teachers of the universe:
Entreat the Master of all
to grant peace to the world,
and to our souls great mercy!
"As well," he continued, "don't you like a rather foggy day in a wood in autumn? You'll find we shall be perfectly warm sitting in the car."
Jane said she'd never heard of anyone liking fogs before but she didn't mind trying. All three got in.
"That's why Camilla and I got married," said Denniston as they drove off. "We both like Weather. Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather. It's a useful taste if one lives in England."
"How ever did you learn to do that, Mr. Denniston?" said Jane. "I don't think I should ever learn to like rain and snow."
"It's the other way round," said Denniston. "Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up. Haven't you ever noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children--and the dogs? They know what snow's made for."
"I'm sure I hated wet days as a child," said Jane.
"That's because the grown-ups kept you in," said Camilla. "Any child loves rain if it's allowed to go out and paddle about in it."
"Why should we need extra time in which to enjoy ourselves? If we expect to enjoy our life, we will have to learn to be joyful in all of it, not just at stated intervals when we can get time or when we have nothing else to do.
It may well be that it is not our work that is so hard for us as the dread of it and our often expressed hatred of it. Perhaps it is our spirit and attitude toward life, and its conditions that are giving us trouble instead of a shortage of time. Surely the days and nights are as long as they ever were.
A feeling of pleasure in a task seems to shorten it wonderfully, and it makes a great difference with the day's work if we get enjoyment from it instead of looking for all our pleasure altogether apart from it, as seems to be the habit of mind we are more and more growing into."
As the Apostle Paul describes in Thessalonians as quoted above, at some point in the future Jesus will come in the air, catch up the Church from the earth, and then return to heaven with the Church. This is known as the Rapture and it will be glorious. But what of our pets? Who will take care of our pets when we're gone?
According to the Orthodox teaching as expressed in the sacramental rite of marriage, the creation of children, and the care and love for them within the context of the family, is the normal fulfillment of the love of a man and woman in Christ. In this way, marriage is the human expression of the creative and caring love of God, the perfect Love of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity which overflows in the creation and care for the world. This conviction that human love, imitative of divine love, should overflow itself in the creation and care for others does not mean that the procreation of children is in itself the sole purpose of marriage and the unique and exclusive justification and legitimization of its existence. Neither does it mean that a childless couple cannot live a truly Christian life together. It does mean, however, that the conscious choice by a married couple not to have a family for reasons of personal comfort and accommodation, the desire for luxury and freedom, the fear of responsibility, the refusal of sharing material possessions, the hatred of children, etc., is not Christian, and can in no way be considered as consonant with the biblical, moral and sacramental teachings and experience of the Orthodox Church about the meaning of life, love and marriage.
In light of the perspective offered above, the control of the conception of children in marriage is a very delicate matter, discouraged in principle and considered as perhaps possible only with the most careful examination of conscience, prayer and pastoral guidance. The abortion of a child already conceived is strictly forbidden in the Orthodox Church, and cannot be justified in any way, except perhaps with the greatest moral risk and with the most serious penitence in the most extreme cases such as that of irreparable damage to the mother or her probable death in the act of childbirth. In such extreme situations, the mother alone must take upon herself the decision, and all must be prepared to stand before God for the action, asking his divine mercy.The vast majority of us can't stand at a lectern and expound on the role of the Christian marriage. What we can do is stop feeling guilty for fulfilling God's plan for our selves, our marriages and our families. We can stop apologizing for the number of our children, or the desire to have many children.