Εκεί όπου όντως ήθελε ο Θεός… ( Μαδαγασκάρη ). Where God Really Wanted…


Ὅπου διακονεῖ κανεὶς τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ τὴν Ἐκκλησία, ἐκεῖ βρίσκει τὴ χαρὰ καὶ τὴν ἀνάπαυσή του. Αὐτὸς εἶναι ὁ νόμος καὶ τὸ κριτήριο. Ἡ εἰδοποιὸς διαφορὰ ἡ ὁποία κάνει τὸν ἄνθρωπο νὰ θέλγεται πραγματικὰ καὶ νὰ μὴν μπορεῖ νὰ ἀντισταθεῖ στὴν ἀκατανίκητη αὐτὴ δύναμη, στὸ μυστικὸ κάλεσμα τὸ ὁποῖο δὲν θὰ διστὰσει νὰ ἀπαιτήσει ἴσως καὶ αὐτὴν τὴν ὕστατη θυσία. Αὐτὴν ποὺ ὁ Κύριός μας στὸ κατὰ Ἰωάννην κατονομάζει ὡς μεγίστη πασῶν τῶν θυσιῶν˙ «μείζονα ταύτης ἀγάπην οὐδεὶς ἔχει, ἵνα τὶς τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ θῇ ὑπὲρ τῶν φίλων αὐτοῦ» (Ἰω. ιε΄,13). Μέχρι ἐκεῖ λοιπὸν πρέπει να βαδίσει κανείς.

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Ναί, μέχρι καὶ ἐκεῖ, σὲ ἐκεῖνα τὰ σκοτεινὰ μονοπάτια τοῦ θανάτου, τὰ ὁποῖα ὅμως κρύβουν μέσα τους τὸ φῶς καὶ τὴν εἰρήνη τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ὅταν ἀτενίζει κανεὶς τὸν Ἐσταυρωμένο, πίσω ἀπὸ τὸν πραγματικὸ πόνο τοῦ Κυρίου μας, πίσω ἀπὸ τὸ ματωμένο πρόσωπό Του καὶ τὰ σφαλισμένα του βλέφαρα, τὸ καταματωμένο Πανάγιό του Σῶμα, διακρίνει τρία πράγματα: τὸ πρῶτο εἶναι προφανέστατο καὶ φυσικὰ δὲν εἶναι ἄλλο ἀπὸ αὐτὴν τὴν ὕστατη θυσία ἐπάνω στὸν Σταυρό. Τὸ δεύτερο διακρίνεται ἀμέσως μετὰ καὶ εἶναι αὐτὸ τὸ σχῆμα τοῦ Παναχράντου Σώματος ποὺ μὲ σεμνότητα καρφωμένο ἐπάνω στὸ Τίμιο Ξύλο δίνει τὴν τελευταία του πνοὴ σὲ αὐτὴν τὴν ζωὴ μὲ ἀνοιχτά τὰ χέρια, ἕτοιμο νὰ κλείσει στὴν ἀγκαλιά του τὸν ἄνθρωπο, τὸ παιδί Του ποὺ ἐκείνη τὴν στιγμὴ γίνεται ὁ ἐχθρός Tου καὶ τὸν ὑψώνει στὸ ἀτιμωτικό μέχρι ἐχθὲς ξύλο τοῦ Σταυροῦ. Ἔτσι παραδίδει τὸ Πνεῦμα του ὁ Κύριός μας. Γι’ αὐτὸ καὶ τὸ Ξύλο ποὺ παίρνει τὸ σχῆμα Του καθαγιάζεται καὶ γίνεται πλέον τὸ φοβερὸν καὶ ἀήτητον τρόπαιον κατὰ τοῦ διαβόλου. Μὰ, τέλος, πίσω ἀπὸ ὅλα αὐτὰ, ἂν θέλει κανεὶς νὰ κοιτάξει μὲ προσοχὴ, θα διακρίνει δύο μεγάλα πράγματα: τὴν Εἰρήνη καὶ τὴν Ἀνάπαυση. «Αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ τῆς καταπαύσεως ἡμέρα». Ναί, πραγματικὰ δὲν ὑπάρχει ἄλλη μεγαλύτερη δωρεά, ἄλλη προσδοκία, ἄλλο τέλος πέρα ἀπὸ αὐτὴν τὴν ἀνάπαυση ποὺ ζωγραφίζει ὁ καλὸς εἰκονογράφος στὸ πρόσωπο τοῦ Ἐσταυρωμένου.

