Tag Archives: God’s Love

Gleanings From a Book: “Everything Tells Us About God” by Katherine Bolger Hyde

Author’s note: This book is so eye-catching! As soon as I saw it, I was excited to read it! The illustrations are delightfully appealing. The book’s backstory adds to its intrigue. I couldn’t wait to crack it open! However, I had other writing that needed to happen, so when the book arrived, I reluctantly set it on the shelf to wait until now. It was hard to not peek, but I prefer to write about a book right after reading it, so I forced myself to wait. It was well worth the wait. This is a delightful book.

From the first glance, this beautiful book invites engagement. The cover sets the tone for the book: it creates an expectation for beauty, variety, and a joyful revelling in God’s generosity with His people. When the reader opens the book, the end paper catches their eye. It is a golden, nearly-completed puzzle. But why is that one piece missing? And what does this have to do with the title? Without reading a word, the reader is already curious and determined to know more!

The book begins by telling the reader that the world is like a giant puzzle. God made this puzzle to tell us about Himself. He designed each piece – each part of the world – to help us learn some of His secrets. When we really look at the pieces, we can learn about Him through them!

Page after engaging page, the book points out different things in our world and how God uses them to teach us about Himself. For example, the sun tells us we can’t live without God because His love warms our hearts and helps us to grow closer to Him. The food that we eat reminds us that God always makes sure we have what we need, and that He always takes care of us. The animals tell us about God, too: elephants help us see how mighty God is; hens and chicks remind us of how He cares for us; doves remind us of how the Holy Spirit brings us peace; etc.

Livia Coloji’s charming illustrations simultaneously cheer the reader and invite interaction. Bright colors, playful perspectives, and soft edges all help the reader to feel the warm message of the text. Readers can savor the images as well as the words. The first time through the book, the reader looks forward to turning the page to unveil the next illustration and the next piece of the puzzle. Every reading after that, the reader will anticipate the illustrations, revisiting old friends.

The book concludes with an answer to the reader’s initial question. The missing piece in the puzzle of God’s world is each of us! He gives us life so that we can be part of His puzzle. He wants to show the world part of Himself through us! When we love and serve God, we are able to be a puzzle piece to those around us!

The author’s note at the end of the book offers the reader a glimpse at its backstory. The concept of this book was initially presented to Ancient Faith Publishing by Fr. Thomas Hopko of blessed memory. He had written of a conversation with an elderly bishop on an airport run one day. As they drove, the bishop kept pointing things out in the world around them, and talking about how each thing pointed us to God. Katherine Hyde sent Fr. Thomas her rendition of his idea, but it got lost in the shuffle over the years. Fr. Thomas’ family has given their permission for her to publish it, so now we can read this book and marvel at God’s willingness to reveal Himself to us, one piece at a time!

The end paper at the back of the book shows the completed golden puzzle. The reader now knows why the piece was missing and can see how beautiful the puzzle is with all of its pieces in place. Glory to God for including each of us in the puzzle of His world!

Purchase your own copy of this book: http://store.ancientfaith.com/everything-tells-us-about-god/

Here are some gleanings from the book, as well as ideas of ways to incorporate it into a family time:

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“The sun tells us that nothing can live without God… His warmth fills our hearts, and His love shines on us every day.” (from “Everything Tells Us About God,” by Katherine Bolger Hyde)
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“The water we drink tells us Christ is our life…” (from “Everything Tells Us About God,” by Katherine Bolger Hyde)
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“Rocks tell us Christ is as strong as a boulder… Nothing and no one can ever defeat Him or make him stop loving us.” (from “Everything Tells Us About God,” by Katherine Bolger Hyde)
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“Small things, like flowers… tell us God cares about every detail of His creation.” (from “Everything Tells Us About God,” by Katherine Bolger Hyde)
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“Animals… tell us what God is like… The mother hen tells us He cares for us.” (from “Everything Tells Us About God,” by Katherine Bolger Hyde)
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“Schools… tell us Christ is our Teacher… And He Himself is the perfect student of God the Father: He always does His Father’s will.” (from “Everything Tells Us About God,” by Katherine Bolger Hyde)
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“The people we meet… tell us Jesus became human, just like us.” (from “Everything Tells Us About God,” by Katherine Bolger Hyde)
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“Some years ago, Fr. Tom Hopko submitted to Ancient Faith Publishing a story… In this story… a young Fr. Tom drove an elderly bishop to the airport, hoping to engage in some deep theological conversation along the way. Instead, the bishop humbly and simply pointed out how everything they passed had something to tell us about the nature of God.” (a bit of the back story of the book, from “Everything Tells Us About God,” by Katherine Bolger Hyde)
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If you have children who enjoy coloring, one of the first pages of the book has been made into a coloring page! Download and print it here: https://store.ancientfaith.com/content/everything-coloring-page.pdf
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Family time idea #1: Before reading “Everything Tells Us About God” together, hand each family member a blank puzzle. Provide watercolor paints, markers, and/or colored pencils and invite them to write a message or create an image that makes them happy on the puzzle. Share the book while the images dry. Then have each person turn their puzzle over, and on each piece, write the name of something or someone in their life that points them to God. Who/what are the pieces that God uses in their life to draw them closer to Himself? (Be sure to help family members for whom the writing is difficult!)

