Monday, June 17, 2019
Msgr. José Luis Hernando - The Archdiocese of Miami
A few days ago, this sort of parable came to me, courtesy of a father who cooks for a living. This good man had a daughter whose topics of conversation always were the same: her complaints, her problems and her frustrations. She looked tired and with little motivation to live.
One day, the father brought his daughter to the kitchen, where he used his culinary knowledge and deep wisdom. He filled three pots with water and placed them over the fire. Soon the water started to boil. The father placed a carrot in the first pot; an egg in the next one; and a few grains of coffee in the last one. He left the pots boiling and asked his daughter to wait a few minutes.
The daughter waited patiently, wondering what it was that her father wanted to teach her. After 30 minutes, the father took out the carrot, the egg and the coffee beans, placing each in a different cup. He then told his daughter, “If you touch the carrot, you will notice that it is soft. If you break the eggshell, you will see that it is hard inside.” Then the daughter tasted the coffee and smiled, enjoying its rich aroma.
She asked him about the meaning of all that. Her father’s answer was a lesson: All three elements had faced the same adversity in the boiling water, but they reacted differently. The carrot went into the water with strength and pride, but the water weakened it, almost to the point of making it fall apart. The egg went fragile into the water; its delicate shell protected its liquid interior, which began to harden after being in the boiling water. But the coffee beans were the only ones that changed the water.
The father continued explaining his lesson: “My daughter, how do you respond when adversity knocks on your door? Are you like the carrot that believes it is strong but almost disappears little by little? Are you like the egg, that starts with a soft heart or a sweet spirit, but becomes hard and rigid after a misfortune, a loss, an illness or an obstacle? Consider that difficulties may make you bitter, hardening your heart.”
“My daughter,” he continued, “I want you to think about the coffee, which is able to change the water, the environment, the negativism, everything that is an obstacle and a difficulty. The more the water boils, the better the taste the coffee achieves. If we are like the coffee, when difficult situations arise, we will react in a positive way, with patience and determination, not allowing difficulties to defeat us. Daughter of mine, always act the same way as the coffee. That is the only way that you will able to imbue your surroundings with the sweet aroma of good works.”