Andrew went to the bedroom. Instead of sleeping in bed, he lied on the floor resting his head on a chair. He was thinking about his past. He was talking to himself, “You Andrew, all your life were deprived of love, you don’t remember that you were hugged once by your mother or father. Your brothers didn’t care about you. You never experienced the family warmth. You started your school year as a troublemaker; you never respected others. All you wanted was to take revenge from everyone. You were a loser. You were kicked out of school and life was hard on you so you were hard on others. Now you are in a beautiful villa that belongs to rich people. Perhaps this is the first time in your life to see people that care about you.”
And so time passed by Andrew while thinking about the kindness of the elderly lady that cared for him and the new clothes that her two sons offered him. He fell asleep on the floor. Suddenly, he heard knocking at the door. Then, he realized that he was a guest of a loving family who had took him in after spending some time in prison. It was one of the two sons,
“Sorry Andrew I did not know that you were sleeping. I thought you are shy to join us.”
“Not at all, I was just in need for a good night sleep.”
“Come join us for dinner then you can go back to your sleep.”
He washed his hands and went to have dinner with the elderly lady and her two sons. After saying a blessing, they started eating,
“I hope you had a good rest.”
“Thank God I feel well in your presence.”
“We’ll be happy if you stayed with us. The house is big and God’s blessings are immense.”
“I’m not worthy of your love, I don’t deserve to live with saints like you ‘cause I’m an evil man.”
“Don’t say that. We’re all sinners but God in His mercy forgives us.”
“You don’t know my evil nature.”
“Don’t worry for, the Lord Who created us loves us and offered His life for our salvation.”
“Maybe He’ll save some one else but not me.”
“No, He wants you. He wants every body saved.”
After dinner, they went to the garden to continue their talk about the everlasting love of God. Andrew’s tears came rolling down and they all joined in prayer. Later on, the family asked Andrew if he would like a tour of the villa and as he agreed they started going from room to room. Then, they stood in front of a beautiful piece of art on top of the piano.
“It’s a beautiful piece.”
“And ancient too”, said the elderly lady.
“How much does it cost?”
“Five thousand pounds but it is worth more because it belongs to my grand parents.”
After the house tour everybody went to the prayer room and facing an icon for Jesus they prayed and everyone went to bed.
Andrew went to bed and tried to sleep but he could not. He was thinking, “How am I going to let this valuable piece pass by me. But how can I betray those who love me? Am I going to live depending on them the rest of my life? I’m going to steal it, sell it and make a business from the money to be independent.”
Andrew went on his toes reaching for the statue. He hesitated several times then he grabbed it and went to the garden but he found the gate locked. He acted very fast and jumped over the fence. Immediately, two policemen arrested him, searched him and found the stolen statue. They took him to the police station.
The elderly lady wakened her son when she heard a knock on the door after midnight. The son opened the door to find two policemen who informed him that they had arrested a man jumping over the fence of his home. He had stolen goods. “We want someone to come to the station to identify the stolen objects.” The policeman said.
“I’ll come with you,” said the son.
The mother heard the story and immediately went to Andrew’s room to find it empty. She wanted to join her son to the police station. The son tried to discourage her from going but she insisted. When the elderly lady reached the room where Andrew was, she greeted him in a friendly manner but Andrew could not look at her. The officer was surprised and asked her, “Do you know him?”
“Yes, sure, I do. He’s a friend of the family.”
“We found him jumping over the fence.”
“He’s a friend and he lives in this house.”
“We found a valuable piece with him.”
“I gave it to him to fix it.”
“You don’t accuse him of theft?”
“We’ll let him go on your guarantee.”
“No, we’ll take him home to spend the night with us.”
Andrew could not bear this dialogue; he felt he had escaped the police arrest to be captive at a love he never experienced before. Andrew was speechless; one of the sons took him by the hand to the car to go back to the villa. Andrew with tears rolling kissed the old woman’s hand asking for her forgiveness for biting the hand that helped him. The elderly lady said to him, “Don’t say that Andrew. God forgives us daily.”
He accepted to go with them to the villa. As they arrived there, he got down the car and his eyes were fixed towards the place where he had jumped down. He spent the night weeping. Early next morning after praying with the family and having breakfast, he left and never returned.
Years went by and the Mother got sick. She had a stroke and she got paralyzed. She stayed at home with her two sons who were serving the Lord. The two sons used to join their mother in family prayer and Bible study. The sons used to take their mother to a terrace where they would chat about the former Saints and also about a famous monk, whose name is Daniel, who has lots of visitors from all over the country who go to be blessed by him. Monk Daniel had to leave the monastery and live in a cave far away from the monastery.
One evening, the mother said to her two sons, “Go to father Daniel and ask him to pray for me and to bless you too.”
“Why don’t you come with us mother?”
“You know I’m sick and I don’t want to be a burden on you.”
“No, if you come he’ll pray for your healing.”
“I don’t want to be healed. I’m longing to be with the Lord.”
“No mother, don’t say that. We need your blessing.”
“I’ve finished my mission in this life. I’d like to be with Jesus, that’s much better.”
Early next morning, every body was ready for the trip. It was hard for the mother to go on the sand with her wheel chair so she asked her sons to go ahead to the cave and she would wait for them in the monastery. For the mother’s good luck, Father Daniel was present at the monastery that day. One of the monks pointed to the son where Father Daniel was. The moment they faced father Daniel, he told the first son, “You’re Paul, aren’t you?”
The son answered, “Yes, how did you know me?”
He pointed to the other son, “And you’re Peter.”
“Yes do you know me?”
“Is this your mother?”
Father Daniel hugged the two sons and kissed the mother’s hand telling her I am your son Andrew “the thief”. Through you I found my Savior. Father Daniel knelt near the wheel chair, prayed and anointed the mother with oil. Soon the legs started moving and the mother was healed and she praised the Lord.
Father Athanasius Botros told me this story to write it narratively. I just changed some events of the story.
The Night of Preparation
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