"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

All I Really Need To Know I Learn From Children's Books: The Big Trip (BOOK 5)

The Return Of The Prodigal Son
by Rembrandt Van Rijn

Today's "All I Really Need To Know I learn From Children's Books"—BOOK 5 is "The Big Trip."

Book Details:
Author: Valeri Gorbachev

Publisher: Philomel Books New York
Year: 2004

Tobit And Anna With The Goat by Rembrandt Van Rijn

“I am going to take a trip far away,” Pig said to Goat one day. “How will you go?” asked Goat. “Let me think for a moment,” said Pig.

The Return Of The Prodigal Son by Rembrandt Van Rijn

“Maybe I will go by bike—that will be a very nice trip.”

“Oh, dear,” said Goat. “You could fall off a bike.”

The Good Samaritan by Rembrandt Van Rijn

“Ah,” said the Pig. “Then I will drive a car.”

“It’s not a good idea, Pig,” said Goat. “A car can break down!”

The Polish Rider by Rembrandt Van Rijn

“Oh,” said Pig. “Then I will go by horse on my trip.”

“I’m not sure about that,” said Goat. “Horses can be very jumpy!”

The Return Of The Prodigal Son by Rembrandt Van Rijn

“Okay,” said Pig. “Then I am going to go by donkey cart—a donkey is very quiet.”

“Not good, not good,” said Goat. “Donkeys can be very stubborn!”

Then I will go by train,” said Pig. 

“Oh, Pig, oh, Pig,” said Goat, “a train could get stuck in a tunnel!” “Good point, Goat,” said Pig. “Then I will fly by plane.”

“What if the engine stops!” said Goat. “You’d have to parachute.” “True,” said Pig. “Then I will go by hot air balloon.”

“The hot air balloon could have a hole!” said Goat.

Storm On The Sea Of Galilee by Rembrandt Van Rijn

“Okay. I will not travel by land. I will not travel by air. I will go by sea,” said Pig. “On a ship.”

“Oh, no!” exclaimed Goat. “Don’t do it! The ship could run into a reef when passing through fog.”

Samson And Delilah by Rembrandt Van Rijn

“Or run into a heavy storm at sea, and there are sharks all around at sea, so many, you couldn’t count them!”

“And you could find yourself alone on a desert island in the middle of the ocean with pirates that could come on that desert island by pirate ship!”

 Flight Into Egypt by Rembrandt Van Rijn

“STOP! STOP! STOP!” exclaimed Pig. “I could fall off a bike break down in a car get thrown by a horse never get there with a donkey or get stuck on a train. I might have to parachute from a plane or from a hot air balloon and traveling by ship could bring me many troubles!”

Self-Portrait With Beret, Wide-Eyed by Rembrandt Van Rijn

“So, I will not go anywhere,” said Pig.

The Return Of The Prodigal Son
by Rembrandt Van Rijn

“Having a big trip is a very scary thing.” “Unless...,” said Goat, looking at Pig,

“you go with a friend.”

Questions and Considerations To Ponder:

1. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "'Conscience is man's most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depth' (GS 16). Conscience is a judgement of reason by which the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act." (CCC 1795-1796)

God is our ultimate friend and companion in any journey. In Romans 8:31 we hear St Paul asking the rhetorical question, "If God is for us who can be against us?" But then since we cannot see Him physically like a human companion, how do we know He is present? We may not see Him but we can hear Him speak through our consciences. What concrete experiences in the past can you consider that you have listened to God's voice within you?

2. The human conscience too has a constant guide in order not to fall astray in the path towards God. The image of light is used for God's Word, e.g. the life and teachings of Jesus in the gospels, which guide our spiritual path. "The Word of God is a light for our path. We must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. This is how moral conscience is formed." (CCC 1802) How am I growing in my spiritual maturity through the years? What helped? What did not help?

3. "AD MAIORA NATUS SUM" ["I was born for greater things"] (St Stanislaus Kostka). There is in every person the inner drive to accomplish something big or small, yet, in reality, we cannot achieve our goal by ourselves alone. If one has to satisfy his or her deepest yearnings, grace is needed. This makes God the ultimate friend in whatever journey because, like the theologian Karl Rahner SJ once said about grace as God's self-gift to us. God's grace is not only limited to individuals but it extends to all of creation, hence, we can find God in all things. How can you practice being mindful of God's presence in all things no matter the risks?

Fr JM Manzano SJ
John 10:1–10

I am the gate for the sheep.

Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
  So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Your brother was dead and has come to life.

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them Jesus addressed this parable. “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’