelling together as one body to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Bride and groom during an orthodox wedding

Nobody would dispute that the most important day in a person’s life, after his birth and baptism, is that of his marriage. It is no surprise, then, that the aim of contemporary worldly and institutional upheavals is precisely to crush the most honorable and sacred mystery of marriage. For many people, marriage is an opportunity for pleasures and amusements. Life, however, is a serious affair. It is a spiritual struggle, a progression toward a goal—heaven. The most crucial juncture, and the most important means, of this progression is marriage. It is not permissible for anyone to avoid the bonds of marriage, whether he concludes a mystical marriage by devoting himself to God, or whether he concludes a sacramental one with a spouse.

Today we will concern ourselves primarily with sacramental marriage. We will consider how marriage can contribute to our spiritual life, in order to continue the theme of our previous talk.[1] We know that marriage is an institution established by God. It is “honorable” (Heb 13.4). It is a “great mystery” (Eph 5.32). An unmarried person passes through life and leaves it; but a married person lives and experiences life to the full.

One wonders what people today think about the sacred institution of marriage, this “great mystery”, blessed by our Church. They marry, and it’s as if two checking accounts or two business interests were being merged. Two people are united without ideals, two zeros, you could say. Because people without ideals, without quests, are nothing more than zeros. “I married in order to live my life”, you hear people say, “and not to be shut inside four walls”. “I married to enjoy my life”, they say, and then they hand over their children—if they have children—to some strange woman so they can run off to the theater, the movies, or to some other worldly gathering. And so their houses become hotels to which they return in the evening, or, rather, after midnight, after they’ve had their fun and need to rest. Such people are empty inside, and so in their homes they feel a real void. They find no gratification there, and thus they rush and slide from here to there, in order to find their happiness.

They marry without knowledge, without a sense of responsibility, or simply because they wish to get married, or because they think they must in order to be good members of society. But what is the result? We see it every day. The shipwrecks of marriage are familiar to all of us. A worldly marriage, as it is Continue reading “Marriage: The Great Sacrament – Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra Monastery, Holy Mount Athos, Greece”

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How to preserve a relationship? – Fr. Andrew Konanos, Greece

http://textsorthodoxy.wordpress.com

TEXTS – ORTHODOXY

How to preserve a relationship?

Fr. Andrew Konanos, Greece

Your life has become a routine. You feel that a person close to you has become boring. You have studied him or her for so many years. You are used to them, but you are tired of them. This is what you think. What is this person really like? You know them well for sure. Just as usual, they reveal something new to you. Something that you did not know, some beautiful part of their soul. If you understand this, you will see they have many more capabilities. Then your interest in them will be awakened in the depths of your soul. Your relationship will become new and fresh again. Any relationship can be pleasant: with your spouse, your children, and your co-workers.

As holy fathers suggested, it is enough for everyone to look at oneself philosophically. That is, to examine oneself, wonder, if Christ reflects in one, then say: «Why was Jesus like that, and I am completely different? What do I have? What do I lack? Why am I so fussy? Why is everyone around me to blame? Why are my wings broken? After all, I am still so young! Future is ahead! I cannot go on like this!”

So, find your calling. Search. Pay attention to your charisma. Listen closely to Continue reading “How to preserve a relationship? – Fr. Andrew Konanos, Greece”

Why children lose their faith in God? – Fr. Sergius Chetverikov, Washington, USA

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WASHINGTON OF MY HEART

Why children lose their faith in God?

Fr. Sergius Chetverikov, Washington, USA

Source:

http://orthochristian.com

http://orthochristian.com/113295.html

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

Before answering that question, I want to say a few words to those who assert that one should not “impose” religious beliefs on children.

Religious faith cannot be imposed upon a person. It is not something extraneous to a person, but rather an essential, necessary requirement of human nature, the principal content of a person’s inner life.

When we take care to see that a child should grow up truthful, kind, when we nurture within him a proper understanding of beauty, taste for excellence, we do not impose upon him something alien or contrary to his nature; we merely help him to extricate him from himself, as it were to take him out of diapers and allow him to perceive for himself those attributes and impulses that are entirely characteristic of the human soul.

