The little boy came home. His mother noticed that he was not happy and joyous as usual but sad and very troubled. He did not run to kiss her, as usual, but hurried to his room. The mother was very shaken and looked inside her son’s room from the window to see him standing toward the east in front of the icon of the Cross. Tears fell from his eyes then he knelt down and started to cry. He was trying to cover the sound of his sobs so no one can hear him.
His mother waited for him to finish his prayer and wipe his eyes to get ready to leave his room. She went in and took her son in her arms and said, “Dear Pephnoti, what is wrong? Tell me why are you sad? Don’t hide anything from me.”
He only answered by saying, “Mom, pray for our neighbors and me.”
“What has happened?”
“Why do you hide the matter from me when you aren’t used to this?”
“Forgive me but I don’t want to judge our neighbors. Just pray for them and for me.”
“Tell me what happened and I promise not to mention it before anybody.”
“The neighbors’ children climbed another neighbor’s wall and picked his figs and ate them. They stole the figs and offered me some but I refused to take them. I was saddened because they were stealing. I tried to talk to them about honesty but they mocked at me and made fun of me.”
“Are you crying because they mocked at you? We don’t worry about people’s praise or mockery.”
“No Mom, I’m crying because they steal. I love them and I don’t want them to sadden
His mother was deeply touched and tears filled her eyes as she hugged her son saying, “God won’t forget your tears and prayers.”
Years passed and Pephnoti (Pafnotius) became a disciple of Saint Makarius the great. His tears never stopped falling from his eyes. Once, one of the fathers insisted on finding out the reason behind his tears and Saint Pephnotius had to reveal it. He said, “I’m grieving over myself. My neighbors’ children were climbing another neighbor’s wall to steal his figs and I tried to stop them. One day, one of the figs fell while they were walking. I picked it up, cleaned it and ate it. Since then, every time I remember the incident, my tears flow for I saddened my Savior’s heart.”
Let me be honest over the few as over the many.
Let me possess You O the Heavenly Bread,
So I would not ask for the temporary food.
Let me possess Your honesty
So that sin could not creep into my depth.
Wash me, purify me and make me holy.
(3) Coniaris, Anthony. Talks for Orthodox Funerals. No.21
The Dilemma of the Worms of the
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