Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Divide What You Have and Be Thankful for the Opportunity to Share: Don Camillo and His Flock

Don Camillo and His Flock by Giovanni Guareschi, translated by Frances Frenaye

This is the second book in English full of stories surrounding the huge Italian parish priest, Don Camillo. I wrote about the first book, The Little World of Don Camillo, here.

The stories in this book reveal Don Camillo's great love for the people of his village: a boy he rushes by motorcade to a hospital in the big city, a girl he protects from careless relatives, a boy he rescues from a dreary and suffocating life in a city school (to name a few). He is not afraid to be the loud and lonely voice of reason. Not that he is always in the right. Christ speaks still from his cross to remind Don Camillo of his failings.
"Christian charity doesn't mean giving the crumbs from your table to the poor; it means dividing with them something that you need yourself. When Saint Martin divided his cloak with a beggar, that was Christian charity. And even when you share your last crust of bread with a beggar, you mustn't act as if you were throwing a bone to a dog. You must give humbly and thank him for allowing you to have a part in his hunger. Today you simply played the part of an altruist and the crumbs you distributed were from someone else's table, not your own. You had no merit. And instead of being humble, you had poison in your heart."
Profound words for today's world.

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