The loving God, Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (see 1 Tim. 2: 4), revealed to me by His great mercy this knowledge about the power of the Gospel. It was done in a miraculous way, without any human mediation.
For five years I was a professor at the lyceum, traversing the path of life filled with darkness of debauchery. I was being carried away from Christ by vain philosophies of the inconstant world. Perhaps, I would have perished completely if I had not been supported by my pious mother and my diligent sister, living under the same roof with me.
One day, I was strolling along a public boulevard, when I met a wonderful young man who declared himself to be a certified French student who had recently arrived from Paris and was looking for a tutor job. I liked his excellent erudition very much, so I invited him to my home as a foreign visitor. Soon we became friends.
For two months he has visited me frequently. Sometimes we took walks together, spending time frivolously and, of course, making appearances in some of the most immoral social circuits.
Finally, he came to me with an invitation to one of the aforementioned societies and, in order to convince me as soon as possible, began to praise the particular cheerfulness and attractiveness of the place where he was inviting me. After saying a few words about this while sitting in my office, he suddenly began asking me to go and sit in the living room. This struck me as strange. After mentioning to him that I had noticed more than once his reluctance to be in my office, I asked him what was the reason for it. It was particularly desirable for me to keep him in the office, since the living-room was next to my mother’s, and having empty conversations there would be indecent. After trying to justify his behavior by various evasions, he finally frankly told me the following:
– You have the Gospel on this shelf, between other books. I respect this book so much that it is difficult for me to talk about our superficial subjects in front of it. Please take it out of here, and then we can speak at ease.
Blinded by my frivolity, I smiled at his words, took the Gospel off the shelf and said: “You should have told me that sooner!”
And, handing it into his hands, I said:
– Here, you can take care of it yourself!
As soon as I touched him with the Gospel, he immediately disappeared. This struck me so much with horror that I fell unconscious on the floor. Hearing the noise, my family ran into my office, where it took them a half an hour to bring me to my senses. Finally, I woke up feeling intense fear, trembling, excruciating excitement and complete numbness of my arm and leg, to the point of not being able to move them. The physician came and defined the disease as paralysis, due to some severe shock or consternation.
For a whole year after this incident I have been acutely treated by many doctors without receiving the slightest relief from my illness, which later brought me to resign from my academic service.
My elderly mother soon died; my sister decided to dedicate herself to monastic life. Gradually I completely recovered. Later I also decided to pursue a life of solitude.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds