An Elephant and a Mouse

During a retreat at a Cistercian monastery, a monk told the retreatants an amusing story in order to make a point. First the story; then the point.

One day, an elephant was bathing in a pond. He was splashing around and having a grand time. A mouse walked up to the water’s edge and demanded the elephant get out of the pond. The elephant ignored the mouse and continued bathing. The mouse became insistent, yelling at the top of his tiny lungs, “Get out of the water now!” The elephant’s trunk dipped into the water, and he continued to playfully shower himself. The mouse became even more agitated, jumping up and down, demanding the elephant get out of the water immediately. Finally, the elephant had enough. He slowly made his way from the deepest part of the pond to the water’s edge. He stopped, looked down on the mouse, and said, “Who do you think you are, bossing me around? What is your problem?” The mouse responded, “I can’t find my bathing suit and I wanted to make sure you were not wearing it.”

The point: it is easier for the elephant to fit into the mouse’s bathing suit than for God to fit into our human concepts.

The monk was telling us to let go of everything, even our limited ideas of God, and enter into the silence of the monastery in order to hear from God.

We do not have to go to a monastery to find periods of silence in our lives. God is calling everyone to silence in order to talk with us. All we need to do is be still–interiorly and exteriorly–and listen, and we can do that anywhere.


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