A Cause For Tears

Altered Photo. Original Image by: Anders Ljungberg via Compfight cc

Father Joseph, the old curator of the Vatican archives, was giving a grand library tour to some novice priests who were visiting for the first time.

At the end of the tour, they came upon a steel vault and Father Joseph proudly proclaimed, “This room contains the oldest copies of the church documents and teachings. Some are even original documents drawn up by the church fathers. From these, monks over the centuries copied these all by hand. And these copies upon copies were used in our training and instruction as priests, and they form the basis for our doctrines.”

One novice raised his hand and said, “Father, did succeeding generations copy everything from the original document or from the copies as well?”

Father Joseph said, “Well, I would suppose they copied from the copies, as over time, the original documents became too fragile to withstand constant use.”

The novice pressed on, “And did anyone bother to check if the copies we have now match the original? I mean, what if someone made a mistake on that first copy? Then everyone else who copied from that source would have passed down the wrong information from generation to generation.”

Father Joseph chuckled and said, “That would be next to impossible, my boy. They had very stringent procedures on copying and proofreading. They had numerous safeguards against it. There were layers of proofreaders diligently checking for mistakes. If they found even one mistake in a manuscript, that would be burned and the monk would have to copy everything all over again. After all, this is the Holy Teachings of the Church we’re talking about.”

The young priest nodded at that answer, and seemed to be satisfied. No one else had any questions so Fr. Joseph dismissed them.

As he was walking back to the library, the young priest’s question came back to his mind and he was overcome with curiosity. He proceeded to the archives, went inside the vault, and carefully took out a small volume on the roles and responsibilities of the priesthood. He remembered holding a copy of this book when he was still a struggling seminarian. His teacher then had been very strict and had made the class memorize the entire book. Thanks to that training, Fr. Joseph was very well-versed with the book and could still recite long passages from memory. He opened the first page and began to read.

That night, there was a commotion at the priestly residences. Old Father Joseph had not shown up for the communal supper and could not be found anywhere. The priests were afraid that something had happened to him. One of them dimly remembered seeing him earlier, going towards the archives building. As they entered the building, they heard someone moaning and wailing. They followed the sound and found Father Joseph, still in the vault, sitting on the floor. His hands covered his face and his shoulders shook as he sobbed uncontrollably.

One young priest rushed over and wrapped an arm around the old man. “Father Joseph! Father Joseph! What is the matter? Why are you crying?”

“We got it all wrong! We got it all wrong!” wailed Father Joseph, refusing to be consoled.

“What’s wrong? What did we get wrong?” The young priest asked.

“CELEBRATE!” cried Father Joseph as he raised his hand and slammed the floor. “The damn word is CELEBRATE!”

Originally published in Sunstar Davao.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Violent Reactions? Send me an email at andy@freethinking.me. View past articles at www.freethinking.me.

Offending God

Is there really anything we can do to offend God?

Photo by JvL
Photo by JvL

Once, there was a devout man who saw a filthy, unkempt beggar just outside his house. He had pity on this beggar and invited him inside for a meal.

Before the meal, the man bowed his head to say a prayer of thanks. He had hardly gotten a few words out when the beggar suddenly started cursing God. He told the man, “If you want to feed me, just feed me, but I don’t want to hear you talking about God. God can go to hell for all I care.”

The host was visibly surprised and furious, “Don’t you know that if not for the love of God, I would not have invited you into my home? How dare you insult my God! Get out of my house at once.” And he shooed the beggar away.

God came to the devout man in a dream later that night and said, “That beggar has been cursing my name and spreading vicious lies about me for 18 years. Yet, all through this time, I have put up with him, fed him, kept him alive, and loved him. Could you not put up with him for a single meal?”

When we burn with righteous anger at other people seemingly offending God, is it really God who is offended? Or us?

What is baptism?

Baby Baptism - Photo by Racquel Veiga

A little boy was in a Catholic church with his dad to attend the baptism of their neighbor’s baby. The dad wanted his son to pay attention to this important ceremony so they sat right in front.

The boy sat transfixed at the priest as he poured water on the baby’s head and murmured a few words. Then in a loud voice, the boy turned to his dad and asked, “Daddy, why is he brainwashing the baby?”

Where is God?

Photo by Kevin Shorter


The king said to the master, “I will give you my entire kingdom if you can tell me where god is.”

The master replied, “I will give you the entire world if you can tell me where god is not.”

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