Priest Valeriy Dukhanin
Good things need to be shared. And the beautiful and unforgettable should be given as a present to everyone. A simple memory can be beautiful. And unforgettable - an instructive story can be. Here are three stories from life, three cases of the Mother of God helping people.
Let these stories remind us that the Mother of God is really with us. It helps even when we do not expect it. We will describe these stories simply and artlessly. Maybe these incidents from life will bring some consolation to someone.
Alexey works at the Holy Trinity Sergiy Lavra. His family keeps a story that happened to his great-grandfather Semyon during World War II.
So the Mother of God saved a man for the sake of his heartfelt desire to save Her image
In one of the fierce battles, our soldiers were put on the attack. Heavy shelling began from the enemy side, and, as it turned out later, few people survived in this battle. Semyon ran forward along with everyone. Shells exploded all around, bullets flew in all directions. And then he saw that on the ground, in the mud, something glitters. It turned out that it was an icon of the Mother of God. But the other soldiers did not pay attention to her; someone even stepped on the holy image when running across. Semyon immediately decided to pick up the image of the Mother of God, leaned over the icon to take it, and at that moment there was an explosion nearby. Semyon received a shrapnel shell wound to the head and lost consciousness.
He woke up in the hospital. The doctors thought he would not survive. Semyon lay in some ward and had waited for hours. Suddenly he saw the door open, the light shines, a woman in a white robe enters and says: “Don't worry, Semyon. Since you saved Me, I will save you." On this, the vision ended, and after that Semyon went on the mend. Contrary to the doctors' expectations, he survived. He went through the whole war and subsequently told his closest ones about what had happened to him.
Thus, the Mother of God saved a man for the sake of his heartfelt desire to save Her image. Unfortunately, he never managed to pick up the icon, because at that moment he lost consciousness, but his very heartfelt desire to save the icon had already found a response from above.
After the war, Semyon was distinguished by a rather strict moral life; he always tried to act according to his conscience. And although he did not become a deeply churched person, he was in awe of faith in God and never mocked at the holy things.
Our contemporary, a Ukrainian film director, let's call him Alexey, served in the army in Soviet times. One winter, he took over the night guard. By this time, he was so tired and exhausted that, seeing the booth, he went in there and lay down, resting his head between some kind of heavy pins. He instantly fell asleep. At the same time, he saw in a dream that the Mother of God was supporting his head. After some time, he woke up, and when he left, he was met by another soldier, who said that Alexey had entered the transformer house. As it turned out, Alexey could simply die if he touched his head to these metal pins. The Mother of God saved him by supporting his head.
This event left a deep mark on his soul. After the army, Alexey found a priest, told him about this incident, and asked about the possibility of being baptized. The priest replied that if he is ready not just to be a formal Christian, but to live according to the commandments of God, observe fasts, come to church for worship, that is, to be a child of the Church, then you can be baptized, and if there is no such desire, then what is the point in Baptism? That is, the priest summed up, it is very bad to be baptized and not become a real Christian. Alexey thought for a long time - and, fearing such a responsibility, refused to be baptized. This is how he unexpectedly responded to the miracle given to him from above.
Help from above is a call to life with God, but whether to follow this path remains completely in our will.
It turns out that miraculous help, a miracle from God, although it affects a person, does not mechanically change him and does not suppress free will. Man is free to choose his own path. However, even with all our spiritual lethargy and irresponsibility, the Lord God, the Mother of God, and the saints do not cease to do good to us. Help from above is a call to a new path, to life with God, but whether to follow this path remains completely in our will.
However, there is an innuendo in this story. Indeed, after meeting with the priest, Alexey had enough time to rethink. Perhaps at some point in his life he has made or would make the right choice.
Some time ago, a mother with two daughters moved to Sergiyev Posad from Belarus. They wanted to live near the Lavra, to be closer to St. Sergiy. They bought an apartment.
The eldest daughter, Lyudmila, got a job in the eatery of the Moscow Theological Academy. Here she met a seminarian; they sincerely fell in love with each other. With her mother and younger sister, she was just happy with how their life was going. But then one evening, Lyudmila was walking behind the Lavra in lowland, next to a ravine. Suddenly, a man with a knife appeared from behind the bushes. The girl was paralyzed with fear, she immediately handed the criminal her purse. But the bandit said, “I don't need your money. I have lost you at cards and I must kill you."
Anything can happen in the underworld. This bandit, who lost everything at cards, put someone's life on the line. He, in fact, did not care, who appeared on the way in a deserted and dark place. Card debt for a bandit is a debt of honor. All that was left to do was to catch the victim. This poor girl turned out to be such a victim. There is no one around, darkness, right there - a ravine into which the criminal could throw a lifeless body.
And the poor girl quietly, through tears, said: “Mommy, goodbye” - and prayed as best she could. And my mother, it must be said, was far away, away, and there, in a distant city, she had already gone to bed. And suddenly, at that very moment, she saw in a dream that her daughter was lying in a coffin. Intolerable anxiety and pain in the heart woke up my mother. She fell on her knees in front of the icon of the Mother of God and began to tearfully pray: “Most Holy Theotokos, help me, save my daughter!” We do not know how long the mother prayed, but only the criminal suddenly lost all his formidable appearance and determination. He stood as if rooted to the spot, and only said quietly: "Go." So Lyudmila escaped and came home alive and healthy.
So Lyudmila escaped and came home alive, safe and sound. Mother's prayers stopped the villain's hand
After that, a seminarian friend saw her off every evening. After some time they got married. But Lyudmila was so frightened by what had happened that they sold the purchased apartment and left back to Belarus.
This story, of course, is also about the power of a mother's prayer, and about a mother's sensitive heart. Mother's prayers stopped the villain's hand.
Mom, her secular name was Tatyana, eventually became very ill and took monastic vows. She was already on the verge of death; she was blessed to accept the schema. But as soon as she became a schema woman, death receded, and so my mother lived for many, many years.
I will add that this terrible incident ended with the greatest blessings of God. Lyudmila is the wife of a priest, and their own children have become: sons - priests, daughters - wives of priests. Lyudmila's younger sister is also the priest's wife. This is how the Lord managed the life of this family.
Here are the three stories. I really did not want to leave them in oblivion. Of course, there are many vicissitudes in our life. But here, next to us, is the Mother of God. She hears a heartfelt prayer. And even then, when we do not think about the danger, She often saves us.
Mother loves children more than children love Mother.
Holy Mother of God, save us sinners and the weak!
Priest Valeriy Dukhanin
November 4, 2019