LP3 – Embracing Our Unique Characters – Encountering Foreign Worlds with The Little Prince with Fr. Mauritius Wilde O.S.B. – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Embracing Our Unique Characters – Encountering Foreign Worlds with The Little Prince with Fr. Mauritius Wilde O.S.B.

Fr. Mauritius Wilde and Kris McGregor discuss Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince,” exploring the encounters and lessons of the titular character as he travels from one planet to another. Each planet’s inhabitants, including the monarch, lamplighter, and businessman, represent various human oddities and flaws, highlighting the peculiar nature of adults from the Little Prince’s perspective.

Fr. Wilde draws parallels between the novella and spiritual themes: everyone is a “character” with unique flaws and quirks. He discusses how the strange behaviors of the Little Prince’s encounters can be seen as reflective of human conditions and societal norms, suggesting that Saint-Exupéry is pointing out the absurdities and “sicknesses” of our times.

The conversation then shifts to Christian themes, with Fr. Wilde likening the Little Prince’s journey to Jesus’ approach to the marginalized and broken in society. He stresses the importance of compassion and understanding rather than judgment, echoing Jesus’ teachings to love and serve those who are struggling. This comparison is extended to the concept of shame and the vicious cycles of negative behaviors, using the example of the drunkard from the novella to illustrate how people can become trapped in self-destructive patterns.

The Christian belief in redemption and the possibility of breaking free from these cycles at any point, with external help and faith play crucial roles; and the importance of embracing one’s unique characteristics and not succumbing to societal pressures to conform, as true beauty and individuality lie in our differences.

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

  1. Unique Characters: How can we embrace and appreciate the unique “characters” in our lives as reflections of God’s creation?
  2. Compassion Over Judgment: In what ways can we show compassion rather than judgment towards those who are struggling?
  3. Breaking Vicious Cycles: What are some negative behaviors or habits in our lives that we need to break free from, and how can faith help us in this process?
  4. Embracing Limitations: How can we accept and work within our limitations while still striving to live a fulfilling and purposeful life?
  5. Dangers of Conformity: How can we resist societal pressures to conform and instead celebrate our unique identities and differences?
  6. Role of Shame: How does shame affect our relationship with ourselves and with God, and how can we overcome it through faith?
  7. Jesus as the Good Shepherd: How can we allow Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to guide us and heal our wounds, especially when we are resistant to change?
  8. Responsibility for Ourselves: In what ways can we take responsibility for our own spiritual and personal growth, following Jesus’ example?

One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes. 

The story of a stranded pilot, an extraordinary little boy, and their remarkable friendship, The Little Prince has become a cherished fable for generations of readers. As enchanting as it is wise, this beloved classic captures the mysteries of the heart and opens us to the meaning of life and the magic of love.

taken from the back an edition of the book no longer in print


Father Mauritius Wilde, OSB, Ph.D., did his philosophical, theological and doctoral studies in Europe. He is the author of several books and directs retreats regularly. He serves as Prior at Sant’Anselmo in Rome. For more information about the ministry of the Missionary Benedictines of Christ the King Priory in Schuyler, NE

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