Once upon a time, there were two cousins Saintly and Heresy who both attended the Holy Catholic School of Truth. On their uniform blazers, the motto of their school was vividly embroidered: Absolute Truth from Truth Itself. This motto was also displayed around campus, printed on their notebooks, stamped on their ID cards and most importantly stamped on their minds.
Inevitably, as always happened to finite and imperfect minds, Saintly and Heresy started to have trouble understanding their lessons.
Saintly said to Heresy, “Let us ask our teacher for more clarification.”
But Heresy said, “We can figure it out on our own.”
“I don’t think that is a good idea,” said Saintly, so the two went to their teacher’s office.
When the two cousins knocked on the teacher’s door, they were told rather brusquely, “Go away! Can’t you see that I am busy? I do not have time for your questions.”
Heresy got angry at this and said to Saintly, “You see? The teacher doesn’t care about us. Let us figure this out on our own.”
Saintly refused. “It is always better to seek the guidance of our teacher who is wiser than us rather than to figure things out on our own.”
“But the teacher refused to see us!” cried Heresy in anger.
Saintly bowed his head and replied, “Then I will beg until he agrees to see me.”
“Suit yourself,” said Heresy. “I will go and figure things out on my own.”
After a few of hours, the teacher opened the door and found Saintly patiently waiting. “You are still here?” asked the teacher incredulously.
“Sir, I want to understand,” said the young man.
The teacher, impressed with Saintly’s patience, gave in and explained the lesson again. Still, Saintly could not understand it. Again and again the teacher explained the lesson, but Saintly’s mind could not grasp it. Finally, in exasperation, Saintly said, “Teacher, what must I do to understand this lesson? I am a poor, pathetic soul.” He wept sadly.
The teacher took pity on his young student and said, “Do not be too disheartened. I too had moments like this when I was younger. Remember our school’s motto: Absolute Truth from Truth Itself. The truths we teach in this school are not human inventions, not human interpretations, but absolute truths from Truth itself. Truth itself will never lie to you because Truth is incapable of lying. Anyone who wants to know Truth will know Truth, but he must beg humbly to be given this privilege. Go to the chapel and beg for Truth to reveal Himself to you.”
So Saintly did as he was told, but the day ended without him knowing Truth.
Meanwhile, Heresy poured into the books in the library and tried to understand on his own the unclear lesson. Despite his best efforts, he still could not understand so he left the books and went home.
On his way home, Heresy met a bum who usually roamed around the school’s grounds. He was called the D-Man by his teachers and classmates. They said he was a dropout of the Holy Catholic School of Truth, and while they could not always avoid bumping into him, they were warned never to take what he says seriously. There were several stories about the D-Man leading students and even teachers away from the Truth, but this could only happen if they took what he said seriously.
“Hey!” the D-Man happily greeted Heresy.
“Hey, too,” greeted Heresy without much enthusiasm.
“What’s wrong?” asked the D-Man.
While most of Heresy’s classmates never greeted the D-Man and never even looked him in the eye, Heresy did not see any danger in exchanging small talk with the bum. He said, “I’m trying to figure out one of my lessons, but I can’t. It’s like I have a jigsaw puzzle with all the required pieces, but the pieces won’t fit together no matter how hard I try. It’s frustrating!”
“Oh, maybe there is a piece which doesn’t belong,” suggested the D-Man.
That thought sparked an idea in Heresy’s mind. He considered it for a moment. Just then the warnings about the D-Man flashed intently in his mind, but as Heresy looked the D-Man in the eye and the D-Man looked at him back, the intensity of the warnings began to ebb. “You might have a point there, D-Man, but …” He yawned. “I’m tired. I’ll figure it out tomorrow.”
Heresy walked on home. Behind him, the D-Man smiled.
The next day, Saintly was no closer to knowing Truth despite his constant begging. He admitted this to his cousin Heresy.
“The D-Man said something to me which kind of makes sense,” said Heresy.
This alarmed Saintly. “The D-Man? Why are you taking advice from the D-Man?”
“I’m not,” insisted Heresy.
“It doesn’t sound like you’re not.”
“Look,” said Heresy with irritation. “The D-Man is an idiot. He’s a dropout. I’m not going to listen to an idiot and a dropout, but he said something which –”
“Stop it!” interrupted Saintly. “Don’t even consider what the D-Man said. Forget about it.”
“But it makes sense,” said Heresy defensively. “Sometimes even idiots can make sense.”
“Will you listen to yourself?” Saintly shook his head. “Earlier you said you aren’t going to listen to an idiot, but now you’re saying even idiots can make sense.”
Heresy sighed. “Whatever you say. I’m still going to figure this out on my own, and I’m going to look into the possibility that what the D-Man said is true. If I get nowhere with this idea, then I’ll drop it.”
“It would be better if you drop it now,” said Saintly. “Come with me. The teacher said we will understand the lesson if we beg Truth to help us.”
Heresy snorted. “Didn’t Truth give us minds to think with? Didn’t Truth give us intelligence? I think that means Truth wants us to figure things out on our own.”
“We’ve tried that and we’ve failed,” said Saintly. “I’m humble enough to admit that there are certain things I can’t do on my own.”
