My daughter, do not be afraid to believe. Do not worry; all of your dreams will come true; all that I have promised will happen. I will not let you believe and be disappointed. Do not think about it (the promises) not happening, because it will.
Those who accept the promises of God are rewarded and never deceived or disappointed. For I promised your fathers of old many gifts, and those who believed and accepted received them. I have gifts for everyone; I have plans for everyone and those who want my gifts can have them. For the Father wants his children to be happy and rejoice, for he gave his people his only Son, whom they put to death. Your Father knows what you long for; He knows what is most precious to you and what you fear most. I know what you want when you are unsure. Trust and follow me, for I will lead you. If you follow, I will give you what you want and deserve. For you will be rewarded. Those who follow Him are blessed and exalted, but those who refuse to touch his gifts and take his hand will not receive these gifts. They are still my children, whom I love, and I still give them another chance to take my hand and follow me.
For you must forget about your worldly possessions and follow me. You must trust me and leave your home and pick up your staff and follow your Lord and Shepherd. For when your Shepherd wants to take his sheep to new rich pastures, will you leave your old fields and home and trust your Shepherd or will you refuse to follow and remain? When your Master comes, who will follow him, and who will be unfaithful to him? For this is a test. It is I, your Master, and I am ready to take you to my best pastures, I want to lead you to your home of eternal happiness. Come, follow me, and I will take you home.
My daughter, I love you. You are my daughter, my child.
The father’s love is so great, beyond imagination. He loves his children more than many know. Many do not know the love of God; many underestimate what he wants for his people. Many do not realize how much he loves them, even if they hurt him. His love is unconditional; his mercy is unimaginable. He loves his children like no other. Those who are sorry for their actions but afraid to come to their Father do not understand his love. His mercy is a gift that he wants to share with all. He wants to pour down graces on all. How it pains the Father to see his children disregard his gifts. He knows what they want; I know what you want. Do not hesitate to repent, for those who come back are forgiven and rewarded. Do not be ashamed to come to him, and never assume your sin is unforgivable. Many do (great) evil and never repent. Many are not sorry. Those who return shall be blessed, and those who do not repent will not be ready. For the time is near, when your Saviour will return.
[What about FTR?]
Those in it will have a special role. They will be blessed for accepting this gift. I have (many) plans for those in it . . . It is part of my plan which I knew of before they came in. It is a gift, something special which will become known. Those who accept this gift will be rewarded, and those who (in the end) rejected it will know what they rejected. They will know what it is and they will know it was real. It is not only a social group; it is a group I have plans for. And those who accept these plans will receive them.
. . .
Do not be afraid; do not worry, for you are in my care, my arms, and no other’s. Always come to me when you are sad or distressed and always come to me when you are lonely. I am your guide and your shepherd, your Father and your brother. I am the giver of life, for those who eat my body and drink my blood will live.
. . . I gave you teeth not to worry about but to enjoy food, my gift. I inspired dentists to fix teeth and improve them, not to tell lies about them. Do not worry; they do not know. They do not know about God and His ways. Do not let them feed you falsehoods . . . There will be dentists, but not all who are currently dentists will be later, for some are not doing what they should be; they are scaring (people) and telling lies, which is not pleasing to me. I inspire dentists and some are good and do help.
But after I return, things will be very different. When I come again, the earth will change. No longer will people need to worry about natural disasters, no longer will injustice and evil reign. Everything will become straight, and everything will become as (it) should be. And those who accepted my promises will be rewarded.
Constitutions will be changed, and the law will be just and right(eous). Countries struggling for independence — the issues will be resolved. The war zones throughout the earth will become peaceful and flourish and the villages will be restored . . . There is no place on earth where there is not one innocent person who loves their home . . . After I come again, the earth shall be cleansed; volcanoes and tornadoes will be gone. Swords and spears, guns and bombs will no longer be used and will be discarded, for a time of peace is coming; lay down your swords. No longer do you need to defend your country. For war shall cease and families will return home.
Have you ever found something in an old book? I think it’s kind of interesting to think that right now, there are many objects quietly tucked away into many books in many libraries around the world, still undiscovered.
How many times have we slipped things into books and then forgotten them? I once tucked my passport into my travel book, and promptly forgot that I had done that. It wasn’t until I had travelled to the capital (Belgrade), gotten a new passport issued from the Canadian embassy, and went through too many things that I found it. It hadn’t been stolen, and I hadn’t lost it forever. It was with me the whole time.
On February 22, 1961, Oрест Барабаш typed up his Ukrainian-language homework. He put his address on it: Едмонтон, 8919-88 вул.
