Donnerstag, 13. März 2014

MIXED-UP GEORGE By Saint Porphyrios (+1991).


"A large part of the responsibility for a persons spiritual state lies with the family. A child's upbringing commences at the moment of its conception." (Elder Porphyrios)

One day, a mother came here distraught about her son, George. He was very mixed-up. He stayed out late at night and the company he kept was far from good. Every day things were getting worse. The mother was overcome by anxiety and distress. I said to her:
—Don't say a word. Just pray.

We agreed that, between ten and ten fifteen every evening, we would both pray. I told her to say not a word and to leave her son to stay out till whatever time he wanted, without asking him, "What sort of time is this to come home? Where were you?", or any such thing. Instead she would say to him as lovingly as possible, "Come and eat, George, there's food in the fridge." Beyond this she was to say nothing. She would behave towards him with love and not stop praying.
The mother began to apply this tactic, and after about twenty days had passed the boy asked her:

—Mother, why don't you speak to me?

—What do you mean, George, that I don't speak to you?

—You've got something against me, Mother, and you're not speaking to me.

—What strange idea is this that you've got into your head, George? Of course I speak to you. 
Am I not speaking to you now? What do you want me to say to you?
George made no reply. 

The mother then came to the monastery and asked me:
—Elder, what was the meaning of this that the boy said to me?

—Our tactic has worked!

—What tactic?

—The tactic I told you, of not speaking and simply praying secretly and that the boy would come to his senses. 

—Do you think that is really it?

—That is it,' I told her. He wants you to ask him "Where were you? What were you doing?" so that he can shout and react and come home even later the next night.

—Is that so?' she said. What strange mysteries are hidden!

—Do you understand now? He was tormenting you because he wanted you to react to his behavior so that he could stage his little act. Now that you're not shouting at him he is upset. Instead of you being upset when he does what he wants, now he is upset because you don't appear distressed and you display indifference.

One day George announced that he was giving up his job and going to Canada. He had told his boss to find a replacement because he was leaving. In the meantime I said to his parents:
—We'll pray, I told the grieving mother. 

—But he's ready to leave...

—I'll grab him by the scruff of the neck, said his father. —No, I told him, don't do anything. —But the boy's leaving, Elder!

—Let him leave. You just devote yourselves to prayer and I'll be with you, I said.

Two or three days later early one Sunday morning George announced to his parents:
—I'm going off today with my friends.

—Fine, they replied, do as you want. He left, and along with his friends, two girls and two boys, he hired a car and set off for Chalkida {Ed., Chalkida is located to the north of Athens, on Euboea island). They drove around aimlessly here and there. Then they went past the church of Saint John the Russian and from there to Mantoudi, Aghia Anna and beyond to Vasilika, They had a swim in the Aegean Sea, they ate, drank and had a fine time. At the end of it all they set off on the road home. It was already dark. George was driving. As they were passing through Aghia Anna the car hit the corner of a house and was badly damaged. What could they do now? They managed to bring the car back to Athens at a crawling pace.

George arrived back home in the early hours of the morning. His parents said nothing to him and he went off to sleep. When he woke up he came and said to his father:
—Do you know what happened?... Now we'll have to repair the car and it will cost a lot of money. 

His father said:
—Well, George, you'll have to find a solution to this yourself. You know I've got debts to pay and your sisters to look after...

—What can I do, father?

—Do whatever you like. You're grown-up and you've got a brain of your own. Go off to Canada and make some money...

—I can't do that. We have to repair the car now!...

—I've no idea what you should do, said his father. Sort it out yourself.

Seeing that further dialogue with his father was pointless, he said no more and left. He went to his boss and said:
—I had an accident with a car. I don't want to leave now, so don't hire anyone else.

His boss said:
—That's all right by me, lad.

—Yes, but I would like you to give me some money in advance.

—That's fine, but you were wanting to leave. If you want money, your father will have to sign for it.

—I'll sign for it myself. My father doesn't want to get involved. He told me so. I'll work and I'll repay it.

Now isn't that a miracle? When the boy's mother came again to see me I said to her:
—The method we employed worked and God heard our prayer. The accident was from God and now the boy will stay at home and will come to his senses.

That's what happened through our prayer. It was a miracle. The parents fasted, prayed and kept silent and they were successful. Sometime later, the boy himself came and found me—without any of his family having said anything to him about me. George became a very fine man and now works in the air force and is married with a lovely family.

Vol. 10, Issue 07-08
 Orthodox Heritage

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