Happy Home

>> 21 December 2012

Archbishop Fulton. J. Sheen (1895-1979), in his renowned book, "Way to Happiness" narrates an incident in the life of a pious nun residing in a cloistered Carmelite convent (chapter 31). The nuns were leading a simple, silent and austere life and were practising penance, prayer and meditation without access to the outside world. Once, during the feast of St. Therese, the cloister of the convent was opened to visitors who wanted to witness their lifestyle. Among the visitors was an industrialist who could not appreciate the silent lifestyle of the sisters. He met a young, beautiful and highly educated nun and showed her a large, palatial house on the opposite hill. It was large and luxurious with all modern amenities, a gorgeous garden, beautiful buildings, expensive cars and fine furniture. He asked her, "If you had the fortune to be born in and own such a house with all facilities for a luxurious modern life, would you have left it and joined this convent with only poverty, penance and prayer?" The nun gave a short but firm reply, "Sir, that was my home!"

Her words displayed the spirit of true dedication to her vocation. She could find real happiness in a simple life of poverty, silence and sacrifice with prayer, penance and meditation. So she could easily abandon her rich home and all its luxuries following the footsteps of Jesus. She could appreciate the beauty of austerity, simplicity and poverty.

Jesus concludes the parable of the rich fool who planned to build bigger barns to store his corn, with the words: "But God said to him, “You fool! This very night you will have to give up your life; then who will get all these things you have kept for yourself?”{Luke 12:16-21}.

Once a  rich, young man approached Jesus to learn the way to receive eternal life. Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me" {Matthew 19: 21}. Jesus advised, "“Provide for yourselves purses that don’t wear out, and save your riches in heaven, where they will never decrease, because no thief can get to them and no moth can destroy them {Luke 12:33}.

Money may fetch us amusement, but not happiness; a bed, but not sleep; books, but not brains; a car, but not safety; companions, but not friends; education, but not wisdom; flattery, but not respect; food, but not appetite; a house but not a home; luxuries, but not culture; medicines, but not health; ornaments, but not beauty; a violin, but not music.

Let us save our riches in heaven.

© By: Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India. For more moral stories, parables and anecdotes for students, catechists, teachers and preachers, kindly visit my web-site: http://www.moralstorieschristian.blogspot.com   

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