By Msgr. Steven Ferrari
After paying for my purchase of a 40-pound bag of wild bird seed at the local hardware store, I was asked by the young man at the cash register, “Do you want your two pennies change?”
“Of course,” I replied, “a penny saved is a penny earned.”
He stared at me with a quizzical look on his face.
“You know, the proverb, like ‘a stitch in time saves nine,’” I stated.
Another blank look crossed the millennial’s face.
“How about ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’?” He had never heard of that either.
“Do you know who Benjamin Franklin was?” I ventured to ask. Yes, he had heard of him! I then explained how old Ben had collected lots of similar proverbs and maxims, publishing them in “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”
Leaving the store, I reflected sadly – just what are young people being taught these days? I remember so many such proverbs that I learned a half-century ago and still live by every day. Indeed, some of them help me get through the day! Most are based on tried-and-true principles of morality, economy and common sense.
How about “Don’t put off ’till tomorrow what you can do today,” or “Haste makes waste”?
Central Core of Beliefs
In his latest best-seller, simply entitled “Faith,” 93-year-old former U.S. President Jimmy Carter writes, “Where do we turn now when there is a moral question to be answered? What things in the twenty-first century are the same as they were eighty years ago? We still need a permanent foundation on which our lives can be fashioned.
Without a central core of beliefs or standards in which to have faith and by which to live, we may never experience the challenge and excitement of seeking a greater life.”
In our mixed-up society, when it is difficult to distinguish truth from lies, reality from ‘fake news,’ we must hold on to some moral standards and beliefs. Our faith teaches us that Jesus is “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Is there a better maxim than this?!
Could we not try once again to teach our children and grandchildren to “walk the straight and narrow”? St. Paul wrote, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
As for me, I will stick with one of my old favorites I learned as a child: “Do your best, your very best, and leave the rest to God.”
Msgr. Ferrari is the pastor of St. Teresa’s parish in Woodside.