Andrew the Apostle

Parable about the Voice of the Heart

Jesus said: “Do not look with disdain at this man,
for it is a great feat to start transforming
evil into good inside oneself!”

From the memories of Andrew the Apostle

        There was a man. He was neither rich nor poor. He did not differ too much from other people who lived around him. He was neither young nor old…
        And this man was not strong-willed…
        Although there were seeds of kindness in him, they did not sprout…
        This man lived as everyone around him… He was ruled by whims and vices… And he was fettered by fears and weaknesses… And he did not feel good. His life went on as a dull procession of days. And there were neither joys nor achievements in it…
        Every evening this man thought: “Well, tomorrow I will act better; I will not yield to my weaknesses and vices any more!”
        But “tomorrow” came, and again he was ruled by whims and vices, and was fettered by fears and weaknesses…
        … One day the man thought: “Why can’t I live how I want to? Why am I acting not in a way I know I should act? Why do my vices rule me and my fears fetter me?”
        He began to think and found no reason not to live as he believed it was right, not to act as he considered appropriate.
        And then the man started to ask God: “My Father and Creator! Why can’t I live how I want to live? Why can’t I act as I think it is right to act? Why have I become a slave to my vices and whims, to my fears and weaknesses? What is the reason?”
        God answered him: “There is no reason for this! You are free to act as you want to!”
        Then the man said: “So, please, advise me what I should do to stop my vices and weaknesses ruling my life.”
        And God answered: “Each time before doing or saying something, listen to the voice of your spiritual heart and act as it will tell you! Then you will be able to control your weaknesses and fears and get rid of vices and whims!”
        And the man decided to follow God’s advice.
        The next morning he got up with a strong determination to ask his spiritual heart for advice before doing or saying something…
        Every day his old father said harsh words to him, grumbled and swore. The father used to say that his son was a useless person and that the whole generation of the sons of man lived in a wrong way. He also enumerated all his offences and sorrows and accused his son of everything of which he was and was not guilty…
        This morning the father, as always, began to swear at his son, uttering offensive words.
        And anger welled up inside this man because of the bitter, accusing words… And he was on the point of saying, as usual, poisonous words in response to his father but remembered God’s advice.
        And his heart had time to whisper: “Do not say offensive words, for your father loves you: he grieves over your troubles! You, too, love him! Hold back your angry words and ask his pardon!…”
        And in reply to his father’s swearing, the man bowed and said: “Forgive me, father!” And the anger went out. Then the man embraced his father and left to his work.
        The father was very surprised… and stopped swearing from then on.
        … In the evening, this man was coming back home after hard work. He bought a lot of food and was thinking how he would taste those delicacies… He was quite inclined to gluttony…
        On the way home, he came to the house of a young widow who lived with small children. This woman had had to pay him a debt but could not save enough money…
        For a long time he wanted to tell her that he would forgive her debt. And that day, at last, he decided to do this. So he came to the house of the poor widow and told her that he would free her from the debt. The widow bowed low to him and thanked him. The man was about to leave, but his heart whispered quietly: “Give the children the food that you bought for yourself! It will bring them joy!”
        It was hard for him to carry out this advice of the heart. But when he gave the delicacies to the children, and they started to dance joyfully, great joy rose in him as well! He was walking home easily, overfilled with happiness! And his heart was singing with delight!
        Not every day could that man hear the voice of the heart, and not every time could he fulfill what the heart whispered to him. Yet day by day he tried more and more to live how his heart was telling him. And with every passing day his whims and vices ruled him less, and his fears and weaknesses fettered him less. And the seeds of heart love sprouted in the soul!
        … Once this man was walking and saw a lot of strong and malicious men beating a young good lad. All the people who were passing by just increased their pace, averted their faces, and stepped aside in order to avoid being beaten themselves.
        And our man was not really courageous. So he also wanted to pass by as if it was not his business… But his heart did not whisper this time, it screamed: “If you do not help, they will kill this good man! But you can save him!”
        However, the man was afraid and could not overcome his fear… He could neither leave nor help…
        And the heart kept screaming: “Save him quickly!”
        The man started to call God, because he could not overcome his fear. And he called Him not in a whisper or inwardly but at the top of his voice: “God! Please, come here! God! Come here!”
        People, who were passing by, stopped with surprise. And those who were far away came near too. So, from all around people ran to this place, stopped and looked, trying to understand what had happened and what God had to do with this. And such a big crowd gathered the malicious people got frightened, left the young man and disappeared quickly.
        And the young lad stood up from the ground and thanked the man: “You are so brave! You saved my life!”
        The man was going home, and the heart was shining like the sun in his chest, saying: “Love is stronger than all fears!”
        … The time went by, and life of this man became more joyful and easier.
        Once on Sunday the man went for a walk. He was walking and met the widow whose debt he had forgiven… She smiled at him tenderly and bowed low.
        And the man was captivated by the sight of her beauty… He was often attracted to women, though he considered his lust as a great sin.
        The man began to avert his eyes as not to look at her but remembered about the heart and asked its advice.
        And the heart said: “Look again and decide sincerely if you like this woman or not.”
        The man looked at her, and everything in him sparkled with love!
        He answered to the heart: “For me there is no one better than she is! I would give her everything!…”
        “So, why are you grieving? If your desire is about giving to another rather than getting for yourself, it is not lust! It is love awakened in you! Go and tell this woman that you love her!”
        And the man did. He came and said: “I love you! Be my wife!”
        All friends and neighbors around him began to say: “How foolish this man is! His business has just taken off, so he could find a rich bride! But he took a widow with small children!… This widow would not refuse him even without marriage…”
        But the man was listening to the song of the heart: “Happiness you give, happiness you get! You cannot buy happiness with money!”
        His heart was shining brighter and stronger with love! And it transformed the words and actions of this man!
        And soon this man got married to this woman. Their mutual heart love began to illuminate their whole life and warm their house! They started to raise their children together and to honor their parents.
        And the man thanked God: “My Father and Creator! Your advice has transformed my whole life, has brought happiness to me! Now I have defeated my vices and whims, overcome my weaknesses and fears!”
        And God answered him: “The one who has learned to hear the voice of the spiritual heart will be able to accomplish even more than that! For the voice of the heart is the voice of Love! And all that is created and done with love comes from Me! For I am LOVE!”

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