On unexpected death.

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When we lose someone that is very near and dear to us, we are troubled by a solitary, perplexing question that we cannot answer, and it seems that no one else can give us a satisfactory response for it either.  We all have the question, “WHY why did our loved one die?”  It is a very natural question.  Does it need to be this way?  Does it need to be an unanswerable inquiry?  I think not, and offer this reflection coming out of my own difficult experience facing the death of my Matushka ten years ago.
 
We all relate to God in three equivalent and identical ways.  Some may call them by other names, but for the purpose this essay I will use the three that are the most logical to me.  They are 1) the Wisdom of God, 2) the Love of God, and 3) the Mystery of God.  Let us look at these three more deeply and see if it will be helpful in answering our “Why” question.
 
Before I continue, I understand that what I am saying does not bring back our loved one.  It does not take away the pain of loss or the emptiness we feel because of it.  I only write this because it helped me — and might help others—to understand what has happened and in some small way come to grips with the agony that comes with the loss of a loved one.
 
In a general way, we are always participating in these three modes of His being, even if we are unaware of it.  They continue to exist and operate whether we acknowledge them or not.  It is just that when we are talking about death, they are all the more acute, punctuated by the act of loss that has no equal in our world.

Excursion to the old churches of Galata village

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Today despite of the heat,  our ESC members had a lovely time going for a day trip to the mountains.  We visited the convent of Agios Nikolaos Orounta and then we had a lovely picnic at Platania area at Troodos mountains.  Thanks to Polydoros, a very informative tour followed at Galata's Churches - Agios Sozomenos and Panagia Podithou.  We look forward to the next excursion!!  Many thanks to all participants! 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Why does Grace come and then leaves?

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Having been awakened with faith, having zeal, being baptized, and experiencing divine grace, God then hides grace from us, Saint Theophan tells us. This is a most common experience for all serious Christian  faithful who seek union with God. It seems that as soon as we have His grace, it is gone.  It comes and then leaves. Why is this most sublime feeling allowed to leave us? It seems as if God abandons us. 
 
When this happened to me I felt betrayed, after all, I had accomplished a great thing through my spiritual efforts.  Yes, I was proud. If it had stayed with me, this pride would only have grown and I would have remained complacent.  But when it left, what did I do?  I sought help and was guided to work hard to uncover my deep hidden sinfulness.  This involved things everyone else knew about me, but were hidden from my own self-awareness.  I gave up my old ways of seeking an spiritual experience through the eastern meditation practice I had long practiced.  I started anew in my spiritual path becoming obedient to my spiritual father.  Glory be to God for this! 
 
This is why this withdrawal happens.  Initially we are encouraged by the experience of His grace, but we still have great pride and need to be humbled. After this initial encouragement, this withdrawal leeds us to further growth through a processes of purifying our heart. 

"Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"

Mathew 28:19