Question: Dear Father Andrey, your blessing. I am a mother of two. My younger son is 7 and he is autistic. I have a husband but we are not married in church. I go to church with the kids often and have them partake of the Holy Eucharist, although it’s difficult for the younger son. Father, how does the Church view autism? Why are these kids even born? Man is made in the image and likeness of God, isn’t he? Essentially, what a human being must do here on earth is to get to know God and get closer to him. My child does not say anything and does not understand anything. Please tell us what to do.
Answer: You have to carry your cross. Your child has an immortal soul. In spite of the fact that he cannot interact with you right now, his soul is alive, and it’s all part of God’s plan. We cannot intervene into God’s plan. We can only accept it or not. Praise be to God that you didn’t deny your child, that you look after him, and he lives with you. I think that this child will someday become the spiritual centre of your life. Of course, it’s not easy. It is painful and difficult. However, life is like that—it isn’t easy because it is poisoned by sin. Why is this child born this way? Why God let this illness happen? It was due to our sins or to teach us a lesson of humility and repentance. It’s all in God’s hands. It is great that you go to church and that your children partake of the Sacraments. I believe that after a while you will be able to notice that your son loves and understands you. Every Easter, we give communion to bedridden children who stay in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs. They are old enough but their bodies remain short. When I give the Blood of Christ to those children (because they cannot digest the Body of Christ), I feel that I’m in Heaven already. They are quiet and holy sufferers… Just keep carrying your cross. God will comfort you, trust me!
Unfortunately, teenagers are sometimes attracted to sins—various sins. They want to be an adult. They want to imitate the grown-ups, and sadly, they often choose to imitate bad adults. Therefore, parents are to muster their patience and humility.
Father Andrey Lemeshonok answers the question from one of our readers: “We are married, and live in chastity by agreement. Do we still need a church wedding?
How can we learn useful lessons from a failed marriage, and avoid making the same mistakes in our new family?
The matushka’s role is to help the priest. It is an inner struggle to make sure that there is peace in your family, that you really love your husband. You’ll require quite a lot of hard work and time.
Most of us have to learn how not to annoy the children. It’s much harder for them not to become upset, simply because they are not as experienced as we are. So we need to wait for the right moment to sit down with our child and talk.
The presence of children at church services is vital for their development, for their growth as Christians, and for the entire family to become more observant.
When people grow old, they often become unbearable and intolerable. If you are a Christian, you have to forgive and ask for forgiveness to keep the peace in your heart. Your grandmother was sent to you by God to teach you how to live with God.