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Anthony de Mello

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In a desert country trees were scarce and fruit was hard to come by. It was said that God wanted to make sure there was enough for everyone, so He appeared to a prophet and said, “This is my commandment to the whole people for now and for future generations: no one shall eat more than one fruit a day. Record this in the Holy Book. Anyone who transgresses this law will be considered to have sinned against God and against humanity.” The law was faithfully observed for centuries until scientists discovered a means for turning the desert into green land. The country became rich in grain and livestock. And the trees bent down with the weight of unplucked fruit. But the fruit law continued to be enforced by the civil and religious authorities of the land. Anyone who pointed to the sin against humanity involved in allowing fruit to rot on the ground was dubbed a blasphemer and an enemy of morality. These people, who questioned the wisdom of God’s Holy Word, were being guided by the proud spirit of reason, it was said, and lacked the spirit of faith and submission whereby alone the Truth can be received. In the churches sermons were frequently delivered in which those who broke the law were shown to have come to a bad end. Never once was mention made of the equal number of those who came to a bad end even though they had faithfully kept the law or of the vast number of those who prospered even though they broke it. Nothing could be done to change the law because the prophet who had claimed to have received it from God was long since dead. He might have had the courage and the sense to change the law as circumstances changed for he had taken God’s Word, not as something to be revered, but as something to be used for the welfare of the people. As a result, some people openly scoffed at the law and at God and religion. Others broke it secretly and always with a sense of wrongdoing. The vast majority adhered rigorously to it and came to think of themselves as holy merely because they held on to a senseless and outdated custom they were too frightened to jettison. 🙂
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