I remember to this day the moment I saw it around my grandmother’s neck, although I was a little kid at that time. It surprised me very much. It simply gave my grandmother an air of nobility. It was like it was casting a light upon her sun-burnt face and upon the garments that she would wear for festive occasions, taken out of the chest where she kept them. It was like she was no longer the humble peasant woman that she had been until then, but a grand lady who was getting ready to face the requirements of city life — more precisely, of a wedding that was about to happen in our family.
I followed my grandmother with my child eyes, trying to figure out how an ordinary piece of jewelry could change her so completely. Yet perhaps it wasn’t that ordinary after all. Or maybe my grandmother wasn’t. But from that day on, to me, she preserved the enchantment of that mysterious transformation, although it was a necklace that she would rarely wear, if at all.
I didn’t see her wear it later on any longer, as life carried me away from the events that my grandparents took part in, but I will always remember that wonderful ennoblement, with some of the thrill that Vermeer must have felt in his heart when he painted the “Girl with Pearl Earring”. The only jewel that my grandmother – now gone far away, in the country of the beyond – had, is now lying in a vintage box, as if peacefully waiting for its time, again. And for its Woman.
Fr. Arsenie PAPACIOC
The Christian concept of salvation is sacrifice.
The salvation of each and every one of us is on the Cross — as the Cross is the most praised thing on earth.
Which is why it was well-said that we must weep for the tragedy of the whole mankind as for our own sins.
…How, then, are we supposed to save the world? Well, by living a proper life yourself. By becoming God’s person; Christ’s person.
By knowing that one is a “branch” belonging to the same Stem, by knowing that it was for you that the Saviour spoke. So by achieving this personal fulfillment yourself, you will have contributed ENORMOUSLY (even when you do this secretly, hidden from everybody’s view, perhaps withdrawn in the wilderness or in your monk’s cell; wherever you are) to saving the whole unity – the whole humanity! Did you know that even the leaves and flowers rejoice, too?… Not only people…
So, we are part of a whole ensemble, of God’s whole Creation.
And if one fights with all one’s might to cast off passions and enrich oneself spiritually, then let me tell you this: you have contributed, alongside Christ, to the salvation of the world! Therefore, you never know if some time, somewhere, you, too haven’t been a saviour, yourself!
We are afraid of losing our pitiful psychological and physical comfort, hanging on to the sufferance we keep complaining about, which, if it weren’t for God’s mercy, would change into that “gnashing of teeth” that we would be left with after having rejected His gift until the end.
We are afraid of losing what we have and what we seem to be, by refusing to believe that it is precisely these riches and views that separate us from the Joy to which we are called…
Yet what a miracle that God has put pain inside us, which keeps calling out to us, is always there on our Way, and does not allow us to miss out on our becoming!