Saturday, June 27, 2009


A young novice in a convent was walking to her college on a rainy day. Suddenly there was a heavy storm and rain. She opened her umbrella and held it as a shield against the storm. In the process one of its rods broke into two pieces. She was very sad. In the evening she reported the matter to the Mother superior, “Mother, one of the rods in my umbrella is broken. It needs repair.”

The Mother was angry at the novice’s complaint. She told the young novice, “You should never use the term, ‘my umbrella’. In a convent every article is common for the congregation. Hereafter you must say, ‘the umbrella I use’ instead of ‘my umbrella’. This applies to every article you use. The novice begged the Mother’s pardon and promised to obey her orders in future.

The next day the novice developed a severe headache. She met the superior and reported respectfully, “Mother, there is a severe pain in the head I use.” The Mother could not control her laughter hearing the young novice’s innocent comment.

An old man heard a loud quarrel between his only son and his wife, soon after their marriage. As the guardian, he interfered and inquired about the cause of the conflict. They informed that they were planning their honeymoon. “I suggested that we would go to the beautiful beaches of Goa”, complained the furious husband. “But I hate the beaches. I prefer to go to the cool hill station at Ooty”, argued the arrogant wife. The old man was illiterate and did not understand the term, ‘honeymoon’. He advised them, “Children, do not quarrel for such silly things. I will solve your problem easily. Son, you go to Goa and let her go to Ooty. Both of you should return soon after the honeymoon.”

These incidents indicate how innocent actions done with good intentions lead to unexpected and unfortunate consequences. That is the result of innocence without ‘sense’. Proper understanding, analysis and judgment are essential before every action.

Jesus wanted His followers to be both innocent and intelligent. He used the doves and the snakes as examples to illustrate this instruction. Doves are gentle, innocent, mild, pure and harmless. Snakes are cautious, intelligent, shrewd, wise and prudent. Jesus wants us to possess the positive qualities of doves and snakes. While sending the Apostles as missionaries, He instructed, “Listen, I am sending you out just like sheep to a pack of wolves. You must be as cautious as snakes and as gentle as doves” {Matthew 10: 16}.

By: Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.

This is Story No. 154 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.

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