Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
For your spiritual benefit I shall tell you a story from the life of the spiritual sons, how the enemy aroused hate between two girls and they defeated him starting to kiss the crosses they had on their necks. At the beginning these two girls were very good friends. But the cunning enemy envied their friendship and started to stir their souls. One of them said to the other:
`You are proud.`
And the other one answered:
`And you are pride itself.`
And from here they started to hate each other. The things started to degenerate. Everything began to look differently. They started to misinterpret their words. Each one of them thought: `See how you can be wrong about someone. I used to think there is no other better person than her in the whole world! They started to avoid each other as much as they could in the conditions when they had the same obedience to make. And both of them wrote to me:`Father, what can we do? We perish. Separate us.` I asked one of them:
`You kiss the cross for your friend?`
`Why? Don’t you know that should kiss the cross for the person who gives you trouble?`
`Forgive me father, I forget.`
`You see the evil power used your recklessness and plays with you as he likes. Kiss the cross for your friend five times a day, in the morning and evening and pray for her and wish sincerely to find her salvation. She will do the same. Then you shall defeat the enemy and you will find again your peace and love.
They started to kiss the cross. To pray for each other, then one of them told me:
`I saw that my friend was crying and I was feeling so sorry for her.` I thought: I am the one who causes her trouble. I am worse than a beast. And I burst into tears. It was enough to see her crying to make me cry too. But I didn’t dare to tell her because I felt ashamed. I thought she might have not believed me and would have told me that I was false. I was quiet. One week passed. Then another one. I kept on being silent, sometimes I cried especially in the church and we looked at each other furtively. Once I caught her gaze. In it was so much compassion and love that I couldn’t stop myself and threw myself at her feet crying:
`Dear sister, forgive me, for the name of Christ!` I love you with all my heart…
What happened with me I cannot understand. Believe me I am not saying lies. And she hugged me tightly. She kissed me and then she told me with bright eyes:
`I believe, sister, I believe.` Then I cried when I saw how much you suffer because of me.
Then they started to love each other even more. It was a pleasure to look at them. Always quiet, full of energy and care. And the work started to bring its fruits plentifully.
You see what the life giving Cross of the Lord can do? Once the pride appeared it stifled it. They strived, they suffered but now they are both well. And if they had separated the sin would have continued to live hidden within themselves and would have tormented them from time to time. They would have kept a bad opinion about each other and would have added a new sin to the others from before. But now they convinced themselves from their own e xperience that if the man doesn’t fight with the evil power he becomes evil himself. God save us!
Prior monk Sava
Source: How to defeat pride, Sophia Publishing, Bucharest, 2010, pag. 26-29