THE DOG AT THE DOOR
John Baillie (1886-1960) was a renowned Scottish theologian. He wrote popular books in theology including ‘A Reasoned Faith’, ‘Invitation to Pilgrimage’, ‘The Place of Jesus in Modern Christianity’, ‘Christian Devotion’ and ‘A Diary of Private Prayer’.
John Baillie once narrated the story of a seriously sick patient who was rushed to a hospital. The doctor examined him in detail and from the facial expression of the doctor he could infer that he was nearing his end. He asked the doctor in fear, “Now, what can I do?”
The doctor heard the sounds of knocking and scratching on the closed door of the room. “Who is there?” asked the doctor. The patient replied, “He is my pet dog, doctor. He knows that I am here. He makes these sounds in an attempt to reach me.” The doctor was enlightened by this incident. He advised the dying patient, “That is exactly what you too should do. Our ultimate goal in life is to reach our heavenly master. Prepare for that inevitable journey.
The impatient dog teaches us a great lesson. Our attitude during old age and illness should not be of depression or worry. We must realise that we are moving forward to meet our master who will greet us in heaven. In this journey, we cannot carry with us any earthly possession except our virtues.
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.”
© 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.
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