STONE SOUP

Once upon a time a monk wandered into a poverty stricken village and asked for shelter for the night. “There’s nothing to eat here,” the villagers told him, “you’d better move on!”

“I have enough here to make soup for all of us,”  the holy monk replied, “if I could just borrow a large pot.” Curious, the villagers produced a pot and stood around watching as the monk filled it with water and built a small fire underneath. He then took three round stones from a small bag he carried on his shoulder  and dropped them into the water.

As the water came to the boil the monk sniffed it hungrily saying, “I do love stone soup, but if I just had a little cabbage it would taste even better!” At this, one of the villagers disappeared returning a few minutes later with a cabbage he has been hiding and put it into the pot.

A while later the monk tasted the soup and said “Hmm, this is good, but a couple of carrots would make better still.” Again a villager produced a bunch of carrots and so it went on as potatoes, onions, mushrooms and a bit of salt beef were all added to the pot until there was indeed a delicious meal for all.

For more information on this story go to Stone Soup

PONDER

There are many versions of this old story, but the message is the same. We all have a contribution to make and by sharing our gifts and resources our own lives are enriched.

  • What are your gifts and your talents?
  • What is your contribution that can make a difference?
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ELBOW AGILITY

Giovanna, a delightful Italian grandmother is giving directions to her grown grandson, Antonio, who is coming to visit with his wife, Maria.

“You come to the front door of the apartment. I’m in apartment 301. There is a big panel at the front door. With your elbow, push button 301. I will buzz you in. Come inside, the elevator is on the right. Get in, and with your elbow, push 3. When you get out, I’m on the left. With your elbow, hit my doorbell.”

“Grandma, that sounds easy, but, why am I hitting all these buttons with my elbow?”

“What … are you coming empty handed?”

PONDER

  • Are you blessed with elbow agility? Or put in slightly different words: where do you stand when it comes to gift giving?
  • What is that little thing that you can bring along to enhance the feast of life wherever you go?

A TALKING FROG IS COOL

One day, a young man was walking down a road when a frog called to him, “Hey, if you kiss me, I will turn into a beautiful princess.”

He picked up the frog, smiled at it, then placed the frog into his pocket. A few minutes later, the frog said, “Hey, if you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, and I will stay with you for a week.”

The young man took the frog from his pocket, smiled at it, then put it back into his pocket. A few minutes later, the frog said, “Hey, if you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will do anything you want!”

The young man took the frog from his pocket, smiled, and put it back. Finally, the frog cried, “Hey, what is the matter, I have told you that I am a beautiful princess, and if you kiss me, I will stay with you and do anything you want!”

The young man took the frog from his pocket and said, “Look, I am an engineering student, I have no time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog is cool!”

PONDER

  • Are you perhaps too busy for a real commitment?
  • Are you merely satisfied with superficial excitement?

AMAZING PATIENCE

A man observed a woman in the grocery store with a three year old girl in her basket. As they passed the cookie section, the little girl asked for cookies and her mother told her no. The little girl immediately began to whine and fuss, and the mother said quietly, “Now Monica, we just have half of the aisles left to go through; don’t be upset. It won’t be long.”

Soon they came to the candy aisle, and the little girl began to shout for candy. And when told she couldn’t have any, began to cry. The mother said, “There, there, Monica, don’t cry – only two more aisles to go, and then we’ll be checking out.”

When they got to the check-out stand, the little girls immediately began to clamor for gum and burst into a terrible tantrum upon discovering there’d be no gum purchased. The mother patiently said, “Monica, we’ll be through this check out stand in 5 minutes and then you can go home and have a nice nap.”

The man followed them out to the parking lot and stopped the woman to compliment her. “I couldn’t help noticing how patient you were with little Monica,” he began. Whereupon the mother said, “I’m Monica . . . my little girl’s name is Tammy.” 

Author Unknown

  • Are you  a patient person? How do you practice patience?
  • What do you think is the relationship between patience and suffering? After all don’t we call someone who is in the hospital a patient?

SOCKS, SHOES AND CONNECTIONS

With Christmas coming  grandma was out shopping for gifts for her grandchildren.  While she was at the toy store going through her list she noticed a small homeless girl outside wistfully looking into the store.  Grandma’s heart went out to this little girl.  She invited her into the store and asked her to pick out a gift for herself.  As they walked out of the store, the little girl held Grandma’s hand and looked into her kind eyes and asked “Are you God?”  Grandma, somewhat embarrassed and somewhat touched said, “No, my dear, I am not God.”  “Then who are you?”  continued the little girl.  Grandma thought for a moment and said, “I am a child of God.”  The little girl, fully satisfied and smiling, said, “I knew there was a connection!”

Source | Paul Coutinho,  How Big is Your God? , page 1

______________________________

Another version of the same story

A little boy about 10 years old was standing before a shoe store on the roadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold. A lady approached the boy and said, “My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?” “I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,” was the boy’s reply.

The lady took him by the hand and went into the store and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her. She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with a towel.

By this time the clerk had returned with the socks. Placing a pair upon the boy’s feet, she purchased him a pair of shoes. She tied up the remaining pairs of socks and gave them to him. She patted him on the head and said, “No doubt, my little fellow, you feel more comfortable now?”

As she turned to go, the astonished lad caught her by the hand, and looking up in her face, with tears his eyes, answered the question with these words: “Are you God’s Wife?”

Source Unknown

  • When people come into your life do they see a divine connection?

MORE PRECIOUS THAN DIAMONDS

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me something more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

Another version of the same story goes like this:

The sannyasi [wise man] had reached the outskirts of the village and settled down under a tree for the night when a villager came running up to him and said, “The stone! The stone! Give me the precious stone!”

“What stone?” asked the sannyasi.

“Last night the Lord Shiva appeared to me in a dream,” said the villager, “And told me that if I went to the outskirts of the village at dusk I should find a sannyasi who would give me a precious stone that would make my rich forever.”

The sannyasi rummaged in his bag and pulled out a stone. “He probably meant this one,” he said, as he handed the stone over to the villager. “I found it on a forest path some days ago. You can certainly have it.”

The man gazed at the stone in wonder. It was a diamond, probably the largest diamond in the whole world, for it was as large as a person’s head.

He took the diamond and walked away. All night he tossed about in bed, unable to sleep. Next day at the crack of dawn he woke the sannyasi and said, “Give me the wealth that makes it possible for you to give this diamond away so easily.”

“The Diamond” from The Song of the Bird by Anthony de Mello SJ

The same story is also recounted in
The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everyting: A Spiritual Guide to Real Life by  James Martin, SJ

THE DAILY PAPER

A guy buys a newspaper every day from a newspaper vendor.  The newspaper vendor is always rude to him.  So a friend of his says, “Why do you buy your paper from this guy? He’s always rude to you.  Why don’t you buy it from someone else just next door?”

Says the guy, “Why should the vendor decide where I buy my newspaper?  Why should he have the power to decide that?”

Source: Anthony de Mello, Rediscovering  Life: Awaken to Reality

Who is managing your life? Who is pulling your strings?