Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
Once there lived a believer who was renowned for his austere life. One day standing before the altar, he called God, saying:
”God, I would be ready to do anything, absolutely anything out of my love for You.” ”Try me by any means you like and you will see that I am saying the truth.”
”Take a vessel, fill it with oil, put it on your head, cross the market, then the city, street by street, and come back, but beware not to waste any drop of oil”, an angelic voice told him.
The man filled the vessel, put it on his head and started walking, with his arms stretched for proper balance, repeating at every step: ”no drop should be wasted!” It was market day and the man crossed the entire city, street by street, without wasting a drop of oil. Content, he turned back and put the vessel in the church. He took the icons as witnesses of his accomplishment, but there was complete silence. And in the next days the icons continued to stay mute.
Overwhelmed by despair, the man with his head on his knees, was bitterly crying and repeated through his sobs: ”And yet no drop was wasted.”
Then a voicewas heard again:
”What do I need your oil for, man?” ” What can I, your God, do with a vessel of oil?” ”How many times while you were carrying the vessel on your head, how many times you thought of me? Never!
And the man had only the oil in his mind, indeed.
”You would have better dropped the vessel down and thought about me, lovingly.” ”Leave aside all the trials you are renowned for and love me truly.”