The famous conqueror of the ancient world, Alexander the Great one day came across the philosopher Diogenes. Diogenes was staring attentively at a heap of bones. “What are you looking for?” asks Alexander.
“Something that I cannot find” replied Diogenes.
“And what might that be?”
“The difference between your father’s bones and those of his slaves”
In the seventeenth century France a humanist scholar by the name of Muretus was an ailing fugitive. When he presented himself to the medical doctors he was dressed in the rags of a pauper. The doctors discussed his case in Latin, thinking he would not be able to understand them. “Faciamus experimentum in anima vili” one said, which means “Let us try an experiment with this worthless creature”. Imagine their shock when this pauper replied, also in Latin, “Vilem animam appellas pro qua Christus non dedignatus est mori?”, “Will you call worthless one for whom Christ did not disdain to die?”
Source: Reported in Charles Birch, Regaining Compassion (University of NSW Press, 1993)