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The Parable of the Train Traveller



His disciples asked him, ‘Teacher, tell us: What is good pastoral care?’  

He replied, ‘A certain man wanted to take a train from Cardiff to St. David.  Three priests were standing on the platform with him.  The man, who was terrified of train travel, asked them, ‘Is this train safe?’  

The first priest, who believed that all train travel was safe, assured the man that it mattered not which train he took or where he travelled.  ‘You shall be safe,’ he stated firmly, ‘and know of a certainty that the Church has blessed this train.’  Then he gave the man an encouraging smile.  

The second priest, who had planned to go to Oxford, said, ‘I shall change my ticket, travel with you, sit beside you to encourage you along the way, and have shared conversations.’  With that, he climbed onto the train with the man, helping him with his baggage.  

The third priest, who moments earlier had checked the train news on his Smartphone, yelled, ‘Get off the train!  The bridge is out and you shall surely perish, all of you!’  

Then, turning to Peter, the teacher asked, ‘Which of the priests gave good pastoral care?’  ‘I suppose,’ answered Peter, ‘the second one, who stayed off his cell phone and gave the man his full attention and good company.’