Rationality is not the only norm in life
to assess the value of others. Occasionally
we come across people who were unreasonable
by the normal standards of life but
giants in wisdom. One such person is
He was the only son of a wealthy Christian
Roman senator. His parents agreed to
proposal of a marriage with a rich
However on the wedding night he fled
and went to Edessa in Syria. Some claim
wife agreed to his flight.
There no one knew who he was. He lived
a beggar, accepting alms even from
household slaves, who had been sent
for him but did not recognize him.
to live in anonymity. One day the Virgin
Mary appeared to him in front of other
calling him 'the man of God'. This
Celebrity scared him and so he returned
Rome. The hard life he lived in Edessa
even his appearance so much that not
his parents recognized him, but as
they took him in and sheltered him
own home. For seventeen years he lived
a dark tiny cubicle under the stairs!
could ease himself of all this discomfort
by simply revealing who he was. But
to do so. He spent his life praying
catechism to children. He wanted to
the goodness of God to everyone.
He lived like this for seventeen years.
When he died under the stairs, his
found a note on his body that told
he was their own son. They understood.
had found the treasure hidden in the
And he wanted to remain concealed close
Obviously the man who lacks the higher
that comes from faith sees all this
waste. Charles Swan lambasts this saint,
"He who neglects every relative
he who is a cruel and ungrateful son,
husband, and careless master; he whose
life is to consume time, not to employ
- to vegetate but not to exist - to
away life, with every sense locked
is to be a Man of God?" And I
he is right if all there is in life
earthly existence and if God does not
However God exists and it is definitively
worthwhile giving all your life to
Him alone. "Take God for your
and friend and walk with Him continually,
and you will not sin and will learn
and the things you must do will work
prosperously for you," counsels
John of the Cross.
To do this, on one hand it is highly
to reduce unnecessary activity because
will lead to dissipation and distraction.
On the other hand it is essential to
one's focus on HIM. When Sister Catherine
asked Saint John why, when she passed
the pond in the garden, the frogs always
jumped into the water and hid, he answered
that the pond was the place where they
most secure. "You should do the
as well: escape creatures and throw
deep into the center which is God and
yourself in Him."
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
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that the content is unaltered from
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