This document was typed up very carefully, on a typewriter that had the ability to type in red, but no special way to correct mistakes. With the early typewriters, when you made an error, it could be a big deal. If you didn’t want to start all over again, you could do nothing better than type upper-case Xs on top of your typo. Some of the later typewriters had a lift-off ribbon that could remove characters that you didn’t want. Such a convenience! I know because over the course of my life, I have spent many, many hours at a typewriter, mainly typing out essays. I have always counted my typing class as the most useful course that I took in high school.
Anyway, this document has been graded. The instructor gave him 95% on one section, and 94% on another.
I was curious when I found it. Where was Orest now? How old was he? Wouldn’t it be funny if he still lived at the same address, and what would he think if you showed up with this document at his doorstep, 58 years later? I wasn’t even born when he typed it.
And in case you’re not keeping track, I’m 49 now. I am the same age as my dog, if you do that thing where you multiply the dog’s age by 7. My birthday landed on Easter Sunday this year, and that had never happened in my life. It will happen again in 2030 though, so I’m looking forward to that. My brother sent me a happy birthday email. Brothers are good that way.
So, being curious, I did what a person would do nowadays, and ran an online search of Orest’s name.
Orest came from Ukraine with his parents when he was about a year old. His brothers, Bohdan and Volodymyr, would have been born in Canada, but his mother must have died when Orest was quite young. His father, Harry, was a photographer, and named his photography studio after his son, calling it Orest Photography Studio and Cameras Ltd. I found out a little bit about Orest’s stepmother online too.
Orest attended St. Joseph’s Catholic high school, and received a silver medal for his high marks.
By the time he was 16, he was attending the University of Alberta, as an honours math student. He was part of two university clubs, both with Ukrainian names: Zarevo and Obnova. Off campus, he participated in a group called Plast, which is the Ukrainian Boy Scouts group, and he was a camping instructor for the Cubs. He also competed in tennis. And you could sometimes find him на лижах (on skiis) in Jasper or Banff. He competed in downhill skiing. In short, Orest was the kind of person who did his best at everything that he could, the kind of person who would easily collect all the scholarships that are always offered for people like him.
I am not sure what kind of illness Orest had, but the article in the February 18, 1966 Edmonton Journal says that he had a long-term illness, and died at the General Hospital while in third-year university. He was 18.
A funeral was held for him at St. George’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, and he is buried at St. Michael’s Cemetary.
His date of death was February 16, 1966, almost exactly 5 years after he typed out his Ukrainian language homework, got it marked, and tucked it away in a book and forgot about it. He would have been 13.
But now this document has been found, and with it, we can remember its author.
Привіт, Orest! Як справи?
When you were alive on earth, there was no such thing as a blog. But now — surprise! — you’re in it, and so is your homework!
My daughter, you have worked with a full effort, and that is what will be rewarded. Do not worry any longer . . . Now you can rest and enjoy what you have waited for . . . It is the effort that matters, and if you try your hardest, you shall be rewarded . . . Do not let the earthly trials and hardships disappoint you, for grades are valuable here but in the kingdom of God, they are not. Your efforts are blessed and rewarded, and if you try your hardest to learn a subject, you will be given what you want (that subject). On earth, your transcript is ‘honoured’ and of great value; one wants it to look impressive and admirable, but this is merely a document. Much of one’s earthly identity/status is shown and proven through this, however, it is your actions and intentions that are creating your real transcript, your official record. Your good actions are much higher than A’s, and your righteous intentions are much higher than 100%’s, for in the kingdom of God they are of great value.
[How will heaven be better/different?]
Heaven is much greater than earth; do not worry or doubt that heaven could be better than earth, for in heaven no one dies and there is no sadness; there are all of the worldly gifts, as well as the heavenly. There is more than one could want in heaven, and its beauty is beyond compare.
The day your Saviour comes will change humanity like never before. No longer will school and work have such unjust hierarchies, and no longer will there be unjust rulers leading countries. Food and water will be free for all. Cloth and fabric will be cleansed, and clothes shall be improved. Fashions will change, and it will an embarrassment to wear immodest clothing. The holy day of Saints will be only to honour saints, and symbols of death shall vanish. Countries’ symbols and wrong shapes will change and the idols will be destroyed . . . The Church shall reign and be above all. She will be respected. Cultures, skin colours, and nationalities will be equal . . .
New plants will bear fresh fruit, and the soil will be nourished. The stars will always shine, and the deserted deserts will be rich. Houses will be built, and apartments will (mostly) be destroyed. There will be enough land for all (and houses), for the large (useless) buildings and stores will be removed. The world will no longer be divided. And new plants will come to the earth with new flowers and fruit. There will also be new animals; there will be new birds, new fish, new horses . . . The snows will melt, and Greenland will be green. Everything will change, and peace will come.
My daughter, I am glad you came.
Do not worry . . . it is not your writing; it is mine. Do not worry — the punctuation can change; it is the same voice.
