May 13, 2010

Praying to Saint Ascension (A Beneficial Tale of St. Paisios the Athonite)

By Elder Paisios the Athonite

I remember an elderly monk at Esphigmenou Monastery on Mount Athos, who was so simple, that he thought "Ascension" was the name of a women Saint. He prayed to her on his komboschoini, "Saint of God, intercede for us!" Once, he had to feed a sick Brother in the infirmary and had nothing to offer him. He immediately went down the stairs, opened a window overlooking the sea, stretched his arms out and said, "Ascension, my Saint, give me a little fish for the Brother." And right away, as if by miracle, a big fish jumped out of the sea and into his hands. The others who saw him were astonished, but he simply looked at them smiling, as if he were saying "What's so strange about what you've just seen?" And then look at us. We may know everything about the life and martyrdom of the Saints, or about when and how the Ascension took place and yet, we cannot even catch a tiny little fish! These are the strange and paradoxical things of the spiritual life, which the reasoning of those intellectuals that are centred on themselves and not on God, cannot explain, because their knowledge is of this world and sterile; their spirit is ill with secularism and their mind void of the Holy Spirit.

Source: From Spiritual Counsels, Volume 1: With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man by Elder Paisios of Mount Athos (Holy Monastery "Evangelist John the Theologion", 2006), p. 230.