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A Narrative on the Manifold Judgments of God By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

"A certain Abba of the monastics, with great boldness and tears, asked God that He reveal to him some of His judgments on men: judgments which they do not recognize, but mistake for extraordinary events. For a long time God did not show him anything (for men can never fully know and understand the mysteries of God), but the ascetic did not cease from that prayer day and night. One day, God, wishing to satisfy fully the monk's prayer, put into his heart the thought that he visit an ascetic elder who lived a many-days journey.

As the ascetic began his journey, God sent an angel in the form of a young monk, who met the elder and greeted him, "Bless Father." The elder answered, "May God give you forgiveness, child." And the angel said to the elder, "Where do you go, Abba?" The elder said, "I go to see such-and-such, an ascetic." The angel exclaimed, "I also go there; let us two go in company." They walked on together until a pious man took them into his home, and at dinner he brought a silver platter to the table. When next morning they were about to depart, the angel took the platter, tossed it into the air, and it disappeared. The elder was troubled at seeing this, but he said nothing. The second day they journeyed until they entered into another village, where a very pious Christian was friendly and hospitable to the travelers. He had an only son, whom he brought for the monks to pray over and bless. But when they were to continue their journey, the angel suddenly grasped the child by the neck and strangled him. Seeing this, the elder was shaken and astonished, but he remained silent. And walking on, the third day they rested in another place, but because they found no one to receive them, they stayed in a courtyard. The courtyard had a wall that was leaning over and about to fall. The angel loosened the stones by pounding, and tore it down; then he rebuilt it from the foundation.