Do not worry about the future, for the future is filled with happiness; many things will change. The sky will become clear and blue, the air will be fresh, the sun shall be yellow (in all areas of the world) and one will be able to look at it without pain. Snow and cold will not be so cold and will not kill, and neither will heat. Remember my promises, and do not ever doubt what I say, for you have believed . . .
I love you, my daughter. I will take care of you through thick and thin. I am always there, no matter where you are, whether in the fields or the forest, the plains or the mountains, the desert or the ocean — I am with you always. When you are alone and distressed, I am with you. You can always put your trust in me.
[Regarding instructors and grades]
. . . those who are reluctant to give good marks, when deserved, are ignoring their conscience and not being honest, and this is not pleasing to God.
[What about FTR?]
They have been chosen from around the world for a special purpose. It (FTR) will also show what you believed even on the other side, for there will be books, which I will supply, of the events that happened. It (FTR) is something that is also part of my plan. There will still be more (members) to go and come, and the time is coming. I will show you who is supposed to stay and who is supposed to go. They also will be blessed for believing. Those who rejected this gift of God as ‘too strange’ or ‘dreaming’ will see it was real. Those in it will see each other for the first time . . . And afterwards, many will rejoice, for their Saviour has returned.
My daughter, trust in what I have said and you shall be blessed. Those who disbelieve and tell you that you are wrong shall be revealed and their words of wrong guidance shall be destroyed but not forgotten. I will show them what you said was true and all shall see how they disbelieved the future.
You, my daughter, will spread the word of God and will bring people closer. You will speak to the children and the adults; you will speak of what you know the love and mercy of God is. You will speak in various languages.
Once I come again, people will still have to be guided and shown the way, for there are many things people do not understand, about the gentleness of their Father, about the tenderness of his mercy or about his understanding of people. Your Father knows you through and through; he knows what you desire and need; he knows your future.
Those of us who knew and loved this man have many memories.
However, our memories are mysterious, even to us, because until you understand the man, you cannot understand the meaning of everything that he said, and everything that he did.
So let us take a moment to delve into the mystery of who this man was. This is an appropriate time, and I am well-qualified to speak on it, being the one who loved him most during his time on earth.
This man had a wife and three children: a daughter, and two sons.
God gave him a tenderness for his own children, and he loved to hold them — a good beginning.
However, something went wrong here where everything should have gone right.
The key word in his life story is the word “prefer.”
I will explain. Very early on, the man conceived in his heart the idea that his daughter should prefer him. It was an idea almost without clear lines, at first. It was more of a vague sentiment, at first.
In some ways, it was a game. The funny thing was that it was a game that was so easy to win. There was not really any competition, for the daughter’s mother counted the girl as nothing, or as worse than nothing.
(The man didn’t mind, entirely, when his wife raged at him, or at the girl. It only strengthened his case. It only proved that he was, well, better. The girl saw clearly that he was the martyr.)
And besides, a little bit of attention went a very long way. Passing the time listening to the girl prattle on about what she thought about everything was the main thing. She had a lot of questions, and he had the answers. She took his answers on all matters as very authoritative. His input was important. He saw that he could lift her up, by telling her that eventually her teeth would straighten out, or he could cast her down, by telling her that she must keep her hair short because it was too thin to wear long, and that she needs to wear bangs because her forehead was too big. His approval was essential to her, and that was very gratifying. It was not impossible to give his approval either, for she sometimes had some impressive results. Mind you, he was careful to be sparing in his praise.
Years passed, and although the man had braced himself for the day when the girl would have a boyfriend, it did come as a bit of a nasty shock when the first interloper appeared. The man certainly did not express support for him, and was glad when he was finally gone. When the second appeared, he took the same approach; mild, quiet disapproval seemed to be the best style.
Eventually, the girl found a husband, and he initially took the stance of cautious approval. After all, there did not seem to be much to gain with quiet disapproval; it hadn’t worked in this case. And besides, he was happy at the arrival of grandchildren. To hold them was wonderful, and he relished the time he could spend with them.
However, as her marriage continued, he grew increasingly discontent, and he nurtured his sourness. It became obvious. Social events grew awkward. When questioned about his negativity, he gave no answers. And indeed, he would not have been able to adequately identify what he was doing and what he wanted. He was just tossing a match, to see what would burn.
But you could not say that he was unhappy during this time. He was the same as always. And the new arrangements which were made to accommodate him were quite satisfactory. He was no longer expected to attend any birthdays or other special occasions, but still saw his grandchildren almost every weekend. And actually, what he had now was even better than before: he had the girl and her children all to himself. He counted himself as victorious.
Later, however, the girl changed her approach, and would return to her husband during the weekend grandparent-grandchild visits. This was not quite as satisfactory. It felt like a snub.
And here, sadly, a plan which had always hovered overhead finally landed in his heart. The word was ‘prefer.’
