Sunday 10 October 2010

No dentures.

In a poor and desolate town such as where Father Ignatius was stationed it was evident that he would meet a lot of hardship amongst his parishioners, especially in difficult economic conditions where jobs were scarce and business closures rife.

One day a young man came to him complaining that he couldn’t get a good job and he felt a bit down because of lack of prospects at the factory where he did menial tasks.

Of course, the priest sympathized with him. It is good to see someone with ambitions wishