The best-known story told by the Father Arsenie Boca aims to bring relief to those in distress. The parable of the little cup of tea told by the spiritual guide from Prislop teaches people what they can do “if life is hard and are hit, beaten, pushed almost mercilessly when the world seems to be spinning uncontrollably and when they feel that they are in terrible suffering. “
The Father Arsenie Boca (1910-1989) is considered one of the great spiritual guide of Romanians. He left an impressive spiritual legacy to posterity. One of the most beautiful words of wisdom left by former priest persecuted by the communist regime is the story of the tea cup, a parable intended to bring relief to sufferers.
Here is the story told by Father Arsenie Boca:
“One family went on a trip to England to buy something from a beautiful antique shop, for the celebration of their 25th anniversary of marriage. The husband and wife liked antiques and clay products, ceramics, especially cups of tea. They observed an exceptional cup and asked: “Can we see that cup? We’ve never seen anything so beautiful!”
While the selling lady gave them what they had demanded, the cup of tea began to speak: – You can not understand. I was not from the beginning a cup of tea. Once, I was just a lump of red clay. My Lord took me and I ran, I fought hard, I kneaded repeatedly, and I shouted: “Do not do that!”, “I don’t like it!”, “Leave me alone!”. But he just smiled and said gently: “Not yet.” Then, ah! I was seated on a wheel and I was spun, spun, spun. “Stop! I feel dizzy! I will be sick! “I cried. But my Lord just shook his head and said quietly: “Not yet.” He swirled me, kneaded me and hit me and he shaped up my form until He liked it… and then I was put in the oven. I never felt so much warmth! I cried, I knocked and slammed the door … “Help! Get me out of here! “I could see my Lord through an opening and I could read his lips while he slowly shook his head from side to side:” Not yet. “
When I thought I will not stand another minute more, the door was opened. Carefully He pulled me out and put me on the shelf … I started to cool off. Oh, I felt so good! “Well, so much better”, I thought. But after I cooled down, He took me, brushed and stained me all over … the smells were horrible. I thought I will not breathe anymore. “Oh, please, stop, stop!” I cried. He just nodded and said, “Not yet!” Then suddenly I was put back in the oven. But now it was not as the first time. It was twice as hot and I felt I would suffocate. I asked him. I insisted. I screamed. I cried … I was convinced that I will not escape! I was ready to quit. Just then… the door opened and He pulled me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled and waited and waited, wondering, “What will He do with me next?”
An hour later, he gave me a mirror and said: “Now look at you.” And I looked. “That’s not me; it can not be me … It’s beautiful. I’m beautiful! He spoke to me softly: “I want you to remember, I know you were hurt when you were mingled, hit, spun… but if I would have left you alone, you’d be dry. I know you felt dizzy when I spun the wheel… but if I had stopped, you would be broken into pieces, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was very hot and uncomfortable in the oven… but I had to put you there, otherwise you would have cracked. I know it did not smell good when I brushed and I stained all over, but if I had not done that, you’d never really hardened. You would not have glow in your life. If I would not have stuck you for the second time in the oven, you would not have survived much, because that reinforcement would not hold. Now you are a finished product. You’re what I had in mind the first time I started working with you. “
The moral of the story, said the confessor Arsenie Boca, is this:
“God knows what He makes from each of us. He is the potter and we are His clay. He will mold us, He will do and He will expose us to the needed pressures to be perfect to do his good, pleasant and holy will. If life seems hard and you are hurt, beaten, and pushed mercilessly; when your world seems spinning uncontrollably; when you feel that you are in a terrible suffering, when life seems dire, do yourself a tea and drink it in the prettiest cup, sit down and think about what you read here and then discusses a little with The Potter “.
I have always been a fighter, even when I was down, especially when I was down.
I was such in a bad shape, physically, emotionally and spiritually just after my divorce, with two small children from my marriage, a home that I freely gave away to my ex-wife, exhausted after years of suffering and failures of fixing my marriage, that it was hard for me to look at life in a positive way.
I was a man filled with guilt towards my children that I had failed them in building a happy and complete family for them. I felt guilt, remorse, sadness. As a devoted catholic, I felt that I had lost my soul and was going to hell. I was only 29 years old and felt way too young to go through all of these.
