Fulton J. Sheen in his Autobiography, Treasure in Clay Jars, shares an experience which tells us the significance of the decisions and choices which we make in our every day life.
“A boy was kicked out of school by the pastor and mother superior. Fulton J. Sheen took the boy along with him and went to that school and told the pastor and the superior a story of three boys. They were thrown out of religious schools. One because he was constantly drawing pictures during geography class; another because he was fond of fighting; and the third because he kept revolutionary books hidden under mattress. The first boy was Hitler, the second Mussolini and the third Stalin. After saying this Fulton J Sheen told the pastor and the mother superior, “I am sure that if the superiors of those schools had given those boys another chance, they might have turned out differently in the world. So also the case of this particular boy.”
Interestingly, that boy whom Fulton J. Sheen had taken to school later became a missionary. In the life of St. Vincent, we know there is a similar incident in which Vincent made that famous speech to the Ladies of Charity. St. Vincent and St. Louise had gathered many orphaned children from the streets of Paris. Initially the Ladies of Charity showed reluctance to take care of those children. They had many reasons for this like lack of enough places, finance, and above all most of these children were born from unwedded mothers, which made many look at those children with repugnance.
It is in this context Vincent spoke to them the following touching words:
“These children who were forsaken by their mothers, you received them with love and compassion as you your own children. …If you decide to cease to be their mothers, one day these children will be your judges!… Life and death of these children are in your hands…”
The Ladies of Charity moved by the words of Vincent, were ready even to sell their ornaments for taking care of those orphans. History of France can never forget the significance of their decision to take care of the orphans of Paris in the 17th century who were called foundlings, because they were found and collected from the streets of Paris.
Each day and each moment present before us the possibility to say “Yes” or “No.” It is always good to remember that the “Yes” and “No” which we say can have a very far-reaching consequence in our life and in the life of others. Perhaps that is why Vincent asked us to take our time to discern the will of God. Once we are convinced of the will of God then we must be firm in our “Yes.” Often to say “No” will be so easy like flowing according to the current of water. But to say “Yes,” is like swimming against the current of water, which requires strength and courage. We don’t find many such people; but all the good things we find in the history are the result of the “yes” of those few people.
About the Author:
Fr. Binoy Puthusery, C.M. is a Vincentian priest belonging to the Southern Indian Province. He was ordained as priest on December 27, 2008 and soon after served as an assistant parish priest in Tanzania. In 2011, after two years of ministry, he was appointed as Spiritual Director to the Vincentian Sisters of Mercy, Mbinga Tanzania. He currently lives in Barakaldo (Spain), and is a teacher in the Masters in Vincentian Studies.