Presvytera Alexandra Houck created The Children's Word bulletin so children will know they are not only welcome in church, but even more, an essential part of the Church family. She hopes the weekly bulletin will be just one more way we can make kids feel at home in church. Presvytera Alexandra is a graduate of Duke University and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Her husband, Fr. Jason Houck, is a priest at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, MN. Presvytera Alexandra and Fr. Jason have five small children: Lydia, Paul, Silas, Philip, and Sarah. Presvytera Alexandra grew up attending Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Asheville, North Carolina with her nine siblings.
Is there something you are afraid about? You might not know that the thing people are most afraid about is…spiders! Yes, more people are afraid of spiders than any other thing. Usually, people are afraid of something that is stronger than they are, or more powerful. Some spiders might have a strong poison, and you can’t do much about it!
In the Gospel reading today, Jesus tells His followers, “Do not be afraid!” He wasn’t talking about spiders, of course. But His disciples might have been afraid when they found out how powerful the Lord really was!
Saint Peter was cleaning his fishing nets when Jesus told him to go back out into the lake to try again. “We have worked all night and caught nothing, but at your word, I will let down the net,” Peter answered Him. When he did what Jesus had told him, Peter caught so many fish that his boat was starting to sink! Then he and his friends knew that Jesus had done a miracle. They knew He was strong. They knew He was powerful.
We know that God is strong and powerful too. But let’s remember, God tells us too, “Do not be afraid!” We can still come close to God. We can still talk to Him in prayer. We can know more about Him when we read the Bible. Do not be afraid of our strong, powerful, but loving God!
SAINT SILOUAN OF MOUNT ATHOS: “LET US LOVE OUR ENEMIES”
When do you pray? At church? When you wake up? At bedtime? Before you eat? That’s great! But did you know that the Bible tells us to pray at all times? Yes. We can try to always keep Jesus Christ in our hearts.
Lots of holy people have been able to do this—to pray at all times—but they sure had to practice at it. One saint is Saint Silouan. He lived less than 100 years ago, so we have a real photograph of him! This saint was from Russia, but he became a monk and lived on the holy mountain of Mount Athos, in Greece.
Saint Silouan hardly knew how to read, but he did know how to pray at all times. And what did he pray for? Well, so many things. One of his students wrote down things that Saint Silouan said. Again and again, Saint Silouan said how important it is for us to love and pray for our enemies. He said, “Whoever will not love his enemies cannot know the Lord and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit.”
Is there somebody you don’t like, or somebody who is mean to you? Can you remember Saint Silouan’s advice? Can you pray for him or her?
We celebrate the nameday of Saint Silouan on Sept. 24th (Oct. 7th, OC).
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