Lunch is more important
Metropolitan Benjamin (Fedchenkov) told how his friend, a priest, began to build a church in his parish. Things were going well; construction was going on. But the thing was – the father began to be late for lunch. Matushka was upset: the food was always getting cold or overcooked. And time was wasted in vain, and there were other household chores … And upset housewife, instead of her former love, was already angry with her husband. Upon learning that the metropolitan was going to The Optina Pustyn, the priest described all his difficulty and asked him to come by all means to the elder Anatoly for advice: what should he do, who should he prefer — the church or his wife? A friend fulfilled his request and told everything to the elder. He, having listened, began to shake his head in dismay. – Ah, what a misfortune, what a misfortune! – then, without hesitation, carefully began to say that the father should obey his matushka in this situation: – Otherwise it would be bad! Of course, – said Father Anatoly, – to build a church is a great thing as well; but keeping the family peace is also God’s holy command. The husband must, according to the Apostle Paul, love his wife as himself; and the Apostle compared a wife with the Church. That is how high marriage is! It is necessary to combine both church and family peace. Otherwise, the construction of church will not be pleasing to God. May he come in time for lunch. Everything has its time.
And then, after some thought, he added:
– It is good to build a church. But vanity mixes with it secretly: he wants to finish as sooner as possible… he wants people to like him… Write this to him.
And Vladyka wrote this to the father. And things got better.
New boots for Buryat boys
Saint Innocent of Irkutsk became the first Orthodox bishop of Eastern Siberia. And although he came from a noble family, he loved to do everything with his own hands. He could work in the garden for hours, and when he lived in a monastery, he helped fishermen to pull nets. But Vladyka considered the enlightenment of the local people to be one of his most important deeds. He organized a school for Buryat children where they learned to read and write and the Law of God. But with the onset of winter, several boys suddenly stopped attending classes. It turned out that the children simply had nothing to put on: they did not have winter boots, and the way to the school, even from the nearest villages, was not a short one. Upon learning of this, Bishop Innocent went to a merchant’s shop, sold his fishing nets, which he himself had made, and an Icon he had painted. With the money, he bought several meters of leather and thick quilted felt for thirty pairs of gutuly – felt boots. For seven nights he sewed boots for poor Buryat boys with a thick hook-shaped needle. A week later, the boots were ready. Bishop Innocent gave new gutuly to happy children, and they started to go to school again.
How Elder Ambrose Helped Turkeys
Once upon a time, the elder Ambrose of Optina was stopped by a woman who was hired by the landowner to look after the turkeys, but for some reason the turkeys were dying, and the hostess already wanted to say goodbye to her. “Father, – she turned to the elder with tears, – I can’t take it anymore; I’m myself malnourished; I keep them safer than my eyes, but they still die. Landowner’s wife wants to send me away. Have pity on me, dear”. Those present began to laugh at her and judged her for bothering the elder with such nonsense. But Saint Ambrose did not pay attention to their mockery and was asking her how she fed them, how she took care of them. Finally, he gave her detailed advice on how to keep them otherwise, blessed her, and warmly said goodbye. Then he turned to those who laughed at her, and said that those turkeys were her entire life.
And the turkeys of this woman have stopped being sick since then.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds