Someone once went to Elder Iosif the Cave-Dweller- may we have his blessing- a man who came from his home town.
When he got there, the Elder asked him about all the old people there. You know, the way you do if somebody comes from home. How’s so-and so? How’s old what’s his name doing? That sort of thing. That’s what Elder Iosif asked. A great striver. And a man who loved his home town. Eventually they got to someone and he asked: ‘How’s he doing?’
The pilgrim shuffled uneasily.
‘He died without confession, Elder. And he’s left us very worried about him’.
The Elder then pierced him with a penetrating look and said: ‘Brother, you’re wrong. Kostas confessed’.
‘How did he?’
‘Before he departed he wrote me a letter. And he told me everything. For me, from the moment he wrote the letter and posted it, God’s forgiven him. When I read the letter, I forgave him as well.
You’ll ask: ‘Why does God do this?’. Because He’s desperate for us to give him some cause…
Do you understand how desperate He is? Absolutely desperate.
Another time, to recall something else entirely, but never mind, Elder Iosif, who was on the Holy Mountain, saw his village priest in a dream, though the man had died. And what did the priest say to him?
‘Elder Iosif, let me tell you something. When I was on earth, I believed that only through the prayers of priests could people be brought out of hell and sinners could be forgiven. Now I’ve got here, do you know what I see? It’s not only the prayers of priests, which are certainly necessary, but also the prayers of Christians* and other people that get people out of hell. Why? Because Christ is the source and origin of the request and He’s desperate that we should give Him a reason to forgive people and put them in Paradise’.
Do you realize that we’re losing our soul over nothing, through indifference and negligence? Christ is interested in us so much. He loves us so much. And He gives us so much.