Monday, September 16, 2019

The boy stopped short: "In my heart you will find Christ"

A young boy was rushed to a hospital emergency room. After urgent examinations, the doctor said: "I will open your heart ..."

The boy stopped short: "In my heart you will find Christ"

The surgeon looked at him strangely, and as he did not believe, he nodded his head and said:
"I will open your heart to see the damages caused by your illness ..."

"Yes, but when you open my heart, you will find Christ."

The doctor took a curious look at his parents sitting quietly beside him and continued, "When I see the damage, I will close your heart and chest and decide what to do."

"Yes, but you will find Christ in my heart. The Bible says that Christ dwells there. All the hymns of the church say that Christ dwells there, in our heart. You will find him in my heart. "

The cardiac surgeon said: "I'll tell you exactly what I'll find in your heart. I will find a damaged heart muscle, a decreased blood flow and weakened blood vessels. And then I can, once I know, do you good. "

"And you will also find Christ, who is there ..."

The doctor came out of the exam room annoyed by the child.

As he had predicted, he underwent surgery ... The injuries were significant, as he had predicted, according to the image of the exam. He couldn't do anything ...

When the surgery was over, he sat down at his desk to write down notes on the operation: a broken aorta, a damaged pulmonary vein, extensive muscle degeneration. No hope of a transplant. No hope of healing. Treatment: painkillers and complete rest. Prediction (paused): death will come in time ...

He left the computer and got up ... Addressing the little Christ: "Why, " he exclaimed "why did you do this? You sent him here. You sent him with this evil. He is sentenced to die of this evil. Why; Why;"

Then in the depths of it, he heard a voice answering: "This child is not destined to live in your flock long term. This child belongs to My flock and so it will be forever. Here, in My flock, there is no pain. He will be comforted as much as you can imagine. Someday, his parents will meet him here and get to know the peace. My flock will continue to grow. "

Tears were running in the eyes of the cardiac surgeon. But his sentiments against God, full of selfishness, responded within him: "You have created this creature, You have made this heart. He is doomed to die within a few months ... why? "

The voice inside replied: "The child has to go back to my flock because he has done his job. I did not bring My child to earth to lose him, but to find another lost sheep. "

The doctor understood that this child did not come here by accident ... he came for him ... He had received a Christian education ... Memories danced in his mind. Because of his many professional accomplishments, his soul had become his last care.

He went into the child's ward, sat on his bed, facing his parents.

The boy woke up and yelled, "Did you open my heart?"

"Yes!" The doctor replied excitedly.

"And what did you find?" The young man asked.

"I found Christ," the surgeon replied, crying like the little child he was, fifty years ago ...

The child and the doctor became best friends ..

The Proper Understanding and Use of Antidoron

Traditional View and Practice According to Akrivia (Strictness)
Please help me to understand the significance of antidoron. How should one receive it and handle it? 
If one takes it home during the week for daily "communion" is this wrong? 
Is there a proper way of doing it—before a prayer, before a meal, etc.? 
When can you or should you take prosphora to Church? 
Should you also take wine and oil? 
Do you bring the names of people to be commemorated with these gifts? (G.M., IL)

This is a subject of great importance which we have several times addressed in the pages of Orthodox Tradition. When we do not commune at Liturgy, we receive antidoron (an-dee-tho-ron, with a hard "d" and a soft "d," as in "the") at the end of Liturgy (that is, blessed bread which substitutes for the Gifts; thus, antidoron, "instead of the Gifts"). Those who commune during the Liturgy receive antidoron or antidoron and wine immediately after communing and should not take it again at the end of Liturgy. 
Since it is blessed, the antidoron should be carefully handled and no particles of it should be allowed to fall on the ground. This means that children must be carefully watched while consuming antidoron and taught to treat it with pious reverence.
 It should be received from the Priest at the end of Liturgy and immediately consumed. Since antidoron is given in place of the Gifts, it is also received on an empty stomach, for which reason Orthodox Christians do not eat or drink anything from the midnight before the Divine Liturgy, whether communing or not. 

Antidoron may also be taken home for use during the week. It is a pious custom for Orthodox Christians to begin the day, after their morning prayers and before eating, by consuming a particle of antidoron and drinking agiasmos, or blessed water. 

Prosforo(n), the word for the bread which we offer at the Divine Liturgy, comes from the Greek word for an offering, prosfora. It is customarily baked in the home with prayers and taken to Church, where it is offered for the Divine Liturgy. (Incidentally, women, out of piety, should not prepare prosforon during their monthly periods.) One may also give oil and wine along with prosforon—other "offerings"—so as to provide for the oil lamps and the remaining element of the Eucharist, though this is not mandatory. This can be done for any Liturgy. It is also customary to offer the names of Orthodox Christian family members, of friends, and of relatives with the prosforon, so that the Priest may commemorate them at the Service of Preparation (Proskomide).

Most Orthodox Christians are aware that one should keep a strict and complete fast from midnight before receiving the Holy Mysteries, but one should also receive holy water and the antidoron (the blessed bread given out at the end of the Liturgy) fasting. If, as many do, you keep a supply at home, use a little each day to break your fast, when you have said your morning prayers and before eating anything else. If you are attending the Divine Liturgy, then keep a fast until the service is over (as in any case one should) and you receive your antidoron from the priest. If for some reason, you have eaten when you attend the Liturgy, then take the antidoron home as a blessing and consume it on another day, thus showing reverence for the things of God and the blessing which this bread has received.

It is a pious custom to keep some holy bread and holy water in one's icon corner—to consume, breaking the night's fast, with one's morning prayers. 

“O Lord my God, may Thy holy gift and Thy Holy Water be unto forgiveness of my sins, unto enlightenment of my mind, unto strengthening of my spiritual and bodily powers, unto health of my soul and body, unto vanquishing of my passions and weaknesses, by Thy boundless merciful kindness, through the prayers of Thy Most-pure Mother and all Thy Saints. Amen.” 

Taken from the Parish Newsletter of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St John the Baptist (May 2011).