Rebuke of superficiality

Father Nicholas knew to admonish, enlighten, and guide souls without the need for sermons. Rather, he did so through his own life and presence. 

Once, the wife of a well-known merchant in Athens fell ill. The woman had a wealthy cousin named Elena Vlahu, who had come from Egypt to visit her. During their conversation, Elena suggested to the sick woman: “Let’s send for Father Nicholas to come here and say a prayer for your health!” 

The daughter of the sick woman valued the outward appearance with good taste. However, father Nicholas due to the fact he served liturgies daily amidst candle smoke, in churches outside the city, where there was a lot of dust, and got stained with the oil of the candles, naturally he could not always keep his clothes clean. Of course he was clean but not the way that young lady wanted.  

Then the daughter said t her aunt: “My dear aunt, let’s bring a more prestigious priest, someone from the larger churches, not this one covered in dust…” 

The following night, in a dream, the girl saw Father Nicholas dressed in golden robes. He said to her, “Do you like me now, my daughter?” The frightened girl woke up and, hurriedly summoning her aunt, begged her to make sure to bring Father Nicholas as soon as possible. The aunt called upon a relative of hers named Catina and told her, “Go quickly and tell Father Nicholas on my behalf to come to us after he finishes the Liturgy.” 

Filled with emotion and astonishment, the girl shared the entire experience with us, the singers. Afterwards, she took Father Nicholas and led him to the sick woman. As they ascended the stairs, the daughter of the sick woman came down to greet him with deep reverence. 

And at that moment, when she bent down to kiss his hand, he said, “Did you like me, daughter, as you saw me?” 

Great emotion and astonishment overwhelmed her. She had never expected such a rebuke for her shallowness. 

Excerpt from Saint Nicholas Planas, the Protector of Married Couples– Evangelismos Publishing. 

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