Two elderly officers once met after years of not seeing each other. One of them was walking out of a church, and the other was strolling along the street.
– Is it really you that I’m seeing? – exclaimed the second, – When you were young, you used to laugh at the church and the clergy, and now you are a church goer? What happened, buddy?
– Good to see you, pal! All this change in me has been made by a wonderful preacher who has not said a word to me about religion. This preacher is my wife.
– How so?
– Even before our wedding she amazed me with her firm faithfulness to pious traditions. This constrained me a little at first, but I could not help paying due respect to her piety in matters of faith. She was sincerely attached to me from the first days of our marriage, but she did not give up her pious customs. She continued to take part in decorating the church, attended parish meetings, gave lessons in Sunday school, and so on. However, I have never noticed that her piety prevented her from fulfilling to the smallest detail her duties as a wife and mistress of the house. She never reminded me of God, but I could read His Name in her eyes.
If a blasphemous mockery sometimes escaped my lips out of my bachelor habit, my wife would instantly turn pale. Sometimes tears appeared in her eyes, but that was all. I have never heard a word of reproach from her. An affectionate smile soon reappeared on her face. My wife paid me with double courtesy for a barely noticeable momentary outburst of indignation and sadness, making me feel ashamed of my tactlessness.
Every morning and every evening she prayed in our bedroom, and I felt her tenderness and faith as she was looking at the Crucified Christ. Sometimes I felt like falling on my knees next to her, although there was still no real change in my convictions.
When she returned from church, especially after Communion, I felt an atmosphere of purity and peace setting in our home.
When something saddened me or if I got sick, she showed me such encouraging concern and care that I was soon inspired and revived.
Although I saddened her more than once, she never complained or expressed displeasure with me. From all this, an inner change occurred in me, which I did not notice at once. After six years of married life, I found in my heart a desire to love God, Whom my wife had shown me.
I vaguely understood what was happening in me and how, but one fine morning I kissed my wife’s hand and said to her:
– Anna. Today I am going to church with you. –
Calmly and quietly, but with tears in her eyes, she answered:
“I knew you’d say that one day. I prayed so much for you.
Since then, I… in fact, why don’t you come and see for yourself my family life.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds