Friday, June 6, 2014

THREE MISCREANTS

THREE MISCREANTS



                      A boy was visiting the zoo for the first time. He was accompanied by his father. The boy was much excited and was discussing with his father the different types of animals they would see in the zoo.
                      They reached the gates of the zoo and moved to the counter where the tickets for entry into the zoo were sold. The father gave the cash to the person inside the counter through a narrow window and asked for two tickets- one senior and one junior. The officer quickly extended his arm through a hole in the counter and gave the tickets and the exact balance as cash. The boy was watching the scene with excitement. He asked aloud, “Father, that ape in the counter knows arithmetic too. He is so intelligent!”
                       A vain lady asked the Vicar, “Father, today I spent a lot of time before the mirror, watching my image and wondering how beautiful I am. Is that misbehaviour, Father?” The Vicar told her, “Your action has a different name. It was not misbehaviour; it was a case of misunderstanding!”
                       A young man had to return alone to the place of his work in a distant country, a week after his wedding. He wrote his first loving letter to his beloved wife with his own hands to give it a personal touch. In the letter, he addressed her as ‘my better half.’ But unfortunately, he had a very bad and illegible handwriting. She read his loving address as: MY BITTER HALF’. That initiated a quarrel which gradually intensified and ended in their divorce.
                       A moment of misunderstanding or misinterpretation may be very disastrous and may make a couple forget the millions of memorable moments spent together.               
                        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.
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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. 319 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, June 2, 2014

WORD OF GOD

WORD OF GOD


       Sweet simple carbohydrates which are soluble in water are called ‘sugars’. Examples are: glucose (dextrose), fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (cane sugar) and lactose (milk sugar).
       A question in a written examination in Chemistry was to write the names of the common sugars found in nature. A student was found to sit idly, unable to answer the question. The examiner gave him a clue, “The names of sugars end with the letters ‘ose’”, he told the boy. Later he was surprised to find in the student’s answer sheet a long list of names under the heading, “sugars”. They were: BOSE, JOSE, ROSE, LUKOSE, MARKOSE, PATHROSE, POULOSE, KURIAKOSE, PHILIPPOSE, etc.
                      King David declares, “How sweet is the taste of your instructions-sweeter even than honey!” {Psalms 119: 103}.
Psalm 119, with 176 verses is the longest psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible. It is divided into 22 stanzas of 8 verses each, one stanza for each letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. Within each stanza, each of the eight verses begins with that letter (22x8=176). It is believed that King David used this Psalm to teach his son, Solomon, the alphabet of both the Hebrew language and spiritual life. This Psalm contains the A to Z of God’s Word.
                    In this verse, the Psalmist proclaims that the word of God is sweeter than honey. The Bible provides dependable answers for perplexing problems, solutions during difficult situations and guidance in uncertain circumstances in our life. The Word of God is efficient, sufficient and magnificent and deserves topmost priority in our lives. We must learn, love, apply and obey the sweet words of God which are revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
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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. 318 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.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

THE STOOPING STATUE

THE STOOPING STATUE


                            There is an interesting story behind the statue of resurrected Christ (Christus, Kristus) standing today behind the altar in the ‘Church of Our Lady’ Cathedral in Copenhagen, Denmark. 
                            The statue was made in clay by Karl Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844), a Danish sculptor of international repute. The original statue had its majestic head held high, victoriously, gazing upward towards heaven. The hands were also held high and outstretched as if to bless the whole humanity.
                            He finished the work and went home leaving the clay to dry and harden.
                            But during the night, a dense mist spread from the sea. A heavy rainstorm dampened the whole area. The dampness entered his studio and altered the appearance of the statue. The head that was held high, bent forwards and faced downwards. The arms raised high in a commanding gesture, now fell low and stretched forward in an inviting gesture. At first, the sculptor felt depressed as his masterpiece appeared to be damaged and ruined beyond repair. Further observation and meditation enlightened him. He learned that the altered figure depicted the true image of our loving Lord. It now displayed the ‘Compassionate Saviour’. The sympathetic arms were outstretched as if to embrace the sad and needy humanity. On the pedestal in the cathedral the words, “Come unto me” were inscribed later, based on the verse “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest” {Matthew 11:28}.
                            If one wants to see the face of Christ in the statue clearly, he must get down on his knees and look upwards. This statue has been described as the most perfect statue of Christ in the world. It is 10.5 feet (3.2 metres) high. When Thorvaldsen unveiled this statue in the Copenhagen Cathedral 1828, it is recorded that "crowds of astonished onlookers marvelled at the grandeur and sublimity of the work." Replicas of this masterpiece have been erected in several places throughout the world..
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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. 317 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, March 24, 2014

FREEDOM, FAITH AND FELLOWSHIP

FREEDOM, FAITH AND FELLOWSHIP


                           A talented teacher used to start his class by stating a story and raising a query to arouse in the students an interest in the subject of study. The students of the school admired his style of teaching and listened to him with ardent attention. They answered his questions with innocence and he listened to them with patience.

