Gladiators

Our mind is small and it always gets mixed up when faced with things that it cannot fathom. Doubt creeps in and we start questioning everything. Even God.

As the holy man was sitting under a mango tree in his garden he looked at his pumpkin vines growing nearby. “Something is wrong here”, he said to himself. “God is rather foolish to put a big heavy pumpkin onto a weak vine that does not have the strength to carry this weight and so just lies on the ground. The irony is that God put those small mangoes onto a tree that can hold the weight of a man! If were God, I think I could do better than that.”

Just then a breeze came up and knocked a loose mango off the tree. It fell right on the man’s head. Now he had a bump on his head which made him a sadder but wiser man. “Imagine – he said to himself – if there has been a pumpkin up there, instead of a mango! Never again will I try to discuss the way God does things!”

Our brains are minute. His are colossal. Even negative things are positive! The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a deserted island. He prayed anxiously for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned fruitlessly the horizon for help.

So he decided to make the best out of the situation and he built a small hut out of the driftwood available. He settled down to live a life in this small island. But one day disaster hit him. When he returned from a trip to the other side of the island, he found his little hut in flames, the smoke rising up to the sky. The worst had happened. He had lost everything! He was stunned with anger and grief. “God, how could you do this to me?” he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. They had come to rescue him. Surprised at his good luck, the man asked the sailors, “How did you know I was here?” “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

God is God. He is always beyond our minute brain. Otherwise He would not be a God! Perhaps He wants us to be different!

Not all of us are the same. God chooses some for a special mission. All are important and all are indispensable but not all have been commissioned for the same assignment. Some He called to be Christians. Not the half baked ones but the real ones.

And if He called us to be like Jesus, then we cannot expect to be like everyone else. He was different and we shall be different. In the early 1800s, a religious writer put it down so powerfully, “Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence on Him, that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.”

“The Lord may let others be honored and put forward – this author continues – and keep you hidden in obscurity, because He wants you to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.”

“He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing, and then to make your work still more precious, He may let others get the credit for the work which you have done, and thus make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.”

The islands are filled with God’s undercover agents – servants of the gospel who have successfully infiltrated enemy territory using all sorts of resourceful covers – housewife, mechanic, clerk… Their achievements, anonymous on earth, are the talk of heaven. These unyielding, Christ-like conquerors cannot be bought. They refuse to trade eternal approval for temporal ovation. No one would guess the shock-waves they send through Satan’s camp when these spiritual gladiators plunder his kingdom. Everyone scrambles to be in the limelight, except these saints: they are light – the light of the world.


(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.