Unfathomable is the Will of God

     A certain Abba who practiced asceticism with candour to God, begged Him with tears to reveal to him the way He judges and decides in certain cases where people do not understand Him, but believe they concern strange things. God however, for a long time did not wish to reveal anything to him because man can never know and understand the mysteries of God. The ascetic never ceased asking, night and day, for that particular revelation. One day therefore, God, wishing to inform him, set in his heart the thought to go and meet an elder ascetic, who was at another  location that required a few days walk to reach him.
     When the ascetic started his walk, God sent him an angel in the form of a young monk, who greeted him by saying "Father bless". The elder ascetic responded "God forgive you, my son". The angel then asked the elder, "where are you going abba?" and the elder replied, "I am going to so and so ascetic to meet him". And the angel then said, "I too am going there, so let us walk together".
     Having walked together the first day, they arrived in the evening at a village and were put up at the house of a pious and hospitable man, who looked after them. In fact he brought a silver platter in the dining room. When it was time for them to leave, the angel took the platter secretly, and tossed it up in the air and the platter disappeared. The elder when he saw this was saddened but said nothing.
     The second day they reached another village, where they were looked after by a hospitable pious Christian. He had a single son and he brought him to be blessed and receive their blessing. The angel though, when he was about to leave with the ascetic, grabbed the child by the neck and choked him to death. Witnessing such a view, the elder suffered a great surprise and fear but again said nothing.
     Having walked the third day, they reached another place, but because  they could not find anybody to receive them, they sat in a courtyard that had an unstable wall that was close to collapsing. The angel stood up, rolled up his sleeves, brought down the wall and immediately rebuilt it from the foundations up.
     Witnessing this last event, the elder could no more keep quiet, and said, "I invoke the name of God, the Most High, for you to tell me the truth. What were these things you did? Are you an angel or a demon? What you did are not human deeds". When the angel asked "what did I do?" the elder replied, "yesterday and before yesterday when we were received by those Christian men and looked after us, you took from the former the silver platter and you tossed it in the air and it disappeared, while you choked to death the son of the latter. And here where we came, they did not offer us hospitality, yet you toiled in building and you were beneficial to them".
     The angel then responded, "Listen abba, I'll reveal to you the truth of the situations. The first one who received us was a God loving and just man, and deals with his subordinates according to God's commandments. That silver platter though came from an unjust inheritance, so that he may not lose his reward for his good deeds, due to the platter, God ordered me to make it disappear, so that his hospitality be pure and free from injustice. The latter who gave us hospitality is a pious and virtuous man and if his son continued living he would have become the devil's tool, and would have done many evils, rendering the good deeds of the father to be forgiven". The elder then said, "OK you have done well, but what do you have to tell me about the last case?". The angel then answered him, "learn father this too, that the owner of the courtyard is an evil and unjust man and wishes to hurt many but unable because of his poverty. His grand father when he was building the wall, hid in it a great sum of money and if I let it collapse, the evil owner needing to rebuild it, would have discovered the money in the ruins and would have used it to do the evil deeds he wished. That is why God ordered me to stabilize it, so that the evil man may not find the money he intended to use for his evil wishes to hurt people. And God knows when to reveal it to a worthy person who will use it for good deeds. Have you seen therefore how God judges in certain cases you asked to learn? Go to your cell therefore and don't let the things of this world bother you, asking why and how they are done. For the judgments of God are an immeasurable abyss as the prophet said and His energies are unfathomable and incomprehensible and man cannot know everything accurately. Believe therefore, father, God is just and He commits no injustice. Whatever is needed to be done, it is done justly. When the ascetic heard these things from the angel, he glorified God, retiring to his cell and never again questioned anything.     


From the magazine, "Theodromia"