(You may want to buy different sized puzzles, depending on the ages of those in your household. You can find blank puzzles online – for example, this one: http://www.orientaltrading.com/compoz-a-puzzle-blank-puzzles-28-a2-13646291.fltr;
or in a local craft store – for example, this one: http://www.michaels.com/design-a-puzzle-set-by-creatology/10489364.html)
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Family time idea #2: Before sharing “Everything Tells Us About God” with the family, gather items (or pictures of them) that are mentioned in the book. Bring together a few rocks, some water, a cutout of the sun, some stuffed animals (an elephant, a hen, a bee, a lion, a lamb, and/or a dove), seeds, flowers, fruit, bread, stars, a picture of a playground, a picture of school, an article of dress-up clothes, a mini photo album, etc. would work. Place the items you’ve gathered on a large tray. Present them to the family, and ask why they think you’ve gathered these things? Then read the book together and ask the question again. Go through each item and ask how it tells you about God. What items did you miss that are important to your family? What if one of these “puzzle pieces” went missing from your life? What can we learn about how important each piece of God’s puzzle is to the world?
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Family time idea #3: Read “Everything Tells Us About God” together, and then engage in a discussion. How does God reveal Himself to us? What “puzzle piece” from the book did each family member like, and why? Go out for a hike together. Occasionally stop and look around. What “puzzle pieces” do you notice that God has placed around you, that point you to Himself? At the end of the hike, or when you get back home again, invite each family member to think of their own “puzzle piece” that could be added to the book, and draw or write about it on this printable pdf.

On the Mercy of God

Author’s note: I am in need of mercy. I need to better receive it from God. I also need to grow in extending it to my fellow Christians. So, dear community, forgive me: this note is for me. I’m sharing it in case it can help you in any way, too. Lord have mercy on us all!

Yesterday morning I noticed a rose blooming in my garden. I’ve had only a few roses this summer, and I love them. So I intended to go out, cut it, and bring it into the house for us all to enjoy. Unfortunately this is such a busy week for our family that I didn’t actually get to it until this morning. To my dismay, when I approached the rose, I found that it was already widely opened and also that it was full of holes. Apparently yesterday’s heat and a couple of voracious Japanese beetles nearly did it in before I got to it. My immediate thought was, “I won’t bother with this one. It’s too far gone.”

But then I thought about how precious this rose is: I’ve had so few roses in my garden this summer, it is one of only a handful! Then I smelled it, and the glorious aroma that can only come from a home-grown rose filled my lungs. So I cut it after all, put it in a favorite little vase, and brought it inside.

As I prepared to write this note on the mercy of God I thought again about my rose, and I began to see a parallel between the story of me and my little shredded rose and the mercy of God. Think about it with me, if you will: How often do we intend to do something and not get around to it until much later? How often do we meet a person or arrive at a situation only to discover that he/she/it is nearly too far gone and/or full of “holes;” imperfect or not to our liking? How often are we tempted to turn away from a task or an individual because it seems that it is/they are impossible or not “worth” our time? How often do we refuse to show mercy, love, acceptance of, and forgiveness to the people and/or opportunities that God sets before us?

Glory to God who does not give up on US for being so lacking in mercy. Instead, He abundantly gives us His grace repeatedly: through His Church, through the sacraments, through the Holy Scriptures, through fellow Christians, through the saints – I could go on and on listing all the ways in which God grants us mercy. His mercy is always there, whether or not we can (or choose to) see it.

