Tonight at the book club meeting we discussed Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives, The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica. This is one of the stories that came up, it’s a good one:
Once, two women came to me and brought a third who was dragging her leg. She could barely walk. She said that she had been to several doctors, but they were not able to say what was wrong with her. I told her that her nerves were weak. I also told her that mine was a worse case than hers! She said that her husband had left her. “Of course he has,” I said. “Who is going to take care of the children, who will prepare his meals for him when you are so depressed? You are not physically ill! You are too depressed. Sing! Sing and your husband will come back to you!” I told her that I was going to the church to read some prayers, and that I wanted her to go home by herself. She looked at me for a while and then practically ran to the car. The other two were amazed. “She is well,” I said, “and she no longer needs your help!”
I have been remiss with my Lenten posts this year. Here’s another gem from Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnika:
“We cannot be saved without fighting against the devil! We are descendants of our parents, from whom we have inherited all those negative traits that are not easy to get rid of. We must suffer heartache in order for our souls to be freed from these mental bonds. Our enemy attacks either directly or else indirectly, through other people. And so we fight – according to the Lord’s providence – and we gradually come to our senses. Without misfortune there is no prayer to God.”
“Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture.
If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind,
then that is what our life is like.
If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live,
we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility. . .
Everything, both good and evil, comes from our thoughts.”
– Elder Thaddeus
“Love is the most powerful means of defense there is. There are no weapons and no power that can measure themselves against love. Everything is defeated before love.”
– Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnika
Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, 1914 – 2003
I always end up going to the women’s book club meetings at church without having read the book. This time I went to order the book club book on Amazon, and Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives, the Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
was suggested as something I might also like. So I ordered both. And now I’m reading Elder Thaddeus instead of the book club book.
Anyway, here’s a nice little story about Elder Thaddeus:
Once, Father Thaddeus shared a meal at Vitovnica with a pious visitor from Belgrade. After the meal, the visitor noticed several breadcrumbs in the elder’s beard. When they had both risen from the table, he gently told Fr. Thaddeus that he ought to shake the crumbs from his beard, so that the other visitors would not see them and wonder what kind of monk he was. However, the elder only smiled and said, “It is a pity to throw these crumbs away, when the birds can feast on them!” Then he sat on a bench in the garden, leaned back in his seat, and called to a sparrow sitting on a nearby tree, “Come, little sparrow, come and eat!” The visitor saw with his own eyes how the sparrow flew down and settled on Fr. Thaddeus’ beard, pecking at it until it had eaten the last crumb.