Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Priest, the Servant Boy, and the Child Jesus

There was once a priest who had for his servant a very good boy. One
day the padre wanted the boy, and, after looking everywhere for him,
went to church. Opening the door quietly, he looked in and there he
saw that the statue of the child Jesus had left its shrine and was
down on the floor talking and playing with the boy. The priest slipped
softly away and ordered a very fine dinner cooked for the lad. When
the boy returned to the convent, the padre asked him where he had
been. "I have been down to the church playing with a friend." "Very
well, there is your dinner. If you play with your friend again, ask
him if I shall go to glory in heaven when I am dead." The boy took
his dinner to the church and ate, sharing it With the child Jesus.

"Tell me, friend," said he to his heavenly companion, "will my master,
the priest, go to glory in heaven?"

"No," said the child Jesus, "because he has neglected his father and
mother." When the boy carried these words to the priest he became
very sad, and asked the lad to inquire whether he might atone for his
wrong by doing good to other old people. "No," came the answer. "It
must be his father and mother who shall receive their dues, and it
may be that he shall enter heaven alive."

So the priest sent for his poor old father and mother, and lavished
on them every care, suffering no one else to do the least thing for
them. At last the old people died, and the priest was very sad. Then
one night, as he slept, came soft and very beautiful music around about
and within the convent, and the boy awoke the priest to listen. "Oh,"
said the padre, "it is perhaps the angels come to carry us alive to
heaven." And it was so. The angels carried the boy and the priest,
his master, to be in glory in heaven.

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