Tuesday, May 1, 2018

WIT AND WISDOM

WIT AND WISDOM

               Archbishop Angelo Roncalli (later, Pope Saint John XXIII, 1881 - 1963), had a keen sense of humour, even while holding positions of authority.  His humour, openness, generosity, warmth and wisdom, made many people love him and call him, ‘Good Pope John’. He was  Canonized on 27 April 2014.
               Before becoming the Pope, he had served as Apostolic Nuncio to France. In the course of the meal during a banquet, he offered an apple to his neighbour, a woman in a dramatically low-cut gown. “Do take it, Madame, please do,” he urged in his typically genial way. “It was only after Eve ate the apple that she became aware of how little she had on.”
               Another time, he greeted a lean and ascetic-looking visitor with a sigh and the comment: “We will both have to say a prayer to God, beseeching him to remove half my excess fat to give it to you!”   
             “How many people work at the Vatican?” a reporter asked Pope St. John XXIII. “Oh, no more than half of them,” the Pope replied with a wink.
               When a cardinal complained to Pope John that a rise in Vatican salaries meant a particular worker, an usher, earned as much as the cardinal, the pope remarked: "That usher has 10 children; I hope a cardinal doesn't have any."
               On another occasion, a prelate of the Curia of Vatican told Pope St. John XXIII that it would be “absolutely impossible” to open the Second Vatican Council by 1963. “Fine, we’ll open it in 1962,” Pope John answered. And they did it.
               When asked what he expected from the Council, he moved towards the window and made a gesture as if to open it and said that he expected a little fresh air from the Council. “We must shake off the imperial dust that has accumulated on the throne of St. Peter since Constantine” he added.
               Visiting a hospital, he asked a boy what he wanted to be when he grew up. The boy said, “Either a policeman or a Pope.” "I would go in for the police if I were you," the Pope said. "Anyone can become a Pope; look at me!"
               One evening, Pope St. John XXIII went to visit a friend at the hospital of the Holy Spirit. In a flutter, the mother superior in charge of the hospital introduced herself, “Most Holy Father, I am the superior of the Holy Spirit!” To which Pope John replied, “Well, I must say you’re lucky. What a job! I’m only the Vicar of Christ, just the servant of the servants of God!”
               Pope St. John XXIII struck the same humorous note on Christmas Day in 1959, when he visited Rome’s Regina Coeli prison. He told the inmates that he came as their brother—and confided that one of his relatives had served a sentence for poaching. Pope John radiated so much goodness and sincerity that there was not a dry eye in the place by the time he finished speaking.
               On another occasion, one prisoner refused to see him. Learning that the man had murdered his wife, Pope John persuaded the guard to let him enter the inmate’s cell. Then he opened a hearty conversation with these words: “You know, I’ve never been married. But if I had married, I too might have killed my wife.”
               When reminded that by protocol the Pope has to dine alone, he complained that if he dined alone, he would appear like a seminarian under punishment. He said, “I have read the Gospel over carefully without finding a single passage which prescribes that one should eat alone. As we know, Jesus loved to eat in company.”
               Once, the Pope remarked, “Men are like wine - some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.”
               On another occasion, he said, “It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.”
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© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, 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 and  Leo. S. John and Neil John, Maniparambil, Alfeen Public School, Kanjirappally, Kerala, India.  For more moral stories, parables and anecdotes for students, catechists, teachers and preachers, kindly visit our web-sites:
                         This is Story No. 353 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.

