A bandit called Angulimal wanted to kill this holy man. He approached his victim, sword in hand.
“Before you kill me, grant me a last wish.”
“What is it?” asked the bandit caustically.
“Simple. Do you see that tree? Cut a branch from it.”
The bandit slashed a branch off with one blow. “And what shall I do with it now?” he asked.
“Now put it back in its place.”
The bandit started laughing sarcastically . “Many say that you are crazy. They must be right. How can anyone stick a branch back onto a tree once it has been cut off?”
“Correct. You believe that you are strong and powerful because you can destroy. Even children can smash and destruct. You need no wisdom to wreck things. Brother, wisdom is in building, mending, creating, healing….there lies man’s true power.”
I do not know how the story ended….
All I know is that there is an important question each of us must face in this life:
Am I one who demolishes or one who builds?
“My friend has not returned from the battlefield. Can I go for him and bring him back?” “No,” came the blunt answer from the officer in charge.
“I do not want to risk your life for someone who is probably already dead.”
The soldier did not obey and an hour later he returned wounded, carrying his friend’s corpse. The officer was furious, “I told you he was dead.
Now I have lost both of you. Honestly, was it worthwhile to go out there to bring back a corpse?!”
“Yes sir. It was worth while. When I got there, my friend was still alive, and when he saw me he said, “Mark, I knew you would come for me. These were his last words.”
One of the desert fathers was very well known for his fasting. Some Christians traveled a long distance to visit him. After speaking about spiritual things, they enjoyed a good meal together. When the guests were gone, one of the disciples remarked to the Abba : “I suppose you were unhappy that you had to break your fast.”
“No, my son. Charity is more important than fasting. I am only sad when I do my own will….”
We can only grow in love by trusting.
Faith is always a risk.
But it is the only risk which gives us the key to beauty and wonder.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.