Sunday, January 24, 2010
An Oldie but Goodie with a Gender Twist
"A man was gossiping with his friend about a woman whom they hardly knew - I know none of you have ever done this. That night, he had a dream: a great hand appeared over his and pointed down on him. He was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day he went to confession. He got the old parish priest, Father O' Rourke, and he told him the whole thing. 'Is gossiping a sin?' he asked the old man. 'Was that God All Mighty's hand pointing down at me? Should I ask for your absolution? Father, have I done something wrong?' 'Yes,' Father O' Rourke answered him. 'Yes, you ignorant, badly-brought-up man. You have blamed false witness on your neighbor. You played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed.' So, the man said he was sorry, and asked for forgiveness. 'Not so fast,' says O' Rourke. 'I want you to go home, take a pillow upon your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me.' So, the man went home: took a pillow off his bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to his roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then he went back to the old parish priest as instructed. 'Did you cut the pillow with a knife?' he says. 'Yes, Father.' 'And what were the results?' 'Feathers,' he said. 'Feathers?' he repeated. 'Feathers; everywhere, Father.' 'Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out onto the wind,' 'Well,' he said, 'it can't be done. I don't know where they went. The wind took them all over.' 'And that,' said Father O' Rourke, 'is gossip!'"