5 January 2012

Anthony De Mello Stories

Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest from India, influenced many in the world through his powerful understanding of the human condition. And he pointed the way to authentic living with the use of parables and teaching stories.

Until his sudden death on June 2, 1987, Father Anthony de Mello was the director of the Sadhana Institute of Pastoral Counseling near Poona, India. He aimed simply to teach people how to pray, and how to wake up and live. He maintained that most people are asleep and that they need to wake up -- to open their eyes and see what is real.

Below are a couple of wonderful Anthony de Mello short stories. To those who have not yet discovered this sublime, inspirational speaker, please visit his website at this link here.

The Flea and the Elephant

A flea decided to move with his family into the ear of an elephant. So he shouted, "Mr. Elephant, Sir, my family and I plan to move into your ear. I think it only fair to give you a week to think the matter over and let me know if you have any objection?"

The Elephant, who was not even aware of the existence of the flea went his placid way so, after conscientiously waiting a week, the flea assumed the Elephant's consent and moved in. A month later Mrs. Flea decided the Elephant's ear was not a healthy place to live in and urged her husband to tell the Elephant that they were moving; in such way so as not to hurt the Elephant's feelings.

So, Mr. Flea put it to tactfully to the Elephant, "Sir, we plan to move to other quarters. This has nothing at all to do with you of course, because your ear is spacious and warm. It is just that my wife would rather live next door to her friends at the buffalo's foot. If you have any objection to our moving, do let me know in the course of the next week." The Elephant said nothing, so the flea changed residence with a clear conscience.

Moral of the Story: Relax -- the Universe is not aware of your existence!

The Saint

There once lived a man so godly that even the angels rejoiced at the sight of him. But in spite of his great holiness, he had no notion that he was holy. He just went about his humdrum tasks diffusing goodness like the way of flowers -- unselfconsciously, diffusing their fragrance like street lamps diffuse their glow.

The saint's holiness lay in this - that he forgot each person's past and looked at them as they were now, and he looked beyond each person's appearance to the very centre of their being where they were innocent and blameless and too ignorant to know what they were doing. Thus he loved and forgave everyone that he met - and he saw nothing extraordinary in this for it was the result of his way at looking at people.

One day an angel said to him, "I have been sent to you by God. Ask for anything you wish and it will be given to you. Would you wish to have the gift of healing?" "No," said the man, "I'd rather God did the healing himself."

"Would you want to bring sinners back to the path of righteousness?" "No," he said, "It is not for me to touch human hearts. That is the work of angels."

"Would you like to be such a model of virtue that people will be drawn to imitate you?" "No," said the saint, "For that would make me the centre of attention."

"What then do you wish for?" asked the angel. "The Grace of God," was the man’s reply. "Having that, I have all I desire." "No," you must ask for some miracle," said the angel, "Or one will be forced on you." "Well then I shall ask for this, let good be done through me without my being aware of it."

So it was decreed that the holy man's shadow would be endowed with healing properties whenever it fell behind him. So, everywhere his shadow fell - provided he had his back to it - the sick were healed, the land became fertile, fountains sprang to life and colour returned to the faces of those who were weighed down by life's sorrow. But the saint knew nothing of this because the attention of people was so centred on the shadow that they forgot about the man and so his wish that good be done through him and he be forgotten, was abundantly fulfilled.


To see more of Anthony de Mello, watch the below video about how to love.

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