Friday, June 28, 2013

Praying for Fr. Roman Braga

I woke up early
and soon discovered that
we must pray for Fr. Roman Braga.
See here for details.

Where to start to even tell you about him?
This interview by one blessed to know him
is a great start.
Also this by Kh. Fredrica Matthewes Green.
His books in English are well
worth reading.
The story of his mother praying in this transcript
is wonderful.

Michelle linked to these videos

Let us ask St. Nektarios for his prayers.

Let us light candles for a beloved

I still remember my first liturgy there.
It was my second communion,
the feast of Holy Dormition.
I was almost in the church one year
and did not know anything about this feast.
My friends were going and invited me to come.
It was just like that.
And so I went and Fr. Roman spoke to everyone before
communion of the fasting rules
and I remember all the people and the
wonderful meal afterwards
on picnic tables.
I was aware of many people, esp. women,
working to make it happen.
I remember getting brownies and lemonade.
I bought a small icon of the Theotokos
that I still have.
It was my first non-paper icon;
I was a poor student and did not have much.
They make small icons there,
beautifully mounted
that poor students can afford.

So just weeks after this
I went off to library school and to
my third Orthodox church in 1 year of stepping foot
in an Orthodox church for the second time
in my life.
Newly chrismated...

The icon above, by the way,
of St. Katherine is one from Holy Dormition.
That one I bought I remember when I was
in between jobs, running out of money and
sold some books and bought the icon
after staying in the room in the guest house
dedicated to her.
I was interviewing soon for a job at a university
and since I was in her room then
and knew her to be a special Saint for those at schools,
I was so happy to get this icon,
which I remember my spiritual father blessing..
The impact this monastery has had
for many is wonderfully diverse,
spreading out like rings around a stone
thrown into a pond,
echoing out and out and out.
It is the mercy of God
for us,
pouring out.

My first stay at the monastery was
back in early 2005 during Great Lent.
I did not then even understand why I needed to go.
I had spring break,
I almost was not able to go,
burst into tears on the phone unexpectedly
and suddenly there I was
staying in St. Nicholas' room in the guest house.
I did not know right away who Fr. Roman was.
But I watched him pray
the prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian
and suddenly realized I'd never seen anyone
pray it like they meant it before,
like that.
One person I know told me
that once he was at the monastery
and during the beatitudes
in the liturgy
when it was prayed
blessed are those who are persecuted
Fr. Roman's face was shining with joy.

I had the blessing of asking
Fr. Roman's blessing for my spiritual father
various years.
Talking to Fr. Roman, even briefly like I did,
was like suddenly finding oneself in a
sunlit field,
full of joy.
Once he welcomed me to his monastery and
to make myself at home there;
how consoling it was...
Let us pray for this beloved
monastic and be consoled by
the honour to pray for him!
Lord have mercy!
Lord have mercy!
Lord have mercy!


M. Emily said...

I love your little window ledge in the kitchen!

Anonymous said...

thanks Elizabeth,
I met him once at the monastery and will definitely keep him in my prayer. One of the few saints I have met in my life...
I reviewed one of his books last year:

elizabeth said...

Thanks W&P - I feel the same way about Fr. Roman. Thanks for your prayers. It's such a special book that one, isn't it?

Michelle M. said...

This is a beautiful post, Elizabeth. I remember saying to my husband that he is a "living saint." What an incredible man, and I feel so blessed to have known him, even for only a few minutes.