Two Parables and One Piece of Advice from Saint Silouan the Athonite

Why Hasn’t God Given Wings to Man?

One hunter liked to go out hunting for prey. Once he got tired and sat down on a large stone to rest after he had to climb a steep hill hunting down a wild animal. Seeing a flock of birds flying from one peak to another, he began to think, “Why hasn’t God given man wings so that he could fly?” At that time, a humble hermit passed by that place, and, knowing the hunter’s thoughts, said to him:

– Now, you are thinking that God has not given you wings, but if you are given wings, you will still not be happy and say, “My wings are too weak for me to fly into the sky to see what is there”; and if you are given the wings that are strong enough, then you will still be displeased and say, “I don’t understand what is going on here.” And then, if reason is given to you , again you will not be satisfied and say, “Why am I not an angel?” And if they make you an angel, then you will still be unhappy and say, “Why am I not a cherub?” And if you do become a cherub, then you will say, “Why didn’t God let me rule over heaven?” And if you get to rule the sky, even then you will not be satisfied and imitate the notorious example, boldly seeking more. Therefore, always humble yourself and be content with what you are given, and then you will abide with God.”

The hunter saw that the hermit was right, and thanked God for sending him a monk, who admonished him and opened the way for him to be humble.

If Pumpkins Grew on Oak Trees

One man went to the forest to collect firewood. Tired of his labors, he lay down to rest under a large oak tree and, looking at the branches from underneath and seeing many large acorns on them, thought, “It would be better if pumpkins grew on oak trees instead of acorns.” With this thought, he closed his eyes, and suddenly felt sharp pain caused by an acorn falling off the tree. Then the man said, “I was wrong. God is wiser than me, and truly wisely had commanded acorns, not pumpkins to grow on oak trees. If it were a pumpkin, it would kill me with its weight.”

In a similar way, we often condemn God’s creation, instead of surrendering to His will. Anybody surrendering to His holy will is at peace, while anyone trying to comprehend everything with his own mind is inexperienced in spiritual life. To know the will of God, one must submit to it, and then the Lord will enlighten this person by His grace and make his life easy and simple. Even if that person is sick or poor, he will be happy in spirit, because his soul and his mind are healthy; with his mind he sees the Lord Who loves him in humility of his spirit. This love makes the world forgettable; and even if he remembers it, then the love of God compels him to pray for it, often with tears.

This is how rewarding God’s way is to our spirit.

How Can One Come to Christian Faith?

 “Pride prevents the soul from entering the road to faith. I always advise the unbelievers to say: “Lord, if You exist, then enlighten me, and I will serve You with all my heart and soul.” the Lord will undoubtedly shed His light upon those who bring such a humble thought together with readiness to serve Him”.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

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