To Give is Amazing

My father's father was born in Italy and baptized Felice Franci. When he came to the USA, like many immigrants he changed his name and was called Felix Francis.

While I didn't like being teased for having "two first names", I was proud of the statuette of St. Francis that Mom put in the backyard- I found a kinship in him and his love of creation, especially birds.

Years later, I not only have my own backyard statue of the man from Assisi, daily Alice and I repeat the prayer attributed to St. Francis (also known as The Peace Prayer). You know, the one that begins "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace...." Perhaps that prayer inspired this parable:

Many years ago, a man was sitting in quiet contemplation by a riverbank when he was disturbed by a beggar from the local village.

“Where is the stone?” the beggar demanded. “I must have the precious stone!”

The man smiled up at him. “What stone do you seek?”

“I had a dream,” the beggar continued, barely able to slow his words to speak, “and in that dream a voice told me that if I went to the riverbank I would find a man who would give me a precious stone that would end my poverty forever!”

The man looked thoughtful, then reached into his bag and pulled out a large diamond.

“I wonder if this was the stone?” the man said kindly. “I found it on the path. If you’d like it, you may certainly have it.”

The beggar couldn’t believe his luck, and he snatched the stone from the man’s hand and ran back to the village before he could change his mind.

One year later, the beggar, now dressed in the clothes of a wealthy man, came back to the riverbank in search of his anonymous benefactor.

“You have returned, my friend!” said the man, who was again sitting in his favorite spot enjoying the peaceful flow of the water before him.  “What has happened?”

The beggar humbled himself before the man.

“Many wonderful things have happened to me because of the diamond you gave me so graciously. I have become wealthy, found a wife and bought a home. I am now able to give employment to others and to do what I want, when I want with whomever I want.”

“For what have you returned?” asked the man.

“Please,” the rich beggar said. “Teach me whatever it is inside you that allowed you to give me that stone so freely.”
                                                           (Author Unknown)