Stories about elders of Christianity
❶ Sometime when Saint Antonius prayed in his cell, he heard a voice saying: "Antonius, you have not spiritually reached yet to a shoemaker who lives in Alexandria". He got up in the morning, took his stick and went to find him. He arrived at that place and went to shoemakers workshop.
- The Elder tells him:
"Tell me about your deeds."
- The shoemaker said:
"I do not know if I have ever done anything good, except that from the moment I get up in the morning to sit on my work, I say that this entire city, from the youngest to the oldest, enters the Kingdom of God for their virtuous deeds and only I inherit hell for my sins. In the evening I say again the same words before I sleep."
When he heard that, abbot Antony said,
«Truly, as a fine goldsmith, even though you are sitting at home, you have comfortably inherited Kingdom of Heaven, while I spend all my time in the desert, but as I have no distinction, I did not keep up with you.»
We can see that St. Antonius, who was characterized by church as great, was lower spiritually than a cobbler of his time who basically followed what Christ had said, that anyone who lowers himself would rise. Conclusion: Humility leads us to Kingdom of Heaven while pride the opposite.
❷ When abbot Antonius was an eremite at the desert, he once fell in negligence and great confusion and said to God:
"Lord, I want to be saved, but my thoughts do not leave me. What can I do with this sorrow, how can I be saved?"
Sometime, he came out a little and saw someone like himself sitting and doing handiwork.
After a while he left the workbench, got up, prayed, sat again and continued to knit his rope.
Then he rose again for prayer.
He was an angel of the Lord who had been sent to correct Antonius and ensure him by telling:
"Do this and you will be saved."
When Antonius heard that, was filled with great joy and courage. And so he continued working for his salvation.
We can see that we should constantly pray if we seek salvation.
❸ Sometime when Abbot Makarios prayed in his cell, heard a voice saying,
"Makarios, you have not yet reached spiritually some women here in this city."
In the morning the Elder stood up, took his stick and began traveling towards that city.
When he arrived in town and found the house, he knocked at the door. One woman came out and greeted him. After sitting for a while, another one came. He called them, and they came and sat with him. The Elder said:
"I have made so much effort in order to come to you. So tell me your works, what do you do?"
"Father -they said- believe us, we haven`t done something until now. So what do you ask us to tell you?"
The Elder begged them:
"Show me your work."
Then said to him,
"We happened to marry two brothers. To this day, we have been living in this house and we have never argued or talked dishonestly. Sometime we had thought to leave our men and become nuns. We had asked our men to let us go, but they did not want to. So, since we did not achieve this goal, we made an agreement between us and with God. That is until our death not to say anything bad for anyone."
When Abbot Makarios heard that he said,
"True, there is no distinction between a virgin woman, a married one, a monk, a secular, God seeks intention from us and gives Holy Spirit to all."
God gives us possibility of salvation wherever we may be, or whatever we may do. We only need to be humble.
❹ "It is not allowed to delay helping a person who is going to fall. For if you delay his salvation for a short time, you will abandon him in the cruelty of the storm. That is why in such cases we need to hurry and give our best effort. So let us be provident for the salvation of our brothers. "
One who is humble will not tell anyone that he is negligent or talk back to a man who brings him trouble, or see defects on other people, or listen to something that does not do good to his soul. Nor he will speak and reveal anybody's defects or make sad anyone with his words, nor does he have an interest for other people but for his own sins. On the contrary, he is peaceful with all people, because Lord commanded it. Even if someone is fasting all week and do a lot of things without humility it won't matter.