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Short Stories (Stories for the Youth), book by Father Tadros Yacoub Malaty

214- The Angel of Mercy


 Sarah used to go to church every day with her husband Sgaz Abb (meaning Blessing of God). He was a priest. She used to take part with the congregation in the vespers prayers and the liturgy of the Eucharist. One day she came into the church alone while nobody was there. The doors and windows were closed and there was no light but that of the candles. Sarah walked quietly towards the Altar and she bowed down respectfully praying.

Then she rose and looked at the icon of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at the door of the Altar and started praying quietly to God who loved her and sacrificed Himself for her. The devil tried to distract her because of her infertility but she resisted and wisely put the issue within the hands of Her Creator. She started crying from the depth of her heart, Jesus Christ, You are the King of Kings.

You are the Help of those who are in trouble and pain, the Hope of all people.

You are the Joy of the sad and troubled.

You control everything.

Hear my prayers and give me a son to be Your servant.

But if it is not Your will then keep my womb shut.

You are glorified now and forever, Amen.

The lady wiped her eyes and went out of the church. Her heart was full of joy and peace. When she went home she started thinking about her eternal life as she used to do every day. But that day her longing for Jesus Christ had increased and she looked forward to rid herself of her body and go to heaven to live with God, waiting for the glorious day of resurrection. Image: Saint Priest Saga Zab the father of Saint TaklaHaymanout at the bed of a lake, while Archangel Michael protecting him from drowning - by Amgad Wadea صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: القديس الكاهن أبونا سجازاب والد القديس تكلاهيمانوت الحبشي القس في أسفل البحيرة، والملاك ميخائيل يحميه من الغرق - رسم أمجد وديع Image: Saint Priest Saga Zab the father of Saint TaklaHaymanout at the bed of a lake, while Archangel Michael protecting him from drowning - by Amgad Wadea.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: القديس الكاهن أبونا سجازاب والد القديس تكلاهيمانوت الحبشي القس في أسفل البحيرة، والملاك ميخائيل يحميه من الغرق - رسم أمجد وديع.

As she was meditating over these things, she started to consider giving all her money to Jesus Christ through the poor. Sarah was very rich and had inherited a lot of money from her father. She used to donate generously. The people called her Ekzyharya (meaning God's chosen one) because of her love for the poor, her generosity and her many virtues. Every month on the Twelfth Day, she used to celebrate the feast of Michael the Archangel by setting great banquets for the poor after the liturgy of the Eucharist. Her husband the priest was likewise very generous.

As she was thinking, her husband came into the house and saw his wife looking like an angel. She was always beautiful, but on that day she was exceptional. He saluted her and she said to him, Dear father, Id like to ask you about something. If you like it do it. If not reject it.

Go on.

God has granted us a lot of money. We dont have a son who can inherit this money. Dont you think it a good idea to donate our fortune to the poor and needy and give the rest to the church? Don't you think that we should free the slaves and maids so God may free us from the slavery of sin and help us?

Dear sister, your suggestion pleases me but don't rush it. It may be that God doesnt want us to make a vow and then regret it afterwards.

How could we regret an offering? Let us donate it because donation is the best way.

 When the priest heard his wife's answer, he rejoiced and realized that this idea was not a sudden emotion but a true sign of inner love. Therefore, he knelt with his wife imploring the Lord to accept their offering. Then, they started distributing a lot of their possessions to the poor and dedicated a share for the church without telling anyone of the congregation or the deacons.

In the evening the priest and his wife sat together talking quietly, then summoned the slaves and maids as usual to read the Holy Bible. They all prayed and were about to go back to work when the priest stopped them. He asked them to sit down again and started talking to them, Dear sons, by the grace of God, my wife and I have decided to free you so that you may live a blessed free life.

The slaves were stunned and did not know what to say because the priest and his wife treated them as if they were their children. Everything was quiet for some moment, then the head servant said, Dear father and kind mother, did we do anything that you would send us away? If so, punish us as you wish but please dont let us go.

