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The Sermon on the Mount 3 by Manatita
Maxims For Our Children: A Look at The Teachings of Jesus, The Christ
The Sermon on The Mount: 3
This afternoon the children are excited and eagerly awaiting their mom. She had gone to visit their grandmother for a few days, and was due back this p.m. They were very lucky children. They had a saintly father and a wonderful and virtuous mom who not only loved them, but supported dad in practically everything that he did. She was a part-time teacher, and had benefited much by not only teaching in a good school, but having gone to an exemplary religious school herself.
Nishta - for that was her name - came home about five p.m. She acknowledged her husband heartily and then rushed over to the children and gave them both a good hug.
“Hi there, my pretty ones.” She said joyfully. “How have you been?”
Both Kanya and Junior were giggling and jumping and dancing with delight. Over in the far corner of the lounge, the wise one sat smilingly and contentedly, taking it all in with a cheerful and welcoming look.
“We’ve been very well.” Said the children. “Dad has been cooking and also teaching us all about the scriptures.”
“The scriptures, eh.” Said their mother, excitedly. “Let me unpack, say hello to your father, then we shall eat some of what I have bought on my way here. Then you will both tell me all about it. What do you say?”
“All together gleefully: “We will, mother, we will.”
Nishta then went over to her husband to pay her respects. She had tremendous love for him. They were married for 25 years and she had watched him grow and develop into the saintly god-faring person that he was. As to Nishta, she had helped, served and supported him in every way, in his role as a Spiritual Director to the Church, post his theological degree. This he obtained at the prestigious Shewsbury College, up North in the countryside, while pursuing his devotional practices, many years ago.
What caught the attention of not only her but the diocese were her husband’s piety; his quiet, mild-mannered and empathetic lifestyle, and his prudent means to support himself and his dear ones. As for the wise one himself, he could not have found a more dutiful wife and was constantly showering God with gratitude for granting him the company of such a noble soul.
“And how have you been.” He asked, looking lovingly at his wife. “What of my mother-in-law, is she well?” he enquired.
“Yes, my Lord. She is more frail, now, but she was very happy to see me, and besides, my sister is doing a very good job of looking after her every need. I am a little tired, but otherwise very well.” Nishta responded.
And so the wise one, his wife and their two children sat down to catch up on things for a little while. They talked about their missing each other and about the children and their grandmother, and even some school matters before finally returning to the subject at hand: The Holy Scriptures. This time, with Nishta present, Junior and Kanya were all too keen to show off their knowledge, and Kanya grabbed the bible and began to read:
“Judge not that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” St. Mathew, 7:1.
“How charming!” Said her mother. “Do you know what it all means, Junior?”
Junior: We are all too quick to see others faults and not our own faults, and so we judge hastily. The poor parent who is shouting at the child may have very good reason to do so. Perhaps it’s a lone parent with four other children. Perhaps there is not enough money for food and pressure from the landlord for the rent. Perhaps there may be a host of other problems that one knows nothing about.
The young man sitting on the bus or train who refuses to stand and offer up his seat to an elderly lady, may in fact have a broken leg. Point here is that all we see is not necessarily as they seem, and again, we ourselves may very well be guilty of the very things that we despise in others. Hence the Christ encourages us to first:
‘Cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shall thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Ibid, 7:5
Nishta: “Well said, my son. Did your father teach you this?”
Junior: “Yes, mummy.”
Kanya: “Can we ever avoid judging others?
Wise one. “We will do so for quite some time. Indeed it is sometimes necessary for our own protection or in the act of making decisions. Still we can avoid blame, name-calling and malicious gossip, as these things would hurt others and hurt ourselves also. Ultimately, our heavenly father will guide our thoughts.”
Junior: “Thank you father, we will try.”
Kanya: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend You.” Ibid, 7:6
Nishta: “Be not too anxious to tell others of your wisdom. For they may not be ready to accept it. The way of scripture is the loving way and not the converting way. Do not force, if people are not interested, as to continue with zeal may lead to arguments and disagreements, and even cause you serious harm. Rather try to inspire by a life of service and exemplary deeds. Be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.”( Ibid, 10:16)
Wise one: “Well said, my wife.”
Junior: “Ask and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” Ibid, 7:7
Wise one: “This is the essence of what is needed to attract our Lord. We need to be earnest, with a yearning or intensity; an inner cry for His love. Without this asking, knocking or seeking, the door cannot be opened. The child asks, and the parents give in plenty. God gives infinitely more and is attracted by our prayerful and devotional requests. Our Lord makes this abundantly clear in the next maxim:
‘For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” Ibid, 7:8.
Kanya: “Thank you, father.”
Nishta: “Enter ye in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Ibid, 7:13-14.
Wise one: “Once we start the spiritual journey, we cannot turn back. It is a straight and continuous road and a long road. However, the streets are paved with false yet attractive rewards and promises. If we should stop and play with them, then we will become side-tracked. On the narrow road we cannot stop, or else we are likely to fall off.
Two brothers were in a garden. They were very hungry. One brother picked mangoes from the trees and ate to his heart’s content. The other went to look for the owner of the garden, and having made friends with him, was granted free access to the entire garden. If you should throw a stone at a tree, my Junior, and Kanya throws one at the sky, chances are that her stone will go higher because her aim is higher. So too, God likes us to seek Him alone and then all will be ours when we arrive at His Palace. This is what our Lord promises:
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Interestingly, although the path seems narrow, it is by far the safest and quickest as it avoids deceptions along the way:
‘Beware of false prophets’, says our Lord, ‘which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” Ibid, 7:15-16.
Nishta: “Well said, my Lord.” (Nistha treated her husband with reverential awe and sometimes used the word ‘Lord,’ in adoration)
Wise one: “Let us conclude the beatitudes, these holy maxims. Tomorrow we shall continue with the apostle Matthew. For now, please sing me a song. Nishta, my dear wife, you have not sung for me for a few days. Please sing.”
Nishta had an angelic voice and sang many devotional songs taught to her by her husband. She now happily began to sing:
“Long have I drifted in this alien land,
Like a seafarer on a rudderless ship.
My connection to You, oh my Beloved,
Has been broken like the ship’s rusty sails.
O Great One,
Fasten my Soul to your garments;
Flood my heart with your nectar-sweet,
And carry me to the immortal shores of the beyond.”
Children: Wonderful. Wonderful! How angelic you sing, mummy.”
Wise one: “I am so proud of you, my Nishta. No man could ask for better inspiration. I am so proud of you! Let us rest. Tell me more about your recent trip. The children and I will continue tomorrow, God’s willing. Let them rest.”