It happened once that a man came to St Shenouda. He was a man from Pemje and he had with him a hundred and twenty pieces of gold. Someone else, a friend of his, came with him, and the man said to his friend: ‘I want to give a small gift to the sanctuary of abba Shenoute to be given as alms for my salvation. However, I am not going to hand them over until I know first whether the great man will give them as alms or not’. So he gave the gold pieces to the other brother who had come with him, dressed himself in clothes beneath his station, and entered the monastery. He went to my father the prophet abba Shenoute and spoke to him like this: ‘I beg you, my holy father, have mercy upon me and give me a small gift of just twenty pieces of gold so that I can give them to the money-lender. Otherwise, he will throw me out of my house and take it from me’. My father said to him: ‘This is no place to joke, my son! Perhaps you would like another twenty piece’s of gold to add to the hundred and twenty which you brought when you came because you would like to accumulate a great number?’ Then my father called a brother monk and said to him: ‘Go along a certain road to the field. You will find a man sitting on the ground combing his hair and having a pitcher of water in his hand. Say to him: “Your friend says, ‘Just as I said to you “Sit here until I find out whether the great man will give them as charity or not”, I say now, “Arise and come to me”.’ And when the brother monk had gone off to the field as my father had commanded him, he found the man and said to him the words which my father had told him. The man who had come to my father was standing before him in great astonishment. Then he exclaimed: ‘Truly, I know today that there is a prophet in this monastery, just as I have seen it with my own eyes’. After this, he gave the gold to my father the prophet abba Shenoute, and after they had prayed, the two of them departed from him in peace, glorifying God and his saints.
Home Book Reviews St Shenouda & Giving Alms