YOU CANNOT PAINT THE WHOLE WORLD GREEN

There was a millionaire once who was bothered by two aches, one in his stomach and the other in his head! He was diagnosed and treated by a galaxy of medical experts. He consumed heavy loads of drugs, and underwent centuries of injections. But the aches persisted with greater vigour than ever before!

At last, a monk arrived at the scene of his agony. He spoke very kindly to him, and pronounced the fault to be in his eye! Set right the eye, and the head on top and the stomach below would both behave very sweetly! To improve the eye, concentrate on only one colour. Concentrate on green, he suggested. Do not let your eyes fall on red or yellow, or any other colour.

The rich man got together a group of painters and purchased barrels of green colour and directed that every object on which his eye was likely to fall be painted thick green.

When the monk came to visit him after few days, the wealthy man’s servants ran with buckets of green paint and poured it on him since he was in red dress, lest their master see any other colour and the pain in his eye would come back.

Hearing this, the monk laughed and said “If only you had purchased a pair of green glasses, worth just a few dollars, you could have saved these walls and trees and pots and pans, and chairs and sofas and also a pretty large share of your fortune! You cannot paint the world green.”

Source: Loosely based on a story found in
Sathya Sai Baba (Author), N. Kasturi (Editor)
Chinna Katha (Sai Bhavan; Revised edition,1978)

CONSIDER THIS

How often do we try to change other people, and get frustrated when they refuse to change? But how often do we take a look at ourselves? If we would just change our own outlook, change our own way of thinking, change our own actions, our change might motivate others to change as well. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Let us change our vision and the world will appear accordingly. It is foolish to shape the world, let us shape ourselves first.

GOD WILL PROVIDE

GOD WILL PROVIDE

A young woman brings home her fiancé to meet her parents. After dinner, her mother tells her father to find out about the young man. The father invites the fiancé to his study for a drink.

“So what are your plans?” the father asks the young man.

I am a bible scholar.” he replies.

“A bible scholar? Hmmm,” the father says. “Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in, as she’s accustomed to?”

I will study,” the young man replies, “and God will provide for us.”

“And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?” asks the father.

“I will concentrate on my studies,” the young man replies. “God will provide for us.”

And children?” asks the father. “How will you support children?”

“Don’t worry, sir, God will provide,” replies the fiancé.

The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the father questions him, the young idealist insists that God will provide. Later, the mother asks, “How did it go, honey?” The father answers, “The bad news is, he has no job and no plans. The good news is he thinks I’m God.”

Source | Perfect Illustrations for Every Topic and Occasion (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; First Edition edition, 2002) page 218

CONSIDER THIS

There’s an old saying that we should “pray as if everything depends on God, work as if everything depends on you.” Some have switched it around: “pray as if everything depends on you, work as if everything depends on God.”   What do you think and how would you interpret this?

God is not going to bother to do for us what we can do for ourselves.

LED TO THE LAND OF LAUGHTER

LED TO THE LAND OF LAUGHTER

The Master was in an expansive mood, so his disciples sought to learn from him the stages he had passed through in his quest for the divine.

“God first led me by the hand,” he said, “into the Land of Action, and there I dwelt for several years.” Then God returned and led me to the Land of Sorrows; there I lived until my heart was purged of every inordinate attachment. That is when I found myself in the Land of Love, whose burning flames consumed whatever was left in me of self. This brought me to the Land of Silence, where the mysteries of life and death were bared before my wondering eyes.

“Was that the final stage of your quest?” they asked.

“No,” the Master said. “One day God said, ‘Today I shall take you to the innermost sanctuary of the Temple, to the very heart of God.’ And I was led to the Land of Laughter.”

Source: Anthony de Mello, Taking Flight
(Image Books, 1990) page 126

CONSIDER THIS

One day God said, “Today I shall take you to the innermost sanctuary of the temple, to the heart of God himself,” and I was led to the Land of Laughter.

God laughed and begat the Son. Together they laughed and begat the Holy Spirit. And from the laughter of the Three, the universe was born.” |  Meister Eckhart, a 13th century theologian and mystic.

COINCIDENCE OR SOMETHING ELSE?

Once upon a time an unexpected severe rainstorm erupted. Joan looking from the second story of her home, could see stalled cars caught in the flash flood.

A lone station wagon struggled through the water and headed up her street. The vehicle stopped for a moment in front of her house, then pulled into the driveway. The woman raced to the door and saw two teenage girls standing there. They were extremely frightened by the lightning, rain, and flooded roads.

One girl asked to use the woman’s telephone, explaining that she wanted to call her father to let him know she was safe. Of course, the woman let them in and prepared hot cocoa while the girls made their calls.

Meanwhile, the Edgar, the woman’s husband, paced the kitchen floor nervously. The newspaper office where he worked was flooding, and he was waiting to hear from the facility manager. His anxiety was increasing because the man had not called.

The girls completed their calls and told the woman and her husband, “My dad told us to wait out the storm here, but he was a little worried about our being in a stranger’s house. I gave him your number. I hope that was okay.”

As the woman nodded, the phone rang. Her husband answered it and returned after a few seconds.

“It was the facility manager, but he didn’t want to talk about the newspaper office.” A strange look came over the man’s face. “He wanted to thank me for keeping his daughter and her friend safe!”

Source: Heard during a conference and retold as remembered

CONSIDER THIS

For some, a coincidence  is  divine  mystery’s  way  of  remaining  anonymous.  For others, a coincidence is just a question meeting an answer in an unexpected way.

