Parable about God's Help
and How to Help People
There lived an elder Zosima in the monastery in a small provincial town. He performed many miraculous healings and helped many people to understand their problems and improve their lives before the Face of God.
He had a disciple — a novice Nicholas. Nicholas wanted to learn those things that the elder could do; that is, to understand always the Will of God, to help people to heal their diseases, and to find the right words that would help each soul become aware of its problems.
* * *
When the elder was receiving visitors, Nicholas was often with him. He tried to see and understand how God allowed Zosima to touch so miraculously such depths of the human souls that the words of the elder became curative for these people. He also tried to understand how, by laying on of hands, he removed pain, restored eyesight, and made it so that many other diseases went away completely by the Will of God; and all it was manifested through the elder…
Once Nicholas asked:
“Why can’t I heal like you, like Jesus or His Apostles? I would like to help people and heal as you do, but I can’t…”
Zosima paused, then said:
“It doesn’t come right away.
“You already were granted to see Jesus with the vision of the soul. You can already hear God’s Voice sometimes. But you are still grumbling…”
“Yes, I’ve learned to hear God — it was easy! But I want to heal like you…”
“Now it is pride speaking in you, saying that you cannot work wonders. You should learn to recognize God’s Providence in everything!
“Sometimes it’s possible to fulfill the Wish of God only with the help of your own hands or by saying simple words! The miracle of kindness can be done by ordinary work if the love of the heart gives strength to it. As long as our hands are working for God — they are connected with the Divine Hands!”
“I understand all this and I’m learning. Still I can’t do as you do. You just put your hands — and a person becomes healthy…”
“Don’t be sad! Continue working and learning in order to be able to find appropriate words in every conversation to relieve emotional pain, give hope, and explain the meaning of life! Through words and the warmth of the heart — the great healing of the soul can be accomplished even without visible miracles! Through this — sometimes it is possible to help someone even more than through miraculous healings!”
“Nevertheless, will you teach me to heal?”
“Sure! Let’s start right now.
“There is the Great Silence! The Divine Wisdom and Power are acquired inside it. Staying in the love of your heart, you have already learned to enter this Silence! Here, inside it, it becomes clear to the soul that God always lives near us. God embraces us from all sides! God is everywhere: to the left and to the right, forward and backward, up and down — no matter how far we go!
“In each blade of grass, in every tree, in any bird, in each flower or fur-bearing animal, the life is maintained by the Power of God! Love of God dwells near each soul. It is only necessary to watch with attention!
“Everything and everyone are fed and washed by His Bliss and Caress!
“His life-giving Light permeates everything! Just as the air, which all living beings breathe, is inside and outside of every creature — both big ones and small ones — and each creature lives because it breathes — so God’s Light, seen by the spiritual heart, is both inside and outside of everything and everyone!
“Everything and everyone are filled with life that comes from Him: from His Love and Omnipotence!
“If you learn to love God with all your heart and with all the soul — then you will learn to feel the breath of God’s Light in every being and be able to see and understand the Will of God in His every manifestation.
“And through this — a great Peace will come, Peace inside Which the Love of God reigns undividedly!
“Inside and outside of your spiritual heart, as well as inside and outside of this cell — God is Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Loving! Imagine — as strongly as you can — the Greatness and Infinity of God, Who created everything. And then open from inside your spiritual heart and come out! Go out — as if out of some a cramped cell — into the Light of God, Which is everywhere!
“This Light is the Holy Spirit, the Great Doer of God’s Will! In this Light there are Arms of God full of Love! They appear in this Light when there is some work for Them. As if from nowhere, these Gentle Arms appear and can do everything. They, in particular, can heal, directing the flow of the life-giving Power of God — into the bodies.
“If you — with love and forgetting about yourself — do the good, God works through you! And soon that which seemed to be impossible becomes realizable! The Infinite Power of God stands behind all the actions of the one who does the good in harmony with God! Wonders begin when this person understands that he or she doesn’t work alone but together with God and that God works through him or her!”
… Nicholas kept trying to learn how to enter the Union with the Holy Spirit, how to perceive the Divine Arms, how to see God’s Power entering the human bodies for healing…
* * *
Once a monk of their monastery came to the cell of the elder Zosima…
He was pale and held his belly with both hands…
“Elder, heal me, help me! I suffer from a stomach ache, can’t bear it anymore…” — he moaned piteously.
