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January 22, 2011

The Woman Who Felt Abandoned By God

One of the holy fathers said:

When I was in Alexandria, I went into a martyr's shrine to pray, and I saw a Christ-loving woman wearing (it seemed) widow's weeds. She had some [serving] boys and girls with her. This is how she spoke, firmly grasping the railing of the holy martyr's tomb: "You have abandoned me, Lord, have mercy upon me, Master, lover of humanity!" Such were her cries and tears that I broke off from my prayers and paid attention to her, mightily affected by her cries and tears. I supposed it likely that, being a widow, she was being oppressed by somebody.

Since I was acquainted with the deputy prefect, I waited until she had finished her prayer then, summoning one of her youths, I said: "Call your mistress for me." When she approached I told her what I supposed [to be her condition]. Again she dissolved into tears, saying: "Oh, Father, do you not know what my [trouble] is? God has abandoned me and not visited me. Today it is three years that I have not been ill, nor a child of mine nor a servant nor anybody else of my house, and I suppose that God has turned away from me because of my sin: that is why I am weeping, that God would visit me according to His mercy, and that quickly." I was amazed at her philosophical soul and, having prayed for her, I went my way, glorifying God.

From The Spiritual Meadow by St. John Moschos, Cictercian Publications, 1992, p. 201.