Και τὰ τρία αὐτὰ, τέλος, ἀποτελοῦν τὸ κριτήριο στὴ ζωὴ τοῦ καθενός μας. Θυσία, ἀγάπη, ἀνάπαυση ψυχική. Ὅπου τὰ βρίσκει αὐτὰ κανεὶς, ἂς μὴν τὰ ἀφήσει ποτὲ ξανὰ ἀλλὰ ἂς τὰ φυλάξει σὰν τὸν πολύτιμο μαργαρίτη ποὺ θὰ φέγγει μπροστά του στὶς πιὸ δύσκολες στιγμὲς τῆς ζωῆς.

…Ανκιλίμπε. Τὰ λιγοστά μας προσωπικὰ ἀντικείμενα ἔχουν φορτωθεῖ στὴν πιρόγα. Σὲ λίγο βοηθάω τοὺς δύο ὁδηγούς μας, πιστά παιδιὰ τῆς παραθαλάσσιας αὐτῆς ἐνορίας μας νὰ τὴν ρίξουν στὰ νερὰ τοῦ Ἰνδικοῦ. Χρυσογάλαζη θάλασσα! Ὁ ἀέρας κι αὐτὸς κουρασμένος μὲ τὴ λιγοστή πιὰ δύναμη, μὲ ὅση τοῦ ἀπέμεινε τόσον καιρό, γερασμένος μὰ ὄχι ξεχασμένος σύντροφος τοῦ Νότου, ἔρχεται κι ἀσπάζεται τὸ πανί τῆς πιρόγας ποὺ ἤδη ὑψώσαμε καὶ μὲ ὅση δύναμη τοῦ ἀπέμεινε τὸ σπρώχνει στὴν ἀντίπερα ὄχθη. Τὰ ψημένα ἀπὸ τὸν ἥλιο καὶ τὴν ἁλμύρα σώματα τῶν δύο πιστῶν ὁδηγῶν μας, φιγούρες ποὺ λησμόνησα, τώρα καὶ πάλι τὰ βλέπω νὰ παλεύουν μὲ τὴ θάλασσα, καὶ μὲ τὰ κουπιὰ νὰ ὁδηγοῦν τὴν πιρόγα ἐκεῖ ὅπου ἤθελε τελικὰ ὁ Θεός… Στὴν ἀπέναντι ὄχθη.

Σολάρυ. Ἡ ἀπέναντι ὄχθη τοῦ κόλπου τοῦ Τουλιάρ. Βράδιασε πιὰ καὶ ὅλοι μας κουρασμένοι ἀποβιβαζόμαστε στὴν παραλία. Ἀφήνουμε τὴν πιρόγα στὴν ἀμμουδιά. Καὶ προχωροῦμε. Καὶ ἡ ἀγωνία κορυφώνεται. Περνᾶς μέσα ἀπὸ τὴν ἀγορὰ τοῦ χωριοῦ. Οἱ ἄνθρωποι μὲ δυσκολία σὲ θυμοῦνται. Τὰ πόδια σου βουλιάζουν μέσα στην ἅμμο καὶ τώρα στέκεσαι ἔξω ἀπὸ τὴν καλύβα ἑνὸς ἀπὸ τοὺς κατηχουμένους. Ἡ φωνή βγαίνει χωρίς βία. Μὰ τὰ σπλάχνα φλέγονται μέσα σου ἀπὸ τὴν ἀγωνία. «Ποῦ εἴστε; Εἶμαι ὁ πάτερ». Ἡ φιγούρα τοῦ πατέρα προβάλλει δειλὰ μέσα στὸ σκοτάδι. Πλησιάζει καὶ μὲ χαιρετᾶ. Ἀκόμη δεν ἔχει συνειδητοποιήσει, καθῶς φαίνεται, τί γίνεται γύρω του. Σιγὰ σιγὰ μὲ ἀγκαλιάζει. Καὶ τὰ χέρια σφίγγουν ὅλο καὶ περισσότερο. «Πάτερ, δὲν ἐλπίζαμε ὅτι θὰ σὲ ξαναδοῦμε». Μείναμε μέχρι ἀργὰ τὴ νύχτα νὰ μιλοῦμε. Πατέρας ἑπτὰ παιδιῶν. Τὸ ἕνα μικρό του ἀγόρι ἔπασχε ἀπὸ κήλη. Προτοῦ φύγω, τοῦ εἶχα δώσει κάποια χρήματα γιὰ νὰ τὸ ἐγχειρίσει, ἀλλὰ τοῦ εἴχα πεῖ νὰ προσεύχεται γιὰ τὸ παιδί του γιατί ὁ Θεός μπορεῖ νὰ τὸ κάνει καλά. Ὁ πατέρας, ἁπλοϊκὸς ἄνθρωπος μοῦ εἶπε ὅτι ὅλο τὸ διάστημα τῆς ἀπουσίας μου δὲν λησμόνησε τὰ λόγια μου. Καὶ τὸ παιδί του τὸ ἔκανε ὄντως καλὰ ὁ Θεὸς χωρὶς νὰ ἐγχειρισθεῖ. Ἁπλὲς καρδιές! Καρδιὲς ποὺ ἐμεῖς οἱ ἄνθρωποι τοῦ σύγχρονου κόσμου ἀρνηθήκαμε καὶ ξεχάσαμε. Ἄνθρωποι μὲ ἁπλὴ πίστη. Ταλαιπωρημένες ὑπάρξεις ποὺ παλεύουν να ζήσουν ἀπὸ τὸ τίποτε τὰ παιδιά τους καὶ τὴν οἰκογένειά τους. Κι ὅμως αὐτοὶ βλέπουν τὸ θαῦμα. Ἐμεῖς πάψαμε πιὰ νὰ βλέπουμε τὰ θαύματα τῆς ζωῆς. Τὸ θαῦμα τοῦ Θεοῦ.

