Grace of the Holy Spirit

Viktor Vasnetsov- St Sergius Radonezhsky- icon for the Abramtsevo Church-1882

Victor Vasnetsov's St Sergiy Radonezhskiy Icon (1882)

A money-lender, living near the saint’s monastery, and who, like the strong in all ages, oppressed the poor, ill-treated a certain poor orphan and, moreover, carried off his pig which was being fattened, and without paying for it had it killed. The ill-used orphan went to saint Sergius in great distress and weeping, begged for help. The saint, moved by compassion, sent for the offender, convicted him of wrongdoing and said, “My son, do you believe that God is a Judge of the righteous and of sinners; a father to widows and orphans; that He is quick to avenge, and that it is a fearful thing to come under the wrath of God?” Having reproached him, he told him that he must pay what he owed to the orphan, adding, “Above all, do not oppress the poor.” The man, overcome by fear, promised to amend and pay the orphan, then returned to his own house. Little by little the effect of the saint’s rebuke grew faint, and the money-lender decided not to pay his debt to the orphan. And thinking it over in his mind, he went as usual into his larder, where he found the pig half devoured and swarming with maggots, although it was clearly mid-winter. He was stricken with fear, and without delay paid the debt; and ordered the pig to be thrown to the dogs and birds to eat, but they would not touch it and clear the usurer of his offense.

Now, again, one day, the saint was reciting the Divine Liturgy with one of his disciples, venerable Simon, the ecclesiarch of who we have already spoken, when a wonderful vision was vouchsafed to Simon. While the saint was saying the liturgy Simon saw a flame pass along the altar, illuminating it and surrounding the holy table; as the saint was about to partake of the Blessed Sacrament, the glorious flame coiled itself and entered the sacred chalice; and the saint thus received Communion. Simon, who saw this, trembled with fear. The saint, when he moved away from the altar, understood that Simon had been deemed worthy of this miraculous vision, and telling him to approach, asked, “Son, why are you fearful?” The other replied, “Master, I beheld a miraculous vision; the grace of the Holy Spirit operating with you.” The saint forbade him to speak it, “Tell no one of this which you have seen, until the Lord calls me away from this life.”