Seven Stories and Parables for the Week: Issue 6

A pagan landlord hired an Orthodox Christian as a gardener and warned him, “I will hire you only if you don’t utter a single word about Jesus Christ!” The Orthodox Christian replied, “No, I won’t, I promise.” And he did not utter a word about Christ for three years. All he did was diligently doing what he was supposed to do and tolerating all temptations and afflictions. Finally three years later, the pagan landlord said, “Listen, I want to be like you! Tell me everything about your God.” And he went on to become a Christian.

There was a woman who came to Elder Anatoly (Zertsalov) of Optina and requested his blessing for her to live alone, so as to be able to fast, pray, and sleep on hard wood without any obstacles. The Elder said:
— You know, the devil does not eat, does not drink and does not sleep, but he still has to live in hell because he isn’t humble. Subdue your will to the Lord’s will, and that’s what your ascetic practice should be about; be humble and admonish yourself, bear your illnesses and sorrows with gratitude — and this is greater than all feats!

Once upon a time Abba Macarius was walking from a lake to his cell. He was carrying palm branches on his shoulders when he met a devil with a scythe. The devil attacked Macarius but he couldn’t do any harm to the monk, so he said, “You are very strong, Macarius. I can’t stand against you. Although I do everything you do: you fast, and I don’t eat at all; you abstain from sleep, and I never sleep, there’s only one thing at which you are better than me.” “What is it?” Macarius asked. “Humility.” the devil replied. “This is why I can’t stand against you.”

A Greek philosopher ordered one of his disciples to give silver to those who would humiliate him. The disciple spent three years doing so. Finally, the teacher said:
— Now you can go to Athens and study wisdom.
When we was about to enter the city of Athens, the disciple saw a sage who was sitting at the city gates and cursing everyone who was going past him. He did the same to the disciple. The disciple burst out laughing.
— Why are you laughing when I curse you? — the sage wondered.
— It’s because I used to pay those who disparaged me for three years, and you do it for free.
— Enter the city, it’s yours. — the sage replied.

Two shepherds had a political argument. One of the shepherds was foolishly attacking the king, while the other was no less foolishly defending him. They lost their voice and even had a fight, but neither of them could prove anything to the other shepherd. The shepherds were desperate so they decided to go down the road until they find someone to settle their argument.

They left their sheep and went no one knows where, shouting at one another. Fortunately, they soon met a priest who was going to the Vespers. The shepherds told him about their argument and asked him to settle it. The priest replied, “My children! The crux of your argument is that one of you is milking a he-goat, and the other offers a sieve to carry the milk.”

The shepherds were astonished to hear this remark but suddenly remembered their duty and ran back to their sheep.

There was a monk who had a cell attendant. That cell attendant was meant to help him but he would beat the monk up and take away his bread. It happened every day, and the monk was close to death. One day, the abbot called that cell attendant, so the monk could have rest. He could be thanking God but he was praying, “Lord, I haven’t tolerated anything for your sake today, and so this day has gone in vain.”

There was a man who lived in abject poverty, loneliness, cold and hunger. Notwithstanding that fact, he would fervently thank God in his prayers every morning.
One of his neighbors came to him and said:
— Listen up, how can you be so dishonest? You cannot deceive God or yourself or us: we all know that God has made you as poor as a church mouse — and you know it, too: why do you thank him, then?
The poor man replied:
— You don’t seem to understand anything! God looked at me and thought: what does this child of mine need to grow into full measure? He needs to be hungry, cold, and lonely… He gave all those things to me so abundantly that I cannot help thanking him every day.

Source: https://azbyka.ru/days/