The Departure of St. Peter, the Worshipper
On this day, St. Peter the worshipper, departed. He was at first a tax collector, who was very cruel and had no mercy. Because of his selfishness and greed, he was nicknamed "the merciless". The Lord Jesus had compassion upon him and He wanted to turn him away from all his bad deeds.
One day, God sent him a poor man to ask him for a little food, and it thus happened that his servant arrived at the same time when the poor man was standing before him, with bread. The tax collector took a loaf of bread and hit the poor man with it on his head, not as an act of mercy, but to get rid of him so that he might not come back again.
That same night, Peter, the tax collector, saw a vision in his sleep, as though he was in the judgement day, where the scale of justice was erected, and he saw some people clothed in black in the ugliest forms. They came and put his sins and his injustices in the left pan of the scale. Then a group of the angels of light, with beautiful countenances and in white clothes, came and stood beside the right pan of the scale. They appeared perplexed, for they did not find anything to put in the pan. One of them came forward, and put in the loaf of bread with which he had hit the head of the poor man, and said, "There is nothing for this man except this loaf of bread."
At this moment, Peter woke up from his sleep trembling and afraid. He started to rebuke himself for all that he had done. He started to be exceedingly merciful and compassionate, and he even gave his own tunic away. When nothing was left of his property, he left his town and sold himself as a slave, and paid the price to the poor.
When his good deeds became well known, he fled to the wilderness of St. Macarius, where he became a monk and lived an ascetic life with great devotion and good repute, that made him worthy to know the day of his departure. St. Peter called the elders of the monks and bade them farewell, and departed in peace.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
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