Seven Stories and Parables for the Week: Issue 11

A noble young man gave up all his possessions and came to live in a monastery. Due to the fact that he was well-educated, he was appointed to a special obedience of copying worship books.

The elder would spend a lot of time talking with the scribe, so finally other disciples started having grudges against their teacher and accused him of favoritism.

Having heard that, three of the most honorable monks decided to learn why the elder preferred his scribe to everyone else.

The elder did not answer anything to their enquiry. He simply led them to his disciples’ cells.
— Brother, come here quick! I need you! — he repeated over and over again as he was knocking on their doors.

None of his disciples opened the door: one brother was singing Psalms and did not want to be interrupted; another brother was weaving ropes with prayer and he was afraid to spoil the rope due to haste.

Finally, they came to the scribe’s cell.

The elder knocked at the door and uttered just one word, Brother!
The door swung open, and the surprised scribe appeared in front of the elder.
— Tell me dear fathers where do you see my other disciples? — the elder asked as he entered the young monk’s cell.
They did not know what to say.
The elder took a manuscript that his disciple had just been writing in.
— See dear fathers: he was writing this letter but as soon as he heard my voice, he sprang to his feet and did not even finish that letter. Doesn’t this letter tell you about the obedience that this disciple of mine has towards me better than all words? This is the kind of obedience that I love him for.
— You are justified in loving him, Abba, — the first monk said.
— We all love him, — the second monk added.
— God loves him for it, too! — the third monk exclaimed.

A craftsman who was making pencils, took one pencil and said, “Before I send you to the pencil box, I want you to know five things. Remember them and never forget, and you’ll become the best pencil you can be.

One: You’ll be able to do many great things only if you allow Someone to hold you in his hand.

Two: You’ll have to endure painful sharpening from time to time but it will be instrumental in making you a better pencil.

Three: You’ll be able to correct the mistakes that you make.

Four: Your most important part will always be inside.

Five: Whatever the surface that they use you on, you must leave your mark everywhere. Regardless of your condition, you must keep writing.”

The pencil promised that it would remember its creator’s words; it lay in the pencil box with a vocation in its heart.

You must remember these five rules and never forget them.

One: You will be capable of doing many great things but only if you allow God to hold you in his hand and if you allow other people to access the talents that you have.

Two: You will go through a painful sharpening from time to time by encountering various problems. You will need these problems to become a stronger person.

Three: You will be able to correct your own mistakes or just grow out of them.

Four: Your most important part is in your heart.

Five: Wherever you go, you must leave your own mark. No matter what your situation is like, you must continue serving God in all things.

Saint Nikolaj Velimirovič said:
Keep all things at a distance and bring your soul closer to God.
If you pour water on the fire, you will have neither fire nor water.
If you desire someone else’s property and hate your own, you will lose both.
If you fall in love with a maid as with your wife, you will have neither.
If you often drink someone’s health, you will lose yours.
If you keep counting others’ money, you will have less and less money.
If you keep counting others’ sins, your sins will multiply.
If you chase a fox and catch it, you will get your rooster back; if you chase a bear and catch it, you will neither get your rooster back nor your life.

An elder kept telling his disciples:
– When a king wants to conquer a city, he besieges it and deprives it of water and food supplies.
His starving enemy has no choice but to obey him. It is true of sins, too. If one abides in fasting and prayer, eventually his enemy will become weak and leave his soul alone.

There was a man who asked an elder:
– What good can I do?
The elder replied:
– All good actions are equal, aren’t they? The Scripture says, Abraham was hospitable, and God was with him. Elijah loved silence, and God was with him. David was meek, and God was with him. Therefore, do what your soul wants but first of all keep your heart pure.

Someone asked an elder:
– Father, what does sadness mean?
– Being sad means keep thinking about yourself all the time, – he explained briefly.

Someone asked an elder, “Is that man rich?”
– I don’t know, - the elder replied. – All I know is that he has a lot of money.
– So he’s rich, isn’t he?
– Being rich and having a lot of money isn’t the same thing, – the elder replied. - A person can be really rich only if he is fully satisfied with what he already has. A person who wants to have more is poorer than the person who has nothing but is nevertheless satisfied with what he has.

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