The Fable of The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs, and Habitual Sin

NOTE: I realize that this post may initially shock or repulse you—or both—but I implore you to please read it til its end.*

Many of us are familiar with this classic from Aesop. Some versions are that of a hen, but the one most familiar to us are that of a goose:

One day a countryman going to the nest of his Goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering. When he took it up it was as heavy as lead and he was going to throw it away, because he thought a trick had been played upon him. But he took it home on second thoughts, and soon found to his delight that it was an egg of pure gold. Every morning the same thing occurred, and he soon became rich by selling his eggs. As he grew rich he grew greedy; and thinking to get at once all the gold the Goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find nothing.

Greed oft o’er reaches itself.

Now imagine that we are the farmer…and the goose was Jesus Christ.

What a horrible idea!

But in fact, I realized that this is how I am with my relation with our Lord because of my habitual sins. And yet, I can say with confidence in Jesus, Mary and Joseph that this realization in the end drew me closer to God. I hope it will too for you.

It all started in this way: while I was reading a very remarkable book called My Ideal: Jesus, Son of Mary,* I came upon a line that immediately seized me: “Too often [Jesus lives] in your soul as a prisoner lives in his cell” (Page 15).

This line immediately recalled to me Jesus’ words: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20). You see, I believe that everytime we believe in Him, everytime we go to the Sacraments, everytime we pray, everytime we do His Will, we invite the Lord into us.

And yet, as I reflected more, what do I do with Jesus when He comes? I shut the door with Him inside my heart, and demand that He give me happiness and joy, like a prisoner of ransom. I pray, I receive the Sacraments, I read Scripture, I do His Will…but only to the point that they give me happiness and joy. If I do not receive this happiness and joy upon doing these works of piety, I grouse, I ask myself, "Why do I suffer? Why am I sad? Why I am not happy?! " I demand more and more from God to make me happy and joyful as I do His Will, until I couldn’t take it anymore: I get my knife of habitual sins and gut Him to take the happiness from inside Him…only to find nothing.

It was horrible how, in the vividness of my imagination, the Jesus transformed from the Guest who was knocking on the door to my heart to the Goose that laid the golden eggs. I cried back then and prayed for forgiveness for all of my past sins. I went to confession. And yet…I still fell to my habitual sins. I can tell you it was very heartrending to still fall to those same sins I had confessed just a few days before, and remember what I was doing to Jesus as the Goose. This sank me so low a mood that it left me without energy to do my usual activities well, sometimes not doing them at all, for almost a month, including going back here to post on CAF. Yet indeed in retrospect this dark night of mine grew me closer to God in prayer, for it was at this time that I started to pray the Holy Rosary continually throughout each day everyday.

continued next post

I then happened to this article by Peter Kreeft entitled “What is God’s Answer to Suffering?” I read this in it:

Love seeks above all intimacy, presence, togetherness. Not happiness. “Better unhappy with her than happy without her”—that is the word of a lover.

And THAT drew my drawn-out meditation of almost a month to a close, for I realized then that what kept me in my chains of habitual sin was my looking for happiness and joy from Jesus. I kept on looking at and expecting our Lord to be the bearer of gifts, when in fact I should have been looking at the Lord as being the Gift Himself.

I should have resolved to be intimate with Him always, to always strive to know Him intimately, to desire His intimacy always, to fight for His intimacy always.

I should have been striving to know in my heart, not just in my mind, that even though I cannot sense Him, even though my emotions feel empty, even if I run away or hide from Him or even sin against Him, I am always in His presence, and His in mine, for He promised it (Matthew 28:20); and I should have always striven to derive comfort from this knowledge, for if I am always in His presence, I can always draw His oftentimes insensible yet always real Warmth against the cold of my own heart, and He will always hear my cries and my softest whispers to Him, and He will always help me, even if I forget to ask.

I should have always striven to do everything together with Him: that when I work, it should actually be Jesus who is working in me; that when I am sad, it should actually be Jesus who is sad in me; that when I pray, it should actually be Jesus who is praying in me; that when I am happy, it should actually be Jesus who is happy in me; that when I suffer, it should actually be be Jesus who suffers in me. Even though I live, it should actually be Jesus who lives in me.

And so I resolved right then and there to love God with Faith’s intimacy, Hope’s presence, and Charity’s togetherness. And thus the miracle of miracles: I began to see Jesus not as a Goose with Golden Eggs, but as the Lord who is more generous to me more than I could ever be to myself, as the Elder Brother who with infinite tenderness brings me to Our Father’s presence and helps me work in His workplace called Earth, and as the Savior who saves me from the darkness of myself and paints my life with gold.

And yes, I am currently free of my habitual sin. :thumbsup:

God love you.

  • ENDNOTE: My Ideal: Jesus, Son of Mary is a most remarkable book on Marian spirituality. I highly recommend this book to those who are interested in, starting in, or even deeply into the spirituality of consecrating oneself to Jesus through Mary. The book is in the great tradition of dialogue like in Kempis’ classic Imitation of Christ, in which doctrinal and practical teachings are presented as dialogues between the disciple and Jesus in the first part, and between the disciple and Mary in the second part, and I can say confidently that the teachings here are very convincing and clear. In fact, I recommend this book much more than any of St. Louis de Montfort’s books as an introduction to Marian spirituality.
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