Wine Soup!

“What would you like to do if you were rich, very rich?”

The house where Saint Josemaría stayed in Perdiguera.

The house where Saint Josemaría stayed in Perdiguera.

This unusual question came from the lips of young Father Josemaría, fresh from his priestly ordination and caught up in his first assignment to Perdiguera, a village with a population of a 800 not far from Saragossa. He was speaking with the son of the family with whom he lodged, a little boy who spent each day pasturing goats, and to whom he taught catechism each evening in preparation for First Holy Communion. “One day, to see how much he was learning, it occurred to me to ask him:
‘What would you like to do if you were rich, very rich?’
‘What does being rich mean?’ he answered.
‘To be rich is to have a lot of money, to have a bank…’
‘And…what is a bank?’

“I explained it in a simple way and continued: ‘To be rich is to have a lot of land, and instead of goats, very big cows. And to go to meetings, change suits three times a day… What would you do if you were rich?’ His eyes opened wide, and then at last he said: ‘I’d eat lots of bowls of soup with wine in it!’

“All our ambitions come down to that; nothing is worthwhile. Strangely enough I have never forgotten that story. It struck me and made me think: ‘Josemaría, it is the Holy Spirit speaking.’ God in his wisdom did this to teach me that the things of the earth, all of them, come to that: very, very little.”

———

I have often heard this story; more on it is available at Josemaría Escrivá dot info.

All of our ambitions, dear reader, come down to that. And if you and I become rich? Then what? Then shall we go out and find our own silly wine soup. These problems of our country—of your country, wherever you are, dear reader—are first-world problems.

Gay rights? Really? That’s the best you can come up with?

Maybe it’s time to pay a visit to your brother who works three jobs, and would consider it a watershed moment if he could make twenty an hour, and barely makes the end of one paycheck stretch to touch the beginning of the next.

Maybe it’s time to find a real problem to solve.

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About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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