Clerical Articles

The prayer and the scale

  • December 20, 2016

Metropolitan Chrysostom of Edesa

A poor mother who had many children went to the grocery to buy on credit the necessary victuals for Christmas. The grocer asked her how much money she had and she answered that her husband and her son had died in the war and she had five children and no income at all.

“I tell you honestly.” “The only thing I have now with me is a piece of paper where my sick daughter had written a prayer…”

Then the grocer told her harshly and blankly:

“Woman, here is a grocery store and not a charity shop!”

But wanting to tease her, he took the paper and putting it on the scale pan said ironically and haughtily:

“Let’s see how many victuals your daughter’s paper weighs.”

And he put on the other scale pan a slice of bread but the scale didn’t go down. Then he put a loaf of bread, but still nothing happened. Then he put two loaves, then three, five and other heavier victuals, but they still couldn’t overcome the weight of the paper.

The grocer was surprised by the unusual weight of that piece of paper and was overwhelmed by a holy fear and filled by mixed feelings of sorrow and shame, he said to that woman:

“Woman, take this bag and fill it with food!” “Then go back to your family and have a nice Christmas!”

Then the woman, moved by the grocer’s gesture, took the bag with victuals, thanked him with tears in her eyes and left joyfully. After the woman had left, the grocer took the paper and read what it was written on it: God give us today our daily bread.

This is the weight of the prayer…

Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with the food that is my portion.(Proverbs 30, 8)

Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and most compassionate. Psalm 145

The rich became poor and they hunger but the ones seeking after the Lord shall not lack any good thing. Psalm 34

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. Psalm 23