a tale retold

There once was a city that lay nestled upon the floor of a broad verdant valley. The first men to come upon the valley were so taken by its beauty that they named the place Bab-ili, which meant “gate of the gods” for they thought such beauty must surely be a worthy entrance to the home of the divine.

Stairway to the sky

Stairway to the sky

Alas, over time those who lived in Bab-ili lost sight of the beauty that surrounded them; a beauty which they had neither created nor had the power to create. Yet in their arrogance and pride they convinced themselves that they were gods whose rightful place was in the heavens above the sky. And so they conceived a stairway that would extend beyond the clouds, a far more perfect entrance to their rightful home among the stars.

They believed solely in their ability to accomplish anything they desired and denied existence to any power greater than their own. They laughed at the very possibility of retribution from the divine for were they not gods themselves and none greater or more powerful than they? If indeed greater gods did exist then why would those gods not display their greater power and rain destruction down upon such weak pretenders? They laughed and jeered and scoffed at the preposterous notion that in truth they were not gods at all. They refused to admit that they were but mortal creatures whose very lives or those of any other creature were beyond their poor powers to conceive let alone create.

Then one day, a day like all the days that had come before, the gods of Bab-ili awoke and discovered they could no longer understand one another; not one word from their neighbor or from anyone else for the matter. Imagine the frustration, the consternation, the irksome irritation that ensued when all those almighty self-important gods could no longer command, demand, or pontificate. Imagine the moment when familiar words were now so strangely unfamiliar, when yes was heard as no to one and maybe to some and phooey to others, when up sounded a lot like down, in meant out, over was under, good was bad, hello was spoken but goodbye was heard. Imagine the bitterness, the anger, the hatred that resulted from the complete inability to communicate in any way with one another.

It was a tragedy, a disaster, a chaotic mess of epic proportions. Alone with thoughts and words only each could comprehend, the inhabitants of Bab-ili could no longer stand to live together and so they quickly dispersed to the far corners of the world, no longer pretending or believing them to be gods.

It is an ancient tale, first told at the dawn of time and retold over the millennia hence without any loss in weight as to its importance. But we forget the past or else we simply choose to do so in order to more readily convince ourselves of our own importance, our greatness, and our godhood.

God is watching and has seen it all before. No doubt he knows exactly what to do. If the ancient tale of Bab-ili holds true, then we have assuredly arrived at that seminal moment when we realize that we are but human and not gods at all.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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