Global issues

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Why do children in Africa starve to death?

africa

In this article we reply to Daniel, one of the readers of our webpage whose comment was:
‘Because if we were to blame God for all the evil in the world and if His job description included fixing it and having no debt, I, for one, would fire Him due to poor performance. If this is all that a supreme being can do, I am not at all impressed, on the contrary, I would accuse Him of negligence in employment, abuse of position and incompetence.
It suffices to see that 6 million children die from starvation and illnesses in Africa every year, babies burnt alive in maternity hospitals (like the case of Giulesti – a maternity hospital in Bucharest, Romania), poverty, diseases, fires, earthquakes, disasters, etc. Let me remind you: 6 million children die from starvation and illnesses in Africa every year. How does He pay his debt to those people?’

You are right, millions of people die from starvation in Africa and around the world every year, but at the same time think about how much food we throw away, think about how greedy we are… about how we eat 4 or 5 times a day…
Think about the fact that we, the ones living in the ‘good’ world have a daily food basket much larger and more expensive than those living in Africa.

Remember that our main concern, the westerners, is to live in comfort and delight, always seeking large salaries, big houses, luxury cars, trips abroad, social life during weekends, ever new and trendy clothing, daily gastronomic whims, expensive hobbies and many others…
Whoever in Europe thinks about the poor in Africa?
What country in Europe gave up the grand prize in their national lottery which usually amounts to hundreds of millions of euros in order to donate it to African children?

We accuse God for keeping His hands in His pockets and letting those children starve to death… but we are the ones to blame, the selfish westerners who forgot about God, who gorge ourselves silly.
How much clothing does Europe throw away?
How many cars does Europe scrap every year although they are between 10 and 20 years old? Cars that could just as well have been used. How many new cars does Europe produce annually despite the fact that the automotive market is overloaded?
How much does Europe produce for the delight and selfishness of its own citizens without thinking about the starving people in the world?
It is we that are the great hypocrites.

The poor on street corners in your city and in mine starve to death because of you and me. When we become aware of his, there will be no more poor people.
How many European billionaires stash their money in bank accounts thinking about what funds to invest them into?
Why do the European Union and the USA that handle billions and billions of euros every year not offer help to poor African countries, selflessly, without expecting anything in return? Why is there so much money for cultural projects but there is never enough money for helping our starving brothers?

If every European citizen gave one euro per year there would be 830 million euros which can be invested in Africa in order to give the poor bread and clean water. If we, European citizens, gave at least the annual interest to our bank deposits, it still would be something extraordinary.
The list of ways to give up at least 10% of the comfort of western living is long, and the aids gathered this way would be enormous. Nobody claims we have to raise the standard of living in African countries to that of European countries, but let us at least offer them basic food and hygiene products.

God is not the problem, I am. In the same way that in a family the parents and their child have the means to live and after a few years, 4 or 5 more children are born to them and they all have enough food to eat, in the large family of our world, if we shared what we have, everyone would have the necessary nourishment.
‘You give them something to eat!’ (Matthew 14, 16) our Saviour says in His Gospel. Yes! Let us give the poor something to eat and after we all shared our bread with the one next to us and when the wheat is over, only then let us cry out to the Lord: ‘Oh, Lord, we are starving, have you forsaken us?’

God’s answer to your question ‘Why do millions of people die from starvation in Africa every year?’ is the answer that He gave to the wealthy man in the Gospel who saw what a good crop he produced and had no room to store it and torn down his barns to make them larger thinking to himself he had enough goods to enjoy himself. God then said to him: ‘Fool! This very night your soul is required of you!’
This ‘Fool!’ describes the madness of the one who cries out to his father that his brothers are starving while his pantries are full of food.

Why do we experience afflictions? Why do we experience illnesses, fires, natural disasters, accidents, etc.? For the same reason that God put an end to the wealthy man’s life. Because we can’t get enough of living just for ourselves and we cause so much suffering to those around us who wait for a little help from our side. Our larceny and greed are the voice of the suffering of the poor constantly crying out to God. ‘In what way can I set before your eyes the suffering of the poor so that you can understand from what sighs you gather your fortunes?’ Saint Basil the Great says.
How much longer should God tolerate us? We murder our babies through abortions because we fear we can’t feed them. Brothers and sisters quarrel with one another because of money and fortune. People trample on one another for the sake of worldly glory and power, no matter who their victims are.
The world experiences afflictions after years and years God has tolerated us in our meanness.
Why does it experience them? So that we don’t think we are the masters of the Earth. So that we don’t forget that the Lord is our Creator and everybody’s Judge and that it is Him that rules the world, not the higher-ups, as we often falsely think.

If the rich don’t reach down into their pockets out of their own free will in order to help the poor, after years of God tolerating them due to His love, He will punish them out of love and they will lose the money in their bank accounts due to bad business, they will spend it on doctors when they become ill, they will withdraw it from their accounts… unwillingly.