But instead of “not bothering with us because we are too far gone,” God sees our preciousness. After all, He created us in His image and loves us with perfect Love. He sees what we experience; He knows what has put the “holes” in our souls, whether things we have chosen for ourselves or things that have happened to us; and yet He continues to love us and extend His mercy to us.

St. Paul said in his second letter to the Corinthians, “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:15) I don’t know about you, but, left to my own devices, my life is anything but fragrant, as I tend to choose smelly attitudes and the stench of my own selfishness. But St. Paul’s letter says that, to God, that is, in His eyes, in His estimation, we are “the fragrance of Christ!” Wow! Only God’s mercy can make it possible for us to contain His aroma. Only through His compassionate grace can we feebly offer His fragrance to the world. But apparently it is right here inside each of us. (Incidentally, that means His fragrance is in others, too: but we must approach them despite whatever may deter us, to truly smell it.)

Just as I cut my imperfect rose and brought it into my home, by the mercy of God He has cut us from our sinful passions and brought us into His holy house. He has placed us in the right “container,” the Church, and filled it with what we need for nourishment. His aroma flows through us and can bring great joy to all around us if we allow it to,  and if we encourage others to approach us despite our flaws. Similarly, as we draw near to others and extend His mercy despite theirs, we will be blessed with the beauty of Christ’s aroma wafting into our lives through them!
By the way, in case you wondered, that rose is now sitting on our family’s prayer table. It is a perfect reminder for whatever days it has left, of God’s mercy towards us despite our imperfections. My shredded rose sits in our little holy space offering what it has, its glorious aroma, to all who pass by. May we do the same, by the grace and mercy of God.

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”And now, O Master, let Thy hand shelter me, and let Thy mercy come upon me; for my soul is troubled and in distress at its departure from my wretched and defiled body. May the evil counsel of the adversary never overtake it and bind it in darkness through the sins which I have committed in this life, whether in knowledge or in ignorance. Be merciful unto me, O Master, and let not my soul see the dark forms of the evil demons, but may Thy bright and shining Angels receive it. Give glory to Thy holy name, and by Thy might lead me unto Thy divine judgment seat. When I am being judged, may the hand of the prince of this world not seize me and snatch me, a sinner, into the depths of hades; but do Thou stand by me, and be unto me a Savior and Helper, for these present bodily torments are a joy to Thy servants.”

— Prayer of St. Eustratius, Saturday Midnight Office

The following are quotes from the saints on the mercy of God:

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Let there always be a preponderance of mercy with you, even though you don’t feel such mercy in yourself, as God has for the world … A cruel and merciless heart is never purified. A merciful man is the doctor of his own soul, because as it were a by a strong wind from is heart he drives out the darkness of the passions.

(St. Isaac the Syrian, Homilies, 41)

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“The mercy of God is hidden in sufferings not of our choice; and if we accept such sufferings patiently, they bring us to repentance and deliver us from everlasting punishment.”

— St. Mark the Ascetic

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“A handful of sand, thrown into the sea, is what sinning is, when compared to God’s Providence and mercy. Just as an abundant source of water is not impeded by a handful of dust, so also the Creator’s mercy is not defeated by the sins of His creations.” – St. Isaac the Syrian (of Nineveh)

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“If at some time you show mercy to someone, mercy will be shown to you.

If you show compassion to one who is suffering (and of course, this is not a great deed) you will be numbered among the martyrs.

If you forgive one who has insulted you, then not only will all your sins be forgiven, but you will be a child of the Heavenly Father.

If you pray from all your heart for salvation – even a little – you will be saved.

If you rebuke yourself, accuse yourself, and judge yourself before God for your sins, with a sensitive conscience, even for this you will be justified.

If you are sorrowful for your sins, or you weep, or sigh, your sigh will not be hidden from Him and, as St. John Chrysostom says, ‘If you only lament for your sins, then He will receive this for your salvation.’”

+ St. Moses of Optina

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You see very clearly that it is extremely difficult, and without God’s grace and your own fervent prayer and abstinence, impossible, for you to change for the better.  You feel within yourself the action of a multitude of passions: of pride, malice, envy, greediness, the love of money, despondency, slothfulness, fornication, impatience, and disobedience; and yet you remain in them, are often bound by them, whilst the long-suffering Lord bears with you, awaiting your return and amendment; and still bestows upon you all the gifts of His mercy.

