Only once he was disobedient to you

Once a hieromonk who used to come to the starets and confess his thoughts and ask for advice saw me. Usually when I saw that acquaintance of the starets I went to ask for his blessing but did not speak to him.

This time I was at the landing place and when this one saw me he called me:

`Father John, father John (this had been my name in the world) Father John, I went to Volos and I saw your mother.

Then I misunderstood and answered:

`I am sorry, father, but I don`t have any mother. My mother is the Theotokos.`

`That was it. Oh, what I have done, I said to myself. I knew that immediately after I returned I would receive from the starets a flood of insults. When I returned the starets immediately after he saw me, asked me:

`Did you speak with anyone ?`

`I spoke.`

`With whom did you speak?`

`With father s- and so.`

`And what did you tell him?`

`I told him so and so.`

`Woe to you ! Did you say all these ? You`ll see what I am going to do to you.`

`Let it be blessed.`

`Now in this moment make two hundred of prostrations and we`ll speak tonight when you come to confess me your thoughts.`

`Let it be blessed. Two hundred you said? Two hundred I will make.

Then the starets began to put me to canons.

`Do that` he told me.

`Let it be blessed.`

`Do the other one. Cut wood. Break stones!`

`Let it be blessed.`

Seeing this, the kind and compassionate father Arsenions began to intermediate  for me:

`Geronda, come on. I speak all day long in vain and you didn`t give me any canon. This monk said two words and gave him two hundred prostrations. You are too severe. You must not be so severe. Come on, forgive him. He was disobedient to you only once in all this time and you gave him two hundred prostrations. This is not good. It is not acceptable.

He told him these words over and over again until the starets was melted and convinced to forgive me.

`Come on, may you be forgiven. It is for the first time when he is wrong and that is why I forgive him but if it repeats once more he will make this canon.

And with the help of God`s grace I did not disobey any other of his orders

Excerpt from My starets Joseph the Hesychast-  Pious Ephrem Philotheos Evanghelismos Publishing.

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