A bond could be built, from grandfather to grandchild, and from grandchild to grandfather, which was bigger, better, stronger than the one from child to mother. (The bond from child to father was not even competition, he surmised.)
A new game.
Now the grandchildren became his sole focus — his friends. They could have a special code, and special rituals. And, most interestingly, he was able to use his wife as his ally. Together, they could study the girl’s family, and critique and scorn all that was so very, very wrong.
And so it continued.
The great misstep occurred one evening at the home of the girl. You see, his wife had her own games, and one was about power. When one young grandchild politely declined to obey her, the grandmother placed her hands on this grandchild’s face, and hissed that the child must obey. Always, always, Obey the Grandmother! The rage was frightening, and the child ran away.
Things changed after that, and the grandchildren were far more difficult to reach. Opportunities were fewer, and the man knew that the culprit was the girl. But you could not say that he was entirely unhappy. He was the same.
He was able to create new opportunities. He could innocently offer to walk the girl’s dog. Surely, nobody would mind if he walked the dog, and maybe he would stay for a while. The dog was always thrilled to see him. Indeed, the dog probably preferred him.
But then he got a new idea, in imitation of the attacks of another.
He mounted a campaign. It was a terribly fun game. He chose new allies from what he viewed as her inner circle.
Ah, it was like nothing he had ever done — delightful, thrilling.
He soberly presented the facts about the girl, the very sad facts. Who would disbelieve a father?
Answer: Anyone who loved her would have disbelieved, but these did not love her either, and were only too happy to hear all about her fall from grace. Tell me more, they said.
Yet the girl was fine. It was her new rules that had enraged and horrified those who were accustomed to doing as they pleased.
And God, being good, willed it that the words would soon be discovered. The girl saw the words written about her.
The words revealed that her father lied many times and in many ways to many people. The lies were meant to divide and defame.
The words revealed that the inner circle was only too happy to cluck and to scorn, and to exult over the sad tale told about her. They felt united against her, and the man felt, once again, that he was preferred, and that he was important, to share such news.
The words revealed that she had not known the man. The love that she felt was real, but it was the love of the Father, and not the love of the man.
And so now you know more about the man who lies here. No more will he fool anyone. No more will anyone be deceived into thinking that his kind words and actions stemmed from a heart that was gentle and loving.
Luis Iscla Rovira wrote Spanish Proverbs: A Survey of Spanish Culture and Civilization (In 2850 Proverbs). Mr. Rovira was born in 1917. I don’t know if he’s still alive. If he is, please tell him I said hello.
I enjoyed his book. I went through the proverbs, and I especially liked certain ones.
Why do we like certain proverbs? We like them because we find them to be true. It’s fun to find that your experience matches a proverb that someone once made and which others remembered. And the reason the funny ones are funny is because they capture something true. And the poignant ones express truth too, just in a different way.
What do you think of this one?
Al establecerse en una isla, el primer edificio que levanta el espańol es una iglesia; el francés un fuerte; el holandés una factorIa, y el inglés una taberna.
(After taking up residence on an island, the first building a Spaniard raises is a church; the French a fort; the Dutch a commercial agency, and the British a pub.)
Or how about this one?
“En la peleteria de Burgos, nos veremos,” dijo una zorra al despedirse de otra.
(“In the fur shop of Burgos we shall meet again,” said one fox while bidding goodbye to another.)
So I have been meaning, for quite a while, to share my favorites with you. This is how you count to fourteen in Spanish: uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez, once, doce, trece, catorce.
Quien poco sabe, presto lo reza.
The more one knows, the less one boasts of his knowledge.
And I want to say:
Boasting is an interesting phenomenon, because people already are very selective about what they reveal about themselves. They already tend to reveal the good stuff and hide the bad. And there are so many variations on this. Some of the clever ones reveal some of the bad so that you think they’re revealing all the bad. Others exaggerate the bad so that you will contradict them, and tell them how good they are. Some of them hide the good so that they will fit in better with others.
I think two things matter when we think about boasting.
First, context matters. Someone recently sent me, out of the blue, an email entitled, “Thirty years later,” intending to remind me (and a few others) that it had been thirty years since he received a certain award. He had already told me about this award, and I had already expressed my admiration in person a few years ago. You would think that would have been enough, but I guess it’s not.
Maybe I’ll get another such email in 2029, and 2039.
Or maybe it’s a five year kind of thing: 2024, 2029, 2034 . . .
