One day, we were discussing subjects related to psychology and the effect of various feelings on human behaviour. Papouli claimed that such feelings, e.g. happiness, sadness, etc., could cause a suspension or an increase in a person’s will according to the sort of impact, pleasant or unpleasant, they carried. To give an example, he referred to the following event.
“Many years ago” he told me, “a spiritual son of mine, much younger than I, stayed in the monastery in which I lived. He was a teacher of Theology. Every day we talked about subjects connected with religion and relative problems. One, the teacher brought up the subject of the existence of God. After a long discussion, we reached the unforced conclusion that God exists. Then, the young teacher turned to me and said:
“Father, everything you told me is right, and both of us believe that God exists. However, I beg you to promise me that when you die, you will come and tell me if God exists.”
“But, how can you be sure that I will die first?” I asked him.
The young teacher answered that this would consequently happen since I had double his age. However, I knew with God’s grace that he was going to die first and that this would happen soon. Nevertheless, I promised him that if I died first, I would come and tell him whether God exists or not. I added that I wanted him to promise me the same.
“Father, I do promise”, he said, and we shook our hands.
After a while, the teacher left the monastery and went to the city since he was appointed as a teacher of Theology in a high school. In less than a year, when the church was celebrating one of our great holidays (I don’t remember if it was Easter or Christmas), a table was laid with rich, delicious dishes, suitable for the day. We all, after the long exhausting fast, were awaiting the meal hungrily. A villager, who just arrived, informed us that the teacher had died. We remained speechless, and no one took anything to eat! What had happened to our great appetite? It disappeared! Do you see, Anargyros, what a retracting result bad news can have? My child, the human soul is inscrutable. It is like a spider’s cobweb and can be traced only by those who are near God.”
He continued talking about the soul for a long time, but I could not follow him despite my university studies. Not only the terminology but the meanings as well were unknown to me blocking my thinking faculty to a point of embarrassment. (We should also bear in mind that Papouli had never sat behind a desk). I just managed to escape from my inconvenience by asking whether the teacher kept his promise.
“Of course”, he told me. “It was past midnight, and I was in my cell after a long prayer. I turned off the light, and I was trying to sleep. It was then that I heard a loud voice roaring, “God exists! God exists! God exists!”. Three times, I recognized the voice. It was the theologian’s. Full of fear, I got up, fell on my knees, and prayer for the salvation of his soul until morning”
So the teacher fully kept the agreement they had made: the one who dies first should come and tell the other whether God exists. After such evidence, who can doubt the God existence?
Source: “Father Porphyrios: The Discerning, The Foreseeing, The Healer” by Anargyros J.Kalliatsos