Sunday, January 28, 2007

Angels on cha-cha

THE Catholic Church would have us change the world by changing ourselves first.

The call for character change, as the Church’s version of “cha-cha” goes, is timely.

This early during election year, we need to take as many cold showers as possible.

The problem only with cold showers is that they douse the heat but sting you to overwakefulness: can people really change characters as they peel off the day’s shirt?

More than anyone else, the Church should know this.

Though rocked by controversies over sex abuses and lavish lifestyles of the clergy, Church leaders seem feeble and sluggish, loathe to adopt the changes it prescribes for others.

If the Church fails to cut an impressive figure as role model in the department of personal change, it is because they are one of us, if not always with us.

Were an angel to be placed among us, its blinding virtue would turn a little dingy, its wings somewhat frayed from brushing up against so much roughness.

How do angels deal with molting?

Our dilemma must be simpler. After all, in the hazards of our being human is our safeguard, too.

I remember the tale of my sculptor friend, Mons, and the angel he met.

Mons said the stranger turned up one day in his workshop, selling a used power grinder.

Mons remembers the stranger very well because he got the grinder very cheap.

And because the electric tool broke down a week after.

Mons knew neither the man’s name nor address. He doubted if the stranger even had a real name or permanent home.

He was resigned to entering that bad deal when the stranger turned up again. The man tried to convince Mons to invest in a treasure hunt for Yamashita’s gold.

Mons suspected another scam. But even if the treasure hunt was going to be for real, he had no money to invest.

He told the stranger so and went back to work. His welder was away and he was trying to meet his deadline.

In silence, the stranger watched Mons welding. Then he commented that the way my friend was joining the copper, Mons would never be able to finish it on time.

Half-peeved, half-desperate, Mons offered to pay him a day’s wage if he could do the work better.

The stranger did.

Mons was particularly impressed by his craftsmanship. The stranger worked cleanly although he was always looking over his shoulder, as if expecting cops to turn up and arrest him.

Mons met his deadline.

Paying the stranger his wage, Mons asked for his name.

“Angelo,” the creature said before disappearing again. 0917-3226131

* Published in Sun.Star Cebu’s Jan. 28, 2007 issue

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