When I was younger, I read a Chinese proverb that went, "To become immortal, a
man must father a son, write a book, and plant a tree." I don't know about you,
but last night, I imagined it had this little story behind it:
Just as the Wise Man was about to shut his eyes in meditation once more, a man ran up, knelt before him, and asked, "Good Master, what must I do to receive eternal life?"
The Wise Man answered, "Why do you call me good? No one is good. You know the
precepts: Be respectful at work, be humble at home, do unto others as you wish
them to do unto you, remain sincere while studying widely and asking questions,
respect the old, trust your friends, educate the young."The man replied, "I have
followed all these social teachings since my childhood."Then the Wise Man looked
steadily at him, saw a seeker indistinguishable from all others who had come to
ask him that question, and said, "For you, three things are lacking. Father a
son, write a book and plant a tree, and your bloodline, your thoughts and your
work will live on after you. Then retreat to this monastery and meditate with me
on the transistory nature of earthly things."On hearing these words, the young
man's face fell and he went away sorrowful, for he was a man with no less than
eternity in his heart.
Tom at Disputations had a nice reflection for the Feast of All Dominican Saints:
In Christ we are washed clean, not bleached. The perfections of our
relationships with others in heaven will include, in some cases, the perfections
of communion in a perfected religious order.