The Theologian and the Beggar

Taulerus relates that there was once a great theologian, who for eight years in succession prayed to God to show him some one who would teach him the way of truth, and that, finally, when he was one day offering this prayer with great fervor, he heard a voice from heaven saying to him, “Go to the temple, and there you shall find him!”

He went, and found a poor beggar on the church steps, half-clothed with a few rags, and covered with sores. Moved with compassion, he saluted him kindly with the words, “God give you good day, my good man!”

“I never have a bad day,” said the beggar, with a cheerful look.

“God give you good fortune!” went on the theologian.

“I have never experienced any misfortunes,” answered the other.

“How is this!” exclaimed the theologian; “you have never had bad days, and never experienced misfortunes, loaded as you are with woes and miseries!”

“I will tell you,” replied the mendicant. “I have cast myself wholly upon the Divine will, to which I so conform my own, that whatever God wills, I will also. So when hunger, thirst, cold, heat, or sickness molest me, I do nothing but praise God, and whatever happens to me, whether it be prosperous or adverse, whether it be pleasing or unpleasant, I take all from the hand of God with great gladness, as that which can but be good, since it comes from a Cause which can produce only what is best.”

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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