Wednesday, December 3, 2014

FISH AND FROG

FISH AND FROG


                      A boy in a south Indian village wanted to make an aquarium at home. He cleaned a wide-mouthed glass jar and layered some washed sand and gravel into it. He also planted some aquatic plants in it. He filled it with water and went to the stream near his residence. Using a coarse towel he collected a few small fishes from the stream and transferred them to his jar. He maintained and fed the animals with care and affection. He spent a lot of time watching the graceful movements of the animals swimming by the lateral undulation of their large and flattened tail.

                      A few days later, he observed tiny outgrowths on either side of the animals. They grew like legs. Later an additional pair of projections appeared which grew like hands. Later the long tail shortened and appeared like little stubs. The boy was filled with wonder and sought the opinion of his father about the unusual changes in his pet fish.

                      The father explained to him that the animals he collected were not small fishes but small tadpoles in the larval stage in the life cycle of a frog. He explained the appearance of legs and hands and the disappearance of the tail as the visible signs of metamorphosis. Soon the froglets reached full maturity and jumped out of the jar.  The boy watched with wonder how his pets jumped away in search of a new land. His father consoled him and used the occasion to tell him about the inevitable end of human life. “We too will die one day and move away with a transformed body from this world to our real abode in heaven to meet our creator, the loving God.”

                      Life after death is a reality. In the heaven of happiness reserved for the righteous, we will meet our loving Lord who created us to be with Him forever. St. Paul teaches about life after death, “I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us” {Romans 8: 18}. “What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever” {2Corinthians 4: 18}. “What no one ever saw or heard, what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love Him” {1Corinthians 2: 9; Isaiah 64: 4}.

                      It reminds us that we have only a limited time on earth in the joyous journey to heaven. God guides us throughout this travel through His teachings in the Holy Scriptures. If we proceed with a firm faith in God, we can overcome difficult situations and make this journey of life joyful and fruitful. 

                      King Philip of Macedonia had appointed a servant in his palace, with the duty to meet him every morning and greet him with the words, “Philip, remember that you must die.”
                     'Death' is the Damocles' sword for all mortals. Death often appears unexpectedly. At every moment of life, we must be prepared for this impending end. Life is short and all worldly riches and luxury have to be left behind when we die. They give only a temporary joy. Sinful indulgence in worldly pleasures may lead to everlasting agony in a hell of horror.
                      It is said that when we are born, we cry and the people around us rejoice. When we die, people cry, and, if we are saved, we rejoice! Calvin Miller said, “Death is but a temporary inconvenience that separates our smaller living from our greater being.” Sir Walter Scott said, “Is death the last sleep? No, it is the final awakening.” Leon Jaworski stated, “Death for the Christian is a turning off the light because the dawn has come.”

                      At his deathbed, Alexander the Great instructed his close associates to leave his hands hanging free on either side of the coffin during his royal funeral procession. That was to teach the world that he could carry nothing with him on his final journey.
                      Man’s way leads to a hopeless end while God’s way leads to an endless hope. Let us plan ahead for the unavoidable departure from this world. Let us remember that it was not raining when Noah built the Ark. Death is the universal equalizer. Everyone is equal before death as death comes to all - great and small {Job 3: 13-19}.
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© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School,  Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.  For more moral stories, parables and anecdotes for students, catechists, teachers and preachers, kindly visit our web-sites:
                         This is Story No. 326 in the second site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in these sites. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