Sometimes revealing something good about yourself fits with a larger point that is worth making. You are putting such-and-such a fact into service. That’s context. You might tell someone about your successes because you want to encourage them to succeed in the same way, for example. What is not acceptable is for you to seize on any noun, verb or adjective in the conversation, and pretend that now you have the context to boast. Did someone say airplane? That reminds me of the time I was on an airplane and I spoke to someone famous! Did someone say theatre? That reminds me of the time I directed my own show! Did someone say Europe? Let me remind you about the time I travelled! That’s not context. That’s just boasting at any opportunity. And trying to talk about something which is so unconnected to the lives of your listeners, and so long ago (yes, I know it feels like yesterday), is a sign that you are currently not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. How is it that you’re so absorbed with what you did so long ago? Look, while you boast about what has been, the successful are thinking about what they plan to do next — fix the screen door, make gazpacho, write some lyrics, finish the errands, start a novena, weed the garden.
And as a homage to St. Josemaria Escriva on this Spanish-themed post, let me say again that doing good and wholesome things pays dividends beyond the obvious. For one thing, skill builds on skill. As a housewife makes one good meal after the next, she becomes more knowledgeable. By the time she’s middle-aged, you’ll be only too happy to sit at her table. For another, honest deeds done with good intentions are pleasing to God, and God may use work in one area (what is considered “small”) as preparation for work in another (what is considered “great”).
Second, truth is an issue when we address the issue of boasting. I won’t discuss false boasts — that is just another form of lying. What I will say is that people often overestimate their ability and their achievements, because they are familiar with their own, but unfamiliar with those of other people. But are you really more intelligent than others? Are you really more skilled than others? Are you really a better whatever than others? I remember how I used to notice that in the announcement section of newspapers, the biggest look-at-what-my-daughter-did photographs and descriptions were from those families where the daughter finished an education degree or a nursing degree. You rarely saw such notices for the families where the daughter had finished medical school, for instance. Now don’t get me wrong. Some people were meant to be nurses, and some people were meant to be teachers — that part is okay, but the boasting suggested to me that perhaps these families weren’t used to having someone on their family tree earn a degree. It was a novelty.
The Spanish quotation shows that part of knowing a lot is knowing that there are so many people who have accomplished so much more than you have. I think it happens far too often (I saw it frequently) that while one person in a room boasts about what she has done and seen and been, another person, who has accomplished and seen and been so much more, does not boast at all. Which person would you rather be?
Mirados desde el tendido, todos los toros son chicos.
Viewed from the stands, all bulls are small.
And I want to say:
The biggest battles are spiritual. There is nothing more difficult than doing what is right when everything goes against it. And when I say “everything,” I mean both external and internal forces. After all, the greatest opposition to doing what is right is so often within your own mind, heart, and soul. There can be, indeed, agony involved in fighting the natural impulse to flee, to hide, or in some way — any way — to avoid what is difficult. Who can stand his ground when the bull charges? And this is how we can understand the biblical idea that the way to heaven is narrow. Often, doing the right thing leaves only one or two options, and both feel excruciatingly difficult. Doing the wrong thing appears easier in the moment, and how many ways there are to do the wrong thing! There are a wide variety of ways to avoid doing right. The road to hell is wide.
Yet, as with battles of all kinds, how true it is that those who rarely require themselves to fight the spiritual battles have a mistaken idea of how it feels. These cowards do not know what it is to fight, but they also do not know how it feels to triumph.
Más te ama quien te hace bueno que quien te agrada.
A person who helps you to be good loves you more than a person whose only concern is to please you.
And I want to say:
Trying to please another person can be a good thing or a bad thing. It depends on your motive. What are you trying to do? Do you actually care about this person? Or do you hope to continue receiving some benefits from him/her, or hope to receive a future benefit? Or are you just wanting to avoid uncomfortable feelings or awkward social situations? Or are you behaving in a way that suits your view of yourself?
The truth is that sooner or later, every close relationship will be put to the test, and you will have to decide between saying what is true and saying what is “nice.” Now, if I want you to be good — which I do — I might have to tell you what is true. Will that please you?
Si mal me quiere, peor me querrá a quien dijere la verdad.
He who does not like me now will like me even less for telling the truth about him.
And I want to say:
I saw sayings to the effect that you can destroy a friendship with the truth, and to the effect that ‘my friends do not like me because I tell the truth,’ but they are not quite right. A good friendship has a solid foundation, and it is, in fact, strengthened by the truth, not weakened. The stem of a flower becomes stronger as the breezes and winds blow. It can be difficult to hear unpleasant truths, but a true friend understands your intentions. Your intention is not to wound, but to say what is true, in order to have an honest exchange of ideas, thoughts, and emotions, and to ultimately grow closer. That’s what friendship is about. Over time, your friend will trust you above all other companions who say only what they believe your friend wants to hear. And as for you, it is your false friends who will fall away when you speak the truths that they don’t want to hear. They will leave because they didn’t actually like you in the first place, as the quotation states. They were there only for the benefits.
La envidia sigue al mérito, como la sombra al cuerpo.
Envy follows worth as a shadow follows a body.
Si los envidioso volaran, siempre estariamos a la sombra.
