Translated from the Arabic by Dr. Laurence Ajaka
Unlike bank note numbers that increase the more digits, there are to display a show of their owner’s wealth and prosperity, the fewer digits on a car license plate, the more expensive they become in an even more glaring exhibition of affluence. It seems there is a law in Lebanon that allows so-called religious men –not to be mistaken for men of God- to own such luxuries. And why not? Don’t they deserve a distinction that elevates them beyond the common flock? It is not as if the spiritual belonging and ease within the loving embrace of the temples of God are enough. They have earned the right to own license plates that start with an “R” as in religious to point out their holiness and set them apart from the rest that has to settle for earthly numbers!
Should your heart desire such a prestigious trophy, do not despair because you only need the goodwill of your spiritual superior. As long as you have kept up with your regular dues of heaping praise and exalting in reverence, you will be bestowed their grace for everything your heart desires. They are forever willing to grant their entourage, and their entourage’s entourage, tokens of benevolence that marks their superiority; one that is a far cry from the corruption that you might mistakenly think of linking to. It is but their desire to distinguish those closest to them because after all, one’s intimate followers are a reflection of one’s self-mandating that they shine with the same aura of splendor.
Sadly, this reflects a more than the modest percentage of the men of the cloth in my country who are forever fluttering to gain and maintain the privileges, or crumbs depending on how you see it, they are offered in a blatant contrast with their spiritual calling that demands they ask no mortal for anything. It is in their creed to instead give up all these earthly trappings and follow the righteous road of pious men who only want to bask into in light of Divinity forsaking all claims to pride and possession. Such humility is by no means a humiliation; true indignity is when these men seek the same paths as those possessed with the love of what is materialistic until the two become inseparable. It might spell the downfall of us all.
It still boggles me why such men would need such tokens. What I am certain of is that chasing such numbers will prevail in nothing by widening the chasm between them and those they were supposed to guide under the banner of God.