Father Mark, Reflections

An Eagle or a Chicken?

Here’s a story from one of my favorite authors, Fr. Tony de Mello from his book, Song of the Bird.

A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in a nest of barnyard hen.  The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.  All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken.  He scratched the earth for worms and insects.  He clucked and cackled.  And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.  Years passed and the eagle grew very old.  One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky.  It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings. The old eagle look up in awe.  “Who’s that?” he asked.   That’s the eagle, the king of the birds,” said his neighbor.  “He belongs to the sky.  We belong to the earth-we’re chickens.”  So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was.

With which character in the story do I identity?   The man, chicken, the eagle that was raised with chickens and thought he was a chicken or the eagle?  

With which character in the story would I like to identify? 

I often wonder if Jesus had come to the eagle who thought he was a chicken, what he would do.  What would he say?   Or would he do and say nothing, just remain present and silent?