Wednesday, December 10, 2008


A learned priest was invited to deliver a series of lectures to the seminarians of Papal Seminary, Pune, India. He arrived in a taxi at the gate of the Seminary. He expected a warm welcome and was angry to find no one to receive him. He entered the gate and found a man in shabby dress working in the garden of the seminary. He summoned the man to the gate, assuming him to be a gardener and introduced himself as an official visitor. “Shall I carry your baggage, Father?” asked the man. The visitor gladly agreed and placed his large bag on the man’s head. Then he placed his hand bag above the bag. He placed his umbrella on top of all and walked slowly, enjoying the beauty of the garden. They reached the room designated for the guest and the man arranged the articles in the room.

The guest asked him, “Where is the rector? I thought he would be at the gate to greet me personally.”

The man replied calmly, “Father, I am the rector.”

The guest was ashamed at his own rude and haughty behaviour and begged the rector to pardon him and used to narrate the incident on many occasions.

The Seminarians remember another incident revealing the humility of the rector. One evening, the pump of the seminary got damaged. There was no way to pump water into the overhead tank. The inmates complained to the Rector. It was impossible to get the pump repaired immediately. Still the Rector consoled them and assured that water would be ready in the night itself. As promised, water was found to be available in the taps. Early in the morning one seminarian found out the secret. The rector was drawing water from the well alone, carrying it in buckets and climbing the stairs to the overhead tank, filling it throughout the night. The seminarians could not forget this incident in their life time.

Such acts of humility and deep love are rare today. The rector in these incidents was a true follower of Jesus, who declared to his disciples, “The greatest one among you must be like the youngest, and the leader must be like the servant… But I am among you as one who serves” {Luke 22: 26, 27}.

Jesus advised, “The greatest one among you must be your servant {Matthew 23: 11}. Jesus promised, “Everyone who makes himself great will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be made great {Luke 14: 11, Luke 18:14}.

Humility is the greatest of graces and the secret of redemption. The incarnation of Christ reveals His heavenly humility. Talking about the humility and greatness of Jesus, St. Paul says, “The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: He always had the nature of God, but He did not think that by force He should try to become equal with God. Instead of this, of His own free will He gave up all He had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like man and appeared in human likeness” {Philippians 2: 5-7}.

By Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India. This is Story No. 48 in this site. Please click ‘Older Post’ at the bottom of this page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Post' at the bottom of this page to read newer stories in this site. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

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