Τώρα, μέσα στὴν καλύβα ποὺ φτωχικὰ μὰ τόσο ὄμορφα καὶ ζεστὰ ἑτοιμάσαν οἱ ἄνθρωποι, ἀκούω τὸν ἦχο καὶ τὰ κύματα τοῦ Ἱνδικοῦ ὠκεανοῦ. Οἱ εἰκόνες κυλοῦν σὰν κινηματογραφικὴ ταινία μέσα σου. Τὸ γαλήνιο τραγούδι τῆς θάλασσας. Τὰ γέλια τῶν παιδιῶν. Οἱ κατηχήσεις μέσα στὶς χορτοκαλύβες-προσωρινὲς ἐκκλησίες. Οἱ ἀκολουθίες κάτω ἀπὸ τὰ «κίλι», τὰ παραδοδιακὰ δέντρα τοῦ νότου. Τὰ παράπονα τῶν ἀνθρώπων. Ἡ μάνα μὲ τα μαραμένα στήθια προσπαθεῖ νὰ θηλάσει τὸ μικρό της παιδὶ καὶ μοῦ ζητάει λίγα λεφτὰ γιὰ νὰ ἀγοράσει ρύζι, λίγα φάρμακα. Τὰ τραγούδια τῶν νεαρῶν, οἱ πανηγύρεις μας, οἱ ἐξομολογήσεις κάτω ἀπὸ τὸν ἥλιο, οἱ βαπτίσεις, οἱ ἀρρώστιες, οἱ κίνδυνοι, τὰ χέρια τοῦ ληστῆ, τα νεκρά μας παιδιά, τὰ δάκρυα, ὁ πόνος, μιά ὁλόκληρη ζωή!

Ὁ ἥλιος ἤδη ἀνατέλλει καὶ τὰ σώματα, σκοτεινὲς ὑποπόρφυρες φιγούρες, σὰν τὰ πνεύματα τῶν ἀνθρώπων ποὺ ἀγάπησες καὶ σὲ ἀκολούθησαν πίσω σου στὴ μακρινὴ γῆ τῆς δοκιμασίας, τώρα δίπλα σου ζωντανὰ καὶ πάλι τὰ βλέπεις νὰ παλεύουν μαζί σου, γιὰ νὰ φτάσεις ἐκεῖ ὅπου ὄντως ἤθελε ὁ Θεός!

