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Yesterday I mentioned a little book I found at a thrift store(my favorite place to buy books). It’s called The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry van Dyke in 1896. I had read about this little story in another story written by Dr. Leo Buscaglia.

The story opens with the main character, Artaban, preparing his home for visitors. He is a Zoroastrian from Parthia waiting for other members of his circle. Artaban tries to convince these scholars that he and three other Magi have seen the star and found evidence that will lead them to the “Prince who is worthy to be served”. The other three are waiting for Artaban and they have all prepared gifts to present. He himself has sold everything he owns and bought three precious stones, a sapphire, ruby and pearl, to present to the King.

As Artaban gets under way he meets with a series of events that hold up his travel and cause him to have to part with his gifts for the Prince. A sick Hebrew man, a baby destined for slaughter by Herod’s troops and, after 33 years of looking for this king, on the threshold of meeting him, a young woman bound for slavery. All met along the way and all cared for by Artaban. Throughout the story he suffers from internal conflict “between the expectation of faith and the impulse of love.”

I won’t ruin the end of the story for you but I will tell you that Artaban does meet up with his King and it is a beautiful meeting.

Artaban asks himself several times along his journey if he should “risk the great reward of his divine faith for the sake of a single deed of human love?” Given the choices I know that for me that single deed is far more important than all of the rituals of religion that I have ever been faced with. The most important words that Jesus speaks in the New Testament are ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Matthew 22:37-39.

You may be saying to yourself that this seems contradictory but stay with me here. The Lord goes on to say “‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:40. So by loving the very least among us with the best that we have we are actually loving our God with the very best of ourselves as Artaban did.

When I finished reading the story I did a little reading in the way of research and got linked up with Dr. Buscaglia’s love quiz. When I saw the link come up I thought it would be some sort of cheesy compatibility thing but it’s not. The questions are very similar to questions Artaban asks himself during his journey. They are questions I will ask myself nightly. I hope they are questions that help you learn about yourself!

Love Quiz

Asking yourself questions and answering them honestly is a good path to self-knowledge. In keeping with this idea, I’d like to propose a few end-of-the-day questions for each of us . . .

· Is anyone a little happier because I came along today?

· Did I leave any concrete evidence of my kindness, any sign of my love?

· Did I try to think of someone I know in a more positive light?

· Did I help someone to feel joy, to laugh, or at least, to smile?

· Have I attempted to remove a little of the rust that is corroding my relationships?

· Have I forgiven others for being less than perfect?

· Have I forgiven myself?

· Have I learned something new about life, living or love?

. Have I gone through the day without fretting over what I don’t have & celebrating the things I do have?

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