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“Was it you who was crucified for them or Me?” | A Lenten Story

Join Metropolitan Andrei of Cluj [Romania] for a profound Lenten reflection on the transformative power of Christ’s love. Through the story of a devoted theologian’s spiritual journey, discover the profound truth that Christ’s love knows no bounds. Despite our imperfections and sins, His love embraces us fully, offering healing and redemption. As we journey through Lent, let us remember that we are all in need of His mercy and grace. Experience a renewed sense of hope and joy as we embrace the truth that we are cherished by our loving Savior. May this Lenten season be a time of deep peace and spiritual growth, leading us to a joyous Easter celebration filled with the abundant blessings of Christ’s resurrection!

Video source: Radio Renasterea
Watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/RuH2ghyl-BE
Orthodox Cathedral of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, March 17th, 2024

Met. Andrew:

A good theologian was ordained and sent to a parish. And he proposed himself that in 3 years, he will change for the better every person [in the parish]. He used all the means, services, catechesis, confession, Scripture readings, and after 3 years, during the Great Lent, during the Holy Week, because he scheduled them to come for confession until Wednesday in the Holy Week, they all came to confession. But what did he find? That the believers were no better than 3 years ago when he came to this parish. And he was very disappointed. He was so disappointed and spiritually embittered and said to himself: “These people don’t deserve anything, they don’t deserve to do anything for them”.

But, on Thursday evening, during the Service of the Bridegroom with the Twelve Gospels, when he read the long Gospel, he thought that he saw Christ in the vault of the church. And Christ said to him: “Was it you who was crucified for them or Me?” “My Lord, You were crucified for them!” “And if it was Me who was crucified for them and I tolerate them as they are, why don’t you tolerate them as well? I love them as they are, why don’t you love them?”

This question stuck in his mind and this is what he said to himself when he went home and couldn’t fall asleep. The truth was clear in his mind that the whole human race is nothing but an endless series of sick people and even those who never heal. “A doctor may follow up a patient for a year, maybe two or even a lifetime, if he is well paid. But what if the patient does not have money to pay? And what if the doctor knows that the disease cannot be cured, will he continue to examine him for years? There are no such examples in this life, and even if there were one, what that would mean?” The father stopped and thought. “It would mean that that doctor loves the patient,” he said to himself and felt a deep thrill at this answer.

He began to feel a kind of liveliness and joy in his soul, it seemed that he was not so despondent, and he even thought that he would be able to make a sacrifice for himself, at least. Suddenly some clear thoughts came to him: we are all sick with a disease that cannot be cured at all, we all have a Doctor who examines us without any payment, because what do we pay Him with? With our sins… He examines us and helps us as sinners as we are because he loves us. And with this thought he woke up on Friday morning.

He was clear minded and full of liveliness and went to the church to do the service of the Royal Hours. And this is how Ion Agarbiceanu’s story ends: to his great astonishment, early on Friday morning, after only an hour of sleep, cheerful and lively, as in the old days, when he was running in the corridors of the seminary, he remembered the previous night, the bitterness in which he had fallen asleep, he could not understand in any way where this cheerfulness came from. But it wasn’t just a joy, it seemed that he had completely changed and he saw the whole world with different eyes. He wakes up with this decision: “I want to be an unmercenary soldier.” It seemed that the light that shone in his eyes and the smile that fluttered on his lips came from that decision.

His wife [presvytera] immediately knew the father is happy and rejoices with all his heart. “What a beautiful day”, said the father, shaking hands with the singer who comes for the service of the Friday Hours. He shook his hand warmly and looked at him kindly, to the great surprise of the singer, who, being enslaved by the spirit of drunkenness, was threatened by the priest every Sunday that he would be removed from the service. That day was not more beautiful than others, the same cold wind from the south was blowing, the same clouds were rolling in the sky, but in the father’s soul it was beautiful. There, another day began to dawn. Because he realized whose servant he is, servant of the Lord, who loves us without any payment.

I wish you that Lent will be a very peaceful time and the Easter celebration will bring you much, much, joy!




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