“I’m still not over trying,” said Heresy, and without waiting for another word from his cousin went off to the library to continue figuring out their unclear lesson.
The suggestion from the D-Man, that a piece in the puzzle doesn’t belong, started out as a dim light in Heresy’s mind, but as Heresy continued to fail in trying to understand the lesson, this suggestion began to grow slowly until Heresy became absolutely sure that it was the answer to his problems. Instead of trying to make all the pieces fit, he began to search for the piece which doesn’t belong.
Meanwhile, Saintly continued to beg Truth to reveal Himself to him and make him understand all that he needs to understand. Each day ended with no answer from Truth, but Saintly continued to beg.
While Saintly was begging, day after day Heresy was also searching for the piece which didn’t belong. Finally he found it. He looked at it with contempt and discarded it. Afterwards, he patted himself on the back for having the superior mind to figure it all out on his own.
Heresy cried with joy, “Oh, beautiful, glorious human mind! How awesome my human mind is!” Then with a happy heart, he went off to search for his cousin to reveal what he had come to understand.
At the same time, Truth finally had mercy on Saintly and revealed Himself to him. Saintly saw how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together, how it was all so simple and so beautiful once it had been revealed to him.
Saintly cried with joy, “Oh, beautiful, glorious Absolute Truth! How awesome You are!” Then with a happy heart, he went off to search for his cousin to reveal what he had come to understand.
They met in the corridor, almost bumping into each other in their excitement. They tried to speak at the same time, then Saintly laughed and said, “Ok, you go first.”
Heresy told Saintly what he had figured out on his own. He said, “If you take away this truth, then everything makes sense.”
Saintly frowned. “But how can you take away this truth? If you take this away, then the whole thing falls apart. No cousin. I understand it perfectly now, and it is very glorious how all the pieces fit together.” He then proceeded to explain what Truth had revealed to him after several days of begging.
But Heresy had already stamped in his mind that one of the pieces did not fit. He refused to even listen to Saintly and insisted that his cousin was wrong.
“Listen, listen!” cried Saintly who was almost in tears because Heresy rejected what was so beautiful and glorious to him. “What you said only makes sense if you accept the premise that one of the pieces doesn’t belong. But have you forgotten what our teachers have said? All the pieces fit together. All the articles of our faith fit together in one glorious, unified whole. If you reject even one minor article of the faith, you will end up with something that is not the true faith. Listen, cousin! Look at the whole and see how all the pieces fit together. There is no need to think that one piece doesn’t belong because they all fit together, if only you will look at the whole and see.”
Heresy did not want to see because seeing would require him to admit that he was wrong, that his human mind was not beautiful and superior and awesome. He turned away from Saintly, as he said, “Oh, no! You’re the one who’s wrong, cousin.”
Saintly took a deep breath then ran after his cousin. “At least verify with Truth that you are right and I am wrong. Please do this for me, cousin. You must say to Truth, ‘If my ideas are wrong, then correct me, because I do not wish to be taken away from Truth.’ Will you do this?”
Heresy did not really want to do this, but for his cousin’s sake, he agreed. In the chapel, together with Saintly, Heresy knelt and said the words his cousin asked him to say. As was to be expected, nothing happened.
Heresy turned to his cousin and said smugly, “Well?”
Saintly raised a brow. “But you probably didn’t mean what you said. Besides, Truth responds when He wants to. You must keep asking.”
“I have no time for this!” shouted Heresy then he stormed out.
When word got out of what had happened, the teachers tried to make Heresy reject his ideas but Heresy refused to give them up. Instead, he shared them with his fellow classmates some of whom sided with Heresy. The teachers demonstrated in class how Heresy was wrong, and this made some of Heresy’s followers reject him. Saintly also did his best to minimize the damage by encouraging students to humbly beg Truth to reveal what had been revealed to him, and through his efforts some more of Heresy’s followers have dropped his falsehoods.
Nevertheless, the damage had been done. While the school tried to keep Heresy and his followers from dropping out in the hope that they would soon realize their mistakes, this group decided that it was best to leave the school. On their way out, they met the D-Man who grinned at them and gave them all a high five.
Saintly watched his cousin and his followers leave the school with sad eyes. He went back to the chapel and cried to Truth, “Mercy! Mercy for my cousin and his followers! Touch their hearts and reveal to them the truth.” And he prayed this everyday without fail.
Time progressed. Saintly and Heresy continued with their lives. Saintly became a teacher in the Holy Catholic School of Truth while Heresy started his own school. The D-Man became employed in Heresy’s school as a groundskeeper but he still regularly loitered outside of Saintly’s school.
Saintly and Heresy made up and became friends again. Though they continued to try to convince each other, neither will admit that their belief is false and the other’s is true. Saintly continued to pray for Heresy everyday though he never told Heresy this.
Then one day, without warning, as Heresy was putting together his lessons, in one terrible slow-moving sequence, the pieces fell together and he saw the truth, the whole beautiful, glorious, awesome Truth as Saintly saw it several years ago.
The D-Man, who had been loitering outside of Saintly’s school, suddenly sniffed the air and ran like mad to the direction of Heresy’s school.