Did you ever try to outdo God in
generosity? You give away all your
money, and then when you’ve failed, loved ones support you and cover for your
misfortune. It’s called the community of
saints, and some of us have the good fortune to live in such a community.
I don’t advise seeing if that works, but
I do believe if I try to give away all my money for God, He’s already given me
more than that. I mean, who can put a
price on life?…on an American public school education?…on an American
Catholic school education?…on parents who stay with you?
I’m not saying don’t give away your
money for God. Mother Therese, Edith
Stein, Padre Pio and countless others have already done this. And it worked! The point is, following Christ’s admonitions
can be the road to personal success. But you have to believe in eternal rewards.
As my father-in-law used to say, I was
born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but providence, fate, chance, of which
God is the sole ruler (certainly it is not humankind, for we have not yet made
sense of Quantum Mechanics or why the Robin sings) has, yes, turned that
statement into the truth. I want to sing
therefore, the praises of God’s munificence to me and Loretta despite the two
great sorrows that visited us. People
say one such is worse than the death of a beloved parent.
And then came the recovery. It took years. But as only He who made that healing heart
could do it, we received not silver spoons but days of joy as our third son
married a veritable princess. Soon came
a granddaughter, lovely to contemplate, and we gloried in our only son’s march
through the corporate world of finance into a daring entrepreneurship. That’s it—I rest my case that providence is
the best name for fate.
Today, 9/6/19, marks the beginning of a triumph in the third
world, and a lapse for Western Civilization.
In the country of India, their Western-trained scientists and engineers
landed a moonshot, the fourth country in the world to do so. The benefit to the world will be more information
about the moon and tangential knowledge like the powdered orange juice from one
of the American moon probes.
in Africa, Zimbabwe, people mourned or celebrated the death of Robert Mugabe,
the dictator who took over after England’s colonial stay in that country. Both of these events are a copying of Western
Civilization’s leadership, the one in India a proud feat learned from the West,
the one in Africa a despotic financial catastrophe, where Robert Mugabe learned
the wrong things from his successful forerunner, Britain, to feed his greed for
power and wealth to the bankruptcy of his people and nation.
Civilization has itself not always adhered to the precepts of its teacher,
Jesus Christ, but it has done so enough to become the world’s foremost
civilization, and though human diligence and human frailty contributed to the
two aforementioned opposite results, we’d still best learn and profit from this
What made me what I am? It was the same source that made Western
Civilization what it is—the man who spent three years teaching us. And then he died, terribly. Some of my students discovered this source,
and went on to alleviate their lives wonderfully, though as a public school
teacher I’d never mention this source directly.
One girl I tutored went on to rise above the course she’d been on with a child out of wedlock. She married, and though things were not perfect, she had more wonderful children. I came to admire her as only a teacher comes to admire and love his students.
student missed what moved me. I had him
in class, and he was so impressed he asked me where I went to college. He was, I believe, Muslim, and had assimilated
so well I took him for a student no different from the others. I met him years later, and when I asked him,
he said he was so disappointed in St. John’s University. I was greatly saddened. He had missed the source.
I did the unforgivable. On Sunday, after church, I offered to take Loretta to the diner (It was our anniversary) for breakfast. She never thought I’d later also offer to take her out to dinner, so she blew up. It was a horrific explosion, at least for a man who doesn’t remember everything anymore. I’m happy if I get Tuesday right. Never mind anniversaries.
Life still has its consolations. There are the longtime memories of past
triumphs, past victories, and just the other day I sent out an article to a
magazine. Do that if you can.
I have a
twinge of conscience, right now. Having
taught all my life in public school and ten years in private school, I think I
know now what education is all about. I
realize that in the heyday of Catholic Education, I had, because of the sisters
and brothers, the best public or private education available in the most
advanced nation in the world at a cost to my parents of $5.00 a month (I have
What am I
doing for payback? There are a few
charities available like the American Indian schools, but my pension is not
built for a philanthropist. I look to
the Father who provided for me so munificently, and at the very least, every
day I say thank you.
When Toussaint L’Ouverture took over the slave revolt in
Haiti in 1791, they won, and the white, French plantation owners who survived
fled back to France, which was having its own rebellious troubles. Be that as it may, the victors actually did
what the communists we know only talk about doing, share the spoils equally. To
do this, the Communists under Lenin established the dictatorship of the
proletariat — no freedom there. But the
slaves of Haiti definitely wanted to stay free, and they preceded Karl Marx and
Lenin by approximately 100 years.
Everybody would get a fair share, and nobody was to be richer
than his neighbor. That is almost true
of Haiti today, Catholic Communism, but who would want to be as poor as the
average Haitian? If you are from a
communist country, or at least one that has sneakily permitted select
capitalist procedures, you want no part of Catholic Communism.