What Should You Ask God For?

There lived an ascetic who asked the Lord to grant him knowledge of many revelations and mysteries. One day, on the road leading to the nearest village, he met an Angel but he took the Angel for a simple man. They stumbled on a dead horse. The ascetic pinched his nose in disgust, but the Angel didn’t. They continued walking and saw a dead bull. The ascetic pinched his nose again—but the Angel didn’t. When they saw a dead dog, the situation repeated. Finally, near the village, they saw a beautiful girl wearing fashionable clothes and jewellery. Now it was the time for the Angel to pinch his nose.

The hermit asked the Angel, “Who are you: an Angel, a human being, or a demon? You didn’t pinch your nose when you saw the dead and rotten horse, bull, and dog: why do you cover your face now when you see a pretty girl?”

The Angel disclosed to the hermit who he really was and said, “There is nothing that God hates more than pride.” As soon as he uttered these words, he disappeared.

The ascetic ran back into his cell and began crying for his sins, asking God to protect him against the devil’s snares and to safeguard him against pride that can ruin his soul.

A Parable by St Cosmas of Aetolia
Translated by the Catalog of Good Deeds



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