you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be
happy, practice compassion (The
ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, not only
to others but also to ourselves. Let's
learn from the
following story of love, compassion and forgiveness.
Here's a story of love, compassion and forgiveness
narrated by Dr. Scott Hahn at a conference
in Denver regarding the beggar who heard Pope John Paul II's confession.
This story has been mentioned in Sunday's homily several times.
A priest was in Rome and had a scheduled audience with Pope John Paul
II. The meeting was scheduled for late afternoon and having some time on
his hands, he went to a nearby church to pray.
There were some steep
steps leading up to the church and as he climbed the steps he noticed a
number of beggars sitting on the steps. This isn’t unusual because there
are a lot of beggars in Rome.
As he passed, a man looked familiar, but
he continued on into the church and prayed. While praying it dawned on
him who the beggar he saw was –it was a former classmate from the
seminary who had been ordained a priest with him. Shocked by this
knowledge, he returned to the steps and found the fellow and said, "Are
you Father Jim?”
"Yes," replied the beggar.
"What has happened that you are in this condition now?”
"None of your business – so bug off and leave me alone.”
It was almost time, so he left and went to Vatican. As the audience
progressed, the Pope’s secretary gave each participant a rosary and each
person was allowed to approach the Holy Father for his blessing.
people were just blessed without speaking to the Holy Father. When it
came his turn, he said to Pope John Paul, "Holy Father, I just had a
shock. I encountered a former classmate who was ordained with me, now
sitting as a beggar on the steps of St. Mary’s here in Rome. Will you
please pray for him?” The Holy Father nodded and the priest moved on.
Before he left the audience, he was approached by the Pope’s secretary
who gave him two tickets to have dinner with the Holy Father that night
at Vatican. He told the priest to bring his friend with him.
The priest hurried back to St. Mary’s and found his friend was still
there. He approached him and said, "Jim, we’ve been invited to dine with
the Pope tonight.”
Jim answered angrily, "Are you crazy? I’m a beggar –look at me – I’m
dirty and haven’t a decent garment to wear – bug off!"
"Listen," said the priest. "You’ve got to go with me. You are my ticket
to this dinner! My hotel room is across the street. I’ll take you there
and you can shower and shave and some of my clothes will fit you– you’ll
He almost dragged the poor beggar to the hotel room. He got him all
cleaned up and they returned to Vatican for dinner. They were ushered
into a room with a long table. The Holy Father was at the head of the
table. After three courses of delicious food, the Pope’s secretary
approached Father Jim and asked him to step into the hall. He then left
with the secretary.
Some time later, people asked, "When will they return for the dinner?"
"This Pope, we never know him," replied Pope’s secretary.
After dinner, the priest asked Father Jim, "What went on there and what
With tears in his eyes, Father Jim said, "Well, the secretary took me
into the hall with the Pope. The Holy Father said to me, 'Father Jim,
will you hear my confession?'
I exclaimed, ‘Holy Father, I’m just a beggar!’
‘So am I,' replied the Holy Father.
'But', I replied, 'I'm not a priest in good standing.'
The Holy Father answered, 'Once a priest, always a priest.'
"Pope John Paul II knelt down and I heard his confession. When he had
received absolution, I knelt before him and asked him to hear my
confession too, which he did. Then the Pope had reinstated my priestly
faculties and assigned me to St. Mary’s parish where my ministry would
be to the beggars there." Father Jim said.
Love, not time, heals all
By Tim Pedrosa
Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: It
is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.
~William Jennings Bryan