You’ve ascended the ladder of renunciation; don’t turn back’ (Saint John of the Ladder). How many times, in the course of marriage or family life, are we troubled by the thought that perhaps we married the wrong person. Our mind goes to other loves and we invent scenarios in which we’d have been happier with someone else or with other choices. We wonder whether we’ve made mistakes in the way we’ve brought up the children, if we should have done things differently, if we gave them as much time as we should have, listened to them enough, if we were too lenient or too strict. We have the same concerns regarding our professional choices, the way we’ve handled our money, how we did at school or university, issues where we were called upon to make decisions which had consequences. And these thoughts torment us.
From the very earliest days of the existence of the Church, acts of mercy and charity were an essential part of church life. Our Lord Christ Himself said that whosoever has fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked, visited the sick and imprisoned, has done those things for Christ Himself (see: Matthew 25: 31- 40).
After Apostolic preaching began in Jerusalem, Christians who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the Apostles’ feet, and distribution was made unto every man, according to his need. (Acts 4: 34–35). Moreover, daily meals were organized in Jerusalem (and later in other cities) for the needy. Once, this even caused a dispute between natives of Jerusalem and the so-called Grecians – who were also Christian Jews, but who lived in various Greek cities in the Diaspora. (see: Acts 6: 1–7). The Grecians considered that their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. (Acts 6: 1). Therefore, the
Apostles decided to choose from among the faithful seven men of honest report to take on the responsibility of seeing to charitable activities, as it would not be good for the Apostles themselves to leave the word of God and serve tables (Acts 6: 2).
The enemy will not go near a creature of God when they are pure at heart
– Elder, how does one become a slave of one’s passions?
– In most cases, we let the enemy do harm to ourselves by our inattention or by becoming overwhelmed with pride. Just one careless thought or word might be enough to let the evil one take hold. I know of one strong and family. One day, the man said jokingly to his wife: “Watch out – I might divorce you!” His wife followed suit, and joked back: “It’s you who had better be more careful, as I might divorce you, too!” They were not being serious, but the devil was already standing by and rubbing his hands. He seduced them into having an argument that put them on the brink of divorce. They were so determined to go ahead that they could not think of anything else – not even the future of their children. Luckily, they met a priest who managed to bring them to their senses. “Are you seriously going to end your marriage over such a small thing?” he said.