By: Father James E. Shea C.Ss.R.,
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
As two elderly women were enjoying the warm breeze in the park, they began fussing about their husbands. One woman said, “I do wish my Harry would stop biting his nails. That makes me terribly nervous!”
“Oh, my Elmer used to do the same thing,” the other woman commented. “But I broke him of that habit real quick.”
“Tell me,” said the other woman, “what did you do?” With a sheepish grin she said, “I hid his false teeth.”
The older we get the more we realize that the people who want to help themselves can only do so by helping others. It’s a basic law of success. This law comes to us right out of the bible, “Whatsoever you do for the least of my brethren you do for me.” “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” “I’ve come to serve not to be served.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
One of the most successful men who has used this principle was James Cash Penney. Mr. Penney started with a small general merchandise store in Kemmerer, Wyoming, in 1902. From tht store he bult a multimillion-dollar business empire on one simple principle: The Golden Rule.
For years the Penney stores were called “The Golden Rule Stores.” And it was Mr. Penney’s faith in the Golden Rule principle – always treating a customer as he himself would want to be treated – that made him grow and prosper.
But perhaps even more importantly was Mr. Penney’s attitude toward his employees. In the first place he did not like the word ’employee.’ He treated everyone like a partner. Rather than referring to his hired helpers as ’employees’ he referred to them as ‘associates.’ And he devoted himself to treating them as he would want to be treated. Most of all he knew that by helping them make money, his own success would be assured.
“No man is an island,” wrote John Donne. Yet, so many of us still fear the loss of self through serving others. Actually, serving others is the only way to find oneself.
During World War I a Protestant chaplain with the American troops in Italy became a friend of a local Roman Catholic priest. In time the chaplain moved on with his unit and was killed. The priest heard of his death and asked military authorities if the chaplain could be buried in the cemetery behind his church. Permission was granted.
But the priest ran into a problem with the chancery office. The bishop was sympathetic, but he said that he would not approve the burial of a non-Catholic in a Catholic cemetery. So, the priest buried his friend just outside the cemetery fence.
Years later, a war veteran who knew the story of the Bishop and the Pastor, returned to Italy and visited the old priest. The visiting veteran asked the priest to see the chaplain’s grave. To his surprise, he found the grave inside the fence.
‘Oh,” he said, “I see that you got permission to move the body.” “No,” said the priest. “They told me where I couldn’t bury the body. But nobody ever told me I couldn’t move the fence,”
I wonder what God thinks when he watches us humans making laws and establishing policies. Jesus had but two laws – love God and love neighbor…whether you are boss, employee or associate,…or whether you are inside the fence or outside.
Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.
Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.