Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Unknown Good

In ages past, there lived a man. His sanctity was so great that even Angels marveled at it, and they descended from heaven just to see how is it possible to be vested in such holiness while still living on earth.

Once, the Angels said to God:
"Lord, grant that man the gift of wonderworking!"
"I shall," the Lord said, "only ask him if he wants it himself."
So the Angels asked the saint:
"Do you wish to grant health just by your touch?"
"No," said the holy man, "it is far better for the Lord to do it Himself."
"And do you want to have such power of beautiful speech that it will turn sinners unto repentance?"
"No, that it is in God's hands, not in the hands of a weak man. I pray for the conversion of sinners, but do not convert myself."
"Maybe you desire to draw people unto yourself by the radiance of virtue, therefore glorifying God?"
"No, by drawing people to myself I would draw them away from God."
"So what is it that you want?" asked the Angels.
"What more can I want? I only want for the Lord not to deprive me of His mercy. With it, I will have everything." But the Angels kept on insisting.
"Very well," said the saint, "I wish to do good in such manner that I am not aware of it myself."

Angels got confused, but then they decided: "Let the shadow of this man, which he does not see, heal the sick and relieve sorrows and sufferings."
From that moment it was so: wherever this saint went, his shadow covered with greenery the well-traveled paths, it returned water to dried up springs, flowers grew beneath it and human tears dried up under it. And the saint simply walked the earth, spreading good around himself, as flower spreads its scent, without it being aware of it.

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