If the envious could fly, we would always be in the shade.
And I want to say:
These quotations are wise. They show how common envy is. I did not perceive the prevalence of envy, and I was unfamiliar with its manifestations. I did not know how it lurked in so many hearts, and dominated them. I knew that where you find two female friends growing up almost as sisters, you will most likely find competition and envy, and I knew that sisters-in-law and cousins are frequently competitive, but I did not perceive the extent to which envy exists within families. I did not know that many grandmothers envy their granddaughters. I did not know that many men envy their sons. I did not know that a father could envy his daughter. Oh, envy! Poison for humanity, fuel for so many actions!
Do you know why I did not understand how common envy was? I will tell you. It is because when I found envy in my own heart, I loathed it, and argued with it until I subdued it. I found a way to be at peace with someone else having something nice (an object, a relationship, a talent, etc) that I didn’t have. I could argue with myself like this: a) she is a good person, and it is good that she has this; b) she has suffered so much in other ways, so it is good that she has this; c) I don’t want this; d) I don’t need this; e) her accomplishment is praiseworthy, and I can feel fortunate to know such a person; f) God has given her this special talent — who am I to challenge that? g) she has earned it by making sacrifices that I wouldn’t be willing to make; h) perhaps later I will have such a thing or something similar; i) perhaps God knows it wouldn’t be good for me to have such a thing; j) such things are fleeting; k) I have other things instead; l) maybe there are hidden disadvantages or burdens associated with having it; m) even though I can’t have it all to myself, I can enjoy seeing it from time to time; n) even though I can’t have it all to myself, I can be glad that such a thing exists/has been done.
So I can say that envy was not, and is not, a part of my life. Instead, I am able to be genuinely happy for what other people have (with the exception of cases where they have stolen it). I don’t have to own or personally have things in order to enjoy them.
De almas bien templadas es no tener envidia de nadie.
The privilege of self-restrained and generous people is not to envy anyone.
And I want to say:
I like this proverb, of course. I don’t think you would normally make a connection between “self-control” and freedom from envy, but, as I have discussed, envy can be subdued, if not eradicated altogether (it will, of course, attempt to arise all the time, like all temptations), with examination and control of one’s thoughts.
Más vale guerra abierta que paz fingida.
An open war is preferable to a sham peace.
And I want to say:
Canadians, in particular, live in a world of false peace. We sacrifice truth in order to appear ‘polite,’ and ‘nice.’ I have spoken about this before. In the context of relationships, which is what this comment is about, I would rather know that my enemies are my enemies than be fooled by the appearance of friendship. The worst damage is always done by those who pretend to love you.
Quien no te ama, en la plaza te difama.
He who does not love you, discredits you in public.
And I want to say:
Let’s make a distinction here, based on both truth and motive. One speaker tells the truth in order warn the innocent, and in order to spur evil-doers to reconsider and reform their ways. Another speaker invents what is false in order to make the innocent look bad. The first speaker is motivated by love for the sinner, the innocent, and the truth. The second speaker loves neither the innocent person nor the truth.
Donde hay hijos, ni parientes ni amigos.
Relatives and friends are not welcome when parents want to enjoy the company of their children.
And I want to say:
It is a sad but general rule that a parent will feel self-conscious and on guard when there are observers nearby, in the form of relatives and friends (or strangers). Thinking about what others will think causes the parents to experience some level of stress, and they often cannot properly enjoy their own children.
Likewise, children notice that relatives and the friends of their parents introduce a new atmosphere, new standards, and new methods of interacting which are usually unfamiliar, often odd, and sometimes unpleasant. Yet at the same time, the child also notices that his parents and these others appear to have a warm relationship, and he does not know where he fits in the arrangement. If the parents emphasize the importance of these guests (“We have to clean up! Auntie is coming!” “Remember to speak nicely to Grandpa!” “Make sure you share all your toys with your cousins!”) and imply that the child’s wishes and needs must take second place to the wishes and needs of these relatives and friends, then the child will not fully communicate with his own parents when issues arise, believing that his own parents will take the side of their friends, their friends’ children, or the relatives. Further, the child may believe that these relatives and family friends are a permanent part of family life, and that speaking up about difficulties or issues or preferences will change nothing. All of this is unfortunate. The lines of communication should always be open. Every child should know that he is a priority for the parents. Every child should understand that his views about these outsiders (for that is what they are) is always welcome. A child should know that changes can be made to the patterns of family life to better take care of the child, who is, after all, the vulnerable one.
El galán que no hiere firme, despedirle.
Get rid of a suitor who does not try hard enough.
