Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
A hermit seeing the injustice from the world prayed to God and asked Him to reveal the reason why the righteous and pious people are unhappy and tortured unjustly while the sinners become rich and spend a comfortable life. While the hermit was praying to God to reveal him the secret he heard a voice saying:
`Don’t ask those that can’t be reached by your mind and by the power of your knowledge. Nor seek the hidden ones because God’s judgments are an abyss. But because you try to find this go into the world, stay in a hidden place and look carefully at what you see to understand from this small experience a small part of God’s judgments. And then you know that God governs with His providence over His creatures in a secret way. The hermit hearing this went into the world and reached an orchard crossed by a very traveled way. There were a fountain and an old tree and the elder hid in its hollow.
After a while a rich man passed by riding his horse. He stopped to drink water and rest. After he appaised his thirst he took out of his pocket a purse with one hundred golden coins and counted them. When he finished counting he wanted to put back the purse in his pocket but by mistake it slipped down. He ate, slept and when he woke he jumped on his horse and left without noticing anything about his purse.
After a while another traveler came and finding the purse took it and ran away over the field.
After some more time another traveler showed up. Being tired he stopped at the fountain drank some water took some bread from a scarf and sat down to eat. While he was eating the rich man came back and being very angry attacked the poor. He shouted angrily to give him back the money. The poor not knowing anything about the money swore that he hadn’t seen any money. But that man being angry started to beat him so badly that he killed him. Then he searched in the clothes of the poor and because he didn’t find anything he left upset.
That hermit saw everything from the hollow and marveled. He grieved a lot and cried for the unlawful crime he had witnessed and praying to God he said:
`God, what means all this ? Let me know it. I beg You tell me how can Your kindness suffer such injustices? One has lost his money, another one found it and another one was killed unfairly.`
While the elder was grieving the angel of God descended and told him:
`Do not grieve, old man and don’t think that all these happened without the will of God. But from these happenings some things take place by lenience, others as a punishment and others as a gift. So listen:
The man who had lost the money is the neighbor of the man who found it. The last one had a piece of land that valued one hundred golden coins but the rich man being fond of riches forced him to sell it for fifty. The poor having no other choice prayed to God to do him justice. That’s why God decided to give him a double amount.
The other poor man who didn’t find anything and was killed unfairly had committed once a crime. He repented sincerely and then he behaved as a true Christian in all his deeds and. He prayed all the time to God to be forgiven for the crime he had committed and he used to say: `God give me the same kind of death I gave. Of course God forgave him since he showed repentance but He was moved by the nobleness of His servant who took care of following His commandments and wanted to pay for his old sin. Thus He did not refuse his request and allowed him to die in this wild way – as he asked – and took him beside Him giving him the bright wreath for his generosity. The other one, the greedy man who lost the money and committed the crime would have been doomed for his greediness but God allowed the crime so that he may come to repentance. Because of his deed he is now leaving the world and goes to become a monk.
So what’s that case of all these three where God was unjust and unmerciful? Thus from now on never search God’s judgments because He does everything right in the way He knows while you consider these unjust. Know also that in the world there are many things that take place with the will of God for reasons unknown to men. That’s why everyone should say: God, Righteous are You and righteous are Your judgments.