Seven Parables and Stories for the Week: Issue 13

There was a monk who told an elder:
– It’s not always easy to see what you are morally obliged to do, is it?
– It is, – the elder replied. – What you must do is what you’re the least willing to do.

We should be living like a spinning wheel, merely touching the ground at a single point and striving upwards with all the rest. On the contrary, we lie on the ground and cannot get up. (Saint Ambrose of Optina)

There was a brother who asked Abba Poemen for instructions in his spiritual life.
The elder said to him:
– While there is fire under a caldron, flies cannot touch it. When it cools down, all pests can freely sit on it. The same is true for us humans: as long as we persist in prayer, the enemy cannot defeat us!

A noble woman came to St Seraphim of Sarov and complained that the teachers of her children did little to teach them French, and asked St Seraphim what to do.
– You’d better teach your kids to pray to God, and they will easily learn French later, - was the holy elder’s advice.

Elder Amphilochius (Makris) was the rector of St John the Theologian Monastery at the Island of Patmos. He founded several monasteries, children’s shelters, and almshouses in the Greek islands.
The wise elder often used parables to make a point:
– Christ often comes and knocks at your door, and you invite him to sit in the antechamber of your soul. Then you get distracted by your problems and forget about the Great Guest. He sits there patiently waiting for you, and when you don’t return for too long, He gets up and leaves.
Sometimes you are so busy that you respond to him out of your window. You have no time even to open the door.

Elder Paisius of Mount Athos used to tell the following story, “One day when I was working in my vegetable garden, planning to plant several tomato plants, a visitor came to me and asked:
— What are you doing, Gerondas?
— You see, I do the confession of my vegetable garden.
— How can it be possible, Gerondas, — the man was baffled. — Does a vegetable garden need a confession, too?
— Of course it does. I know for a fact that when I do the confession of my vegetable garden, i.e., when I take all stones, weeds, and thorns out of the soil, the vegetables will be strong and healthy. If I don’t, the tomatoes will be sick and small.

An elder told a brother, “The Devil is your enemy, and you are a house. The enemy keeps throwing all kinds of rubbish and dirt at you. Be careful and throw everything he puts inside you away. If you are neglectful, your house will be filled with rubbish, and you won’t be able to get inside. As soon as the devil begins smearing you, throw the rubbish away, and your house will remain clean thanks to God’s grace.” (St Ignatius (Bryanchaninov))

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