Parallel Parking


I was doing parallel parking in front of St. Mary's Basilica to catch the 12:10 p.m. Mass but it was taking me too many little turns to squeeze into the space between two cars. A lady Mass-goer appeared and offered help by giving me a driving tip. There was joy on her face when she saw me complete my parking "perfectly," she said, giving a thumbs up.

I thanked her for the help which she did not really have to give. But it was a little act of kindness that merited much appreciation from me.

We were inside the church on time.

After Mass, there was an old woman, Jane, who often sat at the steps with her hat, a bag and her cane, and as usual, she extended her hand for a dollar. How could I skip giving her a dollar again this time?

I was reminded of a fable in the novel "The Brothers Karamazov" of Fyodor Dostoevsky, a Russian novelist. An old woman performed only one kind deed in her life: she pulled an onion in her garden and gave it to a beggar. After her death, she was put in a lake of fire but that kind deed was enough for her to be given a second chance. An angel let down an onion for her to hold on to as the angel pulled her up. But when others in the lake of fire clung to her, she deliberately shook them off and the onion broke and all of them fell again into the lake of fire.

In the school where I graduated and later taught, the vision and mission was to educate and produce "men and women for others."

That is exactly what each one of us should be: men and women for others. For "whatever we do to one of the least of the Lord's brothers, we do it for Him."

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither rust nor moth consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Matthew 6:19-20)

And when we come face to face with Him on judgment day, would we not want to hear: "For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me . . . Come, you blessed of My Father and take your inheritance prepared for you since the foundation of the world." (Matthew 25:34-36)

Parallel parking assistance. A dollar for a beggar. An onion for a beggar. Little treasures sent up. They all add up.#

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