A retired journalist, now a visiting professor in a Journalism School reminisces on his life and how he comes to where he is today. He writes in The Eyes of the Believer Column of the Catholic Times.
No money, no talent, ugly…. Barnaby, an acrobat with nothing, had nowhere to go, so he turns to a monastery. The monks in the monastery each showed their wonderful knowledge and talents and were living a life of consecration to Our Lady. Writing poetry or drawing, doing construction work or playing music.
Barnaby laments for having nothing to offer. One day, the monks went looking for Barnaby and found him in the chapel where a strange scene was unfolding. In front of the statue of Our Lady with no one present, Barnaby was standing on his hands and spinning a ball and a sword with his feet. This was the only skill that Barnaby had developed. The monks saw this as a form of blasphemy, grabbed him, and were ready to move him out of the chapel when an unbelievable sight arose in front of them.
When Barnaby, who had been performing with all his might, fell exhausted, the statue of the Virgin moved and approached Barnaby; she wiped the sweat on Barnaby's forehead with her blue hem.
The above short story entitled "Our Lady's Juggler" is the work of French Nobel Prize-winning writer Anatol France. It is a reconstruction of a folktale that has been handed down in Europe since the Middle Ages. He read this short story by chance long before he was baptized, and he remembers vividly the emotion that spread from his heart to his whole body.
After baptism, the words in the passage about the "widow's donation" (Lk 21:1-3) also spoke to his heart. He doesn't know why. "As Jesus looked up he saw rich people putting their offerings into the treasury; then he happened to notice a poverty-stricken widow putting in two small coins, and he said, I tell you truly, this poor widow has put in more than any of them; for these have all contributed money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in all she had to live on."
These two stories emphasize that my everything, my sincerity is more important than the size and worldly value of material things like money.
After he was baptized, he found great comfort and courage from these stories as he lived his life of faith. These stories always say: "It's okay, nothing else matters. All I need is my wholeheartedness" he was encouraged. What could he offer with all his heart? Rather than money or any other talent, it had to be writing or work related to media.
First of all it was important to faithfully comply with the teaching of the Catholic world. The first media of the church that received his manuscripts was the bulletin of the Seoul Archdiocese. After writing in the Seoul Bulletin for a month once a week, there were many requests for manuscripts from media inside and outside the church.
At first, he was afraid to write because he didn't know the social teaching of the church. There were many worries that he would be saying things that were contrary to church teaching. Because of this, it took him a lot of time to write while searching for materials and asking around. Thanks to that, he did a lot of studying in areas in which he felt inadequate.
After becoming familiar with social teaching, he focused on social issues in editorials and columns that he uses to write for his newspaper as well as other media. There was little that was not in some way a social issue. The principles used in interpreting and acting on social phenomena: the principle of human dignity, the common good, were actually very similar to those of journalism. When he was working as an editorial board member, he piled up books on social issues on his desk and studied them and now feels comfortable in his work which continues in retirement.