"May we all learn from these."
This is my only column for this week and as such I would like to share two tales.
The first one goes like this:
A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.
When war broke out, the son was called to battle. He died rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and he grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood with a large package in his hands. He told the old man: “Sir, you don’t know me but I am the soldier for whom your son gave up his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart, and he died instantly. He often talked about you and your shared love for art.”
The young man held out the package.
“I know this isn’t much. I’m really not a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.”
The father opened the package. It was the portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that soon he was crying. He thanked the young man and offered to pay for the painting.
“Oh no, sir. I could never repay what your son did for me.”
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Everytime visitors came to his home, he took them to see the portrait of his son.
A few months later, the father died. There was to be an auction of the paintings owned by the old man. Many influential and wealthy people gathered.
The bidding started with the portrait of the son. The auctioneer asked: “Who wants to bid for this?” But the people said they wanted to see the great works of art. “Skip this one!” they said.
But the auctioneer continued: “The Son! Who will take the son?”
A man made a bid for $10, and the crowd wanted to continue with the auction. But the auctioneer said the bidding was over.
He said there was a secret stipulation in the will of the father. Only the painting of the son will be auctioned, and whoever bought the painting would get the entire estate.
* * *
The other tale is good for reflection for this Holy Week and for all voters who will cast their votes on May 13.
There was this man of the world who died and soon found himself before the pearly gates which St. Peter was guarding.
St. Peter said the man had the choice to go to heaven or hell. The man said he wanted to look at Hell first, and so he boarded an elevator. He soon went down.
When the door of the elevator opened to Hell, a beautiful girl in a bikini appeared. “I’ll be your guide,” she told the man.
Hell is not so bad after all, he told himself. People were having feasts and naked girls were walking around. He even saw his best friends.
After a while, the man said he would like to talk to St. Peter and inform him that he now wanted to see Heaven.
Heaven seemed so boring. It was a quiet place where angels were flying around. People looked like they were at peace.
“I choose Hell!” The man told St. Peter.
When he returned to Hell, he found instead a place of suffering and torture. The man asked Satan: “What happened?”
Satan said: “Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted.”
* * *
Metro Manila is the best place to stay in this Holy Week where you can rest and reflect. Edsa will not be as bad. You can also do your “Visita Iglesia” here.
Unfortunately, many people think the Holy Week is the time to go to the beach. How can anybody stand this heat? The rich go abroad.
My family and I decided to stay here. In closing, I would like to share one of my favorite prayers.
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time
Enjoying one moment at a time
Accepting hardships as a pathway to peaceful
Taking as He did this sinful world as it is
Not as I would have it, trusting that He will make things right.
If I surrender to his willingness
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him forever.