There was a father who had three sons and a magic ring.This magic ring had the power to bestow the gifts of kindness,generosity, and grace to the one who possessed it, and the father had used it well his entire life.Eventually, however, the time came when the father knew he was dying. Unwilling to give the magic ring to only one of his sons, he sent the ring to a jeweler and asked that two other identical rings be made. Afterwards, he called his sons together and told them, “I have loved you my entire life, and now I must pass along to you my most cherished possession. I give each of you a magic ring. These rings will bestow kindness, generosity, and grace. Use the rings well, that you may have a long life and prosper with God’s help.”
Now, after the father died, the sons believed that only one of them actually had the magic ring. They began to argue and complain. Each believed that another brother had the magic ring. Eventually they took the rings to a judge and demanded, “Tell us which of these is the magic ring!” The judge answered, “It is impossible to tell by looking at the rings. I would suggest we wait, and watch to see who lives the most virtuous life—like your father. The one who lives well will be the one who, obviously, possesses the magic ring.”
Each of the brothers agreed to this idea. And each of the brothers lived as if he possessed the magic ring. From that day forward, each of the brothers was filled with goodness, thoughtfulness, and honesty.
The virtues of goodness and love are not derived from props or magic. Love comes from the heart, and is demonstrated by the way we live. There are no shortcuts. It is possible, however, to pass along signs and symbols that may remind others of these virtues, and assist others in the striving toward a better life. Nearly all faiths have relics and rituals that are aimed at pointing others toward a more virtuous existence.
- borrowed from Ankur Bhandari