Seven Stories and Parables for the Week: Issue 9

Amma Theodora asked Archbishop Theophan, “What does the saying of the Apostle ‘Redeeming time’ mean?” The Archbishop replied, “It means that our earthly lives are like trade. For instance, when you run into the time when you are despised and hated, redeem this time with humility and make use of it. Thus, everything that opposes us and hampers us, can become useful for us, if we are willing to use it for our good.”

There was a beautiful loose woman in one city. The mayor fell in love with her and proposed to her under the condition that she would be blameless from then onwards.

The woman promised that she would lead a virtuous life, and soon she became the mayor’s wife. Her former lovers learned about it and were upset. One day they decided to ask her out.

“Let’s whistle to her. She will come to us, and the mayor won’t know it,” the lovers said, and so they did.

As soon as the woman heard their usual whistle, she ran to the innermost room of the house and stuck her fingers into her ears.

This is what this parable means: the beautiful-but-shameless woman is our soul; the mayor is Christ; marriage is repentance; the whistle is the worldly temptations; the whistling lovers are demons and passions; the innermost room is a life by the Lord’s commandments.

If our souls keep seeking for God, demons and passions will be afraid of it and run away from it. Oh, if only our souls would always look for God!

Abba Poemen: “If you leave a chest with clothes for a year and do not inspect it, the clothes will decay. The same is true for thoughts: if we do not act on them, the thoughts will decay and disappear within a year. If someone catches snakes or scorpions and locks them in a vessel for a year, they will die. This is how evil thoughts caused by demons are destroyed by patience.”

Abba Poemen: “The nature of water is soft, that of stone is hard; but if a bottle is hung above the stone, allowing the water to fall drop by drop, it wears away the stone. So it is with the Word of God; it is soft and our heart is hard, but the man who hears the Word of God often, opens his heart to the fear of God.”

A brother told Abba Sisoës, “O Abba, what do I do? I’ve fallen.” The elder replied, “Rise up.” The brother said, “I rose up and then fell again.” The elder replied, “Rise up again.” The brother asked, “How long shall I be rising up and falling back again?” The elder’s answer was, “Until you die.”

An elder took his disciples out into the cold, and stood in front of them in silence. Five minutes later… ten minutes later… the elder kept silent.

The disciples were shaking and shivering from cold, and finally, when they were fed up with waiting, the elder started talking.

This is what he told them, “You feel cold. It’s because you stand far from each other. Keep closer and share your warmth with each other. This is the essence of Christian love.”

There was a shepherd who offended a villager. The villager harbored resentment against him and decided to take revenge. He knew that the shepherd herded his cattle in a remote place where almost no one went. So he decided to dig out a deep hole for the shepherd to fall into. He started digging late at night. While he was digging, he was imagining how his offender would fall into the hole, break something or even die in the hole, unable to get out. “If a cow, a sheep, or at least a goat falls into the hole, that would suffice, too,” the villager thought. He was digging and digging and dreaming of revenge. The hole was becoming deeper and deeper.

The dawn woke the man from his dreams. To his surprise, it turned out that he had dug out a hole so deep that he himself could not get out of it.

This is why before you start digging out a hole for someone else, even if it’s only in your thoughts, remember: you will have to be in that hole yourself because the first person who is trapped in a hole is the one who digs it out. Before you throw dirt at someone, you will have to soil your own hands with it.

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