In consequence the conclusion is this: the poor starve to death because we the people don’t give them food and don’t help them and the world experiences afflictions because it is only through suffering that people are awakened to reality and stop being selfish.
The land produces enough crops for everybody every year, the barns are always full… but our greed leads to the starvation of others.

(Claudiu Balan)

Translated by Claudia

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God’s wonderful work in a bad world

On some Romanian Orthodox blogs, it was an avalanche of articles regarding the end of the world, the new world order, masonry and in general everything that refers to the devil’s work in this world. We have all forgotten, my dear friends that the devil is just a bad dog kept in a leash, that sometimes is let to bark and that it does nothing without its Master’s will.

We  have let ourselves to be tricked in the despair that nothing can be done anymore, that we can’t get out from this evil plan. The devil’s bad work in this world is just a teardrop in the ocean comparing to God’s work in us. Even though we see so many bad things happening everywhere, still we are not aware of  the thousands of great things that God is doing within us.

As the Holy Fathers assure us, our Lord can pull out the greatest good from the strongest evil. We see people sinning but we don’t see them returning to God, we don’t know what can happen to them until their death. We think that many people from this world will end up in hell but we forget that Lord Christ came into this world especially for the sinners, having the precise target of saving them.

No matter how many evil minded plans some of this world’s people might have, no matter how many bad things they want to do, they won’t be stronger than God Who knows their plan even before their birth. If we get scared and believe that devil’s work in the world is stronger than God’s work, we are fooling ourselves and we are falling into a deep temptation.

I don’t want  to believe in a weak God, that leaves the world on its own, in the hands of some cruel, selfish people. I don’t want to believe that the Lord Christ crucified Himself just for a bunch of people, but I want to believe that through His plans and power, the Savior will succeed in getting out many people from devil’s hand.

Here is a testimony that reassures us about the times that will come and which helps us to be more devoted and full of hope in our God:

”Father Neofit, the Hermit, prophesied that there will be thousands who will follow the Secrecy Path of Isolation. The changes of the world will be tough but equally wonderful will be the spiritual revival of many. The Secrecy Path of Isolation will come down from the mountain and caves to the heart of the cities and many young people, apparently ignorant, will wake up to a spiritual life similar to the one it used to be in the past.

This revival will be so wonderful whither death was thought to be ruling! The Holy Spirit will show His power above everything. The Secrecy Work of Isolation will bloom in the desert of many hearts that then will become incarnate heavens(…)The Secrecy Work of Isolation will be the Secrecy of our future world. The history to come will be the most terrible fight between Light and darkness, between the Spirit of life and death. But the power of Light will be so great that will beat all the natural laws! Amen!”

Claudiu

Translated by Lăcrămioara Ticu

Stress – a modern sin

When I was younger, I hardly understood why so much fuss about stress from grown-ups, parents, uncles, aunts, brothers. Who hasn’t heard people at work, at school or within their family saying things like: “My head kills me with so much stress” or “I’m so stressed I don’t have time to finish this or that thing”?

Apparently, this more and more dynamic world we live in hurls us into a dirty and subtle war that nobody wants to be in: Stress!

This slow death of mental health that entered our lives insidiously, is ravaging the urban population.

My own experience tells me there are three stress-generating causes:

  • Deadlines against the clock
  • Over-dimensioning the gravity of the problem
  • Paying too much attention in our minds to a certain concern

Recently though, I realized I’ve never heard my grandparents (generally the old population, and other relatives and acquaintances from the countryside, where faith is still alive) say that they are stressed. I wonder why? Well, we city folks have a lot of problems and very little time, whereas rural people have as many problems, the same “little” time as we do, but unlike us they don’t let their minds to starve and feed it every day with prayers.

Sometimes, the burden of our problems won’t even let us eat in peace, think of something beautiful, positive, thus the stress of problem-solving being like a faithful guardian next to us, that we go to bed at nights in our thoughts, so that when we wake up, unwillingly it is the first thing that comes into our mind: “Today I have so many problems to solve, I don’t think I have time, I don’t know what to do.” My boss or my coworker stress me out, the teacher at school, exams, projects that I don’t have time to do, the above neighbor pressures me, in conclusion, everything in our life becomes a stress factor. And we’re always agitated, in a rush to… to burry joy… the joy that we’re healthy, that we have parents, friends in need and so many other gifts God gave us. In other words, we give up everything we received for free, in exchange for worries.

Thousands of articles have been written on stress: cause, effects, cures that are more and more redeeming, from fistful of drugs, games, anti-stress balls to relaxation therapy and culinary recipes… but they were of no use, until I couldn’t handle it anymore and I said: “God, I can’t do this anymore!”

For my little “demand” God immediately gave me a remedy:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew, 11:28-30)

Who can say no to such calling?!?

(Dan)

Translated by Ileana Cristea

Why God punishes us?

