Orthodox Thought for the Day


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On good deeds for the departed

From the September 19 entry in The Prologue of Ohrid: 

Even the dead sense and know the good deeds that are performed for them.  Christians need not have any doubt in this.  A good deed spreads through the heavenly world like an electrical current.   

An imperial clerk, Magistrian, was sent by the emperor on an important errand.  Along the way, Magistrian saw a poor dead man, completely naked.  He was moved with pity, removed his shirt, dressed the dead man, and buried him honorably.  After a while, Magistrian had an unfortunate accident: he fell from his horse and broke his leg, and lay sick in bed for a long time.  On one occasion, several doctors gathered around him to take counsel concerning his illness.  The doctors agreed that his leg would have to be amputated.   

That night Magistrian could not sleep, but grieved and wept.  At midnight a man suddenly appeared in his room and asked him, “Why are you weeping?”  When Magistrian explained his condition, the unknown man then rubbed the infected leg with his hand and the leg was healed.  “For God’s sake, tell me—who are you?” asked Magistrian.  The unknown man replied, “Look at me, and see, is not this your shirt?  I am he whom you saw naked and dead, and whom you dressed in this shirt.  And behold, for your good deed God has sent me to heal you.  Give thanks to God!”

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