Monday, March 24, 2014



                           A talented teacher used to start his class by stating a story and raising a query to arouse in the students an interest in the subject of study. The students of the school admired his style of teaching and listened to him with ardent attention. They answered his questions with innocence and he listened to them with patience.

                           Once he had to teach them about the struggle for freedom led by the leaders of the nation. He narrated a story to introduce the concept of freedom, liberation and independence. “A prisoner had to spend several years in prison. After years of painful confinement within the prison bars, he was released. Returning to his native village, he saw a man selling caged birds to customers passing along the road. He saw the scene and rushed to the man. He purchased the caged birds by paying all the money he had with him. Then he opened the cages and let the birds fly high in the sky and return to their natural nests.”

                           After telling this story, the teacher asked the children, “Now tell me, why did he buy the caged birds and let the birds free to fly in the air?” The students thought deeply. One of them replied innocently, “Sir, it was because he needed only the empty cages!” The teacher was lost for words.

                           A train is free only so long as it stays on its track. Once it is derailed, it loses its freedom for a meaningful movement. Voluntary sacrifice of personal rights is the basis of true freedom and a peaceful social life. In his epic poem, ‘Paradise Lost’, John Milton (1608-1674) depicts the devil’s distorted vision of liberty through the words of Lucifer after he is cast from heaven to hell, “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”

                           But in the Christian concept, true freedom is a kind of voluntary bondage. It is obtained only in outright obedience to Almighty God and the filial fellowship with His children. The Psalmist declares, “In my distress I called to the Lord; He answered me and set me free” {Psalms 118: 5}.
                            Jesus said to those who believed in Him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” {John 8: 31, 32}. “If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free” {John 8: 36}.

                           St. Peter advises, “Live as free people; do not, however use your freedom to cover up any evil, but live as God’s slaves” {1 Peter 2: 16}. St. Paul identifies true freedom as a generous gift of God - liberation from the clutches of sin and Satan. “But now you have been set free from sin and are the slaves of God. Your gain is a life fully dedicated to Him, and the result is eternal life” {Romans 6: 22}.

                           St. Paul exhorts us to preserve our freedom: “Freedom is what we have – Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again” {Galatians 5: 1}. He adds that the gift of freedom should promote the spirit of love, service and charity, “You were called to be free. But do not let this freedom become an excuse for letting your physical desires control you. Instead, let love make you serve one another” {Galatians 5: 13}.  

© 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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                         This is Story No. 316 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.

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