Once there was a man who was so good that even the angels used to wonder at his goodness. His goodness used to spread like a perfume upon all those who met him. He himself was unaware that he was so good.
What was this goodness? Very simple! He never thought ill of anyone! He would quickly forget the bad deeds that others would do to him! He always viewed others in a guileless, simple-hearted light.
Once an angel of the Lord appeared to him and informed him that God wished to reward his goodness.
“Would you like me to give you the gift of healing?” queried the angel.
“No, no…” answered the man. “It is God who heals people.”
“Would you like me to give you the gift of converting people with your powerful words?”
“No, no, touching the hearts of men is not my work, but the sublime work of the angels.”
“Would you like me to make you such a model of virtue that everyone will wish to be as holy as you?”
“No, no, I do not want others to look at me. Let them seek God. He alone is holy.”
The angel insisted, “But what would you like me to do for you? What would you like me to give you?”
“Nothing,” answered the man. “For me, the grace of God is sufficient. If I have that, I have everything.”
“No,” the angel replied, “God has ordered me to give you something. If you will not choose, I will have to choose for you.”
The holy man sat pondering.
“Yes, I have an idea,” he said at last. “Grant that good is done through me without my realizing it.”
The angel went straight up to heaven to refer back to God. God was very pleased with the idea, and so issued a decree that the shadow of this man would have the gift of healing. Whoever the shadow would fall upon would be healed of his illness! So it came about that crowds of people would follow this man so his shadow might fall upon them.
But the man never even noticed for the people were more interested in his shadow than in himself…
A state minister of a Latin American government put this banner on the wall of her office:
Do good in silence.
Love God and your neighbor in silence.
Accept the will of God in silence.
Be happy with others in silence.
Hide the defects of others in silence.
Long for great things in silence.
Embrace the cross of Christ in silence.
Be faithful to the end….. in silence.
And so you will enjoy the Silence of Intimacy forever.
(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.