MEETING GOD

MEETING GOD

                An old man and a small child reached a park one evening. They sat on the same bench. The child smiled and shared his chocolates with the old man. The old man had a bottle of water with him which he happily shared with the child. They started to talk about several silly matters. The old man narrated some interesting stories which the child enjoyed very much. The child sang a few songs which the old man appreciated very much. As the sun was setting, they parted, embracing each other and promising to come there every day.
                Reaching home, the child told his mother, “Mommy, I met God today. His hair was silver-coloured and was very old. He was full of love and told me a lot of nice stories.
                The old man reached his home and told his son, “Today, I met God in the park.” His son did not believe the old man’s words. Then the old man continued, “He is just a little child. He was very affectionate and kind to me. We had a very interesting time together, today.”
                It is said that in bringing up children, we must spend on them half as much money and twice as much time. Jesse Jackson said, "Your children need your presence more than your presents." H. Jackson Brown, Jr. said, "Always kiss your children goodnight - even if they're already asleep."
                King David sang in the Psalms, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing {Psalms 127: 3}. Jesus said, "Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" {Matthew 19: 14}. That is the beauty of the innocence of infancy. That is the true spirit of Christianity as Christ intended it to be.
                Jesus loved children. When His disciples argued among themselves to decide who among them was the greatest, Jesus introduced a child and said, “I assure you that unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. The greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like the child. And whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me” {Matthew 18:2-5}.
                It is our duty to give gratitude, love, respect, service and support to our elderly relatives. We must take care of them and provide for them especially in their old age, illness and need. By our love and service, we can add days to their life and add life to their days.
                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 evangelization. Love can be heard by the deaf, seen by the blind and felt even by the newborn 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, 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 and  Leo. S. John and Neil John, Maniparambil, Alfeen Public School, Kanjirappally, Kerala, India.  For more moral stories, parables and anecdotes for students, catechists, teachers and preachers, kindly visit our web-sites:
                         This is Story No. 352 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.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A RECKLESS ATTACK

A RECKLESS ATTACK


             Tony and Teena were recently married couples. They lived in a South Indian village. A month after their wedding, Tony had to go abroad to work in a foreign country. There was no one to stay with Teena. Her close friend, Meena invited her to stay with her. Teena closed their house and moved to her friend’s house in the town. Meena had a small child, who was very fond of Teena. Teena was very affectionate to the child and was eager to look after every need of the child with tender love and care.
             Tony returned to their home after several months. Teena and Tony reopened their house, cleaned it and started to live there. The next day, he went to town and could return only by dusk. When he neared their house, he heard the loud sound of Teena. Obviously, she was on the phone, speaking to someone. Out of curiosity, Tony secretly listened to the words of his wife. He was shocked to hear her words. She was talking very affectionately to someone on the phone and stated that she loved that person more than anything else in this world. She even made the sound of a loving kiss. Tony could not bear this. He believed that she had a secret lover and was sharing intimate moments with him. Furiously, he grabbed a heavy stick and gave an unexpected heavy blow on her head. She gave a loud cry and fell down, fainted. Filled with rage, Tony took the phone and listened silently, hoping to identify the criminal. There was a repeated  enquiry from an excited lady through the phone, “Teena, Teena, what happened to you?”
             Tony asked her, “Who are you?” The caller introduced herself as Meena, the close friend of Teena. She said, “Teena was talking to my child for a long time and I was listening to their intimate talk. Suddenly, Teena made a loud cry and stopped her talk. What happened?”
             Tony was totally upset. He realized that he had foolishly misunderstood his wife and misinterpreted her sweet talk to the innocent infant. He felt extremely sorry for reacting impulsively to Teena’s innocent act of affection and inflicting a serious injury on his dear and loving wife.
             Teena was rushed to the hospital in his car. She had to undergo a major surgery. After weeks of intensive treatment, she recovered and returned to their home, but her hair had to be shaved off prior to the surgery. Her head retained marks of the trauma.  
             A moment of misunderstanding or misinterpretation may be very disastrous and may make a couple forget the millions of memorable moments in their life and lead to erroneous or dangerous conclusions and decisions. It is wrong to draw conclusions until we know all the facts. His Grace the Most Rev. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan and former Head of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, once remarked humorously, “Three unmarried girls are responsible for most of the troubles in the world. These miscreants are: Misunderstanding, Misinterpretation and Misrepresentation.” Because these three words start with ‘Mis’, they were described humorously by the Metropolitan as ‘Miss’ troublemakers.
              Prejudice, discrimination, racism,  judgement by external appearances and impulsive reactions have plagued humanity for centuries. Such biased judgements do not reflect truth or reality. We must use just judgement and intelligent interpretations to arrive at sensible conclusions and wise decisions.
             Jesus teaches us the dangers of wrongly judging others. Jesus taught, “Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way as you judge others, and He will apply to you the same rules you apply to others” {Matthew 7: 1, 2}. “Do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you; forgive others, and God will forgive you.”{Luke 6:37}.
             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 defects and sins of others. When we are harsh in judging others, we become unable to receive mercy and compassion.
             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}. 
             The Holy Bible teaches, “There is no excuse for unjustified anger; it can bring about your downfall. Wait, and be patient, and later you will be glad you did” {Sirach 1: 22, 23}.
“If you cannot control your anger, you are as helpless as a city without walls, open to attack” {Proverbs 25: 28}. “It is better to be patient than powerful. It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities” {Proverbs 16: 32}.
             Let us remember that ‘ANGER’ is only one letter short of ‘DANGER’. Robert Green Ingersoll said, “Anger blows out the lamp of the mind.” Benjamin Franklin said, “Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.” Lord Buddha taught, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burnt.”                      
             Let us seek God’s blessings and request Him to purify our heads, hearts, hands and habits.
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© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, 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 and Neil John, Alfeen Public School, Kanjirappally, Kerala, India.  For more moral stories, parables and anecdotes for students, catechists, teachers and preachers, kindly visit our web-sites:
                         This is Story No. 351 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.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

