-"Learn what dwells in man"
-"What is not given to man"
-"What men live by"
Both Simon the Shoemaker and Matryona his wife, start the encounter with Saint Michael with lower human traits, with selfishness, greed, fear, etc...but in the course of the story, these traits are overcomed by love. Matryona changes her foul thought into a loving gaze and Simon changes his mind and retraces back his steps to help him.
I have talked in the past about communities, how people striving to form a community may find it so difficult to sustain the effort, and it is because we are so separated from the spiritual world, that the differences amongst us are made unsurmountable. Some people may look for community for wrong reasons, egotistic intentions, or plainly self-interest. yet how can we humans strive for something better than that?
We find it in the first community, marriage, where two have to become one, and where the natural binding is again, plainly not enough, nowadays we have more independency from each other because we have more independency from the spiritual, but until we gain again the truths about reality, about the spiritual origin of all, and we consciously make the work to align super-naturally with these truths, all will fail, marriage, and communities at large.
The quotes at the beginning of Leo Tolstoy's story are worth thinking:
We know that we have passed out of death into life, beacsue we love the brethren. He that love not abideth in death. I Epistle St John iii.14
Whoso hath the world's goods, and beholded his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us no love in word, neither with tongue; but in deed and truth. iii 17-18
Love is God;and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. iv 7-8
No man had beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abideth in us. 1v 12
God is love;and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him. iv 16
If a man says, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he had not seen? iv 20
I have also the same longing, just striving to hold the family in loving relationships, to strive to "see" every person that I encounter and thus give them my attention, to be part of groups striving to do the same, to overcome our selfishness, and connect again with God so we can truly love one another, that maybe is enough community for the time-being.
May Michael protect us in that walk.