Once upon a time, four blind men met for the first time in their lives an elephant. Such a huge animal! Immediately they started running their hands over his body to sense his frame. The first blind man, touching the elephant’s side, remarked solemnly, “The elephant is like a wall.” The second blind man, who was touching his tail, remarked, “No, it is more like a rope.” Meanwhile the third one was running his hands over the leg and he disagreed completely, “No, I would say it is more like a tree trunk.” The fourth blind man, touching the tusk, came out with a completely different opinion : “More like a knife, a dagger!”
The confusing question which my uncle always asked me after repeating this story to me was : “Who was right?” I was small and never could figure out an answer. Now I know that none was right yet all were right.
We make the same mistake when we try to figure out who is God. Some believe that he is a policeman, someone obsessed with the law, always checking out whether we are following the rules. They live a life of fear. Others look at God as a waiter, someone at their call and beck. They desire something, they order it and if He delivers it to them immediately, He is good. Otherwise he is a lousy waiter. A functional approach. Still others regard him as a judge. Punishment or reward. Sentence will soon be handed out! Hence they beg, bargain, rationalize, threaten, promise, flatter, placate… Then there are those who look to God as a banker or a doctor. They normally do not think about him, but when problems arrive, they run to him hoping He will solve all their problems…
Is this God? No. He is different! He is more!
A tiny ant crawling upon the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel sees only random colors beneath its feet. She may think that the tiny space under her feet is the whole painting, but this is false. The picture is immense and much more awesome than what the ant can ever see.
Saint John of the Cross once asked Fray Francesco, who was God for him. “God is whoever He wishes to be!” – was the simple yet deep answer of this brother. John of the Cross was delighted with the answer…
A friend once wrote to me. “Maybe what God really needs are more children just to entertain Him… When things are getting pretty rugged in some places He needs a good laugh somewhere else… and he says to himself “let’s check out 444, Love Court, Agape City and see what she’s up to now!”
Men had become so confused about God that God Himself said, “Let me send my Son, so He can show them who I am.” And we saw who God is.
An innocent person stretched out on a cross out of love for us.
A victorious person who rose from death to guarantee that whoever unites himself to Him will never taste death!
A monk approached Abba Poemen.
“I feel lost. Temptations are bigger than me. What can I do?”
“Simple, my son,” was the strange answer of the Abba. “Just place the pot on the fire!”
The disciple did not understand and Abba did not offer any further explanations. So the disciple retired quietly, praying to God for enlightenment. After a long time of prayer, the meaning flashed in his mind. No animal dares approach a pot on fire because it is too hot. Similarly ourselves. If we place our hearts upon the fire of the love of God, the devils will not dare approach us.
(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.