In a school from the rural area at Religion a child asked the priest who was speaking to them about mercy as the first virtue we must have to save our souls.
`Father, what about me, who am poor and have nothing to give, how to give alms? If I had more money I would gladly give but like this…`
`My son, this is not mercy. Look, for instance, yesterday morning, going with business I saw your mother on the other side of the street going out of the yard and helping an old woman who was carrying a wood load to go home
Later I saw her again guiding a traveler who had lost his way and even if she could not give him any food, she had a good advice and a jug with fresh water for him. When her neighbor left her house with things to do at the market she gave her the small child to take care of him. At evening when two villagers were quarreling on the way she went out and with nice words she reconciled them. Now you see what is mercy? Even if you don`t have money to give to the others nothing impedes you to help them with what you can. You don`t need to give out from your pocket, but from your soul.`
With a coin you give you can gain heaven. Not because the heaven is that cheap but because God is so full of love. If didn`t have that coin at least, then give a glass with fresh water!`(Saint John Chrysostom)
Excerpt from the Most beautiful Christian Orthodox parables and stories – Leon Magdan, Aramis – Romanian Patriarchy, 1998.