What a treat to have Metropolitan Kallistos Ware as keynote speaker during our parish life conference hosted by St. John Orthodox Church here in Memphis this weekend. As a prolific author (my favorite of his books is The Orthodox Way) Metropolitan Kallistos is also a terrific speaker. He spoke at the women’s luncheon today and will bring keynote messages tonight and tomorrow night during the conference. Since he was introduced as being both a speaker and an author, he opened his talk at the luncheon today with this story: (I’m paraphrasing.)
Two men died and were both in cauldrons, presumably in Hell, after their deaths. There were demons putting flaming logs under the author’s cauldron, which was getting hotter and hotter, while the other man seemed comfortable in his. So the author asked the other man why he was there and he said, “I murdered my wife.”
This seemed unfair to the author, so he asked the head demon, “Is there no justice? Why is this murderer receiving better treatment than me?”
The head demon answered, “The man’s wife forgave him. But your books are still selling and causing hurt to many. So every time one of your books sells, a demon puts another flaming log under your cauldron.”
After telling this story, Met. Kallistos went on to give a wonderful talk on “The Fire of the Spirit,” but I couldn’t quit thinking about the fire that was burning under that poor writer’s cauldron….