Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
In a village there was a very poor man who had many children. He went to earn his bread in a neighbouring village. After a week he received a sack of wheat as a payment for his work. The poor man was glad because seven hungry mouths were waiting for him at home. He was walking with the sack on his back on a scorching heat for not wasting any money with the transport and he was breathing very heavily. Tired he stopped at the roadside, in the shade of a tree.
All of a sudden he saw a nice carriage driven by four horses coming through the dust of the road. The harnesses of the horses and the clothes of the coachman were dazzlingly glittering. A gentleman, dressed in luxurious clothes was sitting in front of the carriage. The poor man dazzled by so much beauty and richness was looking amazed and he was stunned even more when the carriage stopped before him. The rich man stretched his hand and said:
`Give me something!`
`But I am poor, sir, I have nothing to give.`
`Give me something!` the rich man repeated.
The poor man looked at him thoughtfully.
`Give me something`, the rich man said once again.
For getting rid of him, the poor man opened his sack and taking a grain of wheat he gave it to the rich man saying:
`Here. `Take a grain from the bread of my children!`
The rich man received the grain and waved to the coachman to resume their ride. The poor man started to walk on his way again keeping the sack on his shoulders. When he arrived at home he took out the wheat from the sack to send it to the mill. But to the great amazement of all they saw shining in the heap of wheat a grain of gold. Then the man realized that his gift – the grain of wheat – was returned to him thousandfold by the messanger of God.
`Oh, if I had been more generous how many golden grains I would have had now!` `Why didn’t I give him a handful at least?`
On the day of our judgment both what we have done and what we haven’t done every time we could have helped and lazed shall be weighted. We shall give answer for our indifference towards our neighbour who was in trouble and pain. The spirit of sacrifice, the good understanding shown to our brothers, the aid, the prayer for them, all these will be pure grains of gold in the sack of our good deeds.
Today more than ever the world needs repentance, understanding, compassion and models to be followed.
God help us rejoice with those who are happy, cry with those who are downcast, pray with scalding tears for ourselves and for the whole rambling world. Amen!