Monday, October 25, 2010

A Solemn Thought

"Children and saints cling to You, O Lord, the rest rebel against You.
Children and saints are the boundary between the Kingdom of existence and the shadow of nonexistence.

Guardians call themselves parents and cast Your children off crags into chasms.

Guardians presume that they are parents, and so they direct Your children as though they were their own property. Truly, they are directing nothing but aberrations and disruptions.

The children, whom you guardians have abducted, belong to another, and you will answer for theft and banditry.

You own neither the life that is in you, nor the life for which you served as a channel. Everything belongs to another, except for the wickedness within you, and you will answer for theft and banditry.

You will answer for theft, because you have been calling those who belong to another, your own; and you will answer for banditry, because you have mutilated and butchered those who belong to another.

On earth there are only guardians; and this is a very great honor.
You have been entrusted with the guardianship of the most precious treasure that God has. And this is a very great honor.

One, who was never even born and was never entrusted with the guardianship of anything, will be more blessed than you, if your guardianship is an abomination and a mortification of souls.

Why do you rejoice in children, unless you intend to keep watch over them as though they were angels from heaven? Why do you grieve for them, when they leave you early and flee to the angels in heaven? You were rejoicing in what belongs to another, and you are grieving for what belongs to another.

Do not care only about keeping the bodies of your children safe, for even foxes do the same for their foxlings. But care about God in your children. Once God is cared for He will take care of all the rest. And what you have been ac cumulating for your children so strenuously, He will effortlessly gather for them quickly and easily.

Do not drive God out of your children, for you will deprive them of their peace, their happiness, their health, and their prosperity.

Even if you leave the entire world to those whom God has left, you will have left it to starving people, who will devour it all and still die of hunger.

Do not ensure a piece of bread for your children, but a piece of the soul and the conscience. Your children will be ensured and you will be blessed in two worlds.

Care for this property of another better than your own, and your reward will be immense.

Royal children have been entrusted to your guardianship. Truly, the King will give no small reward to those who guard His princely progeny, and have not erased the Father's name from those children's memory.

Through children the King is looking at you with amazement, and is awaiting your responses. If your responses are deathful, you will be taking care of corpses.

Children and saints cling to You, my Lord, the rest rebel against You. Children and saints are Your way of testing the world.

Be careful, my soul, be careful and make no mistake." ~ Prayer XCV, Prayers by the Lake, by St. Nikolai Velimirovic

This is a sobering account of our stewardship of children. We have a great many things entrusted to us, none so precious and fragile as children and we often take for granted their very existence. We brush them off when we cannot spare the time, we hurry them along when they don't not keep with our schedules, we correct them in their action when they do not suit our expectations and we act as if we will always have them, day in and day out. I think this is demonstrated in this passage from the Gospel of Matthew 19:13-15:

"13Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

14But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

15And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence."

And also here in Matthew 18: 1-11 :

1At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

2And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

3And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

6But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

7Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

8Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

9And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

10Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

11For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost."

"13Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

14But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

15And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence."

These are only partial thoughts as I let this all sink into my heart, considering my great task as a mother and attempting to gather strength for this journey. It is a long and very thankless road, at times, full of pitfalls and tears, but also of a great many joys and warmth. These earthly rewards of parenting seem to offer a bit of needed encouragement and focus to keep moving and give us a better direction and determination, but some days just drift into weeks and we look over to find our small ones quite big. They grow with time and always as we have shown them to grow, not as we have instructed. They will take from us that which our heart offers, so if it is grudging, harsh and indifferent, it will be what they know to give. If we nurture love and selfless giving in our hearts, they will also know it with intimate feeling in their own.

To take this concept one step further, I want you to imagine that each and every person you meet is someone else's child. If we are charged with the care and love for 'our' own children, why not all children. We come from the same first parents in the flesh and we ought to act accordingly. We should care for everyone of us, great and small, old and young, as we journey through this life. If we cannot demonstrate the same Christ-like love to all in creation, where will we end up? If we try to confine love with the bounds of our jaded perception of it, we do not know love at all, for:
1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

9For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13

Oh, to be a parent, it is truly the hardest job a person could ever love.