December 4, 2012

Elder Paisios' Reverence for Saint Barbara

- Elder, when someone has reverence towards a Saint, what has occurred?

For someone to have special reverence towards a Saint, the Saint must speak within them in one way or another. When a certain event for a person takes place with the help of a Saint, they have a special love for that Saint. This event can be a serious one, or it can be simple. Well, since I as a young child went to the Church of Saint Barbara there in Konitsa, I have a great reverence for Saint Barbara. The Saint helped me in the army, when they took me to the radio operators, even though I was uneducated. She also helped me later in the Sanatorium after my lung surgery. The doctors told me then, as soon as my lung was clean, they would take away the tubes and the machine. And though they would remove them in five days, twenty-five days passed and they did not remove them, making me suffer a lot. On Saturday December 3rd I waited for the doctors, to free me from this martyrdom, but unfortunately they did not appear.

On Sunday morning, being the commemoration of Saint Barbara, I said: "If the Saint were to help me, then she would have helped me. The doctors left. Today, being Sunday, there is no way they will come. Now who will remove my tubes?"

I also said a few words of complaint: "So many times I lit the oil lamps in the church of the Saint. What oil I brought. I cleaned them, I polished them. They couldn't remove two tubes?" I later thought: "Perhaps I saddened Saint Barbara, and this is why she didn't speedily come to remove them."

I suddenly heard a noise. "What happened?" I said. "Did something happen to someone?" Someone said: "The doctors are coming." I don't know what came over the manager to say to the doctors early in the morning: "Go and remove the tubes from the monk." They entered the room and said: "We have an order to remove the tubes." It troubled Saint Barbara that I said a few words of complaint! You have to grumble a little! It is best not to grumble. It is more noble if you do not grumble.

You see, sometimes a Saint gives immediately what we ask, and sometimes later. Sometimes they hear the prayerful because we are in a good spiritual state, and sometimes because we cry and grumble like little children.

Source: From Elder Paisios the Athonite: Discourse 6, On Prayer (Thessaloniki, 2012). Translated by John Sanidopoulos.