On this day, we celebrate the memory of Saint Paisios of Mount Athos. Below is a story about Saint Paisios where he taught the nature of miracles.
A group of young men, of no religious background, visited the Elder. They had heard of Father Paisios and were curious to meet him. After giving them the typical Mount Athos treat (loukoumi and water), he sat next to them to listen to what they had to say.
They told him:
- Father, we want you to work a miracle in our presence, so we can believe in God.
- Wait a second, he replied. He went inside and brought a knife and said jokingly: - Stand up in line! I will cut your heads off and then I will miraculously glue them back to their place. But please, don't stand next to each other, in case I mix them up.
The young men reacted at once.
- No!! We want to see a different kind of miracle.
Then, the Elder sat by their side and told them the following:
- It would be very easy, if God wished so, to make people believe in Him by working miracles; with His supernatural power, visible to all of us, He would make everyone believe. However, God does not want people to believe in Him out of admiration for His supernatural power; on the contrary, He wants us to believe in Him and love Him because He is extremely kind.
God will never work a miracle in order to demonstrate His power, and thus acquire more believers. He works miracles to cover up human weaknesses.
We cannot put the burden on God to make us have faith in Him. This is a matter for our own free-will. The Saint is beautifully telling us that it is only through a relationship of love that we embody faith and know God's power. Miracles can happen to those of faith when they are in need due to their human weaknesses. They come when we seek with humility and faith, based on a love of Him.
See Byzantine Icon of Saint Paisios