Father John visited often the family of merchant C from Petersburg. In the house where the merchant lived three young students lived as well and they often made jokes about the popularity father John had. Once they thought to fool father John and take into derision the healing power of his prayers. K, the smartest of them, went to family C and asked them when father John was supposed to come to pass by them as well as one of his mates was on the verge of death. Young Vania had to pretend he was sick, M had to pretend he was the brother of the sick and cry desperately near his bed. All said and done.
Fatjer John listened to K looking straight into his eyes and told him: `I do not refuse anyone, I will come to you too but do not forget that you make jokes about God.`
K. fell deep into thoughts but he insisted that father John should pass by them.
`Fine, I will come.` This was the answer. After ten minutes the doorbell rang. Vania jumped quickly into his bed and started moaning. K went to open the door. Father John entered and he was led to the bed where M was whining. The priest made the sign of the cross and started the prayer: `God, send to them something according to their faith. Amen.`
He stood up quickly and said goodbye and left. K and M walked him to the door. They returned laughing out loud to the room of the sick.
`Vania, Vania, get up, father John left, do not pretend that anymore!`
But this time the poor man did not pretend it at all. He was completely paralyzed: his tongue, hands, legs all were motionless. Only the intense look of his eyes showed that he was alive and wanted to say something. His two mates were stunned of fright. They quickly called doctors. Three famous doctors spent their night near the sick. They declared the paralysis was for long term and he had very slight chances to ever be healed.
`Probably a terrible trouble happened to your mate and his whole nervous system is destroyed`, they declared.
The very next day by the first train the two mates left for Kronstadt. Father John could not receive them until evening. When he was told about them he sent them answer that he could not do anything for them. They spent the whole night at the priest`s door. In the morning, when the priest went out, they fell on their knees apologizing to him. The kind shepherd lifted them up and told them to go to the church. There after the Liturgy he took them to the Icon of Saint Nicholas and for almost two hours he explained to them where they had been wrong.
He rebuked them for their rude joke showing them that God doesn`t remain mocked.
`Now let us pray!` At the end of the prayer the father told them:
`Go and may God be with you and praise Him.` It seemed they were released of a burden of a mountain from their backs and they left peacefully.
They arrived home in the evening. Vania opened the door to them.
`Vania, is it you? Are you healthy?`
`Almost healthy`, Vania told them. My head hurts and I feel a dizziness in my whole body.`
It was found that in the moment father John was praying with his friends before the icon of Saint Nicholas, Vania started moving and slowly all his body turned to motion. First his right hand was released and he made the sign of the cross.
Excerpt from The life of Saint John of Kronstadt– Priest Ioan Andronic, Doxologia Publishing via http://doxologia.ro.