Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Story of a Pilgrim. ( Elder Paisius of Athos )

"Our family lived in Greece, destitute. Our father had 5-6 tracts of land, which he cultivated, and off of which we lived. Suddenly he died, and we, the five children, were left with only our mother. The brothers decided to work out the inheritance, i.e. which piece of land each one of us should take, because our father did not have time to leave a will. So, we sat down, and the brothers began to quarrel about who would take the biggest piece, and who -- the most fertile. I, being the youngest and, by nature, extremely timid, sat on the side, waiting for whatever the brothers would give me. When they divided the good fields among themselves, they gave me a field in a distant and deserted area. The soil there was absolutely barren, sandy, where only wild grass could grow. I was hurt that they slighted me so, but I thanked them, not reproaching them for their injustice.

A few years later, I married, and because I could no longer stay in Greece because of financial difficulties, I took my wife and moved to Germany. There, with God’s help, I established my own business, and I fed my family on the money from my business — without anyone else’s support.

After living in Germany for 20 years and saving up a modest sum, we decided to return to Greece and continue our business there. We had completely forgotten about the field that my brothers had given me as an inheritance, and crossed it out of our memories as useless, but God did not forget it.

And so? — During our absence, many big hotels and tourist attractions were built around my barren land, so that the prices for land in that district increased greatly. It turned out that our sandy piece of land was in the middle of several large buildings, and I was offered a good price for it.

As was typical at that time, I decided to sell it at auction, because many wanted to buy it and its price rose to several millions. Naturally, I sold the field to the one who offered the highest price.

Now, living in complete comfort, I came to the Elder, in order to make a generous donation for benevolent deeds. Advise me, Geronta, how much should I give and for what?"

When the pilgrim finished his story, the Elder asked him:

— And what are your brothers doing?

— They are cultivating their fields from which they live, — answered the pilgrim.

So, — concluded the Elder, —Divine truth triumphs everywhere! It may be a little late, but it never happens that it won’t triumph. For that reason, the Lord demands from us that our truth be higher than the Pharisees’, for they limited themselves to human truth …

The Elder explained that when we are not right, God does not accept our prayers — no matter how many vigils and bows we perform. We sit and judge our brothers, and then serve night vigils. Eh, we waste our batteries for nothing! God will not listen to us until we change.

Each one should look at himself, and not touch others. Otherwise, God cannot look at us. But, if we have Divine truth and do not look at ourselves at all, but love God and others, then God, fearful thing, watches and takes care of us.
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