This is the story of Demetrios, the 15-year-old son of a newly baptized Māori family who wants to become a lawyer. Just two years ago, he lived far from the city in a house without running water. Any hope of attending a good high school was scant. However, for our man-befriending God there is always a way. Thanks to his exceptional school performance, Demetrios was admitted to the prestigious Hamilton Boys High School. Study there entails being a boarder, incurring an annual living cost of 3,000 dollars. His parents were unable to meet such costs. The school fees had to be paid by Friday and it was already Tuesday! They asked for the help of their priest, Fr. George. At the time, he was in Australia but urged them to pray together to Saint Demetrios to intercede.
Meanwhile, a dinner at the family home of friends of the Ierapostolé in Oceania in the presence of the good and very blessed priest Fr. Elias and two or three friends had surprises in store. The discussion focused on the living conditions and efforts of the Mission in the Pacific islands of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, as well as in the Maori community in Raglan, New Zealand. Among other things, the priest referred to the request for financial assistance for the schooling of young Demetrios, since this request had just been received and their prayer had been asked in order for God to show them how to act. The old lady sitting on the next chair asked to speak privately to our priest, to whom she said, «My husband died last year. His name was Demetrios. Since he passed away, I have been praying to Saint Demetrios to give me the opportunity to do something in his name, for the soul of my late husband. Tonight, when I heard the story of little Demetrios, I realized that this was the very opportunity. I will help the child to study». She would not accept thanks, since in their parish Fr. Elias has made his flock realize that when people give and offer out of their wealth or out of their scarcity, they should not accept thanks as payment. Instead, they themselves should feel thankful and express their gratitude for the opportunities which God presents to them to serve Him and His children, and thus to store up an invaluable spiritual treasure in Heaven. Demetrios excelled in classes as the top-ranking student in the whole school and was awarded the prize for outstanding performance. Through his high achievement, he fully honoured in the best possible way the great benefit that God had brought to his life! His benefactor on earth has fallen asleep in the Lord, but in Demetrios’ memory and prayers she will always be alive. With a single act of kindness, she radically changed a young child’s life. God gave her the opportunity, and she recognised it! She served an unknown fellow human being, offered a prayer for the repose of her deceased husband’s soul, honoured Saint Demetrios, and praised and glorified the holy name of the man-befriending God.
† Myron of New Zealand