There’s a basket of apples on the table on the back deck again. The boys catch a glimpse of it and sit around the table before I can even call to them to join me. It’s amazing how a tradition manifests itself in a home – beckoning to all who live there without words ever needing to be spoken.
Each year, we commemorate St. Euphrosynos on September 11th. It has become a tradition in our family to sit on our back deck munching on fresh apples while listening to the story of Saint Euphrosynos being read aloud. Even my daughter, who had just gotten home from one of her college classes, immediately came out to listen to the story while she ate her apple. She told me after the story that she didn’t want to be left out. It’s moments like this that warm my heart.
For the past couple of years I’ve read “The Boy, the Kitchen, and the Cave” by Catherine Contopoulos but decided to read from the Prologue this morning instead. The Prologue has a much more condensed version of his life but it was an opportunity to see how much my kids remembered about this saint from last year as I asked questions about him. I was pleasantly surprised at the level of detail they remembered about St. Euphrosynos. My oldest son gave me the most details but the other two gave their fair share also.
I asked them, “We’ve been talking about ways we can imitate or copy the saints we learn about. What can we imitate or copy from Saint Euphrosynos’ life?”
Ideas started popping off their tongues, “We could go to a monastery, pray, do our chores without complaining, do dishes…”
I continued by asking, “What should we do today to imitate St. Euphrosynos?”
The three of them agreed they wanted to do the dishes for mom and not complain about it. Fine with me! All three of the boys have unloaded the dishwasher many times in the past but they have never loaded it before. They were actually really looking forward to doing the dishes.
I put a towel on the ground in front of the sink and asked them to come one at a time to rinse off dishes before loading them in the dishwasher. You would have thought I gave them a new toy! I’m sure this is the joy from getting to do something you’ve never done before but I enjoyed watching them every second this morning. I asked each one of them while they were doing the dishes, “What do monks do in a monastery?” They each replied, “Pray a lot.” Then I asked them, “What do you think St. Euphrosynos did while he was cleaning?” Each of them said, “Prayed.” So…as they washed, each of them sang Lord have mercy. I couldn’t help but think about how nice it would be if we all sang Lord have mercy as we did our chores. I think there would be a lot more peace and a lot less complaining while we cleaned. Regardless, this lesson has set the tone for our entire day and I cannot even begin to explain how calm everyone has felt today.