An American’s Look at Judgement

by Cantinker Moss

My son shared this story with me the other day.  He is a member of the Antiochan Orthodox Church, one of the oldest congregations in the world, having its roots in the first century.  In fact, in the book of Acts in the New Testament it is written that “they were first called Christians in Antioch.”  The closest source that my son could find for the story, though I’m sure it is public domain, is in the existing writing of St. Paisios, as translated by John Sanidopoulo.  I personally think that there is great wisdom to be gained from the story.

“Once on Mount Athos there was a monk who lived in Karyes. He drank and got drunk every day and was the cause of scandal to the pilgrims. Eventually he died and this relieved some of the faithful who went on to tell Elder Paisios that they were delighted that this huge problem was finally solved.

Father Paisios answered them that he knew about the death of the monk, after seeing the entire battalion of angels who came to collect his soul. The pilgrims were amazed and some protested and tried to explain to the Elder of whom they were talking about, thinking that the Elder did not understand.

Elder Paisios explained to them: “This particular monk was born in Asia Minor, shortly before the destruction by the Turks when they gathered all the boys. So as not to take him from their parents, they would take him with them to the reaping, and so he wouldn’t cry, they just put raki into his milk in order for him to sleep. Therefore he grew up as an alcoholic. There he found an elder and said to him that he was an alcoholic. The elder told him to do prostrations and prayers every night and beg the Panagia to help him to reduce by one the glasses he drank.

After a year he managed with struggle and repentance to make the 20 glasses he drank into 19 glasses. The struggle continued over the years and he reached 2-3 glasses, with which he would still get drunk.”

The world for years saw an alcoholic monk who scandalized the pilgrims, but God saw a fighter who fought a long struggle to reduce his passion.

Without knowing what each one is trying to do what he wants to do, what right do we have to judge his effort.

-A story of St. Paisios, translated by John Sanidopoulos

Photo by Sarah Noltner on Unsplash

From an American poet: Oh, Cheryl Sing

 

by Cantinker Moss

 

This poem was probably started more than thirty years ago, either just before or after I married my wife, Cheryl.  No matter how hard I tried, I never could get something of a finished product.

But after thirty-five years, I began to learn an array of things about my wife:  things she didn’t have to tell me…things I just saw.  And with this discovery, I came to learn some things about myself:  and many of them weren’t pretty.  I’m not so sure she wasn’t going through this herself, even though she never ever seemed the type to be guilty of much.  But she assured me that she was not perfect, and that she was also a piece in the Master’s grand puzzle.

So after many years we both came a little closer to understanding who each of us was;  so much that we found it would be very difficult to live without each other…whether we wanted guidance, consolation, or physical intimacy.  Even two tired shoulders to cry on.  Little did we know that a commitment that we made to each other in 1982, with some work from each of us, would yield something akin to a harvest.

Enough introduction.  Here is the poem and I am going to let it speak for itself.

 

You are my guardian angel,

My dear, forever friend,

A mother of our two sons,

A lioness for them.

But you have always been there,

Through storm, and less, and doubt,

Yet this is what my heart will say

When hope, we seem without.

 

Chorus:

Oh Cheryl sing!  Oh Cheryl sing!

I want to hear you sing!

Oh Cheryl sing!  Oh Cheryl sing!

I want to hear you sing! 

 

I saw you in the park one day,

Your voice rang out so true,

With an instrument of twelve strings,

Telling the story that you knew.

About the One, your truest friend,

And what He did for you.

The smallest voice seemed to make me

Want to be your friend and His friend too.

 

Chorus:

 

Oh barefoot girl on a riverbank,

With your father’s fishing pole,

Missouri sand pines and Kentucky bluegrass,

Feed heaven’ward praise aglow,

But I will never forget your deep, dark eyes,

And the smile that rings with life,

A long-haired angel in purest hues,

For eternity all, you are my wife.

 

Thank you.

 

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