Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A short story of St. Paisios, Fasting and Discernment

Two visitors, who appeared to be hard pious people, continued to look with disapproval on the Elder who was [boiling milk] being careful not to let it overflow or burn. Eventually one of them couldn’t stand it anymore and said to the Elder:

“Elder Paisios, we are in the first days of Lent, we have a strict fast, and you are boiling milk to drink?”

The Elder was silent. He did not respond. He took off the pot because the milk was boiling. Next, he went to the cell, brought six small, old, porcelain cups, arranged them in a row and carefully filled them. He waited a while for them to cool, while all were looking on in amazement, silently.

The two pious people saw all this with disgust, because they were thinking that because there were six people visiting and six cups, the monk therefore would dare to offer them milk during these days of strict fasting.

Elder Paisios took the filled cups one by one and placed them on a wooden tray, carried them seven meters away and left them on the ground, at the edge of a bush.

He placed them all there in a row, and then came and sat beside us and began to make a slow, strange whistling with his mouth, gazing towards the bushes.

A few minutes hadn’t passed before a viper appeared cautiously and later five baby snakes—her children.

I held my breath.

The snakes came, and passed all of us slithering, slowly reaching the cups, and gently began to drink their morning milk...