The Priest who hung his cassock on the Ray of the Sun
A Beneficial Tale of St. Paisios the Athonite
The humble man, even if he does miracles, still does not believe his thoughts.
Even Muslims who were suffering from something would go to him, and he healed them. Before he liturgized, he would take a drink with some dried bread and then ate nothing for the rest of the day.
At some point the Patriarch learned that he was eating before the Divine Liturgy and invited him to the Patriarchate. He went, without knowing why they asked for him.
As he waited for the Patriarch to call him in, he waited with the others in a room. Outside it was very hot; they had closed the shutters and from a small hole a sun ray passed through. Because he was sweating, he took off his cassock and hung it on the sun ray. When everyone who was sitting there in the room saw this, they lost it.
They went and told the Patriarch: “The priest who snacks before the Divine Liturgy hung his cassock on a sun ray!”
The Patriarch invited him in and began to ask him: “How are you? How is everything? How often do you liturgize? How do you prepare for the Divine Liturgy?”
He responded: “I read the Service of Matins, I do a few prostrations, then I make a drink and snack for a while, and then I liturgize.”
“Why do you do this?” the Patriarch asked.
“If I eat a bit before the Divine Liturgy,” he said, “then when I consume the Holy Gifts, Christ goes on top! While, if I eat after the Divine Liturgy, Christ is on the bottom.”
He did it with good thoughts! The Patriarch then tells him: “No, this is not correct. First do the consuming of the Holy Gifts, and then eat a bit.”
The priest then prostrated himself before the Patriarch and accepted what he said.
I want to say, that even though he reached such a state of being, where he worked miracles, he accepted this in all simplicity; he did not have his own will. While, if he believed his thoughts, he could have said: “I read prayers over sick people and animals and they become well; I work miracles … what is he telling me? The way I think is better, because otherwise the food I eat will go on top of Christ.”
I have come to understand that obedience helps very much. Even if someone is not very smart, if they have obedience, they become a philosopher. Whether smart or stupid, healthy or sick spiritually or physically, even if someone is tormented by thoughts, if they are obedient, they are liberated. Obedience is redemption.
Saint Paisios of Mount Athos : Spiritual Counsels, Vol. 3: Spiritual Struggle, translated into English and published in 2010 by Holy Monastery “Evangelist John the Theologian”, Souroti, Thessaloniki, Greece.
fr. Aed Jweinat: A sanctified elder from Al Husn, Irbid, Jordan as a priest at St. George’s Church.