A Story about Martyrius, a Monk who Carried Christ

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You all know, brethren, the immutable truth that the Lord Himself has always been, is now and always will be merciful to those who show kindness. You all know that the merciful “will receive mercy” (Matthew 5: 7), that mercy “triumphs over judgement” (James 2:13) and that “blessed are those who have regard for the weak” (Psalm 40: 1–2). All these truths are well familiar to you. What you may not know is just how immense are the miracles of the great and inscrutable mercy that the Lord shows to the compassionate! The story below illustrates the soundness of this immutable truth.

In the Duchy of Savoy there lived a certain Christ-loving monk who loved the poor, was young in age and old in mind. This monk named Martyrius led a holy life. He had the custom of leaving his friary to go to the neighboring monastery to see his spiritual father and pray to the Lord together with him. One day Martyrius was, as usual, on the way to his confessor when he met a beggar, all covered with scabs, lying on the road. The beggar was going to the same place as Martyrius, but was too weak to walk. Martyrius took pity on him, spread his mantle on the ground, put the beggar on it, and carried him on his shoulders. When he arrived at the monastery with his burden, his clairvoyant spiritual father, filled with the Holy Spirit, loudly exclaimed to the brethren, “Hurry up, open the monastery gates! Martyrius is coming carrying God! ” Martyrius, approaching the gate, took off his burden and was about to lift the beggar from the ground, but it turned out that there was no one on the mantle. At that moment he saw the image of our Lord Jesus Christ, ascending to heaven before his very eyes. A voice was then heard, “O Martyrius, you have not despised Me on earth, and I will not despise you in heaven. You have looked upon me with mercy; now I will have mercy on you forever.” When Martyrius entered the monastery, his spiritual father asked him, “Brother Martyrius, where is the One whom you carried on your shoulders?” Martyrius replied, “If I knew, Father, who He is, I would prostrate myself at His feet.” The news of the wonderful vision immediately spread throughout the monastery. The confessor also asked Martyrius, “Was it hard for you, child, to carry the beggar on your shoulders?” “No,” answered Martyrius, “When I carried Him, I did not feel any weight, for I carried the One Who carried the whole world and contains everything in His word.”

So, as you see, the mercies of God to the merciful can sometimes be truly mysterious and inscrutable, showing us “in the flesh” the words of Saint Basil the Great: “It is Christ Himself Who receives in heaven, what you give to the poor, lying on the ground”. Yes, truly great is the “love higher than the heavens” (Psalm 107: 5), i.e. truly endless and unspeakable is God’s mercy to the merciful! The Lord Himself appeared to receive the mercy of Martyrius and willingly revealed Himself to him! What could be more extraordinary, amazing and incomprehensible than this? And yet this has happened in reality. Remember this, brethren, and do not abandon the deeds of charity and benevolence, “for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). In view of this, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). And finally, in view of the same, according to the word of God, defend the widow, give justice to the poor, help the beggar, protect the orphan, clothe the naked, take care of the paralyzed and the weak, do not laugh at the lame, guard the armless, bring the blind to the vision of light and lay the dead to rest. For this, says the Lord, I will give you the first place in My Resurrection (3 Ezra 2, 20-23). Amen.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
Source: (Viktor Guriev. Synaxarium in Sermons for Each Day of the Year) Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra, 2007

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