Ordinary Heroism

Syria. He was rather old and yet he used to live in the desert about twelve miles away from the running water. Many times during his trips to the water, he thought of going to live nearer to the spring so as to avoid all this hassle of coming and going. One day, while he was thinking again about this, he looked back and saw someone following him, counting every single step he made. “Who are you?” he asked him. “I am the angel of the Lord and I was sent to count the steps you make, so that at the end of your life you will be given the reward you deserve.” When he heard this, the elderly monk was filled with courage and went to live five miles further away!

Egypt. There was one of the brothers who was tempted every day for a full nine years with impure thoughts. Countless dirty thoughts would assail him during the day and also during the night. He was so discouraged that he thought he would be condemned. “Surely I am lost, and so, since there is no hope for me, I may as well go back into the world.” But on his way, he heard a voice telling him, “These nine years in which you have been tempted, have gone up to heaven like a crown of gold. Go back to your hut.”

Temptations obtain for us real stunning rewards if we know how to make good use of them. Whatever good we do for his glory will never go wasted.

France. When one day the Cure of Ars entered the church, he found a woman who was sobbing heavily. She had just lost her husband. But what upset her most was the fact that her husband had committed suicide by jumping over the village bridge; she was sure that her husband was lost for ever. The Cure went up to her, touched her shoulder and said, “Your husband is in heaven.” “Heaven? How do you know?” “Yes, your husband is in heaven. I know.” “But how can you be so sure?” the woman insisted. The Cure answered, “One afternoon he came to Church bringing a bouquet of flowers which he himself had picked from the fields. Timidly, like a small child he told me: ‘Take these flowers please, and put them in front of the Beautiful Lady’. I am sure this gesture did not go unobserved by the Virgin Mary. It must have remained imprinted in her heart. This is why I am certain that as your husband was going down the bridge Mary reconciled him with her Son Jesus.”

Malta. In this religious community, one priest spent all morning working on the computer to finish the book he had been writing. The other priest spent the whole morning in kitchen preparing lunch for all the community. When they went down for Midday prayer, the one who was working in the kitchen said to the other, “I am very proud of you because this book will help many people!” The author of the book was not so convinced. “In front of God, hidden work is much more blessed” he answered. “It goes up to heaven as a sweet fragrance.” Priorities in heaven are different than what they are on earth!


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