The priest had just finished a board meeting with the church committee. Night had fallen and it was very dark.. The rain made the streets shine in the moonlight. The priest got into his car and headed home.. He was very tired, physically and spiritually. All day he had heard the problems of the world, trying to guide, trying not to be weary himself with what he heard while offerring forgiveness and hope.
As he had almost reached home, he suddenly braked in front of a store that sells sandwiches. He descended from his car and with two to three quick steps he walked into the store. The rain was falling harder . His glasses were wet and he then took them off and wiped them down..
The store was empty of clients .There were two girls standing behind the cash and one other man preparing the deilveries for the homes. "I would please like two gyro sandwiches and two souvlaki sandwiches ..." said the priest. The two girls looked at each other in the eyes, in the mood to make a joke.
The priest went to the fridge to get two soft drinks and he then placed them next to the cash register. What the priest requested was ready. "What do I owe please ..." he asked the girl who was punching in the items at the cash. Instead of hearing price of the order ,the priest was asked a question ... "Father, do you know what day it is today? Did you forget? " The priest was surprised ... "What day is it ..."? "It's Friday father, is it not a fasting day ? You supposedly have to lead by example and not to eat meat such a day .... " The priest lowered his head. He pulled from his wallet the amount that was indicated on the cash register. "Keep the change , he said ..... I would like for you to pray for me,I am a wretched man and full of passions ..." he said and went out of the shop. She noticed that the priest, leaving from the shop did not head towards his car, not fully satisfied for what the priest had said, she exited the store...
"Where is he going ..."? she said looking at the other girl who was baffled with the whole scene.. The priest went to the passenger side of the car, facing the path to his house. With quick footseps the priest found himself within in a few seconds where he wanted.to be, in front of a rubbish bin. The rain began to fall harder. "Brother, can I trouble you a bit ..." were the words of the priest to the tan man who was looking in the trash. The man left the bags that he had in his hands and headed towards the priest. He stood exactly in front of the priest . Their eyes communed the same rain, the same air, the same cold ... The priest did not say anything else, he spread out his hands with the bags of sandwiches and refreshments. The swarthy man did not spread out his hands , probably not believing what is happening. A small child, probably his son, who was standing beside him, spread out his small and weak hands and took the bags and began to pry them open.. The priest turned around and left..
Reaching his car, which he had left in front of the sandwich store, a surprise awaited him. The girl that had made the remark had come out to see where the priest had gone ... she had seen everything that had happened. "Father .... sorry ...". she didn't have time to finish, the priest grabbed her hands and interrupting told her: "Do not worry ... pray for me, and wished her a good night."
The girl's eyes became watery ... two or three tears were rolling down her cheeks as she saw the priest's car disappearing into the rainy night. Across the street passed the swarthy man and the small child, laughing and eating what the priest had offerred to them. The girl walked into the shop. "Are you okay?" her colleague asked. "It is very bad to judge quickly and especially the things we only see..." she said with a trembling voice.
Archimandrite Pavos Papadopoulos
Translation of original in Greek