a man of gentle integrity

In a small country village Tom and his brother were falsely convicted of stealing a neighbor’s sheep. As punishment, each was branded on the forehead with the initials ST to signify “sheep thief.” Shunned by their friends and ridiculed by their neighbors, both brothers were devastated by the disgrace. Tom’s brother eventually packed his belongings and moved to another village, hoping to escape the shame. But the brand on his forehead went with him, and soon his story was known and the whispering and slandering resumed. So the brother moved again and again from village to village, chased forever by a past he couldn’t conceal. Tom, however, stayed in his own community. At first, as he walked through the town, some people would cross the street to avoid him; others would deliberately cross his path to deliver a fresh dose of scorn. But Tom just continued with his life, nurturing with honor and care whatever work and social contact he found. Eventually the mockers grew weary, and Tom’s disgrace was slowly forgotten as he proved himself again and again to be a man of gentle integrity. Tom lived to an old age, becoming loved and respected as a wise elder in the community. The ST on his forehead blended easily with the lines of wisdom written on his kind face. Finally Tom died, and the whole village came to pay their last respects. As the throng dispersed from the cemetery, one villager turned to a friend and said, “By the way, what do you suppose that ST meant on old Tom’s forehead?” The friend replied, “Gosh, I don’t have any idea, unless it meant Saint Thomas.”

Saint Peter - Guido Reni

 

– Edgar Cayce Handbook for Creating Your Future by Mark Thurston Phd, Christopher Fazel

 

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