Irony of Life
There was a man who had three friends. He
adored two of them and was ready to do anything
for them. On the other hand, he did not care
much about his third friend. Paradoxically
this third friend was the one who respected
One day this man was sent to jail. Naturally
he asked his friends to help him out of this
predicament. The first friend simply ignored
his pleas for assistance; he did not even
bother to contact him. The second friend
accompanied him to the patio of the court
and then, not wanting to find himself involved
in all this mess, excused himself. The third
friend, the least regarded by our protagonist,
went in with him to court and spoke so highly
of him that he was released.
This story is the parable of our life. We,
too, have three friends.
The first friend is called money. We work
so hard for it, we struggle so much to have
always more, we do anything to acquire additional
money or to hoard what we have. Yet, this
friend unfortunately is the first one to
vanish when we really need him. Money has
never cured our depression or brought us
out of our rut. Indeed, when we need it most,
The second friend is called family. Family
is fine and can be heartwarming. Dad, mum,
husband, wife, kids... they all provide emotional
support. But in the real problems of life
- solitude, meaning of life, why suffering?
- what can this friend do? Family may ease
the pain, but the wound remains.
Then we have the third friend. His name is
Jesus. Over and over again we pay little
attention to Him but He is the one who can
help us most. He is the one who will always
Someone wisely remarked that even though
many know about Him, very few know Him.
"Someone was telling me that you have
joined the Neocatechumenal Way in your parish.
Is it true?"
"So, now you know a lot more about Jesus
Christ. Can you tell me the political situation
of the Holy Land when Jesus was born?"
"I don't know."
"Can you tell me what the legal procedures
which led to his death were?"
"I don't know."
"So what do you know?"
"You are right. I should be ashamed
that I know so little about Him. But I know
one thing. Three years ago I used to drink,
I could not pay my debts, my family was breaking
up, my wife and children used to be terrified
when I arrived home. Now I don't drink, I
am gradually paying off my debts, at home
we get along better, my children are happy.
This is what Jesus Christ has done for me.
This is what I know..."
Perhaps now we can understand this anecdote.
St. Thomas Aquinas is the greatest theologian
the Catholic Church has ever known. Once
in prayer he had an experience of God. After
this, he refused to write anything more about
God. When his secretary asked him why he
had stopped writing, this Doctor of the Church
said thoughtfully, "the moment I tasted
God, I realized that all that I had written
was just straw..."
He had written volumes. But God is
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
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