Monday, June 15, 2015

A CRY AGAINST CRUELTY

A CRY AGAINST CRUELTY 

                     St. Telemachus (St. Almachius) was a saintly ascetic of Asia Minor in present day Turkey. Once, during his prayer, he received a divine inspiration to travel to Rome and preach the Gospel. When he reached Rome, the citizens of Rome were celebrating the victory of Rome over the Goths. Moving along with the marching crowd, he reached the Colosseum in Rome on 1st January, 404 A.D. He remembered the countless Christian martyrs who were killed and eaten by hungry lions in the Colosseum during the period of religious persecution in Rome. The Colosseum remained as a place for the public exhibition of cruel duels. Gladiatorial fights were common in the Roman amphitheatre.
                     The gladiators’ fight to amuse the crowd was about to begin. Two armed gladiators bowed before Emperor Honorius. They vowed to fight till one of them died. They approached each other for the fierce combat. Seeing the gruesome scene, Telemachus stood up from his seat in the gallery and cried aloud, “In the name of Christ, stop this killing.” The people laughed at him and said he was mad. But he jumped over the wall and sprang down into the arena. He stood between the combatant gladiators and repeated his request at the top of his voice. The audience became violent and threw stones at Telemachus, cursing him for interrupting their savage entertainment. The stones rained upon the saint from the furious spectators. He was stabbed to death by one of the gladiators.
                     There was a solemn silence as the audience witnessed the tragic death. The scene opened the eyes of the spectators and turned their hearts. They realised the cruelty of their conduct and left the gallery silently, one by one. The last words of Telemachus echoed in the Collosseum. The emperor, Honorius was greatly moved and left his seat in silence. The gladiators saw the empty gallery and stopped the fight.
                     Influenced by the Saint’s sacrifice, the Emperor soon issued a proclamation banning all gladiatorial fights and cruel entertainments involving murder of men. That was the end of killing in the Roman Colosseum. But Telemachus had to sacrifice his life to achieve this great victory.
                     Telemachus was canonised as a Saint for his heroic stance and sacrifice for protecting the dignity of life
                   “Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them His children” {Matthew 5: 7}. Jesus taught us, “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them” {John 15: 12, 13}.
                     St. John reminds us, “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}.
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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, St. Antony's Public School,  Anakkal, Kanjirappally 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. 336 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.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

HE IS HERE

HE IS HERE

               An atheist teacher was very eager to spread his views against the existence of God, among his students. One day he eloquently taught his students against their faith in God. He was proud and glad that he had proved before them that God did not exist. Victoriously he wrote the summary of his sermon on the black board in large capital letters: “GOD IS NOWHERE.”
               But in his excitement, unknowingly, he happened to leave a little more space in between the letters W and H when he wrote the word, ‘NOWHERE.’
               He then jubilantly asked his students to read aloud the concluding sentence on the board. The innocent students read aloud,
“GOD IS NOW HERE.”
               The atheist was lost for words. He left the class sadly as the students had publicly denied his concept. The students apparently reiterated their firm faith in the loving God who is now present there, with them.
               A teacher once overheard the dialogue between two innocent infants in a school. One asked the other, “How many Gods are there?” The other child replied confidently, “Only one.”
“How can you be so sure?” asked the first student.
The second one said, “God fills the whole world, oceans and the sky above. So there is no space for another God!”
               The teacher felt enlightened. The simple kids had provided a clear answer to an important question which the teacher had been trying to answer.
               God is the Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnibenevolent. He is infinitely intelligent, virtuous, truthful and perfect. He is eternal, immortal and infinite. He is our creator, sustainer, guardian, provider, and protector. He is the final and most just judge of our actions. 
               An orphan boy, staying in an orphanage was the captain of the football team of his school. The team achieved a remarkable victory in an inter school football competition. He had played exceptionally well. The parents and siblings of all the players except the orphan boy were present in the gallery, applauding the players. Every member of the team was awarded a prize in recognition of the outstanding performance of the team. The orphan boy was very sad as he had no relative to appreciate him. Desperately, he threw his prize into a bush near his orphanage. Later, the warden of the orphanage learned about this action and tried his best to console him.
               A believer finds in God a loving father and a beloved friend.  He enjoys the affection and care of God at every moment of his life, especially during periods of trials, tribulations, pain and distress. But an atheist suffers the sadness of an orphan in difficult situations. He may find it difficult to bear the bitterness of solitude and agony.
              King David says, “Fools say to themselves, ‘There is no God’…”{Psalms 14: 1, 53: 1}.
                   “To be wise, you must first have reverence for the Lord. If you know the Holy One, you have understanding’ {Proverbs 9: 10}.
“The way to become wise is to honour the Lord” {Psalms 111: 10}.
“To be wise, you must have reverence for the Lord” {Job 28: 28}.
“Reverence for the Lord is an education in itself” {Proverbs 15: 33}.
“To have knowledge, you must first have reverence for the Lord” {Proverbs 1: 7}.