Be then indulgent, patient, and loving to those who live with you, and who also suffer from many passions; conquer every evil by good, and, above all, pray to God for them, that He may correct them—that He may turn their hearts to Himself, the source of holiness.

Do not help the Devil to spread his kingdom. Hallow the name of your Heavenly Father by your actions; help Him to spread His Kingdom on earth. ‘For we are laborers together with God.’

Be zealous of the fulfillment of His will on earth, as it is in heaven. Forgive them that trespass against you with joy, as a good son rejoices when he has a chance of fulfilling the will of his beloved father.

+ St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

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“If your heart has been softened either by repentance before God or by learning the boundless love of God towards you, do not be proud with those whose hearts are still hard. Remember how long your heart was hard and incorrigible. Seven brothers were ill in one hospital. One recovered from his illness and got up and rushed to serve his other brothers with brotherly love, to speed their recovery. Be like this brother. Consider all men to be your brothers, and sick brothers at that. And if you come to feel that God has given you better health than others, know that it is given through mercy, so in health you may serve your frailer brothers.”

— St Nikolai Velimirovich, Prologue, 31 March

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“God is loving to man, and loving in no small measure. For say not, I have committed fornication and adultery: I have done dreadful things, and not once only, but often: will He forgive? Will He grant pardon? Hear what the Psalmist says: How great is the multitude of Your goodness, O Lord!

Your accumulated offenses surpass not the multitude of God’s mercies: your wounds surpass not the great Physician’s skill. Only give yourself up in faith: tell the Physician your ailment: say thou also, like David: I said, I will confess me my sin unto the Lord: and the same shall be done in your case, which he says immediately: And you forgave the wickedness of my heart”

— St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 2.6

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If you are truly merciful, then when what is yours is unjustly taken, don’t be sad inside, and do not tell of our loss to your neighbor. Let a better loss, inflicted by those who insult you, be absorbed by your mercy.

(St. Isaac the Syrian, Homilies, 58)

Try a Little Kindness

It is nearly Valentine’s Day, a time when many of us are thinking of our loved ones and finding some small ways to show them that we care. This is a good time for us as Orthodox Christian parents to model for our children how to show kindness to those we know and love.

While we’re at it, let us also take time to help our children to think about how we can show God’s love to those who we do not know! A random act of kindness is one way that we can show God’s love to others. This is Random Acts of Kindness Week, a week dedicated to finding ways to bless others without recognition or expectation of receiving anything in return. Let us talk together with our families and plan not just how to be kind to and bless those we know, but also those we do not know, as God in His infinite mercy has blessed us.

Here are a few ideas:

1. When shopping, pay for something for the next person in line (for example, pay the bill of the next person at the drive-through window when paying your own bill; buy a pack of gum for the family behind you at the grocery store and leave it for the clerk to deliver; pay in advance for a bagel or piece of bread for the next hungry person who comes into a bakery asking for a handout).

2. Write encouraging notes or scripture verses, and hide them for others to find. For example, make cards to leave in library books a la http://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/library-book-kindness-notes/.

3. Make the world more beautiful: clean up trash at a local playground or leave artwork for others to find, as in this stone painting project at http://colormekatie.blogspot.com/2011/11/mrblue.html.

4. Share with needy people. Collect food and donate it to hungry people; making the donation more fun by personalizing the food with a note or picture as suggested at http://curlybirds.typepad.com/curly-birds/2012/02/doing-good-encouragement-for-food-bank-recipients.html. Or put together small kits of basic items to give to the homeless as suggested at http://www.penniesoftime.blogspot.com/2013/04/penny-of-time-adventure-care-kit-for.html.

5. Purchase inexpensive toys, attach a friendly note, and allow your children to hand them out to other children, as suggested at http://www.momentsaday.com/teaching-children-to-think-of-others-a-simple-random-act-of-kindness/.

There are a myriad of Random Acts of Kindness ideas out there. There are even more ideas at http://www.mommysavers.com/c/t/202640/a-mommysavers-challenge-31-days-of-raksor http://www.eatsleepbe.com/2012/02/acts-of-kindness-for-kids/. Whichever project(s) we select, let us complete them with enthusiasm! May we help our children learn that there is much joy in extending kindness to others, as Christ has extended God’s kindness to us!

The Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Feb. 2)

The Orthodox Christian Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple on February 2nd each year. This marks 40 days since Christmas, and therefore it is the day in which the Theotokos and St. Joseph took the infant Jesus to present him in the temple, according to Mosaic Law; while the Theotokos offered the prescribed sacrifice and underwent the purification requirement prescribed by the same law.

This year, the feast falls on a Sunday, when we can all go to church and celebrate it together! Let us prepare our children by helping them learn more about this feast. The feast has many names, each of which helps us better understand an aspect of it. We can talk with our children about the feast’s names as well as how important each name is to helping us know what we are celebrating!

Here are the names for this feast:

1. “The Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple” – This name helps us to remember that on this day, our Lord was brought to the Temple. This shows that Christ really was a man: and therefore, had to be presented to the Temple, as the law required. If He were not human, that law would not have applied to Him.

We can help our children understand this with an object lesson. We can talk with our children about what it means to be real. One idea of a way to do this would be to select a stuffed animal for which your child has seen/experienced the real animal (for example, a stuffed bear). Ask, “Is this (stuffed) bear real? How do you know? Does it eat, drink, sleep? No! We can pretend that it does, but if we put food in front of this bear – even really yummy food like honey (set honey in front of the bear, wait to see if it eats it) – it will not do anything, because it’s a toy bear. It is not a real, living bear. The name ‘The Presentation of Christ in the Temple’ shows us that the infant Jesus was really a REAL person; a real human. He wasn’t just an angel or something pretending to be a real human, or he would not have needed to be presented at the Temple, like that. This feast reminds us that Jesus, even though He is God, was also a real human, just like us.”

2. “The Meeting of the Lord” – This name reminds us that this is the day on which Righteous Simeon and Anna met our Lord, as they hopefully waited for His appearance in the Temple. This helps us to realize that, just like they were able to meet the Lord, we can meet Him, too; if we are looking and hoping for Him, and living righteous lives.

We can help our children understand this aspect of the feast by learning more about St.s Simeon and Anna. We can read about their lives at http://oca.org/saints/lives/2014/02/03/100409-holy-righteous-simeon-the-god-receiverand http://oca.org/saints/lives/2014/02/03/100410-holy-righteous-anna-the-prophetess. We can then tell our children about these saints, and ask the children to help us figure out why these two saints are called “righteous.” We can make a list (or sketch, if our children can’t read) of characteristics of St.s Simeon and Anna, that made them righteous. Then, we can challenge ourselves and our children to imitate those characteristics, so that we, too, can be better ready for Christ when we meet Him. (Let us also remind ourselves and our children that we meet Christ every Sunday, in the eucharist! May we meet him with righteous lives and hopeful hearts.)

3. “The Purification of the Virgin” – The Theotokos came to the Temple to fulfill the purification required of her by Mosaic Law. She also brought the required sacrifice. So this name reminds us that the Theotokos did everything according to the religious law of that time; it was a way that she could show her determination to follow God. It is a good reminder to all of us as parents that we need to do everything that we are able to do to remain in right standing with God.

We can help our children see the parallel between this feast and the practice of “churching” which takes place to this day in our churches. We can talk with our children about any new babies in our parish; as well as what happens on the first day that baby (and his/her mother) came back to our church. This is a great time to review what a “churching” is for; as well as what happens at a churching. (For a concise version of this information, see http://www.orthodoxservices.org/AboutChurching.htm.)

Note: the name, “Candlemas,” is also used for this day, by some churches, especially in western parts of Russia. The tradition of blessing candles to be lit in church, as a reminder of the lights burning in the Temple on that day, is celebrated by some churches. If your parish celebrates the blessing of candles, this would be a good time to discuss why we light candles in church; and perhaps decorate a few to take to church to be blessed. There are some ideas at http://www.squidoo.com/candlemas-day.

Regardless of which name we use to refer to this feast, we are reminded of God’s great love for us as well as our need to live in a way that leads us to Him! Let us celebrate the feast!

