Stories from Christian Traditions
Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman
One Sabbath day, a day of rest for the Jews, a crippled woman who had been doubled over for eighteen years came to hear Jesus teach. When he saw her suffering he said to her: “Woman, you are free from your infirmity.” He then put his hands upon her.
Immediately she stood up straight and praised God.
Indignant because he had healed on the Sabbath day, some of Jesus’ enemies started to make trouble for him by asking the crowd around him: “There are six days for work and only one for rest. Why does he break the law by healing on the Sabbath day?”
Jesus answered the men: “Hypocrites! Don’t you take your ox or donkey out of its stall and and water it on the Sabbath? Why should this daughter of Abraham, who has been bound by Satan for eighteen years not be set free from what has bound her? Is humankind made for the Sabbath or the Sabbath made for humankind?”
His opponents were ashamed but the crowd was delighted by his interpretation and all he was doing.
– Bible, Gospel of Luke
Saint Xenia of Petersburg
Little is known of Xenia’s early life. Her birth is believed to have been about 1731 and her death about 1803.
She was married to Colonel Andrei Fedorovich Petrov who served as a court chorister. When her husband died, Xenia was only 26 years old; she fell into great grief and appeared to have lost her mind and took up a life as a holy fool. Xenia distributed her possessions to the poor, keeping only the clothes of her dead husband; she wandered among the pauper in the streets of St Petersburg wearing his uniform. The widow insisted on referring to herself by her husbandâ€™s name: Andrei Fedorovich. When relatives of Xenia tried to help her with necessities she replied, â€œI do not need anything.â€ At night, refusing shelter, she went into the fields to pray. Her life was centred on God and she sought protection and comfort only in Him.
Xenia placed the Kingdom of Heaven before earthly possessions and thus endeared the people of Saint Petersburg to her. They considered her presence in their homes as good sign. Merchants from whom she accepted small services and bread saw their sales rise, as people who loved the saintly Xenia tended to frequent the shops of those who helped her.
Xenia possessed the gift of clairvoyance. She foretold the deathsÂ of the Empress ElizabethÂ in 1761, andÂ of the imprisoned Ivan IV Antonovich of Russia, the great-great-grandson of Tsar Alexis,Â in 1764.
She wandered as a holy fool for 45 years and after her death her grave became a place of pilgrimage. Handfuls of the dirt from her grave brought healing for many of the pilgrims.
A Quaker* had this sign put on a vacant piece of land next to his home:
“THIS LAND WILL BE GIVEN TO ANYONE WHO IS TRULY SATISFIED.”
A wealthy farmer who was riding by, stopped to read the sign and said to himself, “Since our friend the Quaker is so ready to part with this plot, I might as well claim it before someone else does. I am a rich man and have all I need, so I certainly qualify.” With that he went up to the door and explained what he was there for. “And art thou truly satisfied?” the Quaker asked. “I am, indeed, for I have everything I need.”
“Friend,” said the Quaker, “if thou art satisfied, what dost thou want the land for?”
– Story attributed to Anthony de Mello
* A Quaker is Christian and member of the Society of Friends, known for their pacifist views.