An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
So much death. What can men do against such reckless hate?"
The pictures coming back are breaking my heart...has having my own kids made me so sensitive? No doubt. I cannot bear to see them anymore...must pray...must ask for forgiveness...
...must ask: what does it mean to Ride out and meet them?
Basil made a comment on a previous post that I think needs to be seen here and so utterly without his permission I add it here:
I think the Holy Innocents are particularly astute intercessors about this sort of thing.
"As acceptable victims and freshly plucked flowers, as divine firstfruits and newborn lambs, you were offered to Christ who was born as a Child, O most pure children. You mocked Herod's wickedness: now we beseech you, unceasingly pray for our souls."
O, Holy Innocents, pray to God for the suffering innocents of Russian!
Thank you Basil...and amen. May their memory be eternal.
"O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who has trampled down Death and overthrown the Devil, and given life unto thy world, give, we beseech thee, eternal rest to the soul of thy departed servants, in a place of brightness, in a place of verdure, in a place of repose, from whence all pain, sorrow, and sighing, have fled away.
Pardon, we beseech Thee, every transgression which may have been committed, whether by word or deed or thought. For there is no man who lives and does not commit a sin. Thou only art without sin, Thy righteousness is everlasting, and Thy word is the Truth.
For Thou art the Resurrection, and the Life, and the repose of Thy departed servants, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with eternal the Father, and Thy Most Holy, and Good, and Life-giving Spirit, now and forever, and for ages to come." Amen
"May our gracious and merciful Lord, who rose from the dead, Christ, our True God, throught the intercessions of His Holy Mother and of all the Saints, establish the soul of His departed servants in the mansions of the righteous; give rest in the bosom of Abraham, and number his soul among the just, and have mercy upon us and save us."
Sometimes nothing can be said. I restart this comment and delete it over again, because words have no significance. Yes this horrific thing is overwheliming, and it is difficult to imagine the mentality of someone that could do such things to children.
James, you had a lot of guts to go a lot farther looking at the pictures than I could. I gave up after the first 20 photos or so. But there is something very special about the hand of a child of God clutching their cross at the moment of their martyrdom.
The Times today had the story of a young mother who was forced to choose between her children. She could either save one, or neither. She left with her two-year-old son, while her six-year-old daughter moaned for her mother.
I lost track of how many tears I have shed today, or how many times I have beseeched the Holy Innocents on behalf of the little ones, or how many kisses I have given my boys.
From the AP: "We were in complete fear," said Gadieyeva, who spoke to an Associated Press reporter as she lay collapsed with exhaustion on a stretcher outside a hospital. "People were praying all the time, and those that didn't know how to pray — we taught them."
Dear James This is breaking my heart too. I just cannot begin to imagine their grief. May the Lord help and bless those who grieve, and take His little ones into His kingdom. May their memory be eternal. How can anyone, of any religion, believe that God would bless those who cold-bloodedly take innocent children hostage and so precipitate these dreadful events ? Lord, have mercy on us all.
I am fixated on this tragedy & so many seem unaware. I want to read all I can, see the pictures and weep. I think participating in the grief brings reality home, so to remember these days, those faces. I so much want to DO something. September 6 & 7 are to be days of national mourning in Russia, how do we join them?
I have spent countless hours weeping over these innocents who were killed. Somehow, there is a connection. And I keep thinking: A school is such a soft target. If they did it there, it could happen here, too.
Into your hands, O Lord Jesus Christ, I commend these children's and adult victims' and my children's spirits and their bodies. Bless them, save them, and grant them eternal life. Amen
as a new father of a 6 month baby girl... i too have speechlessly wept... i live in seattle, and have been visiting portland over the weekend, and was therefore so grateful that st nicholas had a panikhida at vespers on sat and on sunday.
it has also made more more present to the countless (literally, there aren't enough observers to make accurate counts) dead in sudan, a region i visited several years ago.
i have found some comfort in a text from the good news according to Matthew, chpt 10:
"So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
These words of our Lord are comforting...but am I alone in having difficulty in taking comfort from them in regards to my children? In other words...to what extent do I trust God for the safety (eternal or otherwise) of my kids?
What must be going through the minds of the parents in Beslan I cannot fathom.
yes... issues of faith, hope, AND love are deeply challenged when it comes to things we innately feel we posess, or own. i am speaking of myself and my own daughter, of course. of the choice to love and raise her in the knowledge that the Giver of life is the only one who can claim ownership, and He does.
it takes me to the book of Hebrews... where faith is defined through the lives of so many in the OT, starting the story of abraham and isaac... God asking for isaac's life... abraham willing to give it. a prefiguration, of course, of God giving over His own child, who was not spared.
if the Gospel is not true in the matters of death and loss that we all *inevitably* face, then it is not true at all.
Seraphim I live in Vancouver (WA) & have been visiting St. Nick's. I was there Sunday and so grateful for an opportunity to mourn & be comforted. Tuesday was our 1st day of school. My 1st grade & 4th grade sons carried white balloons to present to their teachers. No one else knew my motives but it helped me "reclaim" the day and stand with Beslan. James, thanks for the info re: donations. ~Julie also of the NW
julie, we were the couple on the far left... i had a week old beard, dark glasses, and a beautiful happy and loud 6-month daughter! wonderful church, wonderful people. yes, it was good to reclaim the tragedy within the revelation of "Christ is Risen".
And your wife is a lovely blond? I stood right behind you and enjoyed making googly eyes at your daughter. She's wonderful. When my 1st son was 3 months old, Oklahoma City happened. I cried for weeks. I didn't realize how precious all children were until I had one.
yes, that was us. our baby loves to pounce on people with smiles and love-lights of joy. she'll watch them in church, wait for them, and then as soon as they look at her the fireworks begin. i feel bad sometimes, during services at st spiridon we can have a whole section of people (as well as the choir looking down from the choirloft) all waiting for her to look at them with her smile. its hilarious, and wonderful, the joy she brings. and our church just adores her. truly wonderful.