The same must be said about apprehension of God.

Following the principle of not imposing anything on the child’s soul, we would have to entirely refuse to participate in the child’s development and strengthening of his spiritual powers and abilities. We would leave him entirely to himself until he grows up and distinguishes between what he should and Continue reading “Why children lose their faith in God? – Fr. Sergius Chetverikov, Washington, USA”

What is that? – Video

https://orthodoxsaintvalentine.wordpress.com

ORTHODOX SAINT VALENTINE

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What is that?

Marriage & Virginity in Christ – Blessed Fr. Epiphanios Theodoropoulos of Athens, Greece (+1989)

http://ex2x2lettersfromgreece.wordpress.com

EX 2X2 LETTERS FROM GREECE

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Marriage & Virginity in Christ

Blessed Fr. Epiphanios Theodoropoulos of Athens, Greece (+1989)

How crafty the devil is! To young people who managed to unite in Christian marriage he whispers, “How much better you would be if you went to the monastery and lived the heavenly spiritual pleasures, far from the cares of family life which sever you and keep you down!” While to those who went to the monastery, as they desired the life of virginity in Christ, he whispers, “How much better you would be, if you got married and made your home a temple of God, living the joys of marital life, far from ascetic mortification and the loneliness which depresses you!” And if the married one became a monk and the monk married, he would tell them the opposite. All this to throw the person into despair and to pull him from the path of salvation. For the path of salvation is both blessed marriage and virginity in Christ.

Blessed Fr. Epiphanios Theodoropoulos of Athens, Greece (+1989)

(Taken from Elder Epiphanios in “Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit”, Protecting Veil Press)

Source:

https://orthodoxword.wordpress.com – HERE

ORTHODOX WORD

Love is the beauty of the soul – Saint Augustine of Hippo, North Africa (+430)

Love is the beauty of the soul.

—Saint Augustine of Hippo, North Africa (+430)

聖經講道:十架上的愛 Love on the Cross ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Chinese

http://taiwanhongkongofmyheart.wordpress.com

TAIWAN & HONG KONG OF MY HEART

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聖經講道:十架上的愛 – Love on the Cross

来源:

http://theological.asia/

沒有愛是不背負十架的;

因為愛就是淨空自己,將他人放到自己的生命中。

主日經文:

加拉太書611-18

請看我親手寫給你們的字是何等的大呢凡希圖外貌體面的人都勉強你們受割禮無非是怕自己為基督的十字架受逼迫。他們那些受割禮的,連自己也不守律法;他們願意你們受割禮,不過要藉著你們的肉體誇口。但我斷不以別的誇口,只誇我們主耶穌基督的十字架;因這十字架,就我而論,世界已經釘在十字架上;就世界而論,我已經釘在十字架上。受割禮不受割禮都無關緊要,要緊的就是作新造的人。凡照此理而行的,願平安、憐憫加給他們,和神的以色列民。從今以後,人都不要攪擾我,因為我身上帶著耶穌的印記。弟兄們,願我主耶穌基督的恩常在你們心裡。阿們!

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耶稣基督被钉十字架 – The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

約翰福音3: 13-17

除了從天降下、仍舊在天的人子,沒有人升過天。摩西在曠野怎樣舉蛇,人子也必照樣被舉起來,叫一切信他的都得永生(或作:叫一切信的人在他裡面得永生)。神愛世人,甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們,叫一切信他的,不致滅亡,反得永生。因為神差他的兒子降世,不是要定世人的罪(或作:審判世人;下同),乃是要叫世人因他得救。

李亮神父講道:

今天的經文是最重要的福音經文之一:「神愛世人,甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們,叫一切信他的,不致滅亡,反得永生。」這是最大的奧秘,也是最矛盾的事,對許多人來說,難以理解。當哲學家問神:「你為什麼要這麼做呢?」他是得不到答案的。

