There was once an Arab scholar named Malluch. He was young and strong and learned. But Malluch’s brow was wrinkled with thought as he walked out of the Caliph’s palace one day. A Caliph, you know, is an Arab ruler. The Caliph had just told Malluch to do what seemed impossible. He had told him to write all the wisdom of the world into one little book. What would you do if someone told you to do that? You wouldn’t know. Neither did Malluch know what to do. But he was young and strong and learned. He began to travel the world, to study and to write.
After ten years he returned to the Caliph and said, “My Lord, I have brought you all the wisdom in the world, but it is not in one book. It is in five hundred books.”
“It will not do,” said the Caliph. “I have not time to read five hundred books.”
Malluch went off again and took his five hundred books with him. Ten years later he came back with the wisdom of the world in a hundred books.
“It will not do,” said Caliph, “It will not do. My sight is failing and I have not time to read a hundred books before I die.”
Malluch went off again. He was himself no longer young and strong. He must hurry. He worked and worked until he had all the wisdom of the world boiled down into fifty books.
“It will not do,” said the Caliph.
Malluch walked off again. “I can do no more,” he mused. What will become of me?” He sat down and cried himself to sleep.
He was awakened by a little boy saying things out loud from a small book. Malluch took the book, read it and ran quickly to the Caliph with it. “Here, my Lord, is the wisdom of the world in one book. Take and read.”
The Caliph read it and said, “You have done well, Malluch.
It will do. Name your reward.”
Malluch left the palace mumbling to himself, “If I had only found this book thirty years ago, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble.”
Now what was the book that Malluch took to the Caliph in such a hurry? Three guesses. Here it is if you don’t believe me. Yes, the Catechism. All the wisdom of the world in one little book.
There are many people walking about our City at this moment who are trying to find the answer to some very important questions. They are asking themselves, “Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going?”
In trying to find the answer they flounder around like Malluch did. They could find their answers very easily in the penny catechism. “God made me to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him in the next.”
Do you remember what we said last week about making ourselves into images of Christ? For the next few weeks we will tell you some of the things that you will need to put into your image. The first thing you will need is a knowledge of your catechism. There is a little lesson to be learned from today’s story.
You should be like the boy at the well, who was studying his catechism so hard. You should pay attention at your catechism classes in school and in Sunday school. You have in this little book what Malluch tried to write in thirty years. The wisdom of the world for a penny. The wisdom of the world in the palm of your hand. Remember Malluch’s words, “If I had only found this book thirty years ago I could have saved myself a lot of trouble.” Remember his words and save yourselves a lot of trouble.
~ “Heavenwords,” Imprimatur 1947 ~