Monday, October 27, 2014

THE SHARING SIBLING

THE SHARING SIBLING


                             One afternoon, a wealthy man was waiting for the train in a railway station in south India. A poor boy in torn clothes approached him and begged for some money. He said he was very hungry and did not get anything to eat on that day. Seeing his pitiable state, the man bought a packet of lunch from a stall and gave it to the boy. The boy thanked him and sat on a seat. He opened the packet and started to eat in a hurry. The man was sure that the boy was really hungry and turned to the pages of a book he was reading.
                             Suddenly he noticed that the boy had abruptly stopped eating and was packing the rest of the meal in a hurry. The man assumed that the boy was preparing to throw away the rest of the meal into the waste bin. He rose from his seat and angrily asked the boy why he was not eating the full meal. The boy was in tears. He told the man that he just remembered his younger sister who had nothing to eat on that day. In his exhaustion, he had started the meal forgetting her fate and was sorry for that. He ran with the packet to his home to share his meal with his hungry sister.
                             Mother Teresa once said about her unforgettable experience in a poor family in Calcutta. One day she learned that a poor Hindu family with several children was starving for several days. She rushed to the family, carrying in her hands a bag of rice for the family. The mother of the family thankfully received the bag of rice. The starving woman then divided the rice in the bag into two halves and went out with one half of the rice.
                             When she returned, Mother Teresa asked her where she had gone. The woman replied that she went to give a share of the rice to a neighbouring Muslim family which was in a similar state of poverty and starvation. Mother Teresa was touched by the love and compassion of the poor lady which made her share her meagre assets with her starving neighbours. She was happy to see them enjoy the joy of sharing.
                             Albert Schweitzer thought and wrote about the "fellowship of those who bear the mark of pain." Those outside this fellowship usually have great difficulty in understanding what lies behind the pain.
                             The early Christian communities displayed three major qualities: Daring, Caring and Sharing. They had the courage to practise what they preached and believed, even facing adverse conditions and persecutions. They showed care and kindness to each other, especially to the weak, the sick and the poor. 

                            We should be ready to share our possessions with those in greater need. Sir Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

                          "The group of believers was one in mind and heart. No one said that any of his belongings was his own, but they all shared with one another, everything they had...There was no one in the group who was in need" {Acts 4: 32-34}.

                            In his Epistle, St. John wrote, "My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action" {1 John 3: 18}. "God is love and whoever lives in love lives in union with God and God lives in union with him" {1 John 4: 16}.

                            Worried over the lack of love among some Corinthians, St. Paul wrote to them his famous words of wisdom about real love, "I may be able to speak the languages of men and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell..." {1Corinthians 13: 1-13}.

                             Love is the language that Jesus taught his disciples as the universal medium for evangelisation. Love can be heard by the deaf, seen by the blind and felt even by the new-born and the mentally retarded.

                            We may give without loving; but we cannot love without giving. Love is giving all we can. Love is like a smile - neither have any value unless given away. Karl Menninger said, "Love cures people - both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it." Mother Teresa said, "It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts."
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© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School,
 Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
                         For more moral stories, parables and anecdotes for students, catechists, teachers and preachers, kindly visit our web-sites:
                         This is Story No. 325 in the second site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in these sites. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

Monday, October 13, 2014

THE DEVIL AND A DONKEY

THE DEVIL AND A DONKEY


                             The Book of Genesis {Chapters 6 to 8} depicts the story of the ‘Great Flood’ by which God wiped out the wicked people from the earth. He was pleased with Noah and so He decided to save him and his family from the flood.  God ordered him to build an ark, a large wooden boat with ample rooms to accommodate and maintain representatives of every species of terrestrial animals and birds. Noah worked with his wife, his three sons- Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives and constructed the huge ark. Then, following the directions of God, Noah and his sons brought pairs of all animals near the ark and marched them into the ark.
                           In a humorous legend, which is entirely fictitious, a stubborn donkey refused to enter the ark. Noah and his sons had to drag the adamant animal into the ark, overcoming his stupid resistance. In one version of the legend, Ham, a son of Noah furiously shouted to the donkey, “Oh, you devil, come into the ark” while pulling him with all his might.   
                           The Devil, who was awaiting an invitation to enter the ark accepted these impulsive words as an invitation and readily entered the ark. Though the story is entirely fictitious, the Bible states that Ham later came under the influence of the Devil and was tempted to treat his father Noah with disrespect. This evil act led to a historic curse. Noah cursed Ham, the father of Canaan that his descendants would become the slaves of the descendants of Shem and Japheth {Genesis 9: 25}.
                           Harsh words, uttered impulsively can have disastrous consequences. Unkind words may cause deep wounds in the minds of those who hear them.
                           The Psalmist prays, “Lord, place a guard at my mouth, a sentry at the door of my lips” {Psalms 141: 3}. The Book of Proverbs teaches, “Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal” {Proverbs 12: 18}; “Be careful what you say and protect your life. A careless talker destroys himself” {Proverbs 13: 3}.
                           Jesus warns us, “You can be sure that on Judgement Day everyone will have to give account of every useless word he has ever spoken. Your words will be used to judge you – to declare you either innocent or guilty” {Matthew 12: 36, 37}.
                          St. James advises, “Remember this, my dear brothers! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry” {James 1: 19}.
                          St. Paul says, “Get rid of all bitterness, passion and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ” {Ephesians 4: 31, 32}.
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© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School,
 Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
                         For more moral stories, parables and anecdotes for students, catechists, teachers and preachers, kindly visit our web-sites:
                         This is Story No. 324 in the second site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in these sites. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A DEADLY BED

