Friday, July 10, 2009
I thought that i had blogged this long ago, but i cannot find it.
Years ago a priest recounted this story during a homily at mass at the Cathedral parish here, I cannot recall which Priest for certain. But let me say that my theory of evangelism is based on the saying of St. Francis of Assisi "Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary, use words."
Actually this method of evangelism works to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and also to save a marriage or love someone back to health. It comes from this story.
There was a farmer who felt that he was struggling with his marriage and needed some help. he went on a quest to seek out a wise man that he had heard could make a powerful potion to heal ills of the heart. The wise man lived far away at the top of a mountain. The farmer traveled to the mountain and climbed up to the home of the wise man to seek his advice. Upon explaining his problem to the wise man, the wise man fell into deep thought for a time while the farmer waited. At last the farmer pleaded "can you make me a potion to win back the love of my wife"?
At length the wise man spoke and said "Bring me the whisker of a live tiger and I shall grant your wish". The farmer left discouraged. How could he take the whisker from a tiger, while it was still alive!?
On the way home he had lots of time to think and he formulated a plan. He knew that a Tiger lived in a cave near the top of a hill near his farm. Upon arriving at his home he cut off a nice large steak from the side of beef in his cooling house and went to the foot of the hill.
He placed the steak at the foot of the tiger's hill on a piece of cloth and went home. The next day he went back with another steak. He found the first one gone, not even a bone left behind! He placed a second steak a little ways onto the path up the hill and went home.
The third day he brought another steak and placed it a little further up the hill, advancing only a few feet. He continued for weeks to feed the tiger and advance slowly up the side of the hill toward the tiger's den. After 3 weeks of patient feeding he placed the steak within site of the Tiger's den, in all this time he had not seen the tiger at all.
The next day he came back to see the Tiger watching as he placed the meat a little closer, and he realized that the tiger knew that it was him who had been providing these rich meals. As he advanced closer and closer to the den the tiger became more accustomed to his presence and did not even bother to hide any more but watched impassively.
Finally the day came when he walked boldly up to the front of the Tiger's cave and the Tiger came out and gobbled up the meat as soon as the man walked away. The farmer placed the meat in this location for 5 more days until the Tiger came to him for the meat and took it from his hand. He did this 3 more days and on the 4th day he took a small pair of scissors with him, and as the Tiger ate from his hand he reached down gently and nipped a whisker from the Tiger and the Tiger only crinkled his nose a bit and finished eating.
Triumphantly the farmer took his treasure to the wise man and presented it to him proudly. The wise man remembered him and gazed for a bit at the whisker. Then he asked patiently how the farmer had obtained the whisker. When the farmer recounted his tale in full, the wise man smiled.
"My son" he explained "In this same way that you obtained the whisker from the live Tiger you will win back the love of your wife. Go and use the same patience and generosity with her and win her again!"
"Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary, use words". And to St. Francis advice i would add pray, and trust the Holy Spirit to guide you.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
A number of years ago the Dead Sea Scrolls visited the Public Museum of Grand Rapids ( http://www.centuryone.com/2122-7.html ) I got together a few freinds and my children and we went to see this awesome exhibit! It took my breath away to be inches from the Isaiah Scroll! Isaiah is a particular love of mine in scripture.
In fact, the Bible is a particular love for me. My favorite thing to study and book to read! Over the past 30 some years since i had a powerful experience of God in my life, i have sought to memorize as much of it as possible. When scripture is read at mass, many sections are like old friends to me, giving my peace and comfort.
Today The British Library has announced that a project to scan the Codex Sinaiticus in total and post it online is complete! The Codex dates primarily from the 4th century but some parts are even from the First Century.
Whereas the Dead Sea Scrolls are Hebrew scrolls of the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament), along with some additional psalms and documents from Qumran, the Codex is the First known Complete Christian Bible. It was written all in Koine Greek(the vernacular).
In viewing the actual pages today a similar sense of awe and wonder consumed me. This is a gift of God to humanity, written lovingly by some anonymous monks, scribes who we do not know and have never been canonized as saints. I thank God for them!
Paul said "without faith it is impossible to please God", I believe that faith is what brings us closer to God. We all sin, we all fall short of perfection and need to be redeemed daily, but unless we trust in the infinite mercy of God we will never understand Him or His Love letter to us--the Bible! http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Our society is going through a drought of respect! It really has been building for a long time, or should I say tearing down for a long time. I thought i saw the beginnings in the 80's when the "reality" talk shows became big. The ones where people got on TV to tell about thier spouses sins and yell at their neighbors. They gloried in enticing children to come on television and complain about their parents; likewise the mentally ill and morally deficient revealed their depravity with pride on Jerry Springer and other similar shows.
The ripples could be seen then, my children picked up from other kids to complain about their teachers. I firmly believe that God puts authority in our lives to teach us, train us and sometimes to chastise us. I told my kids that Ii would weigh their teachers word on any dispute more heavily than theirs, and that I expected my children to put up with the idiosyncrasies of various instructors as lessons in coping with difficult people and obedience.
I have looked on various managers and employers similarly in my own life. If they were unjust, scripture tells me that I must be just and learn my lesson from God.
Today I observed a 5 year old girl strike her mother for refusing to purchase her a stuffed dog, when the mother firmly and without anger of any sort insisted the girl put the dog back and refused to buy the plastic necklace for her that was already on the counter, I took the time to let the mom know that she was doing the right thing(when the girl was not in earshot).
But coming on the heals of a conversation yesterday with a friend on how to counsel her freind whose husband was committing adultery, it concerned me! I think the societal lack of respect may have reached crisis proportions! More and more men and women are casting off all moral restraint to enter into fornication or adultery at the expense of love, family, children, even their own futures! Clothing also reveals a lack of respect, letting underwear show, and body parts that should not see the light of day be flaunted before all!
Commercials, television, movies and music, glory in showing anger and disdain for other human beings. Sexuality is treated only in the most base sense, a way to USE another human being for your own recreation!
Respect needs a 911 call to the Almighty!