Orthodox America

  In Defense of Life

 Anna Koszegi Imrenyi

When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like those who are comforted. Then was our mouth filled with joy, and our tongue with exultation (Psalm 125).

    In the season of the Fast, these lines prescribe hope: I the Lord will manifest His power, He will turn tears into joy....We live the reality of these words whenever in our lives we experience the grace of the Almighty. We live it, we feel it, but only seldom do we experience it. In trying times we speak complaint indeed amply. Our mouths somehow lend themselves 'to it better. Yet should our situation improve, even while rejoicing within ourselves, we remain rather prudishly silent, our "tongue's exultation'' for the most part, unheard, is it not ingratitude, that we are so incapable of rejoicing?

      We, children of the forties, were born "in captivity". Blessed be you parents who, in the prison of atheism, raised us in Christian faith.

      Born in captivity, we only now are learning to walk in freedom. We have to accustom ourselves. Our bodies are free, but our souls are still a bit those of captives. They awaken slowly. It is difficult to fid ourselves of the prison-years' habits. Our guards persuaded us by the masses: it is a sign of a woman's freedom that she has the right to decide what she undertakes with the human life conceived in her.

      What temptation: to be ruler over life and death! And what “freedom of temptation", if I also avail myself of it!

      Blessed are they who have taken it upon themselves out of faith, in spite of the constraint (the contempt) of mass opinion, to be other-minded. And blessed are they who now, learning to walk in freedom, are rethinking specifically the freedom of temptation! Do I have the right to confront the will of the Creator? Who is the Ruler of life? If subscribers were sought in support of the Ten Commandments, would I delete one of them? If I submit myself to the commandment: Do not kill, what consequences does this have for my everyday decisions? Let us think gratefully again of our parents who, in truly a sorrowful era, accepting the Creator's intention, gave us the prospect of Life...

      Our prospect is incomparably easier. We can raise our children peacefully and freely in faith. And if a child not "planned" by us should arrive, let us look to the Birth giver of God and accept the child with the humility in which she spoke to the Angel of the Annunciation: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38).

      It is certain that unexpected announcement will turn into a joyous annunciation in our lives, too: acceptance of the will of the Creator at once brings His blessing upon our house...

      And then, slowly, can our mouth be "filled with joy, and our tongue with exultation". Witnessing the experience of His blessing hand, the pagans in time will speak among themselves: 'The Lord has done great things for them!"

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are rejoiced (Psalm 125). 

Anna Koszegi Imrenyi First published in Hungarian in the May-June, 1992 issue of Egyhaxi Kronika/Ecclesiastical Chronicle of the Hungarian Orthodox Administration ot Budapest; translated by Fr. David Lesko, Duquesne, Pennsylvania.