                           Once he had to teach them about the struggle for freedom led by the leaders of the nation. He narrated a story to introduce the concept of freedom, liberation and independence. “A prisoner had to spend several years in prison. After years of painful confinement within the prison bars, he was released. Returning to his native village, he saw a man selling caged birds to customers passing along the road. He saw the scene and rushed to the man. He purchased the caged birds by paying all the money he had with him. Then he opened the cages and let the birds fly high in the sky and return to their natural nests.”

                           After telling this story, the teacher asked the children, “Now tell me, why did he buy the caged birds and let the birds free to fly in the air?” The students thought deeply. One of them replied innocently, “Sir, it was because he needed only the empty cages!” The teacher was lost for words.

                           A train is free only so long as it stays on its track. Once it is derailed, it loses its freedom for a meaningful movement. Voluntary sacrifice of personal rights is the basis of true freedom and a peaceful social life. In his epic poem, ‘Paradise Lost’, John Milton (1608-1674) depicts the devil’s distorted vision of liberty through the words of Lucifer after he is cast from heaven to hell, “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”

                           But in the Christian concept, true freedom is a kind of voluntary bondage. It is obtained only in outright obedience to Almighty God and the filial fellowship with His children. The Psalmist declares, “In my distress I called to the Lord; He answered me and set me free” {Psalms 118: 5}.
                            Jesus said to those who believed in Him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” {John 8: 31, 32}. “If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free” {John 8: 36}.

                           St. Peter advises, “Live as free people; do not, however use your freedom to cover up any evil, but live as God’s slaves” {1 Peter 2: 16}. St. Paul identifies true freedom as a generous gift of God - liberation from the clutches of sin and Satan. “But now you have been set free from sin and are the slaves of God. Your gain is a life fully dedicated to Him, and the result is eternal life” {Romans 6: 22}.

                           St. Paul exhorts us to preserve our freedom: “Freedom is what we have – Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again” {Galatians 5: 1}. He adds that the gift of freedom should promote the spirit of love, service and charity, “You were called to be free. But do not let this freedom become an excuse for letting your physical desires control you. Instead, let love make you serve one another” {Galatians 5: 13}.  
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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. 316 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.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

THE GOLDEN LEAF

THE GOLDEN LEAF


                          The jack fruit tree (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a large, gorgeous evergreen tree with smooth, shiny, glossy, oval, leathery, and dark green leaves. Jack fruit is the largest edible tree-grown fruit in the world. The fruits are very popular in India and throughout South East Asia. Its flesh has a fine flavour resembling a combination of apple, pineapple, mango and banana.

                          The evergreen leaves of a young jack fruit tree lived in harmony till one of the leaves showed signs of changing its colour. Its colour slowly changed to golden yellow. It did not realize that the change was a result of withering, a symptom of inevitable aging. But the foolish leaf became boastful and told the green leaves that its golden hue was a special sign of its superior status. But some of the more intelligent green leaves observed the withered and dried leaves lying at the bottom of the neighbouring trees and concluded that the colour of the haughty leaf was an indication of an impending fall. They conveyed the message to the golden leaf but it was blind with pride and laughed at the other leaves.

                          One day, during a stormy night, the leaves trembled with the wind. The golden leaf lost its link with the tree and fell down helplessly. It was carried by the wind and it landed at the base of the tree. Lying there, it looked at the young, healthy and green leaves on the tree. The leaves appeared to dance in delight, possibly laughing at him, seeing his fatal fall. The withered leaf sadly withdrew into itself, silently accepting its final fate. It was slowly disintegrated in the soil to become manure for the tree.

                          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.

                          Death is the universal equalizer. Everyone is equal before death as death comes to all - great and small {Job 3: 13-19}.

                          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.

                          We fail to realize this truth till we reach the last moments in life. We waste a major share of our time, health and energy to amass fame, wealth and glory. In the parable of the rich fool, God says to the rich man, "You fool! This very night you will have to give up your life: then who will get all these things you have kept for yourself?"{Luke 12: 20}. Let us save our riches in heaven. Jesus taught us, “Provide for yourselves purses that don’t wear out, and save your riches in heaven, where they will never decrease, because no thief can get to them and no moth can destroy them {Luke 12: 33}.

                           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. Let us plan ahead for the unavoidable departure from this world. Let us remember that it was not raining when Noah built the Ark.
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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. 315 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.