by Dr. Dmitri Aleksandrovici Avdeev, translated by Nicolas and Natalie Semyanko _______________________________________________________________________________________
Receiving Holy Communion
“Most of psychotic pathology is traditionally considered incurable. This particularly applies to difficult psychoses, degenerative-dystrophic illnesses of the cerebrum, innate forms of mental inferiority and so on. But God’s mercy performs miracles according to people’s faith, and the laws of nature beat a retreat. Let me present several examples.
“About five years ago I saw a woman in church with an infant in her arms, the face of which is familiar to any doctor. The diagnosis, as is said in such cases, was written on the girl’s face. It usually sounds like a verdict. Down’s syndrome. This pathological disease arises as a result of genetic disturbances.
“The following week I again turned my attention to this girl, and then saw her at services regularly. The child (she was 3 or 4 years old) was always taken to Holy Communion. I lost sight of my “patient” when I had to move to another city because of my job. And so, one summer, four years later, I happened to see her again. The little one was returning with her mother from Vespers. Her face was sweet, smiling, beautiful! There were two snow-white ribbons under her light kerchief. It was impossible to recognize the “doomed invalid” in her. Only an experienced specialist could see the traces of the illness. May the Lord protect you, dear child!”I will present a clear example, which was written up in a small booklet called “When children are ill.” Its author is the doctor and priest Father Alexei Grachev. “Two and a half years ago, a 12 year old girl from an orphanage came to me for confession. She could not put two words together, twisted like a top, her abnormal glance, continual grimacing, her whole appearance spoke of her “inferiority.” And so, she began to come to confession and take Communion every Sunday.
“Within a year, she felt the need to reveal her thoughts (whoever prays and takes Communion often, knows what this is). The girl began to lead such an attentive spiritual life that even those people who consider themselves great believers and churchgoers do not even begin to suspect. She began to read the Jesus prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner”), to fight temptations, forgive offenses, to bear everything. In the course of several months, she learned to read and write, all signs of debilitation passed away, the stamp of spirituality appeared on her face. There was feeling and reason in everything she said or did…” Similar examples are not exceptions, there are multitudes of them…”