Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Road to the Cathedral

Three brothers lived together with their elderly Father in a small farmstead in the middle of the forest. They had enough pasture to grow all they needed and the river gave them water. A couple of times a year a traveller through the forest would stop at their homestead with news from the city. They spent their days in farming and prayer. As they milked the cows they would praise God's provision. As they pulled weeds they would offer prayers of confession, as watched the sunset they would feel the love of God shining on their lives.

One day a traveller came with tales of a great building project.

"The monks have built a wonderful cathedral to the glory of God. Many people are making pilgrimage to have their sins forgiven and to gaze at the wonder of God's beauty. The windows have colored glass in them that light up with the sun and show wonderful stories from the bible. People go there and know they have met with God."

The brothers listened to the traveller and marvelled at the thought of a building taller than the forest and stronger than the winds.

After a week went by the eldest brother was no longer content to pray while milking and weeding.

"I desire to see this marvel for myself." and so he left his brothers and began to follow the trail towards the town. Now the brothers had never ventured along the forest trail before so he did not know what to expect.

After he had been travelling for a few hours he came across a tree limb lying across the path.

"How do I get around this?" The brother asked himself. He looked carefully at the limb and noticed its broken end sticking in the underbrush. With all his might he grasped the limb and he was able to drag it off the path and continue on his way.

Meanwhile the middle and the youngest brother worked the fields, took care of the cattle and prayed to God at sunset.

It was the tenth day after the eldest brother had left and they were repairing the fence to prevent the cows walking down into the flowing river. The eldest brother came running into the clearing. His face glowing with wonder and glory. He sang God's praise with such devotion and love that the middle brother began to think of visiting the cathedral for himself.

That night he asked his brother if he had any advice for him as he travelled to town.

"Do not be afraid" the brother said. "If you meet an obstacle in your way, know that you have the strength to pull it off the path."

The middle brother left early the next morning.

After he had been travelling for a few hours he came across a mighty tree trunk lying across the path.

"How do I get around this?" The brother asked himself. He looked carefully at the log and noticed its roots sticking in the underbrush. With all his might he grasped the roots and remembered what his brother had said.

He pulled.

Nothing moved.

He pulled again, the skin beginning to scrape on his palms.

Nothing happened.

"God give me the strength to move this" he cried. He gave one more heave and felt his muscles scream with agony.

Saddened he leaned against the trunk in despair. "My brother said I had the strength to move any obstacle but he was wrong. What can I do?"

In his misery he noticed where some of the limbs of the tree had broken off during its fall. He saw that they made easy places for his hands to hold and his feet to rest on. His misery left him as he clambered over the tree trunk and continued along the path to the cathedral.

After a week spent in the cloisters talking with the monks and worshipping in the cathedral he made his way back to the farmstead.

The brothers greeted him warmly and listened to him tell of his new found passion for God and devotion in prayer.

The youngest brother resolved to make pilgrimage for himself and so he asked the middle brother if he had any advice.

"Do not be afraid" the brother said. "If you meet an obstacle in your way, know that you have the agility to climb over it."

The youngest brother left early the next morning.

After he had been travelling for a few hours he came across a mighty lion sleeping across the path. "How do I get around this?" The brother asked himself. He was afraid to get near it but he wanted to get to town.

He remembered what his brother had said, and so taking a deep breath he raised one leg over the lion and tried to clamber over it.

The lion awoke and immediately lifted the brother off the ground as he spun round trying to bite him.

The youngest brother held onto the lion's fur for his life. "My brother said I had the agility to climb over any obstacle but he was wrong. What can I do?"

The lion began charging along the path and the brother noticed a tree branch up ahead. With all his courage he threw his arms up into the air and grasped the limb and hauled himself onto it. The lion snapped at his heels and then returned to his place on the path and just stood there menacingly threatening the brother if he tried to get by him.

The brother despaired because the lion was blocking the path, but, as he hung there from the tree limb, he noticed another path just a little distance away in the clearing. Rejoicing he dropped from the branch and made his way to the path and eventually found his way to the cathedral.

After a week spent in the cloisters talking with the monks and worshipping in the cathedral he made his way back to the farmstead.

The Father was so impressed with the devotion of his sons that he asked all of them to tell him the tales of their pilgrimages.

The eldest told of the tree limb.

The middle spoke of the log.

The youngest scared them with the lion.

The Father sat and listened to his sons with much joy.

"Oh my sons, you will encounter many obstacles in your journey towards God. Always remember that everyone's journey is different. Their obstacles may not be your obstacles, and their solutions, are not your solutions."

1 comment:

Memzie Latham said...

Very good!!! I enjoyed reading this tale.