Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
Peter was orphaned since he was a small child. His mother remained devoted to the memory of her husband. She dedicated herself to the upbringing of her son.
She had a good position at the bank and this helped her make the ends meet.
And because Peter was a fast learner, she decided to help him complete his studies regardless of the field he would have chosen.
“Dear Peter, it will be my joy and praise if you become a prominent scientist, in any field you’d like”, she said one afternoon, while they sat in their living room. “The soul of your reposed father will rejoice from heaven.” “And I’ll always be by your side.” “You’ll have everything you need.” “The only thing you have to do is to dedicate yourself to your studies.” “I’ll stand by you and support you as long as I live, my son!”
“Thank you, mother!” he said tearfully and embraced her…
The years passed and Peter graduated among the first the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics from Thessaloniki. He took his diploma with the highest mark. When he happily showed it to her, she could not refrain her tears because of her emotion and she kissed him incessantly. Then he took his master and with one of his friends opened a tutoring office. Their office became famous, being one of the best from their town.
Until here everything went well for Peter. The only bad thing was that he did not believe in God. He had been influenced by 2-3 of his professors from the university who with their theories made him become an atheist.
His mother noticed this. She had never seen him making the sign of the Cross when they ate together. Although she told him, he smiled ironically. But the worst thing was that he transmitted these atheistic ideas to his students at the lessons.
Although everything went so well all of a sudden something stroke him instantaneously. He felt unbearable pains in the abdominal area. His mother took him immediately to hospital and he was almost inconscious. The doctors examined him to find out what was the cause of his fever. In the end they came to the conclusion that he had an intestinal infection and focused on that problem. The pain gradually ceased but not the fever. His situation is a rare and difficult one, the doctors said to his mother.
One day three women entered his ward. They greeted him politely.
“We are an aiding team from our parish and we came to say some comforting words to the patients.” “Would you like to read a line from the Gospel for you?”
“How much are you paid for this?”
“We do this work for free, only out of our love for Christ and for our brothers who suffer.”
“I don’t believe in this, but anyway, read it to me!” “I might forget about my pains.”
This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it, it is written in the Gospel of John. It seems that God has a plan for you, brother. What is your name?
“All I know is that I feel a lot of pain.” “My name is Peter.”
“We writhe too when we are in the throes of childbirth.” “But when a new child is born, we forget about all pains.”
“I agree, but I told you, I don’t believe.” “Only your politeness makes me listen to you.”
“Then will you allow us to tell you something else about your pains?” “In our Church there is a holy sacrament called the Holy Unction which is officiated by the priests.” “All the people who participate and have faith may see miracles happening.” “Would you like to call the priest of the hospital to officiate the Holy Unction for you?” “And we’ll pray for you.”
After a few minutes Peter said:
“I told you from the beginning that I am not a believer.” “I haven’t gone to the church since I was a child and my mother used to take me with her.” “But because I saw your sincere concern about me, although I am a stranger for you, I agree.” “Call the priest.” “I will speak to him.” After a while the priest of the hospital came after he had been called by one of the three women. Then they all went out and left him alone with the priest. With the grace of God, the experienced spiritual doctor helped Peter to open his heart. He confessed all the secrets of his life and after the priest read him the prayer of absolution, his soul felt an indescribable peace. He felt better though his pains had not ceased.
While he was confessing, the three women called some of their kith who lived in the neighborhood and asked them to bring a plate with some flour and some oil for the Holy Unction. No sooner said than done. Four other women came. In the meantime Peter’s mother came too. They prepared everything and after a while the priest officiated the Sacrament of the Holy Unction. Peter watched that carefully. He was the first to be anointed. His mother and the other women looked with tears in their eyes.
After a few days he took the Eucharist, then he went back home with his hospital release note. A new life began for him. On that afternoon he went to his office. He wanted to keep the promise he had made at the confession. His colleague and the students were happy to see him back.
After they had all gathered in a conference room, he stood before them, looking affectionately at them and said excitedly:
“Thanks God that I see you again, children!”
The children looked at each other perplexed by the beginning of his speech. He continued:
“My heart is crying now when I see you again.” “I was in danger of dying but God saved me.” “You heard me many times saying that there is no God.” “I used to tell you that I am an atheist and I poisoned your minds with that.”
“Atheism is a big lie, children!” “I beg your forgiveness for everything I told you.” “In hospital I found that there is a God and miracles happen.” “There I met some true Christians, who love sincerely.” “I love you all!” “May you have a good spiritual enhancement!” “God be with you!”
The children applauded and cried for some long minutes. For them it was the best of lessons.