The incubator for a life of righteousness
Prior to electricity and central heating, most families gathered in parlors, spending evenings with reading, sewing, and family conversations. The notion that everyone would retreat to bedrooms, kitchens, or dens, separating themselves from other family members, was unthinkable. The communal nature of the family was natural. I can remember, as a child (this really dates me), sitting together with my brother and my parents, listening to radio dramas. Before the coming of television, families would gather for evenings in the living room, where children would play with Lincoln Logs, or play board games with their parents.
Evenings spent together as family is important, for these moments not only build a bond between parents and their children, but serve as important times in which to share family values. The old saying that “a family that prayers together, stays together” was a truism that is often forgotten. I remember, as a boy of six, a Catholic family living next to us who had a small family chapel, complete with altar, statues, and candles. Every evening they would all gather in that little chapel to pray the rosary. As a protestant boy, I remember wishing we had a chapel as well.
Family meals are also important times for building strong moral and spiritual foundations in children. Sitting around the dinner table is a great time for parents to develop strong bonds of trust with their children. Dinner is a perfect time for talking to your children about their friends, or school activities, or recounting the homily from the Sunday Liturgy. Family members dispersing throughout the house for the evening, can end up functioning as autonomous entities, and family bonds are unlikely to develop in a healthy manner.
The domestic church, which is such an important element of the Orthodox Christian tradition, can not be developed in a family where meals, prayers, and social life are all in separate parts of the house. Parents, in their capacity as shepherds and nurturers, have the God given responsibility to make sure the home is an incubator for a life of righteousness, and where the Orthodox faith can take root. It is in such households that these children, in turn, learn how to be good parents to their own future children.
Hebrews 10:24-25: “… and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another …”
With love in Christ,
Photo: Ryan Weaver and his family visited from their home in Atlanta, Georgia. Ryan told me his kids love listening to my podcasts while driving in their family car. Because the Weaver’s are such a truly sweet Orthodox family, I’m dedicating todays blog article to them.
Monday October 14, 2019 / October 1, 2019
18th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
The Protection of Our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. This is our monastery temple’s Patronal Feast.
Apostle Ananias of the Seventy (1st c.).
Venerable Romanus the Melodist of Constantinople (556).
Venerable Sabbas, abbot of Vishera (Novgorod) (1461).
New Hieromartyr Alexis priest (1918).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1920).
New Hieromartyrs Alexander, Gregory, Nicholas priests, Martyr John (1937).
New Hieromartyr Archpriest Ismael Rozhdestvensky, of Strelna (St. Petersburg) (1938).
New Hieromartyr Theodore (1940).
Martyr Domninus of Thessalonica (4th c.).
Martyr Michael, abbot in Armenia, and 36 Fathers with him (790).
Miracle of the Pillar with the Robe of the Lord under it at Mtskheta (330) (Georgia).
Synaxis of All Saints of Moldova.
Liublinsk, Pskov-Protection, Kasperovsk, Brailovsk, Gerbovetskand Barsk Icons of the Mother of God.
Venerable John Kukuzelis the Singer of Mt. Athos (ca. 1341) (Greek).
Venerable Gregory the Singer of Mt. Athos (1355) (Greek).
Venerable Bavo of Haarlem (659) (Neth.).
St. Remigius of Rheims, apostle to the Franks (533).
King Mirian and Queen Nana of Mtskheta, St. Abiathar of Mtskheta, and St. Sidonia, disciple of St. Nina (4th c.).
St. Melchizedek, catholicos-patriarch of Georgia (11th c.).
Martyr-prince Mylor of Brittany.
The Scripture Readings
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
The Song of Mary
46 And Mary said:
“My soul [b]magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.
The Earthly Sanctuary
9 Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; 3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, 4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
Limitations of the Earthly Service
6 Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. 7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance;
Mary and Martha Worship and Serve
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Keeping the Word
27 And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!”
28 But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”