Monday, August 10, 2015

A miracle for a newborn from St. Ephraim of Nea Makri

An astonishing miracle for a newborn from St. Ephraim of Nea Makri (amateur translation)
I wish, in my own manner, to thank God and St. Ephraim for the miracle which I was made worthy to experience.

I was pregnant, and 12/29/01 was my given due date. When that date came, and I still was not in labor, my doctor gave me another week. On the morning of January 2nd 2002 I began to experience strong pains, and I went to the Hospital. I was checked, and told that my Obstetrician would be called, because I was most likely in labor.

In a short time, the next day (January 3rd), the day of St. Ephraim, I gave birth. The child was born with a dark color, however, due to the lack of Oxygen, and began to cry after 30 minutes. This had occurred within me (as my labor was delayed), and I was in immediate danger also. The child was suffering from apnea, and they did not remove him from the incubator, so that they could support him with Oxygen, with the result being suffering continuous seizures. They took him that evening to the Children's Hospital “Agia Sophia”, and the physicians there diagnosed that the child was suffering from cerebral edema. The ground fell from beneath my feet, and the doctors did not give us much hope...They told us to pray that he leave this life (the child would either die, or we would receive him as a vegetable, for the seizures had destroyed his internal organs, and my baby's beating heart was weak). His situation remained critical, and our only hope was God and St. Ephraim, both of whom we entreated daily.

In 13 days, there was a second encephalogram, when the doctors did not want to tell us to results, so that we not be given hope. After two days, they announced the new results, that our child was totally well, and they did not understand how this occurred, as they thought he was doomed. Here I should say that during these 13 days, St. Ephraim revealed himself to us many ways.

My one aunt saw a dream: she was within a Church of St. Ephraim, and there was a little boy who was crying continuously. She picked him up to calm him down, and she got up and walked. When my aunt told us this, she went with my mother to the same Church. On the road, my mother asked St. Ephraim to show her some sign. As she was lighting her vigil lamp, it went out, and she thought that this was a sign that my child had died. When she went to light it again, before she could get the lighter out, it lit itself again alone. Then she understood that my child was alive, and that the very powerful St. Ephraim would help him. In my house, we heard knocking from our icons, and the odor of incense filled all of our rooms.

My baby stayed 17 days in the NICU. After all that I related above, he remained another 13 days in a normal room, where they began to slowly feed him some milk. After this, we were able to bring him home.

Time passed, and we had to go for follow-up in two months. A few days before, my other aunt saw a dream: she was in my house for a visit, and there was a young man with her with a white shirt and black pants. The young man came for the first time to my house, and I began to welcome him. Before I could show him his bedroom, he entered my room by himself, where I had the baby, and began to unbutton his cufflinks. When I prepared something to treat him, my aunt called him, and he told her: “Go ahead, I will stay to watch over the child.”

Then I felt at ease, because I knew that my child would have a protector throughout his life. At his first check-up, we saw a very good professor at the Hospital, and when she read his history, she called her co-workers, saying: “Come see the miracle of the century.”

The whole episode which my child endured left him only with damage to his auditory nerve, for which he wears a hearing aid. I thank the All-powerful God from the depths of my heart, for He is always with us, and grants His might to the Saints to work wonders, and to protect us during the difficult times of our lives.

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Christian Man vs. Secular Man : Their differences

The Secular Man has been the great threat to the Christian faith over the past two or more centuries. Disguised as the person is only only doing the “normal thing,” he lives in a godless world, where others can be tempted to live as though there were no God. Earlier I quoted Berdyaev, “If God does not exist, then man does not exist.” I would add to that that the God Who Exists must be everywhere present and filling all things, or He is no God and a false god. Let us renounce the “soft atheism” of the secular man and live always and everywhere for God.

Many Orthodox writers have spoken about the nature of the secular world, the defining form of modernity. I take here an opportunity to make a small comparison between the secular man and the Christian.

The secular man may believe that there is a God, but he also believes that the situation and outcome of the world are dependent upon the actions of human beings.

The Christian man believes that there is a God, and that all things are in His hands.

The secular man believes in Progress. Life changes, and with good human direction, it changes for the better. Every new discovery stands on the shoulders of every previous discovery. In this way, life improves and always improves for the better.

The Christian man believes that whatever man does may change his circumstances, but does not change man. A modern man is in no way superior to those who came before him. Goodness is not a result of progress.

The secular man believes in the power of human beings. Reason, applied reasonably to any situation, will yield a better outcome.

The Christian man believes in God, but he doubts the goodness of man. Human solutions are always questionable and capable of failure.

The secular man believes, ultimately, in the smooth path of progress. Even though there may be set-backs along the way, he believes that pursuing the path of progress will ultimately yield a better world – even a near perfect world.

Because the Christian man believes in God, he trusts that the outcome of history belongs to God and not to man. Thus, even the good things done by man are judged by a good God whose goal for us is always beyond anything we could ask or think.

The secular man, despite various failures, always believes that the next good is only another plan away. Compromise, negotiation, and a willingness to change will finally solve all problems.

The Christian understands the sinfulness of humanity. He knows that without God things will always fail and dissipate. Only through trust and obedience to God can the human situation improve – and such improvement always comes as a miracle from God.

