O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Finding Sanctity in Simple Housework

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Euphrosynos the Cook. He was the cook of a monastery in the 9th century that was mocked and looked down upon by the other monks as an incompetent fool. He prepared food for the brethren daily while enduring their abuse without retaliation or complaint as a sacrifice and thereby attained great humility and sanctity. A certain priest of that same monastery fervently and unceasingly implored God to show him the treasures that God has prepared for those that love Him. God granted him his request and in a dream showed the priest the Heavenly Garden of Paradise. The priest was awed and left speechless at the ineffable beauty of Heaven. He was shocked to see the Monk Euphrosynos walking casually through the Garden. He asked Monk Euphrosynos how was it that he was there. He replied that by the mercy and grace of God he was able to attain a place in Paradise. The priest then humbly asked the monk for some of Heaven's treasures. St. Euphrosynos picked three apples from a tree and wrapped them in the priest's handkerchief. Just then, the simandron was sounded to awaken the monks and call them to the chapel for Matins. The priest realized that it was all a dream. He looked over at his handkerchief and saw that it still contained the three apples, with an ineffable fragrance that filled the room.

In the chapel, the priest, with a frustrated tone, asked Monk Euphrosynos where he had been. He replied that he was in the place where they just met. The priest asked even more solemnly to tell what had happened. He told the priest that God granted him his request to see what God prepared for those who love Him and that he gave the priest three apples that the priest is now hiding in his cell. After Matins, the priest told the brethren of the dream and that he found the apples still in his handkerchief upon waking when the simandron was sounded. He took the brethren to his cell where they too were mystified by the ineffable fragrance of the apples. They went to seek their brother Euphrosynos, amazed by his sanctity and wanting to venerate him and seek his spiritual advice, but he was nowhere to be found. Knowing that he had access to Paradise, they figured that he couldn't be anywhere else. He was never seen again.