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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, St. Antony's Public School,  Anakkal, Kanjirappally 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. 335 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.

THE BOOK OF NATURE

THE BOOK OF NATURE

                An inspector was formally inspecting a school in Kerala, South India. He entered a class where the teacher was teaching geography with the help of a globe. The children got up and greeted him with respect. The inspector asked the students, “What is the name of this town?”  They answered together, “Kottayam.”
                The next question was, “In which state is Kottayam situated?” They answered, “Kerala.”
                He asked again, “To which country does Kerala belong?”
“India”, they answered.
                He then asked them, “Where is India?”
A few students said, “In Asia”.
                 Next, he asked, “Where is Asia”?
Two students said, “In the world.”
                 His final question was, “And where is the world?”
A bright student stood up and answered clearly, “In the hands of God.”
                 The inspector was greatly impressed by the confident reply of the student.
                 The Universe is like an open book, spread out before us by the Creator. It is a treasure-house revealing the majestic, miraculous and mysterious works of an infinite intelligence, God. Looking at the exquisite elegance and harmonious variety of nature, including the beauty of butterflies and the fragrance of flowers, poets and scientists have praised the glory of the Creator. Let us read the book of nature, with a sincere vision and a genuine mission to learn the truth. The truth shall enlighten us.
The great poet of Malayalam, Mahakavi Kumaranasan, in his famous poem entitled, “PSALM” (സങ്കീർത്തനം) says,

ചന്തമേറിയ പൂവിലും ശബളാഭമാം ശലഭത്തിലും
സന്തതം കരതാരിയന്നൊരു ചിത്രചാതുരി കാട്ടിയും
ഹന്ത! ചാരുകടാക്ഷമാലകൾ അർക്കരശ്മിയിൽ നീട്ടിയും
ചിന്തയാം മണിമന്ദിരത്തിൽ വിളങ്ങുമീശനെ വാഴ്ത്തുവിൻ.”

               These wise words may be translated as:
“In the blooms very beautiful and in butterflies which are beauteous,
Ever showing the artistry of His skilful hands which are marvellous,
And extending His kindly gaze through the brilliant rays of the blazing sun,
Praise the God who resides and shines in the mansion of human reflection.”
(Translator: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip)


                   “To be wise, you must first have reverence for the Lord. If you know the Holy One, you have understanding’ {Proverbs 9: 10}.
“The way to become wise is to honour the Lord” {Psalms 111: 10}.
“To be wise, you must have reverence for the Lord” {Job 28: 28}.
“Reverence for the Lord is an education in itself” {Proverbs 15: 33}.
“To have knowledge, you must first have reverence for the Lord” {Proverbs 1: 7}.








