“You Cannot Enter Hell for Free” and Other Parables

The Greek Elder Porphyrios often said that prayer means a direct conversation with God, Who is always ready to listen to us with attention and love.

“Have you tried at least once to talk with one of our current rulers and get what you ask for?” the elder once asked one of his spiritual children. “If not, then I advise you to try it. You can be sure that your desire will remain a desire. They won’t talk to you. The most they will do is send you to some of the lower officials to get rid of you.

Our Lord, who is the King of kings, will never send you to someone else and will never turn away if you wish to talk with Him through prayer.

One holy hierarch once interpreted the miracle of feeding the five thousand in the following way:

“Imagine a certain king coming out of his palace and scattering gold coins in front of his people. The beggars will rejoice that they have received the gold, and those who love the king will be glad that they have seen his face. The beggars will wait for the king’s return so that they may again receive some gold, while those who love him will wait for another chance to look at him. The five thousand people fed with five loaves were hungry again in the morning, while the miracle performed by the Lord still “feeds” those who love Him and see His appearance behind it.

A father says to his son, “Do you know that people enter paradise for free, while hell requires an entrance fee, which is often quite high. “How can this be?” the son replied in surprise. The father said, “Yes, the fire of hell is expensive. Whoever gambles pays. Whoever uses alcohol or drugs pays. Whoever smokes cigars also pays. Heaven, on the other hand, is free. You pray for free; you keep the fast for nothing; you do what is pleasing to the Lord also for free. It doesn’t cost anything to fear God and turn away from temptation and sin. Why pay for hell when you can get paradise for free?”

Saint Nicholas (Velimirovich) once said,

“A gardener trims the branches so that the tree grows faster and bears more fruit. If he goes over the top and cuts off too much, the tree will wither. Trust that God watches over every person more caringly and mercifully than any gardener. Listen to the Reverend Nilus of Sora reasoning: “If a pot maker knows the extent to which the vessel is kept in fire before it bursts, does God not know the extent of our suffering?” Be sure that the Lord has much more reasoning and love than a man.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

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