The priest smiled and said, No my son, we dont want to punish you. Youve done nothing wrong. We love you and want you to be free so that God will liberate us from our sins and redeem us. Well give you all what you need and help you in finding jobs.

 Father, wed like to stay with you because we love you.

 God bless you my sons, youre free. Whoever wants to stay with us may stay as a free person and not as slave.

→ English translation of the story here at ملاك الرأفة. Divider

With the Archangel Michael

Years passed and the priest and his wife enjoyed great inner happiness but something worried the priest. Therefore, after he finished his midnight prayers, he started to implore the Lord saying, Lord, our kind Father.

 Look to the church.

 Look to the people of the church.

Our spirits are bitter because of what we hear of the new king who denied his faith publicly, condemned Your Holy Name and worshiped dumb stones. He demolished Your Altar and built altars for statues. He killed Your priests and virtuous people and surrounded himself with magicians and other worshippers of Satan. He defiled a lot of women and raped many girls and his evil spread throughout the city. We heard that his soldiers have come closer to our city. What should we do?

God, Youre our help and protection; Youre our hope and refuge.

God of Michael the Archangel, preserve the purity of our people.

After some hours, the priest and his wife were awakened because of much noise. The priest went out to see what was happening to his people. The soldiers saw him and followed him with their spears but he escaped. He threw himself in a pond and cried saying, God, the Leader of Michael the Archangel, help me and all Your people.

Archangel Michael, where are your miracles?

Why did you leave me at my time of death?

This is a day of great trouble.

The priest did not realize that Michael the Archangel was protecting him from drowning. He went out of the water after a few hours to find that the soldiers had left him since they thought that he had drowned. He walked to the city where he saw his people in pain. The only person that the soldier had captured was his wife. He realized that the soldiers took her to the king since she was very beautiful. The priest became extremely sad. He went into the church and cried bitterly saying, O God, I wish You would have allowed my death so that I may not have seen the pains of my people and the rape of my wife.

Do You allow a pure holy creature to be raped by a wicked atheist?

Couldnt You save and redeem her?

God, remember her and all Your people through the intercession of all Your saints and angels.

As the priest wept, a ray of hope crossed his heart and he felt very peaceful. He realized that all things work together for good to those who love God. Therefore he dedicated all his time to serve and guide his people towards their salvation. One day as he was raising incense amidst the people and putting the cross on the head of each one, he saw a queen wearing beautiful rich clothes and jewelry so he blessed her and went back to his service. After the service, he went and asked her, Who are you, Queen?

Truly, Im a queen but God's angel saved me from the wicked king who wanted to rape me.

Why did you come here?

I heard that your wife had been abducted by the king so I came here to be your wife.

The priest made the sign of the cross and furiously rebuked her saying,

 How could you have such evil thinking my daughter? Do priests marry twice? I believe that God is the protector of my wife and that Hell restore her to me.

 If this is what you believe in, then God will restore her to you.

 Tell me, who are you?

She unveiled her face saying, Look my lord. Im your wife.

The priest then rose up and kissed her head and cried saying, Where have you been?

She answered with a sweet smile, God's will has preserved me and I came here through your prayers.

The news of the arrival of the priest's wife's spread quickly. All the people of the city got together, thanked and glorified God for the safety of her arrival. In the evening, the church was full with all the people who participated along with the priest in the prayers and glorified Michael the Archangel as her request and then he went back home. Image: Saint Egzy Haraya (Sarah) the wife of Saint Saga Zab comes to him in disguise during the Holy Liturgy - by Amgad Wadea صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: القديسة أجزي هارايا (سارة) زوجة القديس ساجا زاب تحضر إليه متخفية وقت القداس الإلهي - رسم أمجد وديع Image: Saint Egzy Haraya (Sarah) the wife of Saint Saga Zab comes to him in disguise during the Holy Liturgy - by Amgad Wadea

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: القديسة أجزي هارايا (سارة) زوجة القديس ساجا زاب تحضر إليه متخفية وقت القداس الإلهي - رسم أمجد وديع

The priest said to his wife, On that sad night, I threw myself at the pool. When I went out the Archangel Michael appeared to me and said, 'I came here to save and protect you for the sake of the offspring that will come out of you, a boy whom Ill preserve.'

