The Cry of the Needy
A modernized Chinese fable tells of Mary Lin, who was widely known as a holy woman. She was a kind mother, a devoted wife, a loyal friend, an active part of her community of faith and a concerned neighbour to those in need. She visited the lonely who had no friends or relatives. She assisted the ill, caring for them howsoever she could. She baked for new families who moved to her community. She befriended children and always had time to listen when anybody needed an ear.
Mary Lin was busy and contented. And when she died, everyone who knew her believed she would go to heaven. If there was no heaven, one would certainly be prepared for her, they agreed. Mary Lin stood at heaven’s gate. She was welcomed into a city alive with many voices of joy and praise. A gentle feeling of rest came over her, for here there were no worries, no tears, no sorrows and no losses. She could rest forever and enjoy the companionship of other good souls.
But a strange thing happened. Amidst the pleasant sounds of heaven, Mary Lin thought she heard weeping. She concentrated on that sound and discerned that it was the cry of a child far, far away. It was barely audible as it moved up to her from the earth. She knew someone was distraught. Someone was in need. Mary Lin turned and passed through the gate ….
As long as she knew that there was an anguished soul, Mary Lin could not enjoy the blessings of heaven.