Saints In Disguise

Story of Alexis:

Alexis was the only son of a rich Roman Senator. He had been kind to the poor and led a simple life from childhood. Alexis decided to give up all his possessions and prestigious positions for love of Christ. But the plan of his parents was different. They chose a beautiful young lady as a life partner for their son. Though he had to marry her owing to the pressure from his parents, he managed to get the consent of his wife to leave everything, at the very first night itself. Escaping from his homeland in disguise, he lived in Syria for more than seventeen years as a beggar. But through the intervention of Mother Mary, people realized that this beggar was not an ordinary person. As he was noticed, he left Syria and returned to Rome.

Being under the guise of a beggar, his parents could not recognize him. Yet, they gave the beggar a place in their outhouse. Again he had to spend another seventeen years of suffering from the cruel actions of the servants. All these years he lived under a staircase just like a poor beggar. He could have escaped this situation very easily. But he decided to make his life a living sacrifice, burning with the love of God. At death, his parents came to know of the truth from a short writing in his pocket. What would have been the shock of the parents knowing that it was their son who lived as a beggar in their outhouse, for the past seventeen years?

Reflection:

There is an important thought that we have to consider in this incident. Messiah, the Lord and God incarnated human without any signs of His divinity. A helpless baby like any other child… He could do nothing other than crying and laughing. No mansions and palaces were in front of Him. The magi worshiped a child who had been placed amidst the dung and hay pile in the cattle shed. How miraculous is it to see God in a small baby! The people of Israel couldn’t identify the Divinity of Christ even after He worked a lot of miracles. Then how much more faith these wise men and shepherds had in order to believe the divinity of a child in the manger!

Jesus who appeared to the disciples going to Emmaus as a passer-by, to St. Francis of Assisi as a leper, to St. Christopher as a small boy might have come on our way in different forms. It might be one of our surprises when we reach heaven. Many saints like St. Alexis were unnoticed during their life on earth. When their glory is revealed in heaven, those who despised and accused them on earth will feel ashamed. So as not to feel this shame, let us not ignore the little ones among us. The children whom we do not love and consider cruelly may become our protectors tomorrow. Joseph’s brothers had to request help from the one whom they sold because of jealousy. Let us love our brothers and sisters so that the same may not happen to us.

How many poor people have become rich and reached high positions in course of time? Subordinates have grown to be higher authorities. The colleagues whom we ignore today may become great persons tomorrow. Those people of less beauty, fame and education will dazzle in God’s kingdom and that may surprise us. In order that we never become foolish on earth and in heaven, we should treat others with respect and love. To avoid being humiliated before your wife when you are sick and bed ridden, love and respect her now itself. The students you teach may become great one day. It can happen that our child, who is not behaving well today, may become a saint tomorrow.

We, who are able to see Jesus in a baby in the manger, must be able to see Jesus in those who are in our family and society.

– – – written by Benny Punnathara