Thursday, February 21, 2013

Selecting One who is Wise and Holy

With the disappearance of the last moth the chapter on small white caterpillars appearing on the kitchenette ceiling of the rectory came to an end. Some two months ago each morning the ceiling would be crawling with caterpillars. Each morning an effort was made to rid the ceiling of  the  unsightly creatures and  figure out where they were coming from.

Faced with the daily appearance of the larvae, I took a few of them and showed them to the Christians. They surmised that it could be some animal  that had died somewhere about the ceiling. It looked like the larvae you would find in a bag of rice, they said,  and recommended looking for the dead animal, or fumigating the house.

After a few more days of ridding the ceiling  of the larvae I called the community to the  rectory after Mass. About 10 of the Catholics came to the rectory and starting examining the area. Some looked for places that would allow the caterpillars to come down from above and one woman, in particular, started opening all the cabinet doors and checking the contents.  This had been done many times before without results. Suggestions were coming from the group when the woman took a box of oat meal  that had never been opened: took off the top and   showed us the origin of the larvae. They had eaten most of the contents.

Without doubt the discovery would have been made before efforts at fumigation or looking for dead animals. The  woman who made the discovery was  working from  personal  experience, knowledge and natural wisdom, sure that it was coming from below rather than  above. The  caterpillars disappeared gradually from the ceiling and in their place the  moths.

In this situation everyone knew the woman had found the reason for the larvae. There was no argument only acquiescence  at the discovery. Most of our problems however are not of this type but opinions without the possibilities in most cases of a  clear and unequivocal answers.

And  yet the wisdom of the past both in the East and West  acknowledged that  certain persons were better adept in judging and giving solutions. In most cultures they were the  wise  and holy people, standards that were not always the same. These person were for one reason or another persons you went to  for help.

Money, numbers, sympathizers and the mass media, for good or bad, are what seems to move us and take the place of the 'enlightened' ones of years past. As bad as the system may be,  many believe it  still is  the best available. However, the Cardinals will be getting together in a few weeks to select the new pope. Each of them will, in effect, want to select a person who for them is a wise and a holy person. They will pray that it is the choice God wants at this time and trust they can do it with simplicity and humility.

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