And I want to say:
I worry for the women whose boyfriends do not appreciate and cherish them. It’s never good when the man is lazy, lukewarm, or apathetic towards the one who is supposed to be the love of his life. If he doesn’t have enthusiasm, energy and action at the beginning, when will he have it? Nowadays women do not value themselves sufficiently; they accept very poor treatment from men in the hopes that it will all work out in the end, but the standards are best set at the outset of a relationship. Show him that you will not compromise your morals, and that you are worth his best efforts. Why waste time with or settle for a man who believes himself to be entitled to so much for so little?
La que se casa con un viudo, rival tiene en el otro mundo.
The woman who marries a widower has a rival in the other world.
And I want to say:
This is an interesting thought. It is true that a man would remember his first wife, and make comparisons frequently.
But the situation nowadays, in the age of divorce, is far worse. Nowadays, rivals are alive and well, as people marry other people’s husbands and wives regularly.
Más vale quien Dios ayuda que quien mucho madruga.
He whom God helps does more than he who rises early.
And I want to say:
We sometimes think of God as remote. We imagine humanity on earth, doing its own thing. We sometimes imagine that there are two types. On the one side are the hard workers who wake up early, eat all the right foods, and live punctual, righteous lives. On the other side are the indulgent slackers, who are unfocused, inefficient and suffer the consequences of their poor choices.
This proverb reminds us that God is active. He watches, and he knows. He knows that things are not how they seem. He knows that some of those hard workers are thinking only of themselves, and that they are overly careful about their routines and are stingy with their time for others and for God. He knows that some of those who don’t rise early are busy with his work, and busy doing things that are pleasing to him.
So what are you doing? If what you do is pleasing to God, then God will help you with it, and you will be doing more than those who rise early. Human standards of efficiency and productivity — can these even be compared to the activities of the Creator, who made everything and who keeps everything alive and in motion? He directs the course of our spinning earth on its rocket ride around the sun. Can he not help those who do his work?
La que por mí se desvela, esa es mi madre y mi abuela.
The woman who watches over me carefully is my true mother and grandmother.
And I want to say:
This proverb speaks about intention. Who is a mother? A woman who carefully watches over someone acts as a mother, and can be called the true mother and grandmother. The implication is that a woman who does not care about her child is not the true mother or grandmother of that child.
Who is your mother?
You have the same mother that I have. Remember what Jesus said? As he died, Jesus said, “Behold your mother.” With these words, Jesus made Mary the mother of all of us. She watches over you and me carefully. She is our true mother.
I like umbrellas that are clear and dome-shaped.
I don’t like math, physics or chemistry.
I like wearing pigtails on a hot day.
I don’t like waiting for medication at the pharmacy.
I like green vases, because they suit all kinds of flowers, and I especially like them if they are footed. I like footed vases in general.
I don’t like parkades.
I like getting green lights and green turning arrows.
I don’t like going through airport security.
I like ocean bays.
I don’t like acrylic yarn or fabric.
I like good conversation.
I don’t like the smell of cleaning products. I recently needed to get the Rocket fixed up for some minor body damage (someone must have bumped it while it was parked), and the body shop also “detailed” it (cleaned it), which meant that I needed to drive with the windows down for a good long while.
I like the shade of trees on a sunny day.
I don’t like needing eye glasses to read.
I like generous return policies.
I don’t like tattoos. They signal a lack of good judgment.
I like films and television shows, but I almost never watch them, because in order to find one worth watching, you would have to watch five hundred unworthy ones.
I don’t like it when hares try to eat the plants in my garden boxes.
I like the fur on my dog because it’s soft and neither too long nor too short, and just the right shade of brown.
I don’t like trying to understand flight reward miles or credit card point systems.
I like delphiniums and other blue flowers, such as brunnera and forget-me-nots.
I don’t like having to pay for grocery bags at the grocery store, but even worse is managing reusable or extra grocery bags.
I like being able to drive forward out of a parking spot, instead of reversing.
I don’t like vehicles with loud mufflers.
I like online grocery ordering. It’s nice to be able to decide on all your groceries at home, and then pick them up without wandering all around the grocery store. Some of the supermarkets are huge, and it takes a long time.
I like it when my home team wins.
I dislike it when priests distribute the Eucharist poorly. When it is done well, the person receiving has time to make an act of faith while the priest elevates it slightly. When Fr. Mike McC. does it, he doesn’t wait for the response (“Amen.”) He just takes the Body and puts it immediately into the parishioner’s open hand while saying “Body of Christ.” It’s faster for him that way.
I liked it when Korea defeated the reigning world champion, Germany, at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and all the Mexicans were ecstatic. I liked it when Ukraine took first place at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019, and Korea took second, and Ecuador and Panama took third and fourth.
I don’t like it when things don’t ship to Canada.
I like the smell and taste of grilled meat.
I don’t like hearing gross stories on the radio from the DJ or other listeners. And I especially dislike hearing gross stories from the pulpit. Fr. Samson David A. was the worst for this, because he relished incorporating disgusting and distasteful tales into his homilies. Indeed, he takes first, second, third, and fourth prize for the worst homilies I have heard in my not-so-short life so far.
