Spiritual Gifts and Tears
Fr Simon wrote:
"There is such a thing as the gift of tears and Bishop Kallistos writes of this in a chapter of one of his books so I do not deny that you experienced this...."
On another discussion list I came across the following story about an Orthodox Saint who experienced tears as a kind of gift. Hope it contributes something....
"Everyone was amazed at all the things that were done through St. Z'ura and at the deeds of power wrought through his prayer, and gave thanks to God, and especially at his labors and his petitions and his crying and his tears night and day, so that not one hour ever passed from him without his knocking at God's door. Even when he was sitting and speaking with men, because his mind was dwelling above in heaven among the angels, his tears would suddenly gush forth perforce, while he did not wish to do this before men, and sobs would spring up in him, and he would beat his two hands upon his face, and rest his head upon his knees, and thus he would cry loudly. And sometimes, when he was displaying the cheerful appearance of laughter with his lips, in the middle of his speech at which he displayed the appearance of laughing sobs overpowered him, insomuch that while speaking with us he often did so, until by virtue of the freedom which I enjoyed with him I went so far as to presume to say, "Why is it, our father, that in the midst of laughing you are thus suddenly saddened by weeping? This tells us that your mind is not occupied with us or in that which you are saying to us, that sorrow thus suddenly seizes you." But he would say to me, "Know, my son, that I did not want to do this while speaking, and my sins suddenly occur to my mind, and turn my joy to distress."
When I often entreated him between ourselves to tell me privately his manner of life, even adjuring him by God to inform me, he would again while weeping yield to constraint and say, "When, my son, I am constrained to speak among men, my mind looks at those above in heaven, how their mouths cease not even for a short season from praises, and sobs rise within me on account of myself, how I am neglecting to praise that Creator who created me, and have ceased to make petitions for the forgiveness of my offences, and am sitting in discourse with men: and this and other things urges me to cease speaking."
And so I was amazed at this saint's disposition, as well as at his humility and his kindness to strangers and poor men of which his soul was full with great zeal, so that in consequence a multitude of the poor of the city and strangers from every place flocked to him on account of the report of his charity, until eighty and ninety and as many as a hundred tables were on some days prepared in his monastery. And thereupon he made great cauldrons and appointed men who were continually cooking and making bread; and in company with many he would with his own hands make himself into an attendant with cheerfulness and joy."
John of Ephesus, Lives of Eastern Saints, 2