Christian Optimism


Fr. Joel is currently off-island on pilgrimage. The following is a reprint of a previous article from 2004. 

There’s a story about a man who was sick with terminal cancer and his doctor gave him six months to live. He called in his three sons and assigned them their inheritance.

To the eldest, he gave his big house and expensive car, to the second he bequeathed his vast tract of land, and to the third he gave a foot-long crucifix.

He then said to him, “because you are my youngest and most beloved son, I’ll give you this beautiful and precious crucifix which I have kept all these years. It is the best of all my possessions.”

However, despite the tender, reassuring words of his father concerning the gift, the son wasn’t happy about it. In fact, he felt bitter over the thought that he got the least of all, a small crucifix.

Years passed since his father died and he was still harboring deep indignation in his heart. One day he got the crucifix which he hung on the wall and smashed it on the floor.

As it broke into pieces, he got the shock of his life when he saw diamonds and other precious jewels scattered all over the place. Their value exceeded far more than all the properties his father had given to his two brothers combined.

Unknown to him, his father had apparently embedded those precious stones inside the crucifix. At that very moment, he knelt down, his face regretfully bowed low, and asked forgiveness from God for having kept a grudge against his father all through the years.

He remembered his father’s words to him about the crucifix, and now he truly believed that he was his father’s beloved son.

Whatever career you are in is laden with opportunity, yet fraught with heartbreaks and failures. And if the bodies of those who have failed in the past were to be piled together, it would cast a shadow even over the Petronas Towers of Malaysia.

Some of the most painful moments we could recall are probably those times when we were alone fighting our own battles with no one to turn to except God. Yet, He seened not to care at all, and our situation grew from bad to worse.

However, we should remember that God is always there, and we just have to true Him. We are His children, and as such, He’ll take care of us.

He has given us time, and within this allotted time, let us practice the art of our God-given virtue of trust and patience, for nature acts never in haste.

It took God six days to complete His work of creation. It takes the fetus to fully develop in nine months, and to produce an olive tree—the king of all trees—a hundred years is required, so goes the saying in Israel.

I myself have seen those five olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemene still bearing fruit—the same trees from the time of Jesus 2000 years ago.

The sage of old says that behind the darkened clouds, the sun is still shining, and there is always a possibility to recover and start all over again if we only try once more and stop nursing that loss over spilled milk. In reality, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference in their habits. Good habits are the key to success while bad habits unlock the door to failure. If I have to make my own law, it will be that I’ll form good habits and then be a slave to them (Og Mandino).

St. Faustina recorded the words of Jesus to her in her Diary entry No. 573, “do not fear anything. I am with you. These matters are in my hands, and I will bring them to fruition according to My mercy, for nothing can oppose my will.” In her Diary No. 294, the Lord told her, “Encourage the souls with whom you come in contact with to trust in my infinite mercy.

“Oh how I love those souls who have complete confidence in Me. I will do everything for them.”