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.

Friday, April 7, 2017

THE SECRET SPICE

THE SECRET SPICE

                  A girl was watching her mother cooking a dish in the kitchen. On the shelf, there were several containers, neatly labelled, each containing a component like salt, sugar, oil, vinegar or a spice. She opened the lids of the containers in a definite order and added the required amount of each ingredient into the cooking vessel which was heated on a stove. Finally, she opened a container and looked inside for a while and then closed it. Then she served the delicious dish to everyone with great love. The children relished the dishes with a smile. This happened every day.
                 One day, the mother was too sick to cook. Her daughter agreed to do the cooking. She followed the mother’s recipe. The girl examined the labels of every container while trying to follow the directions of her mother. She found that the last vessel did not carry a label and so ignored it. She placed the cooking vessel on the stove and put on the flame.
                 When the dish was getting ready, out of curiosity, she opened the unlabelled vessel, which her mother used to open, observe and close like a ritual every day. She was surprised to find in that vessel, a small card on which was written a short verse from the Holy Bible, 
“Do all your work in love” {1 Corinthians 16: 14}.
                  Now she realised how her mother used to serve their food with love every time after reading the message in the last vessel.
                  A favourite motto of St. Mother Teresa of Kolkata (1910 – 1997) was: "Do small things with great love."
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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. 348 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, April 6, 2017

PARABLE OF THE PENCIL

PARABLE OF THE PENCIL 

             In the earlier days of space research, a space research centre had to devise a method to enable astronauts to write in the special conditions of outer space such as zero-gravity. A team of scientists proposed an expensive project to develop special pens for use in space. While the proposal was being presented before the staff, a young scientist stood up and asked, “I have a humble suggestion. Instead of spending such a large amount to develop a special pen, why don’t we try to use an ordinary pencil?” The suggestion was received with great applause. Initial trials proved that a pencil could work well in conditions of zero-gravity and some early space travellers used it. Later, it was feared that the fine particles of graphite from the eroding lead can conduct electricity and may adversely affect the operation of delicate electronic control systems in the closed conditions of a space-ship and so better substitutes were fabricated.
             A great teacher gifted a pencil to each of his students and asked them to list the lessons of life that they could learn from a pencil. The major messages they presented were the following:

1…Each pencil has a definite purpose. It draws a line as it moves forward. This line becomes specific letters, words, phrases, sentences and a finally, a unique presentation with a meaningful message.
 Every person is a special noble creation of God with a particular purpose, role and mission in the world. By our life and actions, we have to fulfil the intention of the Creator.

2…A pencil permits to be held and guided by a hand to perform with perfection.
We must be ready to be guided by the will, words and hands of God. We must be humble and ready to surrender ourselves to the will of God. That is the only way to achieve great things in life.

3…A pencil leaves a definite mark on the surface on which it moves.
By doing our duties with dedication, we must leave our mark on every situation we are involved in and every person we interact with. That is the mark of our Creator which He uses to change the world through each of us.

4…The most important part of a pencil is its inside. The lead made of graphite is what enables it to leave a mark on the surface on which it moves. The decorated outer wooden portion may have visible beauty, but appearances can be deceptive. The quality of the pencil is decided by the inner lead.
The eternal soul within us is more important than the perishable body which houses it. The inner beauty and virtue of a person cannot be judged by his external appearance.

5…A pencil is used along with an eraser. Sometimes, the eraser is attached to the other end of a pencil. Though a mark of correction may remain, the eraser enables immediate correction of any mistake made.
We may make mistakes in life as “to err is human”. But a noble man corrects his error at the earliest. We must learn from our mistakes and proceed in pursuit of perfection.

6…A pencil has to be sharpened and polished frequently to serve its function with perfection.
Human life requires occasional painful sharpening to achieve its goal. Sharpening of human life is through the adversities and painful experiences man may have to endure in life. They lead to physical, mental and spiritual strengthening and regeneration. Adversity is the best university. 

7…Applying too much pressure on a pencil while writing can break the tip of the lead causing great damage and hindrance to smooth writing.
Unnecessary stress and strain from vaulting ambition may damage our life and progress. When we are ready to accept the will of God, life becomes steady, pleasant and enjoyable.
             St. Mother Teresa of Kolkata said, “We are all pencils in the hand of God.” 
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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. 347 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, April 3, 2017

POETS IN PAIN

POETS IN PAIN


                Robert Browning (1812 – 1889), was a renowned English poet and play-wright, one of the foremost Victorian poets, known for his great works such as ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’. Elizabeth Barret (1806 – 1861), daughter of Edward Moulton Barrett was one of the most prominent English poets of the Victorian era, popular in Britain and the United States during her lifetime.
                She started writing poems at the young age of six. At the age of fifteen she became sick with immobility and intense pain in her head and spine following a riding accident and later developed severe lung problems, possibly due to tuberculosis. She was administered pain-killers derived from opium such as morphine which intensified her illness. She was mostly bedridden. Still she wrote excellent poems. She was the eldest of twelve children. Her father had forbidden his children to marry. Impressed by the quality of her poetry and out of sympathy for her disability, Robert Browning loved her intensely. They used to correspond regularly through letters. As her father would not approve their marriage, they married secretly in 1846 and migrated to Italy. Her father was angry at her and refused to communicate with her forever. He rejected her only son and cut her from his will. But she used to write to her father frequently, begging his pardon. But he refused to open or read her letters.
                On the day of their 11th wedding anniversary, she received a packet from her father. Hoping that her father had finally forgiven her and sent her a loving gift, she gladly opened the packet. She was shocked to find in that packet all the letters she had sent him during the last ten years, begging his forgiveness, returned, still unopened. Robert Browning read those letters and remarked painfully, “Had he opened and read at least one of these loving letters, he would definitely have forgiven us and loved us.” Elizabeth Barrett died in Florence, in her husband's arms.
                Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us” {Matthew 6: 12}. He added, “If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done” {Matthew 6: 14, 15}.
                St. Paul advises, “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}.
                When God forgives us, He casts our sins into the sea of everlasting forgetfulness. Billy Graham said that many of the patients in hospitals would be healed if they were ready to forgive and forget the errors of others. Alexander Pope, in his work, ‘An Essay on Criticism’, wrote: “To err is human; to forgive divine.”

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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. 346 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.