Thursday, October 30, 2003

Another desert mother story, from a source known as "The Spiritual Meadow"

Amma Damiana told us this too:
Once, I went to the Church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian and spent the whole night there. In the evening, there came an old woman, a native of Phrygian Galatia, and she gave two copper coins to everybody who was in the church. I knew her because she had often given some to me.

One day, a kinswoman of mine and of the most faithful emperor Maurice came to pray at the Holy City and stayed there for a year. Taking her with me, I went to Sts. Cosmas and Damian. While we were in the oratory, I said to my kinswoman, "Look, my lady, when an old woman comes distributing two coins to each person, please swallow your pride and accept them." With obvious distaste, she said, "Do I have to accept them?" "Yes," I said. "Take them, for the woman is great in the eyes of God. She fasts through the week, and whatever she is able to gain by this discipline she distributes it among those who are found in the church. She is a widow of about eighty years of age. Take the coins she offers you and give them to somebody else. Do not refuse the sacrifice of this old woman."

As we were speaking in this way, the old woman came in and began her almsgiving. In silence and with serenity she came and gave me some coins. She gave some to my kinswoman too, saying, "Take these, and eat." When she had gone, we realized that God had revealed to her that I had said, "Take them and give them to a poor person." My kinswoman therefore sent a servant of hers to get vegetables with the two coins. These she ate, and she affirmed before God that they were as sweet as honey. This both astonished her, and led her to give thanks to God who endows His servants with grace.


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