There was an old grumpy man whose name was
Pessimism. He was always complaining and
finding fault in everything and everyone.
Nothing was to his liking. He had forgotten
how to laugh or shed tears. He spent his
life sitting on his doorstep disparaging
the whole lot. Since he did not know how
to live, he did not know how to die either
- so he was very very old.
Given that he looked so aged, people would
come and ask his advice.
The young would enquire what they had to
do to attain and enjoy happiness in their
lives. And he would answer sarcastically:
"Joy? Joy? Fools invented joy."
Parents would approach this elderly man and
ask him how they could educate their children
better, giving them long-lasting values.
And he would reply cynically: "Kids?
Children are vicious serpents. Don't expect
anything from them except noxious bites…
Artists and poets would approach him expectantly
and ask him what they could do to make the
world a more beautiful place. And the elderly
man's reply would always be the same. He
was so monotonous and cynical. "It would
be better for you not to create anything,
because the world is and will always remain
hideous and ugly. Shut up."
People who desired to sacrifice themselves
for an ideal would go to him and ask him
what they could do for an enhanced world.
They would speak enthusiastically about their
dreams but he would always stop them by these
ruthless words, "Those who sacrifice
themselves for others are crazy".
But God takes care of everyone. He felt pity
for this man and so he decided to free him
from his bizarre attitude. Realizing that
the reason of his gloominess was that this
cranky old man never got a kiss from anyone,
He called Jeremy, a four years old boy and
told him: "Do you see that old man sitting
on the door step? Go and give him a big kiss."
The boy obeyed right away. He went, hugged
hugely the old man and smacked on his wrinkled
face a gigantic kiss.
The old man was stunned. He who was never
surprised at anything, smiled at the world
for the first time! Yes, he really smiled!
His pessimism vanished.
Federico Fellini's movie La Strada opened
in 1954 and became a classic. In one unforgettable
scene, a clown is talking to a young lady.
She has grown weary of trying to love unlovable
and unloving people, and she wants nothing
to with them. As the conversation ends and
the young lady turns to leave, the clown
tells her, "But if you don't love these
people who will love them?"
When one is kissed by God, his life becomes
a projection towards others. He feels a special
thrust to help others and the more he gives
himself, the more he is out of his pessimistic
Let us finish with a precious gem.
fathers say that in life there are
sorts of people. The first kind are
who do the will of God and the second
are those who do their own will. And
add stylishly, that this second kind
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
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