Thursday, September 17, 2009

AVE MARIA

John was a pious catholic who visited his church regularly. One of his friends, James, a protestant, once sought his advice to solve a serious personal problem, “John, I have received two different proposals for my marriage. One is from Maria and the other is from Lily. Both are equally good. I am unable to make a decision. Please advise me.”
John replied, “It is really difficult to decide. Let us seek God’s opinion.” “But how do we know what God has planned for me?” James asked. “You may follow what I do. I enter my church and pray for a while. The correct direction will be revealed to me. I have experienced it several times.” As advised, James went into the catholic church of John, knelt down and closed his eyes in fervent prayer. Later when he opened his eyes, he was filled with wonder. He ran to meet John and shouted with joy, “John, you were right. God revealed it to me. It was a miracle!” John inquired, “How did you get the correct direction?” James replied with excitement, “I prayed and opened my eyes. The answer was there, clearly written on the cloth covering the altar. It read, ‘AVE MARIA’. So I chose Maria and left Lily. Thank God, the confusion is over.” John smiled gently. He knew that the words, ‘AVE MARIA’ were already there in the church as it is a common sight in catholic churches. ‘Ave Maria’ is a version of the greeting, “Hail, Mary” adapted from the salutations of the angel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth to St. Mary {Luke 1:28, 42}. But James had not seen it so far as he had not visited a catholic church earlier. Hence he took it as God’s written message to solve his personal dilemma.
It is a common custom among many believers to blindly open their Bible and read the first verse that catches their eyes, and act according to it, assuming that it is God’s instant message for immediate action. But we must realize that God may not speak always through this short-cut method of man.
A worried woman in a very depressed state blindly opened the Bible expecting God’s direction. The verse she got was: “Then he went off and hanged himself” {Matthew 27:5}. She was really confused. So she closed the Bible and blindly opened another page and read the new message: “You go, then, and do the same” {Luke 10: 37}. Worried about the tragic message, she tried again and repeated her search. This time the message was clear but cruel: “Be quick about what you are doing!” {John 13: 27}. Luckily, she consulted the Vicar before executing the message and so she was saved. The Vicar explained that the three verses were from three different contexts and should not be connected to arrive at a dangerous conclusion.
The Bible is to be read and studied systematically, assimilated actively and practised properly in daily life.
Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnated as man.
The Bible is the Word of God incarnated in the language of man.
King David sings in the Psalms, “Your Word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path” {Psalms 119:105}.
St. Paul exhorts us to get ready for the war against Devil using the Word of God as the sword of the soul: “And accept salvation as a helmet and the Word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you” {Ephesians 6:17}.
“The Word of God is alive and active; sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet. It judges the desires and thoughts of man’s heart” {Hebrews 4:12}.


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By: Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.
This is Story No. 160 in this 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 this site. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

1 comment:

Dr. Shajul said...

So true.. Wonderfully written too.