“Go to the hospital, to the doctor Fyodor, he will help you…” — Zosima said, almost without looking at the monk.
“Why do you heal strangers, but do not want to help me?” — the monk said, being offended.
“Because you, a monk, gave vows to God, but do not keep them! You ate meat and drank wine! So you got this pain deservedly!” — Zosima said with a soft but stern voice.
“But I have confessed this sin! Our prior granted me absolution!”
“I told you: go to the hospital! They will treat you! Besides, ask God to help you to see what you haven’t repented and what is wrong in you. May God help you to understand what is the purity of a monastic life and what are sins committed because of one’s own desires…”
The monk groaned even louder because of pain, hoping to provoke pity and compassion in the elder. And his pain really increased.
Getting his breath back with difficulty, he sat down on a bench.
Nicholas, who observed all that happened, asked the elder:
“May I try to help him? I really want to learn to heal!”
“Yes! You may help him! Accompany him to the hospital!”
“I’m not talking about this!…”
“Do as you wish…” — the elder said and went out of his cell into the monastery garden, which started right behind the door.
* * *
Nicholas tried to do everything as Zosima explained to him. He saw the Light of the Holy Spirit and numerous Divine Arms, Which were in that Light. But those Arms did not obey him, as if that Light did not want to heal…
Nicholas attributed all these difficulties to his lack of skill and, with even greater power, tried to alleviate the pain of the monk.
Finally, he managed to do it, as it seemed.
The monk’s surprise knew no bounds:
“How do you like that! You can also heal! Pain has disappeared as if by magic! The elder couldn’t heal, but you — could! He is apparently ageing! Look at that! Nicholas has learned to do wonders!”
“Thank God for your healing…” — Nicholas said quietly, being exhausted.
The monk devoutly crossed himself and went out…
“I did it!” — with these words, Nicholas greeted Zosima who entered the cell.
“I’m not sure…” — Zosima said quietly.
“Do you think this disease will come back to him?”
“We will see… Everyone is responsible before God for his or her sins! The only way to help in such cases is to explain how one can change oneself by cleansing the soul.
“We should allow people to receive God’s lessons…”
* * *
The next morning Nicholas woke up because of pain. Everything that was happening yesterday to the sick monk started happening to him.
His first impulse was to go to the elder and ask for advice and help.
But because of this thought or because of his attempts to move his body, full of suffering, the pain only increased.
Then Nicholas asked God about this situation. The understanding came that the yesterday’s healing was not for the good of the patient: the healing of the body, obtained so easily, caused harm to the soul. That soul did not pass the lessons of the purity of a monastic life, which God wanted to teach it. That monk did not understand the evil that was in him and that could be corrected.
Nicholas began to apologize for his mistake and also started thinking about how to talk with that monk to help him understand.
The pain began to recede. The Ocean of the Light of the Holy Spirit embraced him tenderly from all sides! The body, which almost stopped feeling pain, looked tiny and insignificant inside this Ocean! Nicholas tried to cleanse his body and fill it with that Light, but didn’t have enough strength for this.
At this time Zosima came:
“Hold on a bit longer! It will pass right now!”
The elder sat down and patted Nicholas on the head like a mother that comforts a little naughty boy who did not listen to her advice.
“Yes, it has passed already!” — Nicholas smiled, feeling how the last bits of pain left his body. He was smiling blissfully and, in fact, felt himself like a mischievous boy: the elder had known in advance that the healing should not be done, but he wanted to do it so much! He wanted to feel himself as a healer!…
As if answering to his thoughts, the elder said:
“Not everything that we would like to do is allowed to us. Sometimes God teaches people through pain. It happens when they can’t understand in a different way. And it is wrong to allay such pain until God allows this!”
“But why have you healed me just now?”
“It was not I but God! When you understood everything — God helped you!
“I also had endured a lot of pain until I realized that I should obey God in all cases.
“People can thank God even for the pain: for the understanding that it brings!
“Before helping someone through healing, it would be correct to understand what it is good and what it is harmful for this soul!
“Nevertheless, it’s always better to try to help rather than to do nothing, being afraid that ‘something may happen’. Without providing help, you will never learn to help wisely!
“Now you should master the Great Tranquility of God! If you learn this, you will start making fewer mistakes! You will not hurry with your untimely help against the Will of God!
“God will be able to manifest His Will through you only when your will is merged with His Will — and only His Will exists!”