A DEADLY BED


                    Procrustes was a villainous character in Greek mythology. Procrustes (Polypemon/ Procoptas/ Damastes) was the son of Poseidon.
                   He had a house by the side of the road between Athens and Eleusis. He used to invite passengers to spend a night in his house. They were attracted by his hospitality and warm welcome. He offered pleasant food and a night’s rest in his special magical bed, which, he said, was capable of exactly matching the length of anyone who would lie down on it.
                   Procrustes would compel the guest to lie on the iron bed. Then he would tie him to the bed and start his cruel treatment. If the guest was shorter than the bed, he would stretch the body of the guest on a rack using a hammer till his length exactly matched that of the bed, causing great agony and final death. If the guest was longer than the bed, Procrustes would chop off the legs of the guest to achieve a perfect fit; but he would certainly bleed to death. In either case the victim was sure to die.
                   Some legends suggest that he had two different beds of different lengths which he used so that no guest would ever fit a bed exactly and escape from a painful death.
                   Finally the Greek hero Theseus defeated Procrustes and fatally adjusted his length to suit his own bed. Thus Procrustes died as a victim of his own technique, thus ending his reign of terror.
                   Any attempt to establish universal uniformity is disastrous. Every person has a unique personality and individuality. It is impossible to judge everyone using the same strict standards. Harmony in variety and unity in diversity should be appreciated.
                   The phrase ‘Procrustean bed’ is a metaphor to describe an arbitrary or unnatural standard for a set of conditions to which everyone is forced to conform. One who finds fault with everyone except himself and tries to punish others shares the distorted vision and life style of Procrustes.  When we point one finger at another person, three other fingers on the same hand point towards us. Often we fail to notice our own imperfections when we watch the sins of others. When we are harsh in judging others, we become unable to receive mercy and compassion.
                   Jesus teaches us the dangers of wrongly judging others {Matthew 7:1-5, Luke 6: 37-38, 41-42}. “Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way as you judge others …”
                   The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery and asked Jesus to judge her. They wanted to stone her to death, but Jesus said to them, “Whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her” {John 8: 3-11}.
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© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
                         For more moral stories, parables and anecdotes for students, catechists, teachers and preachers, kindly visit our web-sites:
                         This is Story No. 323 in the second site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in these sites. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

Monday, August 25, 2014

THE DOG AT THE DOOR

THE DOG AT THE DOOR


                         John Baillie (1886-1960) was a renowned Scottish theologian. He wrote popular books in theology including ‘A Reasoned Faith’, ‘Invitation to Pilgrimage’, ‘The Place of Jesus in Modern Christianity’, ‘Christian Devotion’ and ‘A Diary of Private Prayer’.
                         John Baillie once narrated the story of a seriously sick patient who was rushed to a hospital. The doctor examined him in detail and from the facial expression of the doctor he could infer that he was nearing his end. He asked the doctor in fear, “Now, what can I do?”
                        The doctor heard the sounds of knocking and scratching on the closed door of the room. “Who is there?” asked the doctor. The patient replied, “He is my pet dog, doctor. He knows that I am here. He makes these sounds in an attempt to reach me.” The doctor was enlightened by this incident. He advised the dying patient, “That is exactly what you too should do. Our ultimate goal in life is to reach our heavenly master. Prepare for that inevitable journey.
                        The impatient dog teaches us a great lesson. Our attitude during old age and illness should not be of depression or worry. We must realise that we are moving forward to meet our master who will greet us in heaven. In this journey, we cannot carry with us any earthly possession except our virtues.
                        There is a meaningful hymn sung at the home of the dead during the funeral rites of the Syro-Malabar Catholic church. In Malayalam, the words are:

“Maranam varumoru naal; Orkkuka marthya nee.
Koode porum nin, jeevitha cheythikalum.
Salkrithyangal cheyyuka nee, alasatha koodathe.”

                        The hymn may be translated as follows and sung in the same tune:
“Death will reach you once,
Bear in mind, mortals.
Actions done by you
Come along with you.
Do good deeds and be ready
Do not be lazy.”
                        Man’s way leads to a hopeless end while God’s way leads to an endless hope. 
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© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
                         For more moral stories, parables and anecdotes for students, catechists, teachers and preachers, kindly visit our web-sites:
                         This is Story No. 322 in the second site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in these sites. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.