How about you? Do you believe in coincidences? How would you define a coincidence? Was it mere coincidence or divine providence that the two teenage girls randomly selected a house in which they would be safely sheltered?

WHERE’S YOUR UMBRELLA?

The rains failed again that year. It was the third year in succession when there was no rain. The crops had disappeared and the land was a brown swath of dusty rubble. Trees had lost their leaves years ago and stood out like silhouettes of cactus on the dusty horizon. There was a stream that skirted the village in years bygone. Now the riverbed was dry. Where once flowed clean, fresh water from the nearby mountains, there was now a bed of clay, cracked in a checkerboard pattern with gaps as wide as a foot.  No one knew what had happened to the birds except for the vultures that circled the town, looking for a carcass or two of an animal that was left dying.

There was famine in the land. People walked around like sticks, sans flesh, surviving on whatever ration was brought to them by various international charities.

Desperate for help, the people of the village held a meeting under a big banyan tree that was as old as the village. “Let us pray”, said an elderly woman. “Only God can help us now.”

There lived people of many faiths in the village and there ensued a big debate as to where to hold the prayer – in a church, a mosque, a synagogue  or a temple. There was no consensus. Exhausted, they decided to hold their prayer in the open, late that night, under the open sky, away from the town. It was a full moon night and the moon shone with its alluring brightness against a background of shimmering stars.

Amongst the people gathering for prayer a little girl holding hands with her young brother came running from a nearby village, holding high an open umbrella over their heads. Huffing for breath, they stood there, looking up, umbrella still unfurled. The gathered crowd could not but help turn around and wonder what was going on.  Some were curious; others were annoyed and some others were even furious as they kept being poked by the spokes of the umbrella.

Finally a curious bystander asked, “Why did you bring the umbrella?  Can’t you see there is no rain and we have come here to pray for rain?  Only a foolish person would stand on a clear night like this with an open umbrella.”

“Yes  indeed”, chimed in the two young siblings. “We came to pray too. We are certain that our prayer will be answered and it will rain. That is why we brought this big, colourful umbrella.”

Adapted from The Child who Brought an Open Umbrella for Prayer
by  Professor Nazeer Ahmed

______________________________
A variant of the same story

There was once a small village, which was suffering from a severe drought. The crops were dying, and the villagers and their animals had very little water to drink.

One day, to try to find a solution to the drought, the village priest called the villagers to gather at the village square to pray together for rain. He told them to bring along a token of their faith, so the prayer would be done in sincere faith.

And so, the villagers gathered at the square bringing with them tokens of their faith. Some brought the Holy Bible while others carried small crosses as tokens of faith. They all prayed aloud with great faith and hope.

Sure enough, within a few moments it began to rain. The whole crowd was overjoyed and danced happily. The priest noticed that among the joyous crowd was a nine-year-old boy, clutching an umbrella as a token of faith. The priest admired this little boy, who had brought an umbrella in total faith that the God would surely hear his prayers and send rain.

CONSIDER THIS

One short passage in the Gospel of Matthew reads, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.  For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” | Matthew 7:7-8

Sometimes we ask and we do not receive, we search and do not find, we knock and the door remains tightly shut. So what do you make of this Gospel verse?

What are you praying for and what do you bring with you to prayer? What is your umbrella?

THE EYES TO SEE

A writer arrived at the monastery to write a book about the Master. “People say you are a genius. Are you?” he asked.

“You might say so,” said the Master with a smile.

“And what makes one a genius?” asked the intrepid reporter.

“The ability to see,” said the Master.

The writer was betwixt and between. Scratching his hair with one hand and rubbing his tummy with the other, he muttered, “To see what?”

The Master quietly replied, “The butterfly in a caterpillar, the eagle in an egg, the saint in a selfish person, life in death, unity in separation, the divine in the human and the human in the divine.”

Source: Based on Anthony de Mello, One Minute Wisdom
(Image; Reprint edition, 1988)  page 206

See also Peter  Van Breeman,  The God Who Won’t Let Go (Ave Maria Press, 2001) page 98

CONSIDER THIS

In the Easter letter before his death, Bishop Klaus Hemmerle of Aachen wrote, “I wish each of us Easter eyes, able to perceive in death, life; in guilt, forgiveness; in separation unity; in wounds glory; in the human, God; in God, the human; and in the I, the You.”

 

 

FINDING THE FIRE HYDRANT

One fine day, a young nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home, when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the 
fire truck was a dalmatian dog. Without any prompting the children began to discuss the dog’s
 duties.

“They use him to keep crowds back,” said one youngster.

“No,” said another, “the dog is  there just for good luck.”

A third child brought the argument to a close. “They use the dogs,” she said 
firmly, “To find the fire hydrant.”

Source: based on a story found in  Lulu De Zulu, Blow Your Blues Away
(Xlibris, Corp., 2009)

CONSIDER THIS

That raises a good question: Of what use are all the animals to us?  There are different answers  to that question. Some animals provide love and companionship, others provide protection, still others provide a display of of total and utter beauty.

But animals also communicate to us.  We often try to teach and train our pets. What if we turn things around and listen carefully to what animals have to teach us?

Ask the beasts and they will teach you;
the birds of the air and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among these does not know
that the hand of God has done this?
In God’s hand is the life of every living thing,
and the breath of every human being.

Job 12:7-10