神為什麼要愛我們呢?甚至將祂的獨生子賜給我們呢?我們不良善,我們不配得,神甚至無法在我們身上找到任何良善。祂這麼做,既不是因為祂需要我們,也不是因為祂毫無選擇,被迫一定要用這樣的方式寬恕我們的罪過,因為祂只需要一句話,就能赦免我們的罪。

這就是最大的奧秘。根據哲學家柏拉圖,你無法愛某個不美善的人事物,美善是吸引愛的法則。如果你愛上某個醜惡的對象,根據這樣的哲學觀,是很糟一件事。因此,如果魔鬼質問神:「你為什麼要愛人類呢?他們是如此邪惡!」,神無法回答。但是神卻以最深奧的行動,代替了言語的回答。

神賜給我們祂的獨生子,而不是任何其他事物。請想像如果要在座的各位將自己的孩子帶到教會來,並且犧牲孩子的生命?祂所賜的,是祂以至高的愛,所鍾愛的獨生子。這是最深刻、最強烈、最難以置信和無法解釋的愛。這也是為何我今天要用希臘原文來讀這段福音,因為「賜給」的希臘原文有特殊涵義。

神這麼做,為了讓每個願意相信祂的人得到永生,祂尊重人的自由,不強迫任何人相信祂。但相信祂的,將與基督合一,並因此與天父合一。這就是聖詩所頌讚的創世之前的奧秘。聖父成為關係性的,成為共融的(communion),祂不是孤單的,祂「生」聖子。也不只是一對一的關係,因為還有聖靈,成為完美的聖三一。

這終極的愛,持續至今。因為聖父持續不斷地賜予祂的的聖子。基督的聖體和聖血,為了我們如此謙卑地成為餅和酒,成為我們的食物。這就是無條件的愛,這才是真正的愛。真正的生命,並非心臟的跳動,而是共融,與神合一;並藉著與基督的合一,得以和眾人合一。

這也是為何基督說:「人若遵守我的道,就永遠不嘗死味。」(約翰福音8:52)。現在祂並沒有讓我們擁有肉體上的不死,因為祂尊重我們的自由。試想,如果人們因為信神就得以肉體不死,有多少人會為了這不死的肉體,假裝他們相信神呢?但真正信神的人,是超越死亡的,因為對他來說,死亡只是「睡著」。他與神的關係,與基督的合一,永遠不被隔絕。這也是為何我們在教會中,並不刻意區分生者和亡者,我們將代表生者和亡者的麵餅屑,一起投入聖杯中;因為離世的親友,在聖禮儀中,也與我們同在。

神的愛是最重要的,祂也向我們顯明什麼是真正的愛。神淨空自己,成了祂所不是的,成了卑下的人類。神取了人的本質,人的本質(nature)並非有罪的,而是人的態度(本質中的一部份),使人有罪。但基督不是從男人所生,而是從聖靈和聖母馬利亞所生,因此基督是唯一無罪的。

真正的愛,是神。這愛,是十字架的愛。沒有愛是不背負十架的。因為愛就是淨空自己,將他人放到自己的生命中。神淨空自己,取了我們有罪的、腐敗的人性,卻不求任何回報,祂也不需要我們的回報。因此,真正的愛,是十架的愛,是淨空自己,讓他人進入你的生命中。

你會問:「難道沒有其他的方式嗎?我不能要其他人來愛我,照著我想要的方式來愛我嗎?」不,沒有其他的方式。如果我們不能淨空自己,不能讓其他人進入自己的生命,我們將永遠活在孤單之中,這樣的孤單,就是地獄。

罪,其實就是愛的扭曲,愛的變形。罪,就是我想要對方,但我要對方成為我想要的樣子,我要對方按照我想要的方式來對待我。這並非神愛我們的方式。神愛我們,如我們之所是。神甚至繼續愛著魔鬼,事實上,如果神有一天不再愛魔鬼,魔鬼還會覺得好過一些。因為魔鬼會感到自己被懲罰了,已經付出代價了,所以不再需要承受神的愛了。但如同許多教父,包括St. Issac of Syria所說的,無條件的愛,對魔鬼來說,就是地獄。神無條件地、不求回報地愛,但魔鬼完完全全拒絕了。

