Crossroads: A Parafable

crossroads.jpgIt happened that three men died at the same time. Since this occurred in such a synchronized manner, they decided to travel together to the realm of the dead.

The road was very long. Eventually the three men came to a crossroads, one road wended its way into a dark valley, the other path led to a glamorous mountain. They men parted ways, one went toward the mountain, one headed for the valley and the third stayed put, content where he was.

When the first man presently arrived at a mountain meadow he was a bit tired from his exertions and needed refreshment. Luckily, a well-appointed cottage was nearby, which he approached and entered. Immediately he was seized by devils and thrown into a cookpot.

The second man took much longer to reach the valley, because his trail often seemed to disappear or lead through dangerous areas. When he was completely exhausted he chanced upong a rude hut. He entered and was immediately accosted by an angel and led to a banquet.

The third man quickly grew quite bored sitting by the fork, but still couldn’t make up his mind which path to take. Eventually he turned into a stone.

This really isn’t a story about rewards for living a good life or doing good deeds. I specifically tried to avoid giving that impression by not placing any sort of judgment on the folks involved. This is more the result of something the slightly bumbling Fr. Tom said at Mass on Sunday. I don’t remember exactly what it was, since he doesn’t articulate his thoughts as precisely as the pastor, but it triggered a thought that faith is always a struggle or that one should never assume that the work is done. A Christian who believes that they have won salvation is guilty of hubris. AH! That is what Fr. Tom said… an application of hubris [overweening pride] that I had not thought of. Hubris used as an assumption of strong faith, good Christianity or salvation. Of course, this is also another instance of Catholic ‘you’ll never be good enough’-ness, but it got the gears turning.

I suppose I’m trying to make a point that a person [or in this case reader of the parafable] should never assume that faith is adequate. Or maybe slightly broader, that what is right and what is wrong are always assumptions. That, if one believes in God, judgment, morality and reward are things we assume we know about, deserve, etc. So hopefully the reader assumed that the guy heading to the fancy-pants mountain was going to run into groovyness while the darkling valley was going to lead to certain doom.

This might be in opposition to the relativity I wrote about last week. It might dissimilate too much. But then again, I think I might have understood that inherently by having the third man be stuck in a purgatory of indecisive indecision. Hm.