Seven Stories and Parables for the Week: Issue 5

A pious layman came to Abba Pimen. Other brethren who wanted to listen to the father’s stories were also there. The elder told to the layman, “Tell us something as a guidance”. The man wanted to refuse, but finally the elder made him speak: “I cannot retell the wisdom of the Scripture well, - the man said, - but I’d like to tell you a proverb. A man told to his friend: “I’d like to see the king. Come with me”. The friend answered: “I will go a half of the way with you”. The man spoke to his second friend: “Come with me and bring me to the king”. The friend replied: “I will bring you to the royal palace”. Then the man addressed his third friend: “Come with me to see the king”. “Let us go then, - his friend said, - I will bring you to the palace, we will come in and I will tell the king about you and introduce you to him”.

The brethren asked about the meaning of that proverb. The layman explained: “The first friend is asceticism, which shows you the right way; the second friend is purity, which reaches heavens; the third friend is almsgiving, which boldly brings you to the King Himself, Who is God.”

A man bought a new large and beautiful house. There was also a garden where various fruit trees grew. Everything was neat and nice there. However, next to him an envious neighbor lived, who always tried to bring the man down. Often he threw trash in front of the gates of the man’s house or tried to do any other dirt on the man. One day the man woke up in a good mood and came out on the porch. He saw a bucket of slops standing there. The man took the bucket, threw out the rubbish and washed the bucket until it shined. Then he gathered the largest apples from his garden in it and went to his neighbor. When the neighbor heard someone knocking the door, he thought gloatingly: “Finally, I’ve put him out!” The neighbor opened the door hoping for a quarrel, but the man handed him a bucked with apples and said: “Whatever one is rich in, one shares with others”.

Once the disciples came to the elder and asked him: “Why is it so that evil tendencies can easily enslave a person in contrast to good ones, which are difficult to stick to?”
- What will happen if we leave a good seed to lie under the sun, but bury a bad one in the ground? – the elder asked.
- The good seed will die without soil, while the bad seed will grow and turn into a weak sprout which will give bad fruits, – the disciples answered.
- People act in the same way. Instead of doing good secretly and grow good fruits deep in their soul, they reveal their good deeds in public and thus they spoil them. At the same time, people hide their sins deep in their soul so that no one can see them. There they grow and kill a person right in his heart. So, you should be wise and remember about this.

A woman complains to a priest:
- Father, different evil thoughts come to my mind all the time. I just don't know how to cope with them.
The priest smiles:
- If two people come to you – a good one and a bad one – then whom is it easier to make go away?
- The good one, - she woman replied.
- So, it is much easier to scare off a good thought, while it is rather difficult to get rid of bad ones. This is why we need to ask God: “Lord, help me!” And then they disappear…

I asked God to take my pride off, but God said no. He said that pride is not just taken off, but one must get rid of it.
I asked God to heal my bedridden daughter, but God said no. Her soul is in safety, while her body will die anyway.
I asked God to grant me patience, but God said no. He said that patience appears when one goes through sufferings – it is not given, but earned.
I asked God to make me happy, but God said no. He said that He only gives blessings, but it depends on me whether I will be happy or not.
I asked God to save me from pain, but God said no. He said that sufferings turn people from their secular problems and bring them to Him.
I asked God to help my spirit grow, but God said no. He said that my spirit must grow on its own.
I asked God to teach me how to love other people as much as He loves them. “Finally, - said the Lord, - you have understood what you need to ask for”.
I asked for strength, and God gave me sufferings to make me stronger.
I asked for wisdom, and God gave me problems, over which I had to break my head.
I asked for courage, and God gave me threats.
I asked for love, and God gave me unhappy people who needed my help.
I asked for wealth, and God gave me opportunities.
I got nothing I wanted to get, but I got everything I needed. God heard my prayers.

A disciple came to his teacher and asked him:
- How can I become supersensual enough to see God, hear Him and talk to Him?
The teacher said:
- You will hear God, when you manage to make yourself enter the place, where no living thing dwells, at least for a minute.
- Is it far or not? – The disciple asked.
- It is in you. If you manage to stop your thoughts and desires for a moment, you will hear inexpressible words of God, - the teacher said.
- How can I hear God’s speech, when I do not think or speak?
- When you do neither think on your own nor desire on your own; when your will and your mind become calm and passively give themselves to perception of the Eternal Word and Spirit; when your soul spreads its wings above what is temporal; when you lock your imagination and feelings with divert thinking – then Eternal Hearing, Sight and Speech will appear in you, and God will see and hear through you. You will become the organ of His Spirit, and avoid God will speak in you and whisper to your Spirit, and your Spirit will hear His voice. Blessed are you if you can avoid self-thinking and self-pitying, if you can stop the wheel of your imagination and feelings because there is nothing but your own hearing and desire, what prevent you from seeing and hearing God.

A pious and kind nobleman lived in Petersburg. He had a big house and a lot of friends. Unfortunately, he fell out of favor with the sovereign. He was slandered and brought to justice. He was about to be sent to prison. The poor nobleman fell sick because of his grief. All his friends turned their backs on him.

At that time, Fr. Nazarius, a strict ascetic from Valaam, came to Petersburg. He knew the unhappy nobleman and came to him to comfort him in his sorrows. The unhappy wife of the nobleman threw herself at the elder’s feet and prayed: “Father, pray for that my husband’s case has a favorable outcome”.

“Well, - the elder said, - of course, we should pray to God. But we also have to ask people close to the sovereign for their application. Give me some money and I will ask them for you”. They gave gold to the Elder: “No, - he said, - it doesn’t suit. Don’t you have coppers or silver?” They gave him both, and Fr. Nazarius left.

Later at night he came back to the nobleman and said: “All the people close to the tsar promised to ask for you. Be calm and wait for good news”. Indeed, the elder was still near the nobleman’s bed, when the man received a news: the case was favorably closed. The good news made the nobleman happy and he felt better then. He began to thank the elder and asked who of the close to tsar helped to solve that issue because he wanted to know for whom he needed to pray most. Then it revealed that Fr. Nazarius had not visited those people. Instead of that he had been walking along the streets of the city and gave money to poor people. “Thank God, - the elder said, - for He, Merciful, accepted the prayers of the poor and pleased the sovereign to examine your case once again. Do not forget about the nobles of the Lord – the poop, who are our benefactors. Their prayer can do a lot before the Throne of the Lord”.   

Translated from: https://azbyka.ru/days/