The secular man does not believe in his own fallibility. He does not learn from history, but yearns repeatedly for a success where none has come before. What success he has known (in medical treatment of disease, etc.) is quickly translated into political terms. What is wrong politically can be eradicated as easily as malaria.

The Christian man knows that problems do not lie so much in the world as within himself. Unless man is changed by a good God, there will be a very limited goodness in the world. The secular man knows how to cure malaria, but he cannot manage to actually share that goodness with the world. The world (the third world) dies as it has always died. The secular man is powerless because he lacks true goodness.

The Christian man is largely marginalized in our modern world. He is considered an artifact of the past. However he is not a religious artifact – the truth he knows is eternal and is as applicable to the ills of the world as any part of the truth of God.

It is for this generation to understand what it means to be a Christian man and not to compromise with the secular man. God is good and wills good for all people. He is not a utilitarian, wishing the greatest good for the greatest number, but willing good for each and every soul.

May Christians be visible everywhere, and everywhere loyal to the Kingdom of God.

Ένας Άγιος αναρωτιέται, που είναι ο Θεός… ( Αγίου Νικολάου Βελιμίροβιτς )

Τι αξία έχει αδελφοί μου, εάν μιλώ αιώνια για τον Θεό , Και ο Θεός αιώνια σιωπά;
Μπορώ άραγε να υπερασπιστώ το δίκαιο του Θεού .
Εάν ο Θεός δεν το θέσει υπό την προστασία Του;
Μπορώ να αποδείξω τον Θεό στους άθεους εάν ο Θεός κρύβεται;
Μπορώ να αγαπώ τα παιδιά Του
Εάν Αυτός είναι αδιάφορος απέναντι στα παθήματά τους;

Τίποτα από όλα αυτά δεν μπορώ.
Οι λέξεις μου δεν έχουν φτερά για να μπορούν
Να υψώσουν στον Θεό όλους τους πεσμένους και ξεπερασμένους από τον Θεό.
Ούτε έχουν φωτιά για να ζεστάνουν τις παγωμένες καρδιές των παιδιών έναντι του Πατέρα τους.
Οι λέξεις μου δεν είναι τίποτα
Αν δεν είναι απήχηση και επανάληψη αυτού που ο Θεός με τη δική του δυνατή γλώσσα λέει.
Τι είναι ο ψίθυρος στα βότσαλα της ακτής μπροστά στο φοβερό βουητό του ωκεανού;
Έτσι είναι και οι λέξεις μου απέναντι στους λόγους του Θεού.

Πώς μπορεί να ακούσει κάποιος τον ψίθυρο στα βότσαλα.  Τα σκεπασμένα από τον αφρό του μανιώδους στοιχείου. Όταν είναι κουφός μπροστά στο βουητό του ωκεανού;
Πως θα δει τον Θεό στα λόγια μου εκείνος που δεν μπορεί να τον δει στη φύση και στη ζωή;
Πως οι αδύναμες ανθρώπινες λέξεις μπορούν να πείσουν εκείνον. Που ούτε οι κεραυνοί δεν είναι σε θέσει να πείσουν;  Πως θα ζεσταθεί με μία σπίθα εκείνος που άφησε τη φωτιά πίσω του;
Δεν σιωπά ο Θεός αδελφοί μου, αλλά μιλά δυνατότερα από όλες τις θύελλες και τους κεραυνούς.

Δεν εγκαταλείπει ο Θεός τον δίκαιο, αλλά τον παρακολουθεί στα παθήματά του και απαλά τον οδηγεί στον θρόνο. Δεν εξαρτάται ο Θεός από οποιουδήποτε την καλή θέληση .Αλλά πράττει τα πάντα εξαρτώμενα από τη δική Του καλή θέληση.
Θα ήταν κακόμοιρος ο Θεός μας, εάν εξαρτιόταν από τις δικανικές υπερασπίσεις ενός θνητού ανθρώπου.

Ο Θεός είναι αυτός που είναι, είτε εμείς τον μεγαλύνουμε είτε τον υποτιμούμε. Ο Θεός θα υπάρχει , φωτεινός και μεγάλος όπως και σήμερα
Και τότε που οι ακτίνες του ηλίου μάταια θα αναζητούν ένα ανθρώπινο πλάσμα στη γη
Και αντί ζωντανών θα ζεσταίνουν μόνον τους τάφους των νεκρών…

Το ζήτημα της υπάρξεως του Θεού και της Θείας του Οικονομίας ,Θα καταστρεφόταν αν εξαρτιόταν από τους λόγους μου και από τις δικές σας συνήθειες.
Αλλά το ζήτημα του Θεού, ανεξάρτητα απ’ όλους εμάς θα πετύχει και θα νικήσει. Εκείνος του οποίου τα χρόνια δεν έχουν αριθμό και η οντότητά του δεν έχει αρχή και τέλος. Δεν μπορεί να αφήσει το «επίγειο σπίτι» του στις διαθέσεις μας, στα αδύναμα δημιουργήματά του.

Των οποίων η αρχή και το τέλος σχεδόν συναντιόνται σε ένα σημείο ,Και των οποίων η οντότητα είναι μία κουκκίδα.
Δεν είναι ο άνθρωπος φερέγγυος αλλά ο Θεός και πιστός εγγυητής της Βασιλείας της αγάπης στη γη…

Από το βιβλίο:
Αργά βαδίζει ο Χριστός, 

Αγίου Νικολάου Βελιμίροβιτς