An Old Russian story tells of a farmer named Diametric who, like Simeon in the Gospel of St. Luke (2:26), wishes to see God face-to-face before he dies. He prays to St. Nikolai who promises to grant his wish. The saint goes on to specify the place and the day of the encounter.

As the time for encounter draws near, Diametric sets out on his long journey. He has only one thing in mind: his appointment with God. But along the road, he meets an old farmer whose cart has broken down. Now he has dilemma: must he stop to help the farmer or hurry on to his appointment with God?

His kind heart wins and he stays to fix the farmer’s cart. It takes him hours to finish the task and he never makes it to the meeting place. That night, St. Nikolai appears to him in a dream and says: “My friend, you have encountered the Lord. It happened when you helped that unknown man in need.”

Submitted by Fr. Joseph Dovari