The Four Letter Word
While I was preparing a lesson for the baptism
class in my parish here in Canada,
across this story that I found rather
When Saint Patrick in the middle of
century was baptizing King Aengus,
on his sharp-pointed staff and inadvertently
stabbed the king's foot. When Saint
looked down at all the blood and realized
what he had done, he asked the king
he suffer this pain in silence. "Oh!
I thought it was part of the ritual,"
answered the king with utmost simplicity
Well, thanks be to God it is not! Christianity
is not a torture but a beautiful way
God invented for us to live happily.
secret is the four letter word, love.
Buechner, a well-known inspirational
outlines impressively the four different
kinds of love that exist in this world.
"The love for equals is a human
- of friend for friend, brother for
It is to love what loves and lovely.
The love for the less fortunate is
thing - the love for those who suffer,
those who are poor, the sick, the failures,
and the unlovely. This is compassion,
it touches the heart of the world.
The love for the more fortunate is
thing - to love those who succeed where
fail, to rejoice without envy with
who rejoice, the love of the poor for
rich, of the black man for the white
The world is always bewildered by its
And then there is the love for the
- love for the one who does not love
but mocks, threatens, and inflicts
The tortured's love for the torturer.
is God's love. It conquers the world."
It all starts and finishes in God.
loving the unlovable, You made me lovable",
Saint Augustine said of God. Loving
makes us like Him.
Mother Teresa always told the story
she went to a poor family to give them
bag of rice. They had barely eaten
The eyes of the children were hollow.
bodies were emaciated. This bag of
a big treasure for them. Yet, as soon
the woman had the rice in her hands,
emptied half of it in another bag and
out. Mother asked her where she is
And the woman casually answered, "Our
neighbors did not have anything to
the last week; they can make good use
A beautiful girl from Saipan once gave
this. I do not know where she got it
but it surely makes sense.
One day a young man was standing in
of the town proclaiming that he had
beautiful heart in the whole town.
was perfect, no marks or flaws. It
rounded and pleasing to the eye.
But then an old man appeared and meekly
that perhaps the beauty of the heart
be measured by its flawlessness but
scars! The heart of the old man was
beating strongly, but it was full of
and scratches. It had places where
had been pulled out and replaced by
bits, but they did not fit quite right
so there were several jagged edges.
were even deep gashes where whole pieces
The crowd did not understand. They
do! How can a heart full of scars and
be more beautiful than a heart that
The old man did not know whether he
explain or not. But since the young
he decided to comply. "You see,
scar represents a person whom I loved
tore out a piece of my heart and gave
to them, and often they give me back
of their heart to blend in into the
place in my heart, but because the
were not exact, I have some rough edges.
These I cherish, because they remind
the love we shared.
Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart
away, and the other person did not return
a piece of his heart to me. These are the
empty gouges - giving love is always a risk.
Although these gouges are painful, I prefer
to leave them open, because they remind me
of the love I have for these people too,
and who knows, perhaps one day they may return
and fill the gap I have…"
Everyone was silent. Many did not understand
and thought that this old man was eccentric.
Some understood and had tears of gratitude
in their eyes.
A small girl arrived home very late.
have you been?" scolded the mother.
"I'm sorry, mum. I know I am late,
Jane broke her doll and I had to stop
help her fix it." "And how
you help her fix that broken doll?"
The answer of the small girl is priceless,
"I really couldn't, but I sat
her and cried with her!"
I know… God many times does the same.
just sits near me and cries with me!
we can learn from Him?!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright