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This story was told to me sometime ago by a friend, and till date it remains one of my favourites:
A saint and a priest once met at a riverbank. As there was no canoe to cross over to the other side, they decided to walk through the shallow waters. But as they were about to start crossing over, their attention was drawn to an helpless prostitute that had just been left wounded by some bandits. The priest, aggrieved and moved by compassion, suggested that himself and the saint help her to the other side in order to get medical aids. But the saint, obsessed with the thoughts that they were too holy for that, shunned the idea. So, the priest left with no other choice, decided to carry her on his own back as they crossed the river. And on getting to the other side, he immediately took her to the nearest hospital for treatments.
However, when the saint and the priest met in the church the following Sunday, he could not hold it anymore so he challenged the priest and said, “How could you being a priest profess so much holiness, and still have such body contacts with a prostitute?” But the priest smiled and said to him, “Of course I being a priest yet so holy, did what was necessary as the occasion demanded―much after which as my holiness requires of me, I have forgotten about the body contacts!” And then he went further and said to the saint, “But you being so holy that your holiness demanded not that you help her, how come you still have so much to remember?―even so much that you have offences to hold onto, and grievous temptations to dwell upon?!”
The light I want to shed from this story is that many of us hide under the auspices of religion so much that we neglect the good we ought to do when it matters most. And then to make matters worse, some of us even go as far as holding grudges against whoever does what we deem unfit―even when the doer of the deed must have been commended by God for his unsoiled holiness and untainted intentions. Honestly, sometimes I really wonder if God is not so marvelled at our ways of life!
Well, in conclusion I’d say, “Let us add to our holiness virtue, to our virtue temperance, to our temperance kindness, and to our kindness wisdom as befitting for the Kingdom. And in all our getting, let us get understanding―and never add hypocrisy!”
And this I could say a million times over again, that “Christianity is more than a religion; it is the way of Love, Truth, and Life―which can only be found in Redemption.”
Shalom.
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