THE GOOD GOATHERD

THE GOOD GOATHERD


                In an Indian village, a good goatherd had a goat farm with over a hundred goats. He loved them and they adored him. They could recognise his call and respond by running to him and surrounding him. He used to feed them with love and care. When any goat had an injury, he used to nurse it with compassion.
                One day he had to go to the town to buy essential articles for the farm. He fed the goats with affection, locked the gate of the farm, and left for the town.  When he returned, he was shocked to find the door of the farm lying opened. Rushing into the farm, he found that all the goats were missing. Obviously, some thief had sneaked into the farm and stolen his dear goats. He ran out of the farm house and asked the villagers about the lost goats. No one could help him. They rushed through the road connecting the village to the town and enquired everywhere about the missing goats.
                One person told that he had seen a truck full of goats proceeding from the village towards the town. They informed the police and rushed to the town. They found the truck full of goats parked near a hotel. The driver and his assistants were having their dinner in the hotel. They asked the driver, but he claimed that the goats were his own. By that time, the police also arrived there. The police questioned the driver but he was firm in his stand. The driver asked the owner of the lost sheep whether he had any evidence to prove that the goats in the truck belonged to him.
                The goatherd boldly told the driver and the police, “My goats can recognise me and my voice. I shall call them and if they respond by running to me, you can be sure that the goats are mine. Everyone agreed. They moved towards the truck. The police asked the driver to open the bars surrounding the truck. The goatherd called his flock in a loud and loving tone. Suddenly, all the goats jumped out of the truck and ran to him. They surrounded him and he patted them with affection. The police arrested the thieves and let the loving goatherd go to his farm with the recovered flock of goats. The villagers celebrated the victory and returned to their village jubilantly.
                The Holy Bible describes Jesus as the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep - the whole humanity.
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd, who is willing to die for the sheep” {John 10: 11}. “I know my sheep and they know me. And I am willing to die for them” {John 10: 14, 15}. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never die. No one can snatch them away from me” {John 10: 27, 28}.
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© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, 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 and Neil John, Alfeen Public School, Kanjirappally, Kerala, India.  For more moral stories, parables and anecdotes for students, catechists, teachers and preachers, kindly visit our web-sites:
                         This is Story No. 350 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.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

