“It is usually easier to spend some time for God’s work and then rest after work. There is no such a thing in a family. One should serve round the clock here.”
Interview with Auxiliary Bishop of Kyiv and Zhytomyr of the Roman Catholic Church, Stanislav SHYROKORADIUK
„ It is not good that the man should be alone,” – said God and created the first family by giving Adam his beautiful beloved wife Eve, “multiply and be one flesh.” However, contrary to God’s commandment, loneliness is today one of the most painful problems of civilization. Incomplete families, abandoned children, lonely and fully neglected old people, these are all consequences of the collapse of traditional family links, the resonance of the so-called “sexual revolution.” For it is in the family that the child first experiences love and faithfulness, parental wisdom and inner peace, a sense of protection and confidence about the day to come. This is not an accident. The savior of the world came into this world exactly through birth to a family of righteous people.
It is known that the church has always consistently and persistently called the world and its flock to strengthen family relations, Bishop Stanislav Shyrokoradiuk explains why so much attention is paid to this issue:
–A true Christian is not just a believer who attends a church and participates in certain rites. It is a person resembling Christ, who stands out for their special mercy and kindness. The Lord always cared for his family members. And the church, the body of Christ, is the spiritual school educating such a Christian. Like his teacher, he is to be a “light of the world,” an example and model of service to people. And one must start with one’s own family. No family can be really successful if its members do not serve each other.
–Sometimes, it is easier to help others than one’s own relatives. For we know them better and see their negative features, which irritate us sometimes.
–Yes, it is usually easier to minister in some Christian mission, be a member of some charitable ministry and spend some time for God’s work and then rest after work. There is no such a thing in a family. One should serve round the clock here. A man must be a good father and his wife must be a good mother. But most importantly, they should love each other and be a role-model for their children. For a family is happy when there is a feeling that all its members need each other.
Families have suffered the most. Look how many families divorce today. We have borrowed the Western fashion of civil marriage. Why? In order to stay independent and have no responsibility for anyone. That is where bastards and social orphans come from. And these are families from which we expect to receive just politicians and judges, whom we are so badly lacking today, or good priests and faithful servants of God, whom we also lack.
– Statistics say that nearly one in two marriages break up. What is the reason for that, in your opinion?
– I think the main problem is that the world has lost the spirit of service. People do not wish to care for each other but serve only themselves. It is the boom of egoism and demoralization. The general moral crises penetrates even the church, for the church is composed of people.
Problems snowball. No wonder that the number of orphanages is growing. Therefore, we should expect the growth of old people’s homes as well. People who abandoned their children will face a lonely old age. It is like a punishment for sin, for the greatest unhappiness is when no one needs a person.
Or take for instance another problem, so-called homosexual “marriages.” It is merely a caricature of a marriage, a mockery of human life and God’s design.
The church is obliged to talk about this. Today, even priests bear a sin if they hush up these negative phenomena, make compromises with the world thinking that it is better to be silent than cause a problem for themselves.
–What methods of family support does your church use in addition to preaching?
–We have “home church” ministry. Families of our faithful gather together, discuss family issues, help each other to settle difficult situations. There are special programs for the raising of children and teenagers. Consultations are available for young people thinking about marriage.
It is very important for the family to have common interests and continuous communication. Pay attention if the tv is on when your family gets together for supper. For, very often, people next to each other do not see or hear each other, as their thoughts are occupied with anything but the family. It is a great obstacle to needed unity. If there is respect between family members, the supper will resemble Christ’s supper with the apostles. It should be something holy. There should be holiness about it. And if the family finds time to read the Bible together for at least five minutes daily, it will unite them even more.
An important question: Do you pray for each other? We often look for some wonder-making icons, we are prepared to travel to the most far away special places, yet we do not understand a simple thing: the prayer of parents for their children and the family is the most holy. It is a guarantee in the hands of God, for the Lord is merciful.
We often realize too late that life is short. And we waste it so badly: children grow up, parents grow old, life passes. And only later do we understand that we have lost , perhaps, the best years.
Interviewer: Oleksandr KOZLOVSKYI (Ukrinform)
Кyiv, May 2008