The Parable of the King's Subjects
Once upon a time there was a king - who so loved his subjects that he left his
palace to live among them and assist them to build a mansion wherein all of them
could reside together with him forever.
But as he dwelt in their midst they gradually forgot his dignity and the love
and gratitude they owed him and they began to lose their reverence for him. They
spoke of him without respect. They no longer paid homage to him or, if they did,
they were ridiculed and reprimanded by his courtiers.
When they came in his presence they talked and laughed with one another and paid
him no heed at all. They took no care of their dress and appeared before him in
rags, immodest garb and beach wear.
When he invited them to sup with him they did not even wash themselves. They
came to his supper without preparation. There especially they disregarded all
the rules laid down by the king's chamberlain.
They mocked the king's chamberlain. They said to each other, "He's an old man, a
foreigner. he doesn't understand us. If only he knew how rich we are, how
privileged we are, how well educated we are, he would understand that we know
They permitted those who serve at table who were unacceptable for such a
position. They brought along court jesters with painted faces to entertain - and
dancing girls to distract the attention of their guests from their host, the
Their conversation was to and about one another. And there was much socializing
and good fellowship, but the king was ignored. They stripped the king's room
bare - pictures of his family and friends - and adorned them with gaudy and
Eventually they moved the king out of his chamber because they needed the space
for meetings, shows and concerts. And they thrust him into a closet in a side
chamber. He was no longer allowed to hold court. His golden throne was discarded
and those who wanted to come to see him privately often found the doors locked.
His personal attendants were given other jobs to do. And his personal affairs
were made subservient to politics, fund raising and community socials. The
mansion they had been invited to build was forgotten because it was a prospect
for the future and they were only interested in the present.
The king, in his closet, wept because he loved them. And he knew that if they
continued on this way their future would end in destruction.
- Fr. Bill Casey, C.P.M., from his talk "The True Presence Combats a Feeble