Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Do you know how much help the departed seek!

Do you know how much help the departed seek! Since there is no repentance after death, and as humans they also departed with stains and blemishes, and since they see that the help of the living greatly assists them to be perfected and find rest, they yearn, seek, and long for someone to commemorate them. They also long for one of their descendants to become a priest or a virtuous Christian who will care for them. 

Let me tell you about a vision of a certain bishop which he himself told me while we were serving together years ego. He told us that there was a priest who had a drinking problem and often got drunk; this was going on for many years. Other than this, though, the priest was virtuous and pious. 

One day he drank wine as usual and got drunk, and then before he was fully sober, he went and served Liturgy. So God allowed an accident to happen: he spilled the holy Body and Blood of the Lord! The poor fellow froze with fear, while also thinking about the heavy penance his bishop would give him!

 Finally, after he confessed, his bishop told him, “Go—I will notify you when to return, and then I’ll give you the penance”. So as the bishop was all alone reflecting and pondering, and as he picked up a pen to write his decision to depose him, he saw an endless multitude of people of every age, kind, and class unwind before him like a movie. The bishop was stunned by this vision but was also overcome with fear. Then all those people together said to him, “Your Eminence, do not punish the priest; do not depose him”. Then, little by little, they disappeared. 

Afterwards, the bishop called the priest to come. The poor priest was terrified, thinking about being deposed. The bishop said to him, “Tell me something, do you commemorate many names when you serve Liturgy?” The priest answered, “In the proskomidi, Your Eminence, I commemorate names for a long time—from kings and emperors down to the last pauper”. The bishop then said to him, “Go, then, and whenever you serve Liturgy, commemorate as many people as you can, and take care not to get drunk anymore. You are pardoned”. Thereafter, the priest—with the help of God—was delivered from drinking.

Elder Ephraim of Arizona