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Icon of “The Three Hands”: There Are Miracles Happening in Our Time!



By Fr. Andrew Lemeshonok

Today we are celebrating the feast day of the icon of the Mother of God of “the Three Hands”. It is an icon that is highly revered and venerated in Russia. Saint John of Damascus, one of the Holy Fathers of the church, was falsely accused of treason while serving under the caliph and as punishment his hand was cut off. He prayed to the Mother of God all night and then fell asleep. When he awoke his hand was fully healed with only a small scar where it was originally cut off. After some time, to show his gratitude to the Mother of God he added an image of an arm made from silver. In honor of this event this iconographic image of the Mother of God has since became know as  “of the Three Hands”.

We talk about God’s miracles, but mostly in the past tense: at some point in time something happened,some miracle, but what about now? Miracles are occuring in our time as well! All around us we can see the Lord’s miraculous works. But the blind man does not see the light, someone who is spiritually deaf can not hear anything and someone who is spiritually tongue-tied will not say anything, because he is deafened by sin. Instead what does such a person need? A meal and a show. Yet what greater miracle could there be than the miracle of the Divine Eucharist? According to the Holy Fathers, when the Holy Spirit descends into the church, a pillar of fire ascends into sky, and pious people partake of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ. They partake of God’s love, the same love that scorches every thorn of our sins and makes us partakers of eternal life here on earth.

But we are missing something. The fact is that we do not have enough confidence in God, not enough inner peace nor humble thanksgiving for what we have. Someone does not have something, while someone has more of something - someone has health, someone has money, and someone has all joys of this earthly life. And we begin to compare those people with ourselves, which leads us to depression and we begin to complain and say that we have not received enough. Such a life becomes absolutely hopeless, because the longer a person looks around at what others have and what he does not have, the more he will suffer, because he will always need something. A grateful person does not need anything. I wish we could all always thank God for his endless blessings.



A man without faith judges his life  based on today’s day or the current situation. There's something missing in such a person, and such a person does not feel well at all. While a person of faith will say that there will be a day of judgment and a time for eternal life. And the person will be preparing for this transition all his conscious life. Therefore, instead of thinking what he does not have, he will think that perhaps he has too much. He seeks what is most important: peace in his heart and the grace of the Holy Spirit. To seek the grace of the Holy Spirit is the goal every Christian. If a person has the Holy Spirit, then his soul can part with the mortal body and ascend into the Kingdom of Heaven, where there will be no sickness, no sorrows, no sadness, but eternal life.

Today we have to work, where we will of course stumble more than once, maybe somewhere we crash, but the main thing is to get up and continue on, regardless of any human conditions or moods which unfortunately change very quickly. Someone said the wrong word, somewhere was pushed away, somehow humiliated and already a person begins to lose trust in God. We can not live like this. We need to stand strong and plant our feet firmly on the ground. And our foundation needs to be faith as unbreakable as a stone. "Lord, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven ..." - so we pray, reading the Lord’s Prayer. Let us pray that by trusting God, he will give us stability in this world. And whatever uncertainties, whatever changes, whatever trials come to us in this world, we could stand on the pillar of faith, which is Christ. And we do not have any other foundation and never will.

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