Thursday, July 24, 2014

What Do You Have in Common with a French Prince?

I recently came across this story from a book called 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. The story is about the son of King Louis XVI and was presented in the context of how having positive paradigms can bring out the best in us. The story should also remind us about why we should strive for holiness.

Born to Be King

King Louis had been taken from his throne and imprisoned. His young son, the prince, was taken by those who dethroned the king. They thought that inasmuch as the king’s son was heir to the throne, if they could destroy him morally, he would never realize the great and grand destiny that life had bestowed upon him.

They took him to a community far away, and there they exposed the lad to every filthy and vile thing that life could offer. They exposed him to foods the richness of which would quickly make him a slave to appetite. They used vile language around him constantly. They exposed him to lewd and lusting women. They exposed him to dishonor and distrust. He was surrounded 24 hours a day by everything that could drag the soul of a man as low as one could slip.

For over six months he had this treatment—but not once did the young lad buckle under pressure. Finally, after intensive temptation, they questioned him. Why had he not submitted himself to these things—why had he not partaken? These things would provide pleasure, satisfy his lusts, and were desirable; they were all his. The boy said, “I cannot do what you ask for I was born to be a king.”

One is reminded of the story of Joseph in Genesis. You’ll recall that Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and taken to Egypt by foreigners. Still, the Lord was with Joseph and he retained his dedication to high principles through many difficult trails. As a result, he became second in command in the household of Potiphar, second only to Potiphar himself.

When Potiphar was away from his home, his wife, who lusted after Joseph, approached him and said, “Lie with me.” Joseph refused and said to her, “How, then, could I do this great wrong and sin against God?” It’s the reaction of someone who knows who he is, the son of a King (see Gen 39:7-9). Joseph continued to trust God, his King, and used his gift of interpreting dreams in a straightforward and truthful manner. He prevailed against every trail and eventually became the most powerful person in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh.

Both of these stories should remind us that we too are the children of the King of kings and should behave as such. Instead, with the demise of human character we ask, “What can I get away with?” It relates to the plague of minimalism which can affect every aspect of our lives, including our faith. It holds a premise in the form of a question, “What’s the least I need to do to get by?”

Minimalism is enemy of holiness and the first step to failure. We are to strive for holiness. This is beyond the secular moral advice of “just be nice”. It is also more than a general adherence to the 10 commandments. It is the narrow path. It is a call to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect (see Mat 5:48 & Lev 19:2). It is no easy task because it needs to be a challenge fitting for a child of a King.

"Heavenly Father, give me the courage to strive for the highest goals, to flee every temptation to be mediocre"
- Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Stand Tall

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