Saturday, November 9, 2013

St. Nektarios of Aegina

Icon of St. Nektarios from Wikimedia Commons
How do you react when people are cruel to you? When they spread unthinkable lies about you (or believe those lies that others tell about you), make you lose your job, exclude you, and leave you without enough food to eat?

Do you fight back? Do you gossip about them -  telling others what they've done? Do you seek revenge? Do you hate them? Do you fall into despair?

Now, let's imagine that the people who do these horrible things are Christians. Not only Christians, but people you look up to in your Faith community.

Do you leave the Church? Do you feel betrayed by God? Do you stumble in your faith? Do you reject God & His Church?

This sort of thing is probably the #1 reason that I have seen people leave the Faith.

But, today's Saint - Saint Nektarios - took a different path.

He accepted the mistreatment. He simply accepted the slander, the loss of job & position, the lack of food, the exclusion. He didn't fight back. He didn't gossip about his abusers. He didn't seek revenge. And, most importantly, he remained Faithful to God. This was his Cross to bear in his life, and he bore it heroically. He chose not to hate, but to love. He chose not to reject suffering as something to be avoided at all costs, but to obediently endure it for God.

Despite the cruelty of other Christians, he Loved & Served God. He gave alms to the poor. He accepted any position he could get serving God - even those positions that were much "beneath him." He was a Bishop - yet because of the sins of others, he had to accept a part time job preaching - not even a full time position!

In the course of his life, he acted as Headmaster of a Seminary, and eventually founded a Monastery. But, he was always hounded by those who hated him.

At the end of his life, he suffered bravely and devoutly with physical illness, while others were being miraculously healed of their illnesses through his prayers. (He is the Patron Saint for those suffering from Cancer.) Again, others might have been angry at God when they saw others healed, but while they remained ill and in severe pain themselves, but St. Nektarios was Faithful & filled with Love.

It is quite likely that during his lifetime few, if any, recognized that they were in the presence of a Saint.

When St. Nektarios died of his illness, his body was washed, as was customary. When his undershirt was removed for the washing of the body, it was tossed on a neighboring bed - where there lay a paralyzed man. The paralyzed man was instantly healed! I suspect that the moment this happened was the first inkling most had that Bishop Nektarios was a Saint.

In the course of time, his relics remained incorrupt (his body did not decay) and gave off the odor of sanctity (instead of smelling like a dead body - his body smelled like Myrrh).

Many people came to his tomb to request his prayers for their healing - and many were healed - so many that an entire book was written (unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, it is only available in Greek) just about these occurrences. My Father-in-Law was one of those people healed by the prayers of St. Nektarios.

Today is the day we remember St. Nektarios - an amazing, modern Saint. If you'd like to know more, I highly recommend  Saint Nektarios, The Saint of Our Century. It's a compelling read- almost like a novel - and very uplifting.

And, the next time you are mistreated by a Christian, remember that all the things we suffer in this life- whether physical, emotional, or Spiritual -  has the potential to either draw us closer to God - or further from Him - and let us pray for God's help to imitate the Love & Faithfulness of St. Nektarios.

This is being shared on Making Your Home Sing Monday, Modest Monday, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Tell Me a True Story, Teach Me Tuesdays, Teaching What is Good, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, Rosevine Cottage Girls, Wise Woman, Encourage One Another, Thrive @ Home Thursday







10 comments:

  1. Very true . . . when I think of things I have/am gone, and get in one of those woe is me moods, and then think of all Jesus went through for us, it's overwhelming. It's all temporary here! And through our trials, Jesus can still shine through!

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    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Loni - it's lovely to have you here!

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  2. I love your recipes. I will try one of them when I got with the rest of my lined up recipes. Do you have twitter? I want to follow you there. mine is @easytocookmeals

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Shobee- You've got a lovely blog! Are you currently in the Philippines? if so, are you and your family safe? I'm greatly concerned about all that is going on there!

      Sorry, I don't have Twitter right now - only this blog & Pinterest so far (and, of course - the various subscription methods in the upper right. Maybe one day I'll branch out more!

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  3. Never turn from God when misguided persons (even so called christians) tell lies and cause you trouble. Thankfully even in most small cities there is another church that will welcome you and a place where you can worship the savior. Thank you for this inspiriting story of Saint Nektarios. It reminded me of Peter when his shadow touched people, they were healed. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting again, Hazel! In our Tradition, here in the US, attending another Church when trouble strikes is seldom an option, as there aren't very many Orthodox Churches in each city. But, *persevering* is an option we can all choose! : )

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  4. Very nice post! Bullying in Religion is the WORST...so sad! Makes you wonder about fellowship in that church or congregation. The most important part is your relationship with your God, tho, NO ONE can take that away from you! Ya know!?

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    1. It is a dreadful thing to have to deal with - but as long as people on this earth, and sin, we'll probably have to deal with it. C.S. Lewis said that the greater potential something had for Holiness, the greater potential it also had for sin. For instance, a cow seldom possesses either great virtue or great vice, but an angel has great potential for either. The Church has so much potential to bring us close to God - the Evil One works overtime there trying to cause trouble! But, no matter what others do to us, as you say so wisely - WE can - with God's help - chose to do right and be Faithful : )

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  5. Serving the Lord, even when our bodies ain't perfect, is all we can do. AND, when we lift others up to the Lord, either when here or headed into heaven, we can bring forth healing. I truly believe that! I've been healed several times now.. and I've prayed for people, sometimes suddenly, and they've been healed. Healing is important... both physically and mentally with having a mind focused on the Lord and His will and His Truth. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks for visiting and for your very kind comments, Caryjo! Very well said! : )

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