Many times I wonder. Why is it that when one is trying to do good, he is misunderstood and even victimized? Why is it that many times, it is people of good will, gifted and even spiritual, who criticize and try to destroy the good work being done by others?

This happens also in the Church. I do not doubt their intentions. They do it out of love for the Church but still it hurts.

Anthony de Mello, in book The Song of the Bird, relates how the Russian Orthodox Church, at its October 1917 conference, keenly debated whether funeral vestments should be purple or black. Meanwhile, the Bolsheviks were turning the world upside down in the brewing Communist revolution.

How can be so myopic? People are suffering, marriages are being broken, so many of our people are cohabitating, so many of our youth are on drugs, so many find it hard to make both ends meet… and we lose time and energy defending our turf.

But perhaps this is not so strange. It is part of the plan of God. It happened to our Master. He was doing such a great job and they (the 'good' people) killed him.

A better question would be what should be our attitude? Stopping doing good or falling into self pity does not help. Doing what Punchinello did, will help!

Max Lucado wrote this delightful children's book called, You are Special. It tells the story of the Weemicks.

The Weemicks were small wooden people. Carved by the master carpenter Eli, each Weemick was different. Some were tall and others were small. Some wore caps, others wore jeans. They all lived in the same village.

All day, every day, the Weemicks did the same thing: They gave each other stickers. Each Weemick had a box of golden star stickers and a box of gray dot stickers. Up and down the streets all over the city, people could be seen sticking stars or dots on one another. The handsome, talented, healthy Weemicks always got stars and more stars. The unsightly, clumsy, under-par Weemicks got dots and more dots.

Punchinello was one of the latter. He tried to jump high like the others, but he always fell. And when he fell, the others would gather around and give him dots. He tried to explain why he fell and explain his scars. But it was futile. He even got more dots. After a while he had so many dots that he didn't want to go outside.

One day however he met a Weemick who was unlike any he had ever met. Her name was Lucia. She had no dots or stars. She was just wooden. People did try to give her stickers but these just would not stick. The stars and the dots would simply fall off.

"That's the way I want to be", thought Punchinello. "I don't want anyone's marks." So he asked the sticker-less Weemick how she did it. "It's easy," Lucia replied. "Every day I go see Eli, the woodcarver. I go and sit in the workshop with him." He was reluctant to go because he thought that Eli would not even look at him. He was so ugly! One day, however, he just could not take it any more and he went. The moment he stepped into the big shop, his eyes widened at the size of everything. The whole thing was so gigantic. Punchinello swallowed hard. "I'm not staying here!" and he turned to leave. Then he heard his name. The voice was deep and strong. Punchinello stopped.

"You know my name?" the little Weemick asked. "Of course I do. I made you…. Hmm, it looks like you've been given some bad marks," the bearded craftsman said as he inspected him closely.

"I didn't mean to, Eli. I really tried hard." "Oh, you don't have to defend yourself to me, child. I so not care what the other Weemicks think."

"You don't?" "No, and you shouldn't either. Who are they to give stars or dots? They're Weemicks just like you. What they think doesn't matter, Punchinello. All that matters is what I think. And I think you are pretty special." Punchinello just could not believe his ears. "Me, special? Why? I can't walk fast. I can't jump. My paint is peeling. Why do I matter to you?" Eli looked tenderly at Punchinello, put his hands on his shoulders, and said slowly. "Because you're mine. That's why you matter to me." Punchinello was speechless. "Every day I've been hoping you'd come," Eli continued. "I came because I met someone who had no marks." "I know. She told me about you." "Why don't the stickers stay on her?" "Because she learnt the truth that what I think is more important than what they think. The stickers only stick if you let them. The stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about the stickers." "Come back often to my shop so that I may remind you how much I care," Eli whispered as the Weemick turned to walk out. "You are special because I made you. And I don't make mistakes."

In his heart Punchinello thought, "I think He really means it." And when he did, a dot fell to the ground.

(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.