His wife started narrating what had happened to her and said, I tried to escape but after a few hours, the soldiers came back to the city, perhaps after they were sure that you were dead. They abducted me although they treated me decently as if I was a queen. They wanted to please me through any way but I was praying to my Savior to save me through the intercession of Michael the Archangel. They led me to the city of the king. The king wanted to see me. He brought me to the palace where they offered me precious jewelry and clothes. He welcomed me but never touched me. He ordered the soldiers to take me to the city of his god where hell come on the third day to marry me in a great official ceremony. During the night of the king's coming, everyone slept exhausted but I didnt sleep. I took off the precious clothes they had given me and put on my old garments. I lifted my heart to God and said, Lord, Jesus Christ, why have You looked for my sins and overlooked the virtues of my husband who served You with a pure heart?

Why have You delivered me to these atheists who do not know Your name?

I implore You to give me a boy from my husband the priest.

How do You allow me to bear a son from an atheist who does not even know Your name?

God, Almighty who saved Daniel from the lion's den and delivered the three youth from the furnace, show Your power and salvation and do not abandon Your poor servant.

And you, Michael the Archangel, why have you deserted me in my distress?

What happened to the covenant between us which says that you don't desert me as long as I celebrate your feast on the Twelfth Day of every month?

O angel of mercy and compassion don't leave your poor servant but help me and save me.

I wept more and more as time passed but I kept on praying. As I prayed I noticed a strong light emerging from behind so I rejoiced greatly. I saw my beloved Michael the Archangel saying to me, These troublesome trials are not there for your destruction but rather for God to test your patience and to reveal His wonders through you.

This salvation isnt for you alone but for the son that youll bare. Then, Michael the Archangel disappeared and I rejoiced.

In the morning, the king summoned all his magicians and court men to offer sacrifices for his wedding. When the temple was overcrowded, I was seated beside the king. After the celebration started with loud songs and dances, something extraordinary happened; great thunder and lightning struck the earth. Everyone was afraid and the king was shocked. The Archangel Michael appeared to me and brought me to our church. Divider

A Blessed Son

The second day after Sarah's (Gods chosen one) arrival, the Archangel Michael appeared to her and said, Peace be with you, O chosen one.

Today I announce to you the conception of the blessed boy.

Hell be loved by God and by men and also by us, angels.

His virtues will be countless as the stars of heaven.

Sarah (Gods chosen one) slept and saw a pillar of light in the midst of her residence with its top in heaven. All the kings and peoples of the earth looked at her astonished; a multitude of birds flew around it.

While she admired this great scene she heard her husband scream. She woke up and woke him up and inquired about his scream. He answered, I saw a very bright sun under our bed and a lot of countless stars. I saw also a light shining on all the earth.

After nine months, she gave birth to her son Takla-haymanot, who after three days of his birth, stretched his arms, looked towards heaven and said, One is the Holy Father. One is the Holy Son. One is the Holy Spirit.

Forty days after his birth, he was baptized.

The priest and his wife underwent financial difficulties after some days and they could not arrange a banquet for the poor on the feast of Michael the Archangel. The mother implored the Lord to help her to offer anything on this blessed feast. She was crying while she was pleading with the Lord. Then she was surprised to find her son whom she was carrying, wiping her tears with his hands and pointing to a plate containing some flour.

She fetched the plate and when the baby put his hand in the flour, it started pouring flour till it filled a lot of bags. He did the same thing with butter, oil and honey. Thus she set a great banquet for the poor at the feast of Michael the Archangel.