I like having interesting magazines to read in a waiting area.
I don’t like it when I can’t connect to the internet, or when a device I’m using completely loses its charge.
I like bone china.
I don’t like icy sidewalks in the winter.
I like to go to little shops and look at all the little things they have for sale.
I don’t like amusement park rides.
I like diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, amethysts, aquamarine, citrine, topaz, tanzanite, and all other clear gems. I also like pearls.
I don’t like jade.
I like begonias and impatiens blooming profusely in the shade.
I like stone walls and cobblestone streets.
I don’t like thinking about how computers or cars work.
I like going to the farmer’s market in the summer and getting a big box of peaches.
I don’t like it when priests drive 2016 BMW X4 M40i s.
I like helping people learn English.
I don’t like it when neighbours neglect their front yard and home exterior.
I like going to parties, dinners, big events, and get-togethers of all kinds.
I don’t like being unable to unsubscribe from certain emails, such as the ones from “The American TFP” (The American Society for Truth, Faith and Property).
I like Rice Krispie squares.
I dislike changing my password.
I like riding on those motorized carts inside big airports.
I don’t like casinos, and I protest the participation of charitable and community organizations in their successful operation.
I like being able to cook well.
I dislike it when I want to pay by cash, but don’t have enough with me.
I like the air after it rains.
I dislike having to prove I’m not a robot.
I like waltzes.
I don’t like it when people double-park on a crowded Mass day.
I like having free time to catch up on everything.
I dislike it when priests exit the confessional without looking at or speaking to the disappointed parishioners waiting in line, and even worse is when they make it seem as if people are being a burden by coming when they do: “We priests often come at 3:30 to find a line forming. There is always time for a few confessions but priests need time to spiritually prepare to celebrate the Eucharist and cannot deal adequately with this long line. If Saturday confession has become your practice, please consider one of the other available times . . .”
I like carriage rides.
I dislike attending bank appointments.
I like pistachio-flavoured gelato.
I don’t like it when people lie to me or about me.
I like heavy proper furniture made of real wood.
I don’t like applying for scholarships or finding sponsors for my projects.
I like beeswax candles.
I don’t like it when people stand too close behind me in line.
I like looking at and sharing nice photographs.
I dislike it when people don’t say thank you.
I like seeing all the stars from a place away from the city lights.
I don’t like graffiti.
I like the glow of city lights.
I like neat handwriting.
I dislike suffering.
I like portulaca, because I met these flowers as a child, and I was astounded by their beauty. They remind me of tissue-paper crafts.
I don’t like uploading really large files.
I like tissue-paper crafts.
I don’t like downloading really large files.
I like coming home after being away.
I like music in the minor key.
I don’t like the writing of Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor or Thomas Merton, among others.
I like it when stains come out of clothing.
I don’t like most floral shirts.
I like laughing.
I dislike running late and showing up late.
I like knowing a good tailor.
I dislike seeing straws, water bottles or fast-food packaging after they’ve been used.
I like getting good advice.
I don’t like sad endings.
I like subtly striped sheets because then I know which way goes where.
I don’t like when my hands get chapped.
I like it when my favourite songs play on the radio.
I don’t like feeling excluded.
I like weddings and wedding anniversaries. I like wedding gowns and wedding flowers.
I like this day, July 31.
I like this summer.
I like the messages.
I like spending time with my family.
I like finishing and posting blog posts.
Motherhood is known to mothers
But even these forget
Even mothers forget
The secrets that they knew
Perhaps it would be better if they would remember
How close to death it felt
To give birth
Perhaps it would be better if they would remember
How much goodness and life
Came out of pain
For you see, that’s the crux of the mystery
That’s where a mother shares in
And the secret is: it repeats
The mother’s power
Does not end at the birth of her child
The mother’s power
To shape and to form, through her own suffering,
Extends to the spiritual
In the way that Christ paid the ransom for all
A mother can pay the ransom for her own
If she wants to
St. Monica paid it
And St. Augustine remembered it
For the sake of other mothers who know what is worth wanting
This is a mystery
But it is true
A mother can save her own
And you argue with me
Your agenda is to hide your own sin
A mother can save her own
Though a child sins in a way that seems new
(Sin is a corpse wearing makeup in the latest styles)
Though a child sins openly or behind closed doors
(Sin is everywhere)
A mother can save her own
Don’t speak to me of consent!
You do so for the sake of argument!
And should be ashamed
Does a child grant permission to be conceived?
Does a child grant permission to be born?
In the same way
A mother has the power
Through her own pain
To save her own
It’s a mystery
But it is the pattern
Those who can save
One sinner atones for the sins of another
This is news to you?
It’s the mystery of the mother
Always giving birth