SMILING SAINTS

SMILING SAINTS


                    Saint Euphrasia Eluvathingal (1877-1952) was a pious nun of a Carmelite Convent in Kerala, India. She was canonized by Pope Francis on 23 November, 2014.
                    Once, St. Euphrasia had an appointment with a Dental Doctor. She told the Doctor that she had severe tooth-pain and requested him to extract all her teeth. The Doctor remarked that all the teeth could not be extracted together. He said he would examine her teeth carefully and extract them one by one, if necessary. He asked her to open her mouth wide. As she opened her mouth, the Doctor burst into laughter as there was only a single tooth remaining in her mouth. The rest of her teeth had been removed earlier. She joined him in the laughter.
                    St. Thomas More, the Lord Chancellor of England, was sentenced to be beheaded in 1535 for supporting the Pope’s order against the King’s decision to remarry while his wife was still alive. As St. Thomas More was about to mount the scaffold to attain martyrdom, he said to the executioner humorously, “I pray you, Mr. Lieutenant, see me safe up and for my coming down, I can shift for myself.” He positioned his beard so that it wouldn’t be harmed while he was beheaded. He said with a smile, “My short neck may impede the blade. My beard has not offended the king. Don’t cut it.”
                    Archbishop Angelo Roncalli (later, Pope Saint John XXIII, 1881 - 1963), was appointed as apostolic nuncio to France. In the course of the meal during a banquet, he offered an apple to his neighbour, a woman in a dramatically low-cut gown. “Do take it, Madame, please do,” he urged in his typically genial way. “It was only after Eve ate the apple that she became aware of how little she had on.”
                    Another time, he greeted an ascetic-looking visitor with a sigh and the comment: “We will both have to say a prayer to God, beseeching him to remove half my excess fat to give it to you!”
                  “How many people work at the Vatican?” a reporter asked Pope St. John XXIII. “Oh, no more than half of them,” the Pope replied with a wink.
                    On another occasion, a Curia official told Pope St. John XXIII that it would be “absolutely impossible” to open the Second Vatican Council by 1963. “Fine, we’ll open it in 1962,” Pope John answered. And they did.
                    Then there was the time Pope St. John XXIII visited the Hospital of the Holy Spirit. All in a flutter, the religious sister in charge introduced herself, “Most Holy Father, I am the superior of the Holy Spirit!” To which Pope John replied, “Well, I must say you’re lucky. I’m only the Vicar of Christ!”
                    Pope St. John XXIII struck the same humorous note on Christmas Day in 1959, when he visited Rome’s Regina Coeli prison. He told the inmates that he came as their brother—and confided that one of his relatives had served a sentence for poaching. Pope John radiated so much goodness and sincerity that there was not a dry eye in the place by the time he finished speaking.
                    On another occasion, though, one prisoner refused to see him. Learning that the man had murdered his wife, Pope John persuaded the guard to let him inside the inmate’s cell. Then he opened with these words: “You know, I’ve never been married. But if I had married, I might have killed my wife, too.”
                    Pope Saint John Paul II the Great (1920 – 2005) also showed a talent for humorous remarks. To keep fit amid the demands and stresses of the papacy, he had a small swimming pool put in at the papal summer residence. When some people questioned the expense, he answered, “A conclave would cost a lot more.” The humorous remark was about the need for another conclave to elect a new Pope if he happens to die by ill health and lack of exercise!
                    An American Bishop, recalling Pope St. John Paul’s amazing memory for names and faces, told of returning to Rome after having put on weight since his previous visit. “Is your diocese growing?” the pope inquired. The obese Bishop assured him that it was indeed expanding. “So is the Bishop,” said Pope John Paul with a twinkle in his eye.
                    St. Teresa of Avila (1515 - 1582) was distinguished by a playful wit and a keen sense of humour. St. Teresa once prayed, “From silly devotions, and from sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us”!
                    There is a common misconception that saints are generally rough and tough and would never laugh or enjoy a joke. Saints are innocent like infants and they can enjoy harmless humour like children. Several saints have loved to play and laugh and make others laugh with their witty remarks and sense of humour, but they were careful not to commit a sin.”
                    The Holy Bible teaches, “Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time” {Proverbs 17: 22}.
                    St. Paul says, “May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: rejoice!” {Philippians 4: 4}.
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© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, 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 and Neil John, Alfeen Public School, Kanjirappally, Kerala, India.  For more moral stories, parables and anecdotes for students, catechists, teachers and preachers, kindly visit our web-sites:
                         This is Story No. 349 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.