May 2, 2012
HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN ALEXIOS` MOTHERS` DAY MESSAGE
Elder Porphyrios on Nurturing Children:
“The parents need to devote themselves to the love of God. They need to become saints in their relations to their children through their mildness, patience, and love. They need to make a new start every day, with a fresh outlook, renewed enthusiasm and love for their children. And the joy that will come to them, the holiness that will visit them, will shower grace on their children. ”
My dearly beloved in the Lord,
“Her children shall rise up and call her blessed…” Proverbs 31:28
This weekend we have the opportunity to celebrate a special day dedicated to our mothers. And it is, of course, the Theotokos, the Virgin Mary who is the greatest example of a mother and motherhood. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ loved and respected and was obedient to his earthly mother throughout his youth and adolescence. Even at the end, hanging on the cross in agony and near death, our Lord was concerned for His mother, giving her into the care of St. John.
In thinking about this happy day, I reflect on the past when the mother was the center and queen of the family. All aspects of our lives - our character, sense of responsibility, good and bad habits, ability to cope with difficulties, and piety - are shaped by our mothers. I know that parents are concerned about caring for their children: feeding them, clothing them, saving for their education, providing all kinds of material things and even luxuries. Indeed it seems we have the idea that our children have got to have everything! Yet what are we really giving to our children for the rest of their lives? What are we teaching them about our Faith, about things of substance, of lasting value, of real meaning?
It is from our parents, especially our mothers, that we learn our morals and ethical principles and our first religious beliefs. And so mothers have an absolutely vital role in bringing up children and teaching them the Christian faith. However educating our children means that we must be educated in the Faith ourselves. This is the parents’ responsibility. We should immerse ourselves in the life of the Church, and strive to be a holy example both at home, and in public, for our children to follow. We should pray together as a family, and bring our children to the Divine Liturgy often. Encouraging our children to have contact with God’s spiritual grace in prayer and worship, in the Divine Liturgy, is the greatest gift that we can give to them.
As you know, we are constantly thinking about programs and the means by which we can support our young families. Through our Marriage and Family Ministry, we are providing retreats, workshops, and online resources to help our Faithful not only acquire various skills but also nurture a personal, vital and living faith. Because there is a great need for this kind of help, information and guidance for the Faithful, and if we do not offer them help and guidance based on our Orthodox faith and understanding, they will seek answers elsewhere. This is why it is so important that we make every effort to help our families, and nurture and support their spiritual lives.
So today, let us honor our mothers, show them the respect and honor and gratitude that they deserve and which our Christian faith commands. Let us also pray for them and give thanks to God for them. I wish all our mothers Χρονια πολλα and a blessed and joyous Mother’s Day! May the joy and the peace, the love and the hope of the glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ find a home in your hearts all the days of your lives!