Hansel and Gretel is a well-known German fairy tale. They are children of a poor woodcutter. When a great famine settles over the land, the woodcutter’s second, abusive wife decides to abandon them in a forest as she and her husband can not afford to feed them any more. The father opposes the plan but finally, and reluctantly, submits to his wife’s scheme. Hearing their conversations, Hansel cleverly gathers as many white pebbles as he can, then returns to his waiting sister, Gretel, with the assurance that God will not forsake them.
The next day, the family treks deep into the woods while Hansel secretly lays a trail of white pebbles. After their parents abandon them, the children wait for the moon to rise. And when it did, the moon illuminated the white pebbles. Their reflection became their guiding light. The children return home safely.
At least the journey back home was safe. Thanks to Hansel’s clever move to specifically choose and collect the white pebbles that will be of no use without the help of the moon.
Our life too is a journey towards God. For now, our earthly journey should bring us home to the Church, a foretaste of that divine home. And along the path of our journey, we cleverly re-collect what gems the Lord Himself had already dropped and planted along our way. But like Hansel’s white pebbles, these gems, no matter how precious, are useless too without the grace of God’s illumination. Under God’s light these gems become His Heart Prints for our journey.
It is our task to recognize, respect and commune with these divine marks if we are to find our way into God’s bosom through His Body, the Church. ♥
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