A certain bishop told me this contemporary story mentioning the names, but I forgot them:
In the city of Nagaa-Hamaadie, in Egypt, one of the pious elders used to cross the Nile River at the dawn on the twelfth day of every Coptic month to partake in the Tasbeha (Midnight Praises) and the Holy Liturgy. Once, the moon was full and the weather was very hot that the elder slept in the open spaces. When he awoke at midnight, the moonlight was so bright he thought it was dawn and he was too late to cross to the monastery and join the Tasbeha. The man held his walking stick and headed for the shore and began to walk to the other side of the river. When he came close to the other side he called out to one of the mariners by name. Many of the sailing boat owners and their workers awoke, at the voice of this elder, and they watched in astonishment this man who was walking on the water towards the shore.
The elder said to one of them, “Please send this boy (…) to accompany me to the monastery, as I am afraid of the dogs.”
The boat owner answered him saying, “How can you be afraid of the dogs at the monastery whilst you are walking on the water?”
The old man was amazed at what he heard and began to strike the water with his stick while saying, “What water, my son? This is land!”
The old man, without realizing, perceived the Nile as firm ground to walk on. When the old man persisted in beckoning the boy, to accompany him to the monastery for fear of its guard-dogs, the boat-owner said to him, “May God be with you. Pray for me. Don’t be afraid of the dogs.”
The old man was then compelled to finish his journey.
How amazing! In his piety he unsuspectingly walked on water, whilst in his human weakness he feared the barking of dogs, which does not intimidate a small child.
Thus, my beloved, every saint has a point of weakness in which a child may not stumble. God, however, allows this to preserve him from pride. He may then cry with the Psalmist,
“My sin is ever before me” (Ps. 51.3).
Do not falter if you see and touch the weaknesses of the saints. This is naturally allowed by God so that all humans may be reminded of their continual need for the work of the Savior in their lives, regardless of their attainments in holiness.
If the righteous are only saved through struggle,
Where do I, the sinner, appear?
If the saints have prominent weaknesses,
What is my situation?
Grant me, O Lord, that if I see the weaknesses of my brethren,
To pray for, and not judge, them.
To remember that they have glorious deeds that have been concealed from my eyes,
And so honor them and not take them for granted.
Grant me, in my weakness, to expect Your glorious salvation.
And grant me, in moments of spiritual strength, to glorify You, my Divine Support.
Grant me to humbly remember Your wonderful work.
A Unique Empire
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