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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, St. Antony's Public School,  Anakkal, Kanjirappally 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. 334 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 2, 2015

ARROGANCE AND ARGUMENTS

ARROGANCE AND ARGUMENTS


                       This is an entirely fictitious story. A ship was moving at night. There was thick fog all around and visibility was very poor. The ship lost its course and moved eastwards. The captain and the crew were vigilant and very alert as they were off course. Suddenly they saw a light at a distance. They watched it carefully and were alarmed as it was proceeding directly towards them. The captain was sure that it was another ship that had lost its course in the heavy fog.
                       They sent a stern message to the other ship that was apparently approaching them rapidly, “Divert your course twenty five degrees to the North immediately or you will hit us.” The reply was quick and sharp. “We cannot change our course. You must turn through twenty five degrees to the South immediately.” The Captain was furious. He shouted angrily, “This is the captain warning you. Change your course to the North. Avoid a collision.”
                       The reply was frantic, “There is no way, Captain. This is a light house. Turn to South and save yourselves.” The Captain realised the danger and the gravity of the situation. He put away his ego and promptly turned the ship away from the shore in time and averted a major accident by his timely action.
                      We behave like the captain when we insist that others should change their course to suit our convenience. The situation may become explosive due to the stubbornness of the persons involved. Often a solution to a conflict is easy if one is ready to sacrifice his egotism.
                        Dale Carnegie, in his famous book entitled ‘How to win friends and influence people’ says that no one wins in an argument and that the best way to win an argument is to avoid it. A slight flexibility in our behaviour may help to avert serious arguments in life, especially in family life.
                        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.”
                        The Holy Bible advises, “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}.
                       Let us avoid angry arguments with others which increase the distance between the hearts, sometimes to such a great extent that a return to the former state of friendship becomes difficult or impossible.
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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, St. Antony's Public School,  Anakkal, Kanjirappally 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. 333 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, May 1, 2015

THE PRAYING HANDS

THE PRAYING HANDS

               Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) was a renowned artist, engraver and painter who lived in Nuremberg in Germany. His famous works include ‘St. Sebastian at the Column’, ‘Young Hare’ and ‘The Praying Hands.’ There is a very popular story behind the creation of ‘The Praying Hands’.
              Albrecht Durer worked with his close friend, Franz Knigstein in Nuremberg. They aspired deeply to study the art of painting. But being very poor they had to work hard and could not find time or money to fulfil their cherished dreams. Finally they found a solution to their problem. They decided that one of them should work and earn money to support both of them while the other would study. When he becomes a rich and successful artist, he would in turn support his friend to pursue his studies. They tossed a coin and Albrecht won. He went to study in the famous art schools in European cities while his friend, Franz Knigstein started manual work to support them. He had to toil hard in a blacksmith’s workshop for several years.
               When Albrecht returned after completing his studies, he was shocked to find that his friend’s sensitive fingers had become bruised, calloused, deformed, gnarled, stiffened and twisted by years of hard manual labour.  Kingstein’s fingers were now unfit to perform the delicate brush strokes necessary for fine painting. But Kingstein was not worried or depressed. He rejoiced sincerely at his friend’s success in his career. One day Albrecht Durer witnessed with great grief, his friend praying with his folded hands. As a mark of gratitude and affection, he painted his friend’s ruined hands, displaying the gnarled fingers, worn and torn with toil, intertwined in prayer, displaying the wrinkles and other signs of hard manual labour.
               The painting displayed the silent and selfless sacrifice of a true friend who was loving and loyal and was ready to suffer for the benefit of his loving friend. This famous painting is thus an eloquent memento of lofty love, brotherhood, friendship, gratitude and sacrifice.
                    In his farewell speech to the elders of Ephesus, St. Paul says, “I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way we must help the weak, remembering the words that the Lord Jesus Himself said, ‘There is more happiness in giving than in receiving’” {Acts 20:35}.
               Jesus demonstrated God’s infinite love by suffering public humiliation, agonizing pain and death on the Cross at Calvary to save humanity from the clutches of sin.
               Jesus taught, “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them” {John 15:12, 13}. St. John reminds us, “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}. 


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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, St. Antony's Public School,  Anakkal, Kanjirappally 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. 332 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.