Manuel Duenas is a seminarian from Newark
who has been helping the Seminary here in
Guam for the last three years. He was born
and raised in Burgos, the birthplace of Blessed
Diego de San Vitores. Whenever he gets the
opportunity, he narrates a Talmudic story,
which I find highly entertaining and instructive.
It speaks about God, who one day walking
in the Garden of Eden, is surprised
a dove badly battered and beaten. He
what happened and the dove tells him
story of this cat that is always chasing
her and playing roughly with her. "You
should do something, dear God"
says. "He has four strong legs
have only these two tiny feet. I am
for him. He easily outruns me."
problem," says God and in a creative
touch of genius, puts two strong beautiful
wings on the body of the dove.
A few days pass and again God is walking
in his beloved garden when He again
across the dove that once more is badly
She is full of scratches, abrasions
feathers on her wings had all been
away. God is surprised and He approaches
the dove asking for an explanation.
happened? You should be better off
wings!" God exclaims. "Better
my foot!" retorted sadly the dove.
it is more difficult to run away. These
burdens which you have put on my body
weighing me down. They are heavy and
very awkward to carry them. The cat
a feast of my clumsiness."
"No, no, no, my dear dove!"
God, "you were not supposed to
the wings, the wings were supposed
you! I gave you wings purposely so
can fly away from the face of danger…"
The Talmud concludes by saying that
one of us has two wings which are the
or the laws which God gave us. They
to help us to soar but, as you and
know, many times we see them as an
to happiness because we believe that
do not let us have the fun that we
like to have in life.
Laws are the directions, the road signals
that direct us so as to go straight
destination. If we do not follow them,
shall lose our way and perhaps never
The first one to suffer when we break
rules is ourselves. The prodigal son
the far country was where fun was at,
in the end, everything he sought for
wanted was to be found at home - with
father. It had been there all along.
The Church is a mother full of compassion
and wisdom and so when she gives us
she does it for our own benefit. G.K.
puts it in his slick funny way, 'I
want the Church to be right when I
I want the Church to be right when
I am wrong.'
Breaking the laws basically means shooting
at our own legs. The World Health Organization
published recently an alarming statistic
on suicides in the world today. Among
different findings, they noted that
among young people a suicide is committed
every 47 minutes! Imagine that! In
suicide is the first cause of death
young people ages 14-29. More young
die out of suicide in Spain than car
or sicknesses! I do not have the statistics
in the Marianas but, unfortunately
we constantly keep hearing of teen
WHO found out also that the percent
among children of separated parents
compared to stable marriages. The same
reveal that every year, one million
commit suicide all over the world.
repeat, one million people every year.
When society starts discarding the
God gave us, we are in for trouble.
what is best. He made us after all.
We have to avoid two extremes. The
is to pretend to be perfect by hiding,
even from ourselves, our failings,
other is to sentence ourselves to despair
with an 'I-can-never-make-it' attitude.
In Jesus Christ, we can make it. We
the chain of sin. And the good news
even when we fail and fall, we know
Someone who will understand us and
us up. We do not have a Police-crook
with God. We have a Father-son relationship.
"But if anyone should sin,"
the apostle John in his first letter,
have, in the presence of the Father,
Christ, an intercessor who is just."
Many times we see it displayed in buildings
under renovation: "Pardon our
work in progress." Perhaps we
hang a sign on the wall of our heart
"Pardon my appearance, I am a
Perhaps a sinner I will remain, but
Christianity helps me to be a happy
Amen, said the wise man.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
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