Archive for November, 2006

Thank you, Lord …

Thank You, Lord, for our daily bread- what we need, when we need it, from Your loving hand. On Thanksgiving, the day after, and forevermore.

The Akathist of Thanksgiving, a CD by the St. Ignatius of Antioch Antiochian Orthodox Mission in Madison, Wisconsin, was written by Archpriest Gregory Petroff in a Soviet Prison Camp, where he died. In the midst of great terror and privation, he found within the illumination to grasp “the beauty of the universe … the festival of life … the bread of eternal joy.” “Glory to you, for every sigh of my sadness … for every moment of joy … for the fragrant lillies of the valley and the roses … for the morning dew, shining like diamonds … I kiss reverently the footprint of Your invisible tread … for the last rays of sunlight … for rest and the gift of sleep … for providential encounters with people … for the love of relatives, the devotion of friends … for our tireless thirst for You … Who have broken the spirits of darkness … for the genius of the human mind … for the life-giving strength of work … Who grant my wishes when they are good … for Whom there is no such thing as a hopeless loss … Who send failures and sorrows to us so that we might be sensitive to the sufferings of others … Who have raised love higher than anything on earth or in heaven … for providential coincidences … for the guidance of a secret inner voice … for revelations in dreams and when awake … Who destroy our useless plans … Who humble pride of heart to save us … for the unfathomable life-giving power of grace … Who have raised up Your Church as a refuge of peace for an exhausted world … Who breathe new life into us with the life-giving water of Baptism … Who restore the purity of immaculate lillies to those who repent … Glory to you, inexhaustible abyss of forgiveness … Who led us to heaven … Who have loved us with love immeasurable, deep, Divine … Who have surrounded us with light, and with hosts of angels and saints … Glory to You , all Holy Father, Who have willed us Your Kingdom … all Holy Son, the Way the Truth, and the Life …all Holy Spirit and life-giving sun of the future age … Glory to You for everything, O Divine Trinity, all bountiful … unto ages of ages.”

“Thanks be to God, Who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Cor. 15:57) To order copies of this CD or to read the Akathist of Thanksgiving in its entirity see this website:

www.SaintIgnatiusChurch.org

Mining the RESOURCES

This blog is not mainly about the insights of your truly, the editor, but the many caring ministries which facilitate the gifts. spiritual and otherwise (though all from God) of persons with disabilities. Orthodox ministries and literatures are listed first, but the Spirit blows where He wills, and the many, well established, nearly comprehensive non-Orthodox websites in the OTHER (or MORE) RESOURCES section, both secular and religious, are invaluable supports for Orthodox Christian efforts in this realm. God gives insights to humanity as a whole, and perfects the new Humanity in the new Man, our Lord Jesus Christ, and His body, the Orthodox- one, holy, catholic, and apostolic- Church.

But has our response as Orthodox Christians and parishes to persons with disabilities been perfect? There are bright spots here and there, but we have work to do. Do we go the extra mile for the children with invisible disabilities that Matushka Wendy Cwiklinski writes about or do we marginalize them? Do we make the effort to include them in our Sunday Schools? Do we respond to the disruptive behaviors that attend their disabilites, making every effort to help our “normally abled” children learn with them and indeed from them (accepting differences is a normal part of every person’s socialization)  or do we take the easy way out, segregating them so things can go more smoothly?

Life is not smooth. We all learn not merely information, the content of the faith, but how to live together with the blessed truth, the Gospel, loving each other and those we rub shoulders with all week. If persons with disabilities require some adjustment on our part, its an opportunity for us to grow.   

God became man- glorify Him! And let us pray that  these words be made flesh, with the abundant help of our God.

Inspiration

St. Paul asserts that the gifts of those who are generally accounted “weaker brethren” are actually indispensible to the Church. (1 Cor. 12:22) And St. John Chrysostom urges his hearers- and us- to place a high value on associating with and taking care of those in affliction and critical circumstances; for from them we gain much profit. Do we believe these things? We better. What real life circumstances in your life call for your attention in light of these words? For me, there’s my aunt in the nursing home, who was a teacher but had no children (to visit her in her old age) who likes visits. How about you?

Purpose

This blog is for Orthodox Families and their spiritual fathers. One may find inspiration from St. John Chrysostom and the Scriptures, or explore the resources for information, help, and support. I invite those who have a specific interest in the life of people with disabilities in all its aspects, especially in the context of Orthodox Christian community, to leave comments and begin the conversation.


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