In this inspiring video, Metropolitan Andrei (Andreicut) of Cluj, tells us a story of the Archangel Michael who came down on earth in order to show Christians the will God, which is always good, no matter how it might look to us.
Video source: Radio Renasterea
Orthodox Cathedral of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, November 7, 2021
It is said that once, not too long ago, the Archangel Michael descended from the endless kingdom of the Lord, took on the appearance of a young hunter, with bow and quiver, and found himself near the cell of a hermit, on the edge of an old forest. He knocks on the oak door and the hermit asks from inside:
“A good man asking for accommodation!” – the Archangel Michael answers.
Immediately, the hermit opened and kindly invited the stranger into his poor cell. He gave him a little chair, invited him to his poor dinner, and said to him friendly words. Then he finally asked him where he came from and where he was going.
“I come from afar, old man,” replied the archangel. Don’t you know me?… Many times I have appeared in your dreams… I am the archangel Michael and the Lord sent me to visit you…
And the hermit, knowing who the guest was, suddenly fell to his knees and stretched his white beard on the slabs of his cell:
“Oh! Saint Michael!” he murmured shyly. “I feel unworthy before you…”
“Get up, brother!” the saint replied, holding out his hand. Sit here, next to me… I know that you have spent your whole life following the teachings and the example of our Most Holy Redeemer – Who was crucified on the cross… I know that never in your life have you said a bad word to anyone or hurt anyone… I know that you have soothed the pains of the poor and comforted the orphans… You have always been pure in your mind and heart, and God will put a crown of light around your forehead… But you must go through another trial, and that’s why I came to you…
The old man answered humbly:
“Great and immeasurable is the will and the goodness of the Lord!”
Then the archangel Michael stood up, took his bow and quiver and said,
“Brother Jerome, take your staff and come with me.”
They both got out of the stone cell and set off in the stillness of the evening.
They walked, they walked; the dark forest was left behind. And eventually they reached the edge of a village. They stopped and knocked on the door of a large, clean house. A servant came and opened the door. Then the lights came on, and even the owner greeted them with kind words and a smile on his face.
“I see you are travelers from distant places,” he said gently. Please come and eat, then I’ll give you a bed to rest.
The hermit thanked him and blessed the house. And the master joyfully arranged them on their seats and ordered the servants to bring some food.
“This is a man with a pure soul,” the hermit Jerome whispered softly to the archangel.
“Yes, and he will receive his reward,” Michael replied.
And the merciful master, talking to the strangers, began to tell of his troubles and joys.
“Behold,” he said at last, “I have had a great enemy.” I have lands close to his lands and for a long time we could not get along, although I have always been honest with him… Now I am very happy that we were able to reconcile. It’s just today that I shook his hand and kissed him. And as a token of friendship, he gave me this golden cup…
And the good man pointed to the golden cup close to the stove.
“Tomorrow,” he said, “it’s a feast day. I’ll call my friends and party with them… And I’ll drink old wine from this golden cup.”
The hermit Jerome smiled kindly and nodded at the host’s words, but the archangel Michael was silent.
Later the travelers went to bed. They rested some time and in the morning, the messenger of the Lord woke up the hermit, and said unto him,
“Wake up, brother, for we must travel!”
They got up. When he left, the archangel Michael took the golden cup and stuffed it into his sack.
The hermit’s heart sank. He asked:
“What are you doing, most holy?”
“Shut up,” the archangel replied softly. “This is the will of the Lord!”
The hermit was silent. They set off. They walked all day. And in the evening they stopped at a lonely house, far from the village, where they asked for accommodation. They also asked for some food.
But the master, a grumpy man, with frowning eyes, began to shout angrily at them:
“Do you need accommodation? Okay, I’ll host you. Do you need food? I’ll feed you!”
And immediately he began to shout at his servants:
– Hey! Come here with some sticks to offer some accommodation to these people!
The servants rushed in, started to beat them with sticks. They stole everything from them. They also took the golden cup from the archangel’s sack.
– So? The master was shouting at them. Are you poor travellers walking with golden cups? Very well, tomorrow I will drink from it for your health… Now start running, otherwise you’ll receive another round!
So, with their shaken bones, the strangers went on. And the hermit, in particular, was thoughtful and grieving.
“Hm! What are you thinking about? said the archangel, laughing. I know what you’re thinking. It seems strange to you that the cup of the good man ended up in the hand of the bastard…”
“That’s right, that’s what I’m thinking,” Jerome replied sadly.
“Is that so? Do not think about it anymore. Better shut up. This is the will of the Lord!”
And as they walked ahead in silence, they came across a God-fearing Christian in another village. He was a poor man, very poor, with a house filled with children. However, he received the strangers and served them with a large polenta.
“Take it and eat,” he said with a sigh. Take from what God has given us. Take it, because this is what I have, everything I owned was taken by the usurers. And they are going to sell everything else I have. I still have this house but it will be taken from me by this ruthless boyar who is my neighbor… I will be left homeless with my wife and children…
As the man spoke, Michael was silent, and the hermit felt his soul full of doubt.
And so, at last, in the man’s lamentations and in the cries of the children, the travellers fell asleep. And when they awoke after midnight, they went on their way, leaving the others sleeping. And from the gate, Archangel Michael returned to the man’s house. He took some oakum out of his sack, searched for coals under the stove, put the coals on the oakum and placed it under the reed eaves.
On their journey, they turned their heads and saw the poor man’s house burning with tongues of flame, which rushed toward the sky. Michael the archangel smiled, and the hermit sighed in disgust and could not control himself:
“Oh! Holy Angel!” he moaned in pain. ”Is it right what you did now? Is this God’s will?”
“Right, this is God’s will!” The angel answered softly.
And going on, they passed by the edge of another village. And there was a small house surrounded by flowers, with the door and the windows open. Two steps away, in a little valley, there was a stream flowing, and golden bees were flying through the blue light of day. The housekeepers were somewhere at work, and in the house a baby was crying in a bed.
“Look, the baby is crying!” Said the hermit with pity.
The archangel Michael, without a word, crossed the threshold of the house. He took the baby from the cradle and went out with him in his arms. He took a few steps to the small river and threw the child into the restless water. The water was shaken for a moment, then it received the baby and swallowed him. The hermit froze with his eyes wide, round with horror.
“Saint Michael!” he shouted in a strangled voice. What have you done? Are you the Lord’s messenger, or have you deceived me? Why did you drown the baby? How could you commit such an iniquity?
The archangel smiled gently and replied:
“Brother, don’t murmur.” This is the will of the Lord!… I see that what He does, a man can never understand. But this was your last trial, and from now on you will open your eyes to these life events.
Listen and understand!
Brother Jerome, the golden cup was given by the enemy to the good Christian, and was sprinkled on the inside with gold mixed with poison… Now do you understand the reward of the one who received us as evildoers? But here too you must know something else: that the poor man, under the ruins of the burned house, digging to find his things, will find a treasure. And about the child… if he grew up, he would have been the most spoiled child, and he would have killed both his father and his mother… Brother Jerome, never ask again! This is the will of the Lord!… Events are not completely random, as the humans think…
And the hermit, silent, set off slowly with his staff, far away, to his hermitage at the edge of the forest; and the archangel Michael disappeared in the horizon, ascending to the upper place on the unseen steps of heaven.
It is clear from this story that God’s will is always good. That is why we ask: “Thy will be done!”