Thou Who didst sanctify the Virgin’s womb by Thy birth and bless Symeon’s hands as was fitting hast now come to us and saved us, O Christ our God. But grant peace in the midst of wars to Thy community, and strengthen the Church which Thou hast loved, O only Lover of mankind.” Kontakion of the Meeting

More information about the names of this feast can be found at http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/sermmeet.htm.

Opportunities for Spiritual Learning at Halloween

It is the season of the year when many Americans are focusing on Halloween. Everywhere we look, it seems, from our own neighborhoods to the stores to the media, there are spider webs, ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, and frightening images everywhere. As adults, we are able to see these themes and write them off (at least to some degree) as “well, it’s that time of year again!” Some of our children face this time of year with great joy because of the opportunity to dress up and get lots of candy. Others, however, find this season frightening and can’t wait for it to be over.

Regardless of how we and our children look at Halloween, it is a time of year that allows us the opportunity to teach our children in the faith. How can we do that? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Together with our children, we can investigate Church history and how it relates to Halloween. For example, John Sanidopoulos, in http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/10/halloween-orthodox-christian-perspective.html, says “…The Church established Hallowmas as original holy days, not to sanctify an old pagan celebration among the Celts as has been popularly believed, but to celebrate an already well-established feast dedicated to all the Saints.” We can visit the article to see what more he has to say on the matter, and discuss it with our children. Fr. George Morelli’s podcast on Orthodoxy and Halloween, at http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/morelli/orthodoxy_and_halloween, is another helpful resource for us parents to listen to, before we help our children learn more about this subject. This time of year is an opportunity to learn more about church history.

2. If our children do dress up for Halloween, let us encourage them to dress as their patron saint, a Bible character, or another saint who has lived a godly life. We need to also help them learn a bit about that person, in case they are asked, “And who are YOU dressed as?” This time of year is an opportunity to learn more about the saints, and emulate them.

3. If our children face this time of year with fear, let us use this season to lead them to the cross of Christ. We can again teach them about the power of the cross (not as a “magic talisman;” but as a reminder of God’s protection of us from evil/of our allegiance to what is right/of our commitment to Christ) and about trusting God in the midst of our fears. We as parents can listen to Dr. Peter Bouteneff’s excellent podcast on this subject at http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/sweeter/halloween_demons_and_the_cross, for more on how to embrace the cross, and why it is so important in our lives as Orthodox Christians. The cross shows us both God’s great love for us, as exemplified through Christ’s death, and the hope that is ours because He has broken the power of death, which reigned over us, by His glorious resurrection. This time of year is an opportunity to once again focus on the cross and how we no longer need to be afraid, because of our Lord’s death and resurrection.

Whether we follow any of these suggestions, or find other ways to do so, let us all use even this season of the year for good, for learning, for increased godliness, in our children’s lives.

Passing on The Faith to Our Children

As Orthodox Christian parents, our deepest hope for our children is that they will love God and embrace the Orthodox Christian faith with all of their hearts. But how can we make that become a reality? Can we make it happen? It must be the children who choose to live in such a way: we cannot make them do so, even though we love them; want what is best for them; and know that loving God and His Church in such a way IS what is best for them.

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, in a homily on advice for parents, addressed this very concern. “If our children are to remain faithful to the path of salvation, then one important thing will be, ‘what did they see in their parents?'”  He goes on to say, that it is “…not the way you TALK about your faith, but the way you LIVE it,” as he suggests practical applications such as having family prayer times that include Bible reading and praying together regularly as a family.

The V. Rev. George Morelli, Ph.D., in his article, “Orthodoxy Today Smart Parenting XXII: Witnessing Dedication, Loyalty, and Dependability,” cites studies that show how modeling affects children’s behavior. (In this article, he is referencing showing dedication, loyalty, and dependability in specific ways that enable children to learn how to show Christ’s love; but the concepts apply to modeling love of God and His Church, as well.) His article states that children learn both positive and negative behaviors by observing the adults in their family. Therefore, our modeling positive behaviors (in this case, loving God and His Church) will positively affect our children.

So, in short, what can we do to bring our children up to love and follow God and The Faith?

Live it.

And invite our children to live it along with us.

May the Lord have mercy on us all.

To view Metropolitan Kallistos Ware’s homily, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4Q8sfqMuJg&feature=player_embedded.

To read Father George’s article, visit http://www.antiochian.org/content/orthodoxy-today-smart-parenting-xxii-witnessing-loyalty-dedication-and-dependability