There is one thing we must understand clearly: once we are creatures of Good Lord, once we are guarded by Him, the One Who arranges for us both the small and the big things, it means that we cannot suffer anything without God’s permission and that no one of our pains is meant to harm us or something like that; consequently we should not imagine a better situation for us.

Death comes from God; but death is not a bad thing, only if you are talking about sinner’s death, because for sinner the liberation from the pains of this world means the beginning of hell’s tortures, which author is not God, but we ourselves, the beginning and the roots of the sin are into us and into the liberty of our will.

We may not have any pain if we estrange from vices; but because, through pleasure, we let ourselves tempted by the sin, what kind of reason could we evoke to prove that we are not the authors of our sufferings?

Evil can be of two types: related to us and evil itself.

Evil itself depends on us, for example: injustice, debauchery, madness, fear, envy, killing, poisoning, cunning and all the sins related to them, that defile the soul made by our Creator and darkens its beauty.

Evil related to us causes pains and sufferings to our senses, for example: the illness of the body, body’s wounds and the lack of necessary things for living, life without glory, the loss of money and the loss of our dear persons. Each of these bad things is brought to us by the wise and good Lord for our use.

The richness is taken from those who had used it wrong, to destroy the tool with which they made the injustice; illness is sent to those that is better to have bound their organs than to have them free, to estrange us from sins; brings death when the life is off, that is fixed by God’s right judgement from the beginning of each one; because God sees from distance what is useful for each of us.

Famine, drought, floods are common calamities which strike cities and nations to punish them when their evil overtakes all the limits. As the doctor is a well-doer even if he causes pains and suffering to the body (because he fights against illness, not the patient) so God is good when through punishments given to someone, He takes care of the salvation of everyone. You don’t accuse the doctor when he cuts some of your organs, burns other of them and draws out others from the body, but you give him money and you call him your saviour, because he stopped the sickness in a small part of the body, before it would be extended to your entire body. But when you see that the buildings crushes on its citizens because of an earthquake or that a ship is sinking in the sea with all the travellers, you don’t linger to open your mouth for a blasphemy against the true Doctor and Saviour.

And, nevertheless, you must understand that a careful treatment is needed when people’s illnesses are small and can be easily healed, but when their illnesses become impossible to be healed by a common treatment, then is necessary to estrange the disease from others not to infect them. Therefore, as well as the doctor is not guilty if he cuts or burns a part of your body, but the sickness, so the destructions of the cities have their origins in people’s sins, that overstepped the bounds. Therefore, don’t blaspheme God!

(Saint Basil the Great, Homily IX)

Why credit cards are not our friends ?

ist2_5647400-credit-cardsIt is a natural, normal human thing to live as is sad from the sweat of your brow, but nowadays we are encountering a policy of indebtedness; we are educated on how to live in debts by all means. All credits for personal needs are given now with a bonus: the “compulsory” credit card.

Credit Cards are specifically designed by banks to make customers to make debts and to pay interest. Normally if you take money from the credit card and the next month you return them back all you won’t pay any interest and any fees. But the credit card limit is at least 3 times higher than the salary and therefore is impossible to return all of the money next month and you begin to pay interest and fees. Next month it will calculate interest on interest already accumulated debt and the race goes on. Read more

World crisis or the “Fool’s paradise breaking apart”

We see lately as we are pumped up with news, more and more frightening, including the new global crisis. I will not get too much in technical details because there are a lot of articles debating this.
I just want to remind you about our Father Seraphim Rose which has prevented us, long time ago, about the fool’s paradise in which we all are in … that is just crumbling down.

We don’t understand that we live in extravagance, or if we do understand, we do nothing, we indulge ourselves in it … for the simple reason that everyone does so.

We do not understand that we cannot compare with any generation that has lived until now, in terms of living standards, in order that even kings have not eaten as good as we do today.

We are buying things, not because we need them, but because they are cheap, or because of some discounts, tearing apart the standing reason of buying – to buy out of necessity. Everywhere around us we have banks, supermarkets, casinos and restaurants. But let us ask a question of common sense: where do all these lead to, and until when?

We don’t afford the luxury of living in luxury, because it’s not paradise on earth and the soul does not rest here.

We must admit that for everything that happens now, we have a part to blame. Let’s not panic, and let’s try to do something until we find out that it’s too late.

If we want not to suffer from this crisis or from any other threats, then we must follow a practical advice: let’s make our life simple, because simple means beautiful.

I myself am not a good example in this respect, so let’s all try to change our complicated life. Let’s all cut off one of the two personal mobile phones, let’s all not rely on credit cards, and on assurances, let’s all not eat each day in restaurants, let’s all  stop buying until we fill out the refrigerator and let’s all stop buying all things that give us pleasure that we have baptized them as “needs”.

Doing so does not mean to get back in the Stone Age, but to be more temperate … in everything we do, like our Lord asks us to do.

Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?”  And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” (Lk 12,13-15)

(Dan)