The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

Just Passing Through.

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In the late ninetieth century it was the custom for rich people with time on their hands to do a tour of Europe: Rome, Venice, Florence, Amsterdam etc. and then to move on to more distant exciting places. An educated Englishman was visiting the Egyptian city of Cairo and having seen all the usual attractions and visited all the museums and art galleries, he was becoming a bit bored with the whole thing and decided what he really needed was some stimulating intellectual conversation and there was no one staying at his hotel who could provide this. He approached the hotel manager and asked him if he knew of anyone who could provide this interaction with him. The manager said he had an address in the poor area of the city where there lived an old man renowned for his wisdom.

The next day the man set off early before it became too hot and made his way across the city and into what he would have described as a slum area, where he quickly found the house he was looking for. Upon meeting the wise man he was made to feel very welcome and offered some refreshments, whilst he looked with astonishment around the old man’s room. Apart from a few books, the only items in the room were a bed, a small wooden table and a chair. “Where is all your furniture?” asked the scholar. The old man looked at him for a moment before asking, “And where is yours?” The scholar, obviously taken aback by this question said, “My furniture is at home, here I am just passing through, so I don’t need anything.” The old man stared at him for a full minute before replying, “Yes, it is the same for me, I am only passing through this life. We are all on a journey to God and I find that material possessions can take over your lives, they can blind us so that we cannot see the way to God, or enjoy the freedom to live and to love our fellow man, just as God intended.”

After this conversation the scholar sat for several hours taking to the old man and marvelling at his insight and he left a much wiser man than when he had arrived.

Remember the writing on the Chinese wall, “It’s later than you think.”
For each of us, today is the beginning of the rest of our lives; it is and always has been

Published Mon 16th Jun 2014 13:04:09

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