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Bedouin Princess
Sacred Storytelling ^ | January 5, 2014 | Robert Bela Wilhelm

Posted on 01/04/2014 4:19:10 PM PST by annalex

Bedouin Princess

Bedouin Arab Story

Reflections (written)…

Today’s story is for the Second Sunday after Christmas and also for the Feast of the Epiphany.

Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, or the Feast of the Three Kings -- a feast of the Western Church -- celebrates the manifestation of the sacred from a historical perspective in Matthew’s story of the Magi. It is about how the presence of God in the midst of Israel is shown to the all nations through the visit and adoration of the Magi.

The Second Sunday after Christmas presents a more philosophic and doctrinal perspective. It focuses upon the revelation of Wisdom (in Sirach) and The Word (in the Gospel of John.)

Here, the mystery of the Divine manifestation in the world takes on more of the character of the Eastern Church’s celebration of the Theophany. The Holy dwells amongst us through both the masculine Logos and the feminine Sophia

In both celebrations, we recognize that the world -- and our own lives -- have been transformed because God is with us: in the Word, in Wisdom, and in the Christ Child.

The story of the Bedouin Princess is a closing celebration of the many mysteries that have been made manifest to us through Advent and the Twelve Nights of Christmas.

In the Arabic world, the minority desert nomads occupy a place of respect and nostalgia among the settled Arab urban and rural communities.

On the other hand, the Bedouin also suffers in the eyes of their neighbors because they are rustic, quaint, and in sharp contrast to life in the modern world. Still, the Bedouin remains an archetypal figure in Semitic society.

The wedding of an urban King to a nomadic Princess is an unlikely excursion into the realm of fairytales and folklore. This odd juxtaposition, however, creates a setting that is truly universal and provides for a universal teaching opportunity.

One of the teaching elements is the difference between the expectation of the urban thieves and the nomadic mother. The thieves live in a world, much like ours, where everything is measured and quantifiable.

There is always a “bottom line.” Anything, and anyone, has a price.

On the other hand, the world of the Bedouin is the world of tradition, hospitality, and honor. It is a world intensely personal, and person-centered, where worth is measured by dignity.

The key to the story is not only the mother keen understanding of her son’s predicted actions, but her ability to use her foresight to negotiate the ransom price lower and lower.

In our modern world, we have values that may make us uncomfortable with her strategy: To say her son is worthless because of his “begging” for food out of hunger seems to demean him. But it is not the boy who is being demeaned, it is the negotiating process that puts a price on someone’s head.

In short, hers is really a strategy used by all skilled hostage negotiators: in fact, she does not negotiate a ransom but courageously outfoxes the terrorists with her own stratagem.

The King (like the rest of us, a sophisticated citizen of the urban world) would have done more harm them good if his instincts had been followed.

On a spiritual level, this story, adapted from Saudi Arabian sources, illuminates the full meaning of the Word and the Wisdom that must accompany it.

In the Semitic world, the power of the word is seen as masculine, and the wisdom that accompanies the word is seen as feminine (God’s Wisdom or Shekinah)

I also welcome your private reponse to my reflections…

TOPICS: Worship
I want to introduce to you my friend Robert Bela Wilhelm, storyteller, iconographer and teacher. He has completed his work of 17 years, the Parables Today, A Weekly Lectionary Storybook.

A FR repost does not do his Storybook justice. Visit Robert's site for a unique multimedia experience: This particular story is at Bedouin Princess.

Robert also does guided tours to places of spiritual significance for a Catholic traveler. All are welcome, and I will be posting announcements for upcoming tours.

1 posted on 01/04/2014 4:19:10 PM PST by annalex
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To: Salvation; NYer; narses


2 posted on 01/04/2014 4:20:11 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex

What story? The post and the website kept referring to a story, but I didn’t find one.

3 posted on 01/04/2014 11:42:16 PM PST by ottbmare (the OTTB mare, now a proud Marine Mom)
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To: ottbmare

Go to the link, find the audio button for the “Long Story”, and listen.

4 posted on 01/05/2014 11:45:58 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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