π. Πολύκαρπος Αγιαννανίτης

https://ierapostoles.gr/2019/02/%CE%B5%CE%BA%CE%B5%CE%AF-%CF%8C%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%85-%CF%8C%CE%BD%CF%84%CF%89%CF%82-%CE%AE%CE%B8%CE%B5%CE%BB%CE%B5-%CE%BF-%CE%B8%CE%B5%CF%8C%CF%82/

Wherever one serves the Lord and the Church, it is there that he finds joy and rest. This is the law and the criterion. The distinguishing feature which makes the man truly attracted and renders him unable to resist this inconsolable power, this mystical calling which will not hesitate to ask for even the ultimate sacrifice. What our Lord in John’s Gospel mentions as the highest of all sacrifices: «Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”, (John 15:13). Therefore, it is until there that one has to walk…

Yes, even as far as there, in these dark paths of death, which, though, hide in them the Light and Peace of Christ. When one looks at the Crucified Christ, behind the real pain of our Lord, behind His full of blood face and His firmly shut eyelids, His bloodstained Most Holy Body, one can distinguish three things: the first is obvious and, of course, it is nothing else but the ultimate sacrifice on the Cross. The second is immediately visible after the first one, and it is the form of His Most Holy Body which, though nailed to the Holy Tree, with modesty and humility takes His last breath on earth, His arms open, ready to embrace man, His child, who at that moment becomes His enemy and puts Him up on the wood of the Cross, which until then was considered utterly dishonorable. This is how our Lord delivers His spirit. This is the reason why the Wood which takes His form is consecrated, and now becomes the overwhelming and noble trophy against the devil. Finally, behind all this, if one wants to look carefully, one will distinguish two great things: Peace and Rest. «This is the day of rest». Indeed, there is no other greater donation, other expectation, other ending than the rest which the fine iconographer depicts on the face of Crucified Jesus.

These three things, sacrifice love and rest of the soul, are the ultimate criteria for the choices we make in our life. Where one finds them, one should never let go of them but should keep them as something truly valuable, which will shine in front of them and help them go through the difficult times in life.

Ankilibe. Our few personal belongings have been loaded into the pirogue. I help our two guides, faithful lads of our coastal parish, to drop it into the water of the Indian Ocean. Golden blue sea! The wind, tired of blowing for so long, weak as well as aged but not forgotten companion of the South, comes and kisses the sail of the pirogue that we have already raised, and with as much strength has been left in it, blows it to the opposite shore. The burnt by the sun and the salt bodies of our two faithful guides, figures I had forgotten, are now passing again before my eyes, fighting with the sea, and driving the pirogue with the paddles where God really wanted …to the opposite shore.

Soalary. The opposite shore of the Bay of Toliara. It is late in the evening now, and all of us tired, disembark at the shore. We leave the pirogue on the beach and keep on walking. Anxiety reaches its highest point. We go through the village market. People can hardly remember you. Your feet are sinking in the sand, and now you are standing outside the hut of one of the catechumens. The voice comes out easily but your guts are burning inside of you as your anxiety is growing. «Where are you! I am the priest. «The father’s figure bashfully appears in the dark. He approaches me and greets me. He does not seem to have realized what is going on around him. He comes closer and embraces me. His arms tighten up around me. «Father, we did not expect to see you again.» We stayed up until late at night and we were talking. He was a father to seven children, one of whom, a little boy, had a hernia. Before I left, I had given him some money to have the child operated but I had also told him to pray for his child because God could heal it. The father, a simple-hearted man, said that during my absence, he had not forgotten my words and that his child had been cured without being operated. Simple, pure hearts, hearts that we, the people of the modern world, have denied and forgotten. People with simple faith; poor creatures that struggle really hard to support their children and family. However, it is these people who see the miracle. We have ceased to see the wonders of life. The miracle of God.

Now in the poor but so beautifully and warmly prepared hut, I can hear the sound of the waves of the Indian Ocean. The images seem to be rolling like a movie inside of you. The serene song of the sea. The children’s laughs. The catechetical sessions in the makeshift grass huts that are used as temporary churches. The sacred services underneath the «kili»trees, the traditional trees of the south. The people’s complaints. The poor mother who is trying to breastfeed her little toddler from her withered breasts and asks for a little money to buy rice, some medicine. The songs of our youth, our festivals, the confessions under the sun, the baptisms, the diseases, the dangers, the hands of the robber, our dead children, the tears, the pain, a whole life!

The sun is already rising and the bodies, dark figures, like the spirits of the people who you loved and who followed you to the distant land of ordeal, now come to life beside you, and you see them again struggle along with you so that you can reach where God really wanted!

Fr. Polycarpos of Hagia Anna

https://orthodoxmission.org.gr/2019/02/where-god-really-wanted/

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