Protopresbyter Stefanos Anagnostopoulos
A very active priest had a dream once, which he described to us as follows:
‘I was sitting in an armchair, drained and exhausted from all my work. My whole body ached from weariness.
A lot of people in my parish were seeking the ‘Pearl of great price’. And many had found Him. The parish was doing well from every point of view, and my soul was overflowing with joy, hope and courage. My sermons made a great impression. Lots of people were coming to confession. My church was always packed with people. I’d managed to galvanize the whole parish.
I was so pleased with all this that I worked every day until I was exhausted. While I was thinking about all this, without realizing it, I fell asleep. Then the following happened.
A stranger came in to the room without knocking. He had a kindly face and radiated spirituality. He was well-dressed and was holding some instruments from a chemical laboratory. His whole demeanour produced a strange impression. The stranger approached and, as he held out his hand to greet me, he asked:
“How’s your hard work going?”.
It was a question that brought me great joy. Because I was well satisfied with my zealous endeavours. I was in no doubt that, if the stranger had known about them, he’d have been very pleased, as well.
Then, I remember, that, in my dream that is, I pulled out from my chest a solid mass, which shone like gold. I put it in his hand and said:
“Here are my best efforts”.
He took it and weighed it carefully on his scales:
“Fifty kilos”, he told my with a serious look.
It was hard for me to contain my joy over this weight. He noted the weight down in a proper manner on a piece of paper and continued his examination.
He broke the mass up into pieces and put them in a chemical dish over a fire. When the mass had melted and been purified, he took it off the fire and divided it up into various elements. When these cooled down, they formed a variety of smaller lumps. He touched them with a little hammer and noted the weight of each on a piece of paper.
When he’d finished he gave me a pitying look and said to me:
“I hope God feels sorry for you and that you’ll be saved”.
At once, he left the room. On the paper he’d left on the table were the following words:
“Analysis of the best efforts of Fr. X.
Total weight 50 kilos.
Careful analysis reveals the following elements:
• Fanaticism: 5 kilos.
• Personal Ambition: 15 kilos.
• Fondness for money: 12 kilos.
• Tendency to officiousness and high handedness over other souls: 8 kilos.
• Attention-seeking: 10 kilos all but a few grams.
• Love for God: 10 grams.
• Love for other people: 10 grams.
Total 50 kilos”.
The curious behaviour of the stranger and the look he threw me on leaving had made me a little uneasy. But when I saw the results of his examination, my knees buckled.
At first I wanted to question the accuracy of the figures. But just at that moment I heard a sigh from the stranger, who’d reached the front door. I calmed down and began to think more clearly. But as I was thinking, everything went dark. I couldn’t read the paper I was holding. I was overcome with anxiety and fear. The cry rose to my lips: “Lord, save me”.
I took another look at the piece of paper and it had changed into a mirror that reflected my heart. I felt and recognized my true state. With tears in my eyes, I begged the Lord to free me from my ego. Then I woke of with a cry of anguish.
In past years, I’d asked God to saved me from a variety of dangers. From that day on, however, I asked Him to free me from my self.
I was upset for a long time. In the end, after persistent prayer, I felt the Lord’s light flooding my heart and burning off the thorns of my egocentric attitude. When the Lord calls me to Himself, I’ll thank Him warmly for the revelation I had that day, because He showed me my true self and drew my steps onto the narrowest but most beautiful path. From that day, I made new resolutions.
The visit I received that day from Him Who “searches the hearts and reins” (cf. Ps. 7, 9) made me a different person and helped me greatly in my work’.
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