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Abba Silas and the beggar - John Charmley - 13-04-2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I wanted to share with you something which Abba Silas, a BOC priest from India, shared with us at Babingley today; it deserves the widest audience.

Abba Silas is from India, born a Muslim, half his family were massacred by Hindus in the violence which accompanied the partition of India in 1947. He came to Orthodox Christianity by a long route, and to the BOC by an even longer one, and he now works in India with underprivileged children. It was his story of something that happened to him there which I want to share.

On the road to and from his house he would pass a beggar, a man filthy with dirt and covered with sores which bulged with pus. Abba Silas would walk past this man, repulsed by the smell and the sight. When he prayed he would tell the Lord that he would clothe Him if naked, feed Him if hungry and visit Him in prison, but surely, he asked, God could not be present in that beggar; Christ could not be there with that stench and in that filth? But the more he prayed thus, the more he felt the Lord reproaching him and saying that that was just where He was.

Able to bear it no more, Abba Silas followed the promptings of his prayers, and taking warm water, antiseptic and towels, he approached the beggar, bathed him tended to his sores and dried him. As he did that, a woman approached them both with clean clothes saying that now the beggar was clean they should give him something to wear; another approached him with some food.

The three good Samaritans discussed how to help the beggar's sores heal, and they consulted a doctor. He could not understand their concern for a stranger from the east in Bihar, and said it would cost nearly ?10 for a full course of antibiotics; Abba Silas said the doctor should worry about the man's health, not the money.

The beggar received the antibiotics with gratitude. On the third day when Abba Silas went back to see him, the beggar had gone. No one knew where he had gone; no one had seen him go. Then Abba Silas remembered that it was the third day since he had been helped ... .

A story to be shared, I think.

In Christ,


- Robert McBride - 17-04-2008

A very moving and equally thought provoking story worthy of meditation and silent prayer.


- Robin Westwood - 17-04-2008

Dear John,

As you have mentioned it is a shame that this story cannot be told to a wider audience, but what a lovely true story and one to be remembered for a long time to come. I hope that I will have the opportunity one day to meet Abba Silas and also to hear more about his work in India with underprivalileged children he sounds a very holy and prayerful kind man.

Thank you for sharing this.

God Bless,