Judging Others

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

The Centurion

 

by Cantinker Moss

 

A song written back around the 1980’s.  A take on the Crucifixion.  What would make a Roman commander of one hundred men say what he did as recorded in both the Gospels of Luke and Matthew?  Righteous Man?  Son of God?  An end?  A beginning?

 

Chorus:  O there once was a centurion,

                His authority he was told was Caesar’s line.

                And he saw a world of oppression,

                From Gaul down to Palestine.

 

Well, he might have heard John the Baptist.

Saying, “Do no violence to a man.

For I tell you, One is coming

Whose fan* is in His hand.”

 

Chorus

 

And he saw them nail Him to the cross wood,

But he wondered why they told Him to come down,

While they ridiculed Him in His torment,

And His bloody, thorny crown.

 

Yet he heard Him say, “Father, forgive them.

They know not what they do (this brutal mob.)”

And maybe that’s the reason the centurion said,

“Truly, This was the Son of God!”

 

Chorus

 

  • Matthew 3:12  (KJV)

 

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