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Chapter 204 - Parable of the mother with her two sons
204,1. As the near approach of sunrise in the morning, Jonael and Jairuth’s angel awaken all those still asleep, while Kisjonah, whose quarters were next to Mine, instructed his wife and daughters and the sundry servants to organize a proper morning meal.
204,2. But I say to the hospitable Kisjonah: ‘Leave that for today, for see, we should also let brother Baram of Jesaira have the pleasure occasionally. Look over there on the sea. There, not too far from shore, Baram’s fully laden ship stands, and his sons and he are right now striving to get the morning meal over here. Therefore let you be relaxed for the day – for besides that the ship also holds a big lunch and supper, as well as 40 skins of the best wine from Greece.’
204,3. Says Kisjonah: ‘Ah, look at the tight-lipped Baram. He mentioned not a syllable of his intentions; in the evening he simply got lost. I think he became invisible just after our arrival, and now he is here with a fully-packed ship. He must have had a good wind, otherwise he could not have made it by a long while yet, what with all the work. For it takes a whole day’s rowing from here to Jesaira normally.’
204,4. I said: ‘Brother, believe it, he who has good intentions shall always be guided by a good wind, whereas the one with bad intentions shall also be guided by a bad wind.
204,5. There once were two brothers, whose mother had many a treasure. Both loved their mother exceedingly, so that the mother could not make out which loved her more, for the purpose of giving him the greater inheritance. But only one loved her in actuality, while the other kept only the large inheritance in mind and for that reason constantly showed more concern for his mother, and not infrequently excelled his brother, who truly loved his mother.
204,6. The good son, truly loving his mother, had not the slightest suspicion of his brother and was only too glad about his brother’s making the beloved mother happy. This went on for several years.
204,7. The mother, however, getting older and weaker, called her two sons and spoke: “I am unable to say which of you two loves me more, for giving him the larger inheritance. Therefore I want you to share it equally after my departure.”
204,8. Whereupon the good son said: “Mother, it was through your care that I learnt how to earn my living for all my needs, but I shall ask God with all the fervor of my heart to keep you alive as long as me, and that you would manage your wealth for the best of the whole house. For if I were to possess the inheritance without you, it would become my greatest torment, making me disconsolate each time I looked at it. Wherefore, dear mother, keep the inheritance and give it to whoever you will. Your heart is my dearest inheritance – would that God would keep it alive as long as possible.’
204,9. On hearing such talk from her good son with deeply stirred heart, she spoke, hiding her real feelings: “Most beloved son, your confession indescribably gratifies my heart, but this is still not a reason to give your inheritance to a stranger. If you insist on having no part of it, then let your brother take the whole inheritance after my expiry, and let you serve him and earn your keep by the sweat of your brow.’
204,10. Says the good son: “Dearest mother, when serving and working, my heart shall always be gratefully mindful of you and speak “see, this is the way your mother taught you to work”. Were I to possess the inheritance, I would in the end become work-shy, throwing myself into a useless life of wealth and finally even forget you. Therefore I don’t want your hard-earned treasure, which does not bear the imprint of your heart but only that of the emperor’s authority. Yet that which I have taken from your heart also bears the latter’s imprint, and has a lasting seat in my heart. Therefore, beloved mother, this inheritance, which you have given me already from the cradle and with which I have already earned much of the good and the costly, is to me indescribably more precious than that which you earned for yourself with the work and struggle of your hands. Its sight would only perturb me, as the thought would keep returning: “see, this has cost your mother’s hands much strain and work. Did she perhaps cry often from pain – for being concerned about giving you an inheritance”. And see, dear mother, I could not then possibly be of good cheer, because I love you so exceedingly.’
204,11. Moved to tears, the mother calls upon her other son to say what he thinks and wants.
204,12. This one answered: ‘I have indeed always thought my brother noble, yet in some ways an eccentric. There I am quite a different man. Just as much as I honor and regard you, dear mother, just so I also respect everything you want to and will give me. Therefore I accept the entire inheritance with the most thankful heart, and my brother’s intended services shall not go unrewarded. If however, dear mother, you so wish, you could issue me with half the inheritance in advance, which will enable me to purchase land and take a wife.’
204,13. Says the mother somewhat heavy-heartedly to the second son’s answer: “What I have spoken, by that I abide. The inheritance you shall receive only after my death.’
204,14. Thereupon the second son was downcast and left the room.
204,15. A year later the mother became very ill, and a maid came out to fetch the two sons working in the field, so that the most worthy could receive the mother’s blessings in accordance with her will.
204,16. Here the good son was filled with sorrow, and on the way prayed to God loudly that He would preserve the mother’s life.
204,17. But the bad son was upset, saying to the son steeped in prayer, “Do you in all earnest want to prescribe laws to nature? Whoever has once matured, whether father, mother, brother or sister, has to die. Here no asking or praying is of avail. Therefore my watchword is “what God wills, that also is right by me.”
204,18. But the good brother was still sadder, and prayed yet more fervently for his dear mother’s life.
204,19. As they came to the mother’s sick room, the bad son said: “I knew that you wouldn’t die so quickly.” Whereupon he began dissuading her from fearing death.
204,20. But the good son cried and prayed loudly. God, however, listened unto the good son’s groans, sending an angel to the mother’s bedside, who made her fully well.
204,21. Therewith the mother soon rose, becoming aware of a higher power restoring her health. And upon noting the strength in her limbs, she said: “For this I have the fervent prayer of my son to thank, who rejected the proffered inheritance out of his true love for me. Truly, I say to you, my most beloved son: because, for true love’s sake, you wanted nothing, you shall now have everything. Whatever is mine is yours. But you other one, having loved me only for the inheritance, fervently desiring my end – for being good to you and making everything over to you – shall receive nothing, and become man’s slave for evermore.”
204,22. Note this parable well. Which of the two sons do you think had the good wind?’
204,23. The disciples said: ‘Obviously the one who truly loved his mother.’
204,24. I said: ‘Well said. But I say unto you, as this mother acted, so shall the Father in Heaven do.’
204,25. He who does not love Me for My own sake shall not come to where I shall be.
204,26. Man should love God without thought of gain, just as God loves him, or he is completely unworthy of God.’
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