21 August 1954
You are troubled that some of the clergy perform the service very carelessly, and sometimes you do not even feel like going to church. Realize and believe firmly that the Holy Mysteries take place not according to the worthiness of the priests, but by the mercy and grace of God's love.
Here is a graphic example for you: a certain hermit used to be visited by a presbyter from the nearest church and given Holy Communion. Somebody slandered the presbyter to the hermit and the hermit refused to receive him. The presbyter went away. And then the hermit heard a voice: 'Men have usurped My judgement'. After this the hermit fell into a trance and had a vision. He saw a golden well, a gold bucket and a golden rope, and the water in the well was of especially good quality. He saw a leper at the well drawing water and filling a vessel. The hermit could not drink because it was a leper who was drawing water. And again he heard a voice: 'Why do you not drink the water? What is it to you who draws from it? He is only drawing it and pouring it into a vessel.' The hermit came to himself, summoned the presbyter and asked him to give him Holy Communion as before (Paterikon).
Never condemn priests; they commit sins and they too will answer to God on the day of judgement. Rather pray for them and inwardly ask for their holy prayers. So the Holy Fathers teach. You see the inadequacies of priests, but look at yourself, how you stand and pray. Why, sometimes the whole service goes by while you are imagining things of this world!
'Lord, grant me to see my own sins and not to judge the
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