Saturday, February 7, 2015

Our prayers are answered in an unexpcted manner ( part 1 )

There was a hermit who dwelled alone in the desert for over seventy years, living a life of chastity, fasting, and prayer. In all these years that he served the Lord, he had never had a single vision or revelation from God. One day he thought to himself: “Is perhaps my way of life not pleasing to God?

Is there some reason , unknown to me , on account of which I have not been given any revelation or come to know any of the Lord’s mysteries?”

With such thoughts in mind, the elder began to pray fervently and beseech the Lord persistently with the following words: “O Lord, if my spiritual struggles are pleasing to You, and if my works are acceptable to You, grant to me, Your unworthy and sinful servant , a divine visitation , so that I may be assured through the revelation of one of Your mys teries that you have heard my supplication's , and so that I may complete the remainder of my monastic life courageously and confidently .

As the holy elder was praying in this manner, he heard God’s voice saying, “If you desire to see My glory, go into the deeper wilderness, and many mysteries will be revealed to you there .

Upon hearing this voice, the hermit exited his hut. After walking a good distance, he happened to come across a thief. As soon as the bandit saw the elder, he dashed towards him and violently took hold of him. “You cam e just at the right time, father ! ” remarked the villain . “We thieves have the following tradition and belief: That whoever kills one hundred people will go to Paradise.

Today is my lucky day! Up to this point in time, with much effort , I have murdered ninety - nine people. I have only one left to make one hundred , and I will be able to accomplish this now and be saved . So, I am greatly indebted to you, and I thank you for helping me secure Paradise.”

When the elder heard these unexpected words from the thief, he was deeply disturbed and grieved . He was unprepared for such a sudden and unforeseen temptation. He subsequently raised his mind to God and asked in disappointment : “Is this Your glory, O Lord, which You desired to reveal to me, Your servant? This is the recommendation You gave to me the sinner? You told me to exit my hut intending to reveal such a dreadful mystery to me ? 

This is the payment I receive for my toil and the hardships that I endured all these years for You? Now I have realized, O Lord, that my entire efforts have been in vain, and that all my prayers are an abomination to You. Nonetheless, I thank you for your compassion, O Lord, because — according to Your omniscience — You have rightfully disciplined me the unworthy one on account of my innumerable sins , and you have justly handed me over into the hands of a thief and murderer. ”
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