St. Paphnutius prayed to God to reveal to him, who it is that he [Paphnutius] resembled. He heard a voice which spoke to him, “You are similar to a merchant who seeks good pearls; arise and do not be idle!” But why would not God say to everyone of us that we are similar to a merchant who seeks good pearls? Because many of us do not seek pearls, rather we gorge ourselves with heavy layers of cheap dust. Not everything which the net raises up from the bottom of the sea is a pearl; sometimes, it is only mud and sand. The ignorant vie for that mud and sand as though it were a pearl. Only the merchant who recognizes a true pearl casts the net into the sea untold number of times. He hauls it up, sifts it of mud and sand, until he finds one seed of pearl! Why does God compare Paphnutius to a merchant? Because Paphnutius gave away all of his possessions, invested all of his effort and all of his time, in order to find that one seed of the true pearl. That true pearl is the heart cleansed of all passions and of evil thoughts and warmed by the flame of love toward God. Arise also, you man, and do not be lazy! Your marketing day is approaching its twilight.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date March 23, and New Calendar date April 5.
A brother in a monastery was falsely accused of fornication
and he arose and went to Abba Anthony. The brethren also came
from the monastery to correct him and bring him back. They set
about proving that he had done this thing, but he defended himself
and denied that he had done anything of the kind. Now Abba
Paphnutius, who is called Cephalus, happened to be there, and he
told them this parable: ‘I have seen a man on the bank of the river
buried up to his knees in mud and some men came to give him a
hand to help him out, but they pushed him further in up to his neck.’
Then Abba Anthony said this about Abba Paphnutius: ‘Here is a
real man, who can care for souls and save them.’ All those present
were pierced to the heart by the words of the old man and they
asked forgiveness of the brother. So, admonished by the Fathers,
they took the brother back to the monastery.
Psalm 69 (70)
God, be attentive to help me. Lord, make haste to help me.
Let them be ashamed and confounded who seek my life.
Let them be turn back and be ashamed who desire evil against me.
Let them be turn back because of their shame, who say to me, Well done! Well done!
Let all those who seek you rejoice and be glad in you, and let those who love your salvation say continually, Let God be magnified! But as for me, I am poor and needy, O god, help me!
You are my help and my deliverer,
Lord, do not delay.