所有愛的根基,都是神的愛。人類生病了,這疾病是什麼呢?就是孤立的個體性(individuality)。在自我封閉的世界中,要求別人以自己想要的方式來愛我。這是錯誤的。任何愛的關係,如果不根基於神自我犧牲的愛,這關係將會失敗。

任何愛的關係,如果不根基於神的愛,將會扎根在其他的事物上。這也是為何今天的使徒書信中,保羅提到:「他們那些受割禮的,連自己也不守律法;他們願意你們受割禮,不過要藉著你們的肉體誇口」,這些人的目的在於利用基督徒實現自已國族主義的野心,並且使得「成為基督徒」不再是扎根於十架上的愛。

使徒保羅又說:「從今以後,人都不要攪擾我,因為我身上帶著耶穌的印記」,這印記是什麼呢?就是受苦的印記,為了神的愛而受苦的印記,為了愛他人而受苦的印記。真正的十字架不是戴在頸上的項鍊。保羅為主受苦,這就是他的印記,今日世界各地也有許多基督徒正為了信仰而受迫害殘殺,這就是他們的印記。也有那看不見的,不是肉體上,而是心靈和靈魂上的傷痕和印記,來自於我們誠實,卻被我們最深愛的人背叛;來自於我們行善,卻被回報以最惡劣的對待。我們雖然沒有遭受身體上的迫害,卻必須擔起那來自我們的另一半、我們的親人、朋友、同事、鄰人……加於我們的十字架。

耶穌在復活之後,身上仍帶著釘痕。祂帶著十架的釘痕,和被長槍刺穿的傷痕而升天,為的是向聖父顯明祂如何地愛著世人。我們也能夠如此向神表達自己究竟多麼愛祂,如果我們不再譴責和控訴:「神啊!你看,他們是多麼惡劣,竟然這樣傷害我!」而是心甘情願地說:「主啊,為了愛祢,我承擔了來自這些人的傷痕和重擔,我知道這些人做了什麼,但我仍然愛他們,甚至比以往更愛他們」。

今生來生,沒有任何力量,比愛更強大;沒有任何事,比愛更危險:「愛情是…上主的火焰」(雅歌8:14,思高譯本)。將自己完全獻給愛的,卻可能遭受棄如敝屣的對待,但這就是神愛我們的方式,這就是真愛,這樣的愛可以改變世界;這樣的愛,能使一個原本不懂愛的人,逐漸也能夠去愛。這樣的愛能夠使人得救,因為當一個人能夠去愛,就是救恩。懷有神的愛,並與神合一,就是救恩。如果神敞開自己,將獨生子給了我們,我們也應該敞開自己,為他人奉獻。這會帶來危險的死亡,但死亡之後將有復活和真正的生命。如果不這麼做,我們雖然活著,卻已經死了。這無關選擇。

至少今天,試著想想,如何給予你自已?首先,是對那些你原本就有所虧欠的另一半、親友、同事、工作……等。至於愛教會,愛神,我不敢如此要求你們。因為如果人們不到教會來,參與最奧秘的聖事,參與全宇宙都頌讚的聖事—神成了餅和酒—並領受聖體聖血,這人又如何能愛教會呢?

結尾補充:

今天教會的于涓從美國返台,她獲得聖像畫的學位,成為聖像畫家和教師。在十幾小時的飛行後,一下飛機就直接趕到教會來,參加聖禮儀。她也發行了一本新書“The Life of Jesus by icons”,以視覺化的方式,介紹耶穌的一生,是傳福音的好方法,也更適合華人的心靈。感謝主,我們有了第一位華人世界的聖像畫家,如果有任何人想要邀請于涓授課,我們會感到十分榮幸,當然,這也是來自神的祝福。也請持續為于涓祈禱!

4.09.07 聖十字架節前一主日

東正教會簡介:

http://theological.asia/taiwan-orthodox/

来源:

http://theological.asia/