Some have it tough. A Sicilian man committed a minor robbery so he could get arrested and spend New Year’s Eve in a jail cell rather than be with his wife and relatives.
The media reported how this 35-year old Sicilian first showed up at a police station on New Year’s Eve asking to be arrested because he preferred spending the night in prison rather than with his family, but was rebuffed because he had not committed a crime.
The man immediately went to a tobacco shop next door, where he threatened the owner with a knife as he grabbed a few sweets and a packet of gum. He then waited until police arrived to arrest him for robbery! He must have been very unhappy at home.
Others get special help! Saint Anthony is renowned for finding lost things. He is also popular with women or men who cannot find a companion in life. There is this story going around of a woman who prayed to Saint Anthony for many years. Every night she knelt before her statue of Saint Anthony and asked him to find her a husband. She prayed and prayed faithfully, but her prayers just weren’t being answered.
Finally one day, feeling angry that Saint Anthony was not answering her prayers, she took the statue and threw it out the window. Sure enough, it hit a pedestrian on the head! The man saw which window the statue had come from, and returned it to her. They married shortly after! Let’s hope the bump had healed by then!
Others find the key. The priest was cleaning the Church when a ten year old boy came in with a request. “I would like to be baptized!” The priest knew that his parents were not religious and had never baptized their children. “Why do you want to be baptized?” “My friend told me that this is the cool thing to do!” “OK,” said the priest. “You will start coming to classes this Saturday and then we shall have a beautiful celebration one Sunday in Church and we shall baptize you. I shall speak with your parents myself.”
At this point, the smile of the boy turned to concern and he asked, “Do I have to be baptized in front of all those people in the church? Can’t I just have a friend baptize me in the river?” He asked where he came up with that idea. “Well, Jesus was baptized by his cousin John in a river, wasn’t he?”
Caught off guard, the priest conceded, “You have a point. But, if a friend baptized you in the river, how would the church recognize it?” The answer came back quickly, “I guess by my new way of living!” This boy’s understanding was neither childish nor simple. It was profound. Baptism calls us to a new way of living.
I remember Pope John Paul II writing vibrantly to the youth in 2005, “Dear young people, the Church needs genuine witnesses for the new evangelization: men and women whose lives have been transformed by meeting with Jesus, men and women who are capable of communicating this experience to others. The Church needs saints. All are called to holiness, and holy people alone can renew humanity.”
(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.