Seven Parables and Stories for the Week: Issue 17

Abba Gervasius used to visit Antioch once a year and preach. Large crowds would gather to listen to him. One of his brethren asked him:
– Father, aren’t you tempted by vainglory when you see so many people around you?
– No, brother, – Gervasius replied, – I think that many more people would come if I were being executed...

A disciple asked his elder:
— Why do you read the Bible every day? You have read it already, haven’t you?
The elder answered with a counter-question:
— Why have you eaten today? Didn’t you eat yesterday?
The disciple shrugged:
— I eat to live. I can’t live without food.
The elder nodded:
— I read the Bible every day because I don’t want to die spiritually.

Long ago, the Devil decided to sell all his tools. He placed them in a glass window for everyone to see. What a collection it was! Here lay a shining dagger of Envy and a hammer of Wrath; a bow of Passion with poisoned arrows of Gluttony, Lust, and Jealousy.
There was a stand dedicated to a vast array of the nets of Lie. There were tools of Despondency, Love of Money, and Hatred. All of these tools were excellently displayed and had price tags.
There was a small, unbecoming, and worn out wooden wedge displayed in the most favorable light. It had a price tag that read, “Pride”. Surprisingly enough, this tool cost more than the rest taken together.
A passer-by asked the Devil why he valued that strange wedge so highly, and the Devil replied:
— Yes, I value it more than all other tools, indeed. It is the only tool that I can fully rely on if all the rest turn out to be of no use.
He touched the wooden wedge with affection.
— If I manage to drive this wedge into a person’s head, — the Devil continued, — it will open the way to all other tools.

Isn’t it strange that a $10 note is a lot when we use it to donate to a church and not so when we use it to pay for things we buy in a supermarket?
Isn’t it strange that an hour we spend praying and remembering God is so long while an hour spent in front of a TV is so short?
Isn’t it strange that we find it hard to concentrate while praying but it isn’t hard at all to stay focused when we talk with our friends?
Isn’t it strange that we are so excited when the referee adds time to a football match but so angry when a sermon takes up more time than anticipated?
Isn’t it strange that it is so difficult for us to read just one chapter from the Bible and so easy to read a hundred pages of our favorite novel?
Isn’t it strange that people are so eager to sit in the front rows at a concert and hide in the corners at church?
Isn’t it strange that we find it so hard to learn just one prayer and so easy to remember and retell gossip?
Isn’t it strange that we so easily take the information that we read in newspapers at face value, while finding it hard to believe in the stories written in the Word of God?
Isn’t it strange that we all want to go to the paradise but are reluctant to put any effort into conquering it?
Isn’t it strange that almost everyone is both a judge and a lawyer: when other people’s sins are concerned, we are judges, but when our own sins are brought to scrutiny, we suddenly turn into lawyers.
Isn’t it strange that upon reading this, almost every one of us will think that it relates to others but not ourselves?

A man saw a naked child in the street.
The child was hungry and shivering from cold.
The man was angry and yelled at God:
- Why do You allow this to happen? Why don’t You do anything about it?
The answer was:
- I’ve done something already: I sent you…

Why stay chaste before marriage?
God gave us the gift of physical love. It’s as full as a jug and as intact as a ripe apple. When we waste our life carelessly, we distribute what we’ve got among all who we give it to. When we finally meet that person, the most important person in our life, we will have little to give him or her… The more sexual partners we have, the less love we have in store.
- How do I understand whether this person is the one I have been waiting for so long?
- You will want to grow old together with him or her…
It is normal for a person to be in full relationship with just one person. One cannot be equally intimate with many people. The relationship between a man and a woman is the utmost closeness that is ever possible between people…

Some detractors of St Ephraim the Syrian decided to tempt him. They asked one of the city prostitutes to go and seduce Abba Ephraim, and if she couldn’t, at least make him angry because no one had ever seen him angry or agitated. Abba Ephraim listened to what she had to say and then ordered:
– Follow me!
The excited prostitute ran after him. Soon they came to the city square teeming with people.
– Let’s do what you want here and now.
The embarrassed prostitute saw the crowded place and replied:
– How can we do it in the presence of so many people?
St Ephraim the Syrian answered:

– If you are ashamed of people, why aren’t you ashamed of God who is able to see not just our actions but even our intentions?

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