One monk asked Saint Gabriel (Urgebadze) what the fast was all about.
“Let me explain,” he answered and told the monk about all the sins he had committed.
Ashamed, the monk did not know what to do. He fell on his knees and cried. The elder said with a smile:
“Now, go and eat your lunch.”
“No, Father, thank you, I don’t want to,” the monk answered.
“That’s what the fast is about: it is when you remember your sins, repent, and no longer think about food.”
The World Around Us
There was a dried up tree near the road.
At night, a thief passed by. He saw a silhouette in the distance and thought it was a policeman standing by the road. He got scared and ran away.
In the evening, a lover walked by. He noticed an elegant silhouette from afar and thought that his beloved was already waiting for him. His heart started beating joyfully. He smiled and hurried up.
In the afternoon, a mother and child passed by the tree. The child, frightened by terrible tales, thought that it was a giant hiding near the road and burst out crying loudly.
However, the tree remained only a tree!
The world around us is a reflection of ourselves. It is what we make it to be!
Kingdom of Chains
Once upon a time, there was a blacksmith who lived in a kingdom. He learned to make such beautiful chains that he started wearing them. Other blacksmiths liked it. They also began to put chains on themselves, and other people followed them – even the king and his entourage. Soon, the king issued a special decree on the public use of chains. Children in schools were taught how to wear chains properly. Skillful jewelers made gold, silver and diamond chains. Chains became the highest national award. There were craftsmen developing new improved chains from various ultra-light alloys. Scientific conferences and symposiums on chains were held. Scientists wrote a new history of the kingdom, which proved that its citizens had worn chains since ancient times.
And yet, there were people in the country who were unwilling to wear chains. They were persecuted, imprisoned, and wore special chains that caused pain as a punishment. When they died, however, they left the commandment to their fellow citizens: “Get rid of the chains!” Gradually, there were more and more of those who came to believe in this commandment. Some people took off all their chains completely, others only some of them. Those who became free from the chains explained to everyone that it was much easier for them to live. Other people shook their heads with distrust and said that being different was not the way for everyone and left, shaking their chains.
Over time, the majority of the population became firmly established in the understanding that life was possible without chains. The king then issued a new decree that acquitted those who had been punished for not wearing chains. A monument was even erected in honor of those sufferers. However, many people still did not dare to take off their chains, because they had got used to them.