Once upon a time the great King of Heaven decided to send his beloved son on a sacred mission to earth to find and bring back the “Pearl that resides in the sea.” Anxious to take on this sacred mission and prove his loyalty, the prince leaves his father’s kingdom with great determination. The moment he arrives in this world, the moment he is born, he forgets both his mission and his royal origins. Drawn to the world’s attractions our hero becomes accustomed to this alien land and finally comes to believe it is the only home he has ever known.
One version of the myth tells that while in the womb the prince repeats to himself over and over that when he is born he will not forget who he is and why he has come to earth. But then at the moment of birth, as the world’s sights and sounds engulf him, he cries out in sorrow, “Alas! Alas! I have forgotten!” According to legend, this is the secret meaning behind every new-born infant’s cry.
Time passes. The prince marries, has children, and indulges in the age-old labours and pleasures of human existence. All the while remaining in a state of spiritual forgetfulness. Decades go by. Then in his fiftieth year, a milestone age for spiritual awakening, the King of Heaven sends his son a message: remember, seek, struggle, accomplish and return.
But the prince pays no attention. He is too immersed in life. So the King sends the message again, this time in a different form. Again it is ignored. Message after message is sent down over a period of years. Eastern religions would say over many lifetimes. Gradually the prince begins to comprehend the meaning of these heavenly dispatches and to recognise their urgency. The prince re-examines his attitudes toward life to their very roots, and he concludes that what is bothering him has nothing to do with his family. It has nothing to do with the job or even with other people. The real problem, he now believes, is not that he has earned too little or loved too much. It is that he has been deaf to the Call of his father, the King.
When at last the Call is heard it makes us wonder what it finally took to make our prince remember his royal birth right and to realise he was being summoned to return. Did he fumble his way toward this moment of recognition like the rest of us? Possibly. Perhaps he was taking a walk one summer evening and happened to glance up at the sky. “How long has it been” he asked himself at this moment, “since I’ve looked at the stars? What has happened to me? Who have I become? How can I get back to that place I left so long ago? How can I find my way home?”
In the end, after much hesitation and many slips and falls, he answers his Father’s Call, finds the Pearl of Great Price, his spiritual nature. Finally he returns home from exile and at last he becomes whole.