Real understanding is beyond words…

excerpt from the article The Suffering and Death of Children at Pavmir:

...Real understanding is beyond words. When children suffer, we must make an act of faith concerning their ability, because they are living souls, to grow into an ever deeper intimacy with God, and we must be certain that what is happening to them is not lost for them. When they depart this life, we must also remember that God is the God of the living. One thing which I wanted to say and which I forgot to mention is the importance of touch. Touch in relationships. Physical contact. In practically every religious rite things are conveyed by contact. The laying-on of hands, a blessing – so many things are done physically. We should be aware of the spiritual quality of our bodies. Without our bodies we could not commune in the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. We could not commune with him. It is through our bodies and because of what they represent, because of what they are, that we can have this communion with Christ and God. In human relationships touch plays an immense role. How much one can convey of compassion, of love, of tenderness by putting one’s hand on another hand or on a shoulder, which will never be conveyed by words. And with sick children perhaps more than with anyone – or perhaps not, because when a person is ill, gravely, grievously ill, everyone becomes a child again – so much can be conveyed by human touch: sacramental, sacred or simply human (which is also sacred and sacramental). This is something which we must teach the parents of sick children: where words fail, when means of communication are not there, there is a mysterious way of conveying what cannot be conveyed, of expressing with certainty what one is incapable of expressing – love, tenderness, compassion, but also faith and life – by the way in which we treat a body. Well, these are perhaps disjointed thoughts, but I would like you to think about what I have said because we have to deal not only with the child who is ill, but also with those who around him are distressed. And they must learn, through faith – instead of being overcome by grief, instead of being conquered and destroyed – that they are sharing in a mystery, in a situation in which human power fails and divine Power is abroad, acting sovereignly, building a kingdom in which each child – and we are all someone’s children – in which each child participates, one way or another, in the mystery of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was born into a world of time, out of eternity, in order to die, and through death to open to us unconquerable, eternal life.

+Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh 1984.

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