Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
The baker rebuked his woman because she went to churches and gave alms to the poor and money for all the offertories that were organized. One day while he was taking the freshly baked bread from the oven and all the place around the bakery was filled with the plesant smell of fresh bread, a poor man came at the door of the bakery and said:
”Hey, boss, all these loaves of bread are yours?”
”And don’t you eat them?”
Go away from here!
”Give me one, cause I’m hungry.”
”Go away! I said.” ”Leave me alone!”
”Are you leaving or not?”
”Boss…” , the poor man was begging him.
But he didn’t finish his words when the baker took a loaf of bread and threw it powerfully towards him, wanting to hit him in the head. But that man left and the bread flew over his head then fell down. The poor man rushed to grab it, went out and going into a corner ate it.
All that day the baker was nervous because of that unwelcome guest and because of the lost bread. May he dare come again! he was furiously saying to himself.
On the next night, around 2 o’clock after midnight, the baker woke up from his sleep frightened and wet with sweat crying:
”Woman, wake up!”
”What’s wrong with you?” ”What happened?” his woman asked scared.
”Get up and bring me another shirt to change and I’ll tell what happned to me!” ”Woman, it seemed like I died and a lot of angels and demons gathered around me, arguing about who should have taken my soul. The wicked ones put my bad deeds on the scale and it got heavily loaded. At a certain moment an angle cried: ”The bread!” ”Bring the loaf of bread with which he appeased the hunger of that poor hungry man!” ”Put it on the other side of the scale!”
Then the demons shouted: ”He didn’t give the bread out of his mercy, he threw it to break the head of that poor man.”
And the angels answered: ”But the hungry man appeased his hunger and he was thankful for it.”
”And you see, woman, that loaf of bread changed the balance of the weighing plates.” ”The plate with that loaf of bread lowered more and in this way I was saved.” ”From now on give alms and never stop giving.” ”I shall give myself.” ”I wish that poor man would come back again!”
In the end the baker understood that if you give, you gain. But did we understand that too? Aren’t we still afraid to give? Isn’t our understanding rather affected by the pettiness of our soul? Hasn’t it come the right time for us to begin to be Christians a little bit?
We should firmly believe that when we give, we don’t get poor, but rich. Let’s prove it by deed. Some people are in need and wait even for a small piece of bread.
My dears, don’t forget that: mercy is the first daughter of God. And this is what made God become a man Himself, in order to save the man.