Moreover, I felt so alone because in taking this decision I practically destroyed the two pillars of my life: family and church.
I had nothing left except my car and I said to her (yes, I refer to my car as “she”): “Now it’s just you and me baby”, that definitely made me smile a little and then drove away with a sack full of books and another one filled with my clothes.
One year of struggle followed – one year in which I tried to keep my children happy and unaffected, pay the bills, do well at my job and maintain everything at a decent level. One year in which all I wanted was to separate myself from the world and do nothing, just to mourn. Just wanted to fall into a deep depression and die.
The first nice positive word is HOPE
My spirit never lets me die, though, or maybe it was my huge ego or maybe it was God’s Grace. I don’t know what it was exactly but something made me keep going in a steady, organized and calm manner. I always felt that no matter how fucked up I was, I needed to keep the good things in my life because soon I will build on them the wonderful life that I had always hoped for. And that was hope, my friends.
Hope gave me the perseverance to finalize the most challenging project I had ever had at work – just a few month after my divorce. Hope gave me the courage to face off all the accusing voices, the patience and kindness to take care of my small children and make them happy and joyful when they were with me, the will to go on and pursuit happiness.
The second nice positive word is FAITH
Hope came along with Faith or better said True Faith and that was when I understood deep inside me that God is greater than any church or spiritual practice and I have a personal relationship with Him. I am His child and He loves me infinitely and unconditionally. This is my True Faith and this gave me balance, tranquility, and strength, tremendous strength, and resilience.
I kept everything in place as good as I could. Hope and Faith helped me survive and keep balance. I was a survivor, baby! And was holding on superbly and gaining such a deep respect for myself.
The third nice positive word is LOVE
However, only when I understood Love my life changed.
All these wonderful things happened in my life in only a few months:
Got my dream job;
Bought my new home;
Made great new friends;
Got into a fulfilling and happy romantic relationship;
And most importantly, regained my inner peace.
Maybe you think I am now happy that all are turned out so well but the true thing is that I was also happy before all of this started to materialize. So happy, fulfilled and joyful for no reason but one: Love.
More exactly Love for God. Why? How? Didn’t you say you didn’t believe in Church any more? But I also said I found my True Faith: I am God’s child and He loves me infinitely and unconditionally.
Someone told me to love myself to get rid of the guilt and remorse but I couldn’t, just couldn’t. My love was so low I could not love myself a bit, so I said to myself I want to try to love God instead because He is so great that He loves me unconditionally anyway, at least let me return the favor a little bit.
So I started to repeat in my thoughts: “I love you God”, whenever I felt remorse “I love you God”, whenever I felt miserable “I love you God”, whenever I failed on something “I love you God” and soon, but really magically soon I started to feel joy “I love you God”, started to smile “I love you God”, started to be optimistic “I love you God”, started to be positive “I love you God”, started to feel self-love “I love you God”, for no reason at all “I love you God”.
I have spent hours and hours just listening to devotional music and feeling so happy and grateful for the Love and Grace of God.
I feel grateful “I love you, God”
I feel happy “I love you, God”
I feel peaceful “I love you, God”
And then a lot of wonderful things started to happen to me. Of course, I made some actions towards achieving them but still I feel so blessed and I am conscious that my Loving Heavenly Father helps me every step of the way: 10% me, 90% God. That’s so generous of Him, isn’t it?
During my lifetime I have communicated with God using many words and prayers but I feel the closest to Him when I make it really simple and say “I love you God” and instantly feel His immense Love and Grace:
“I hear you, my child”
“I love you”
“I am with you”
Hope and faith made me a fighter, a survivor but Love healed me, transformed me and made me complete.
No matter what hardships you are struggling with, no matter how disappointed you are, just remember and repeat: LOVE – the word that will heal you, comfort you and make you complete.
If you cannot use any of the other positive words just use this one and it will be enough. LOVE is the only positive word that you’ll ever need to use in order to change your life!
God’s Grace and love be with you always!
This article was written by Valentin Nedelcu. Valentin practices a career as a tax advisor, his passion is teaching people how to obtain financial freedom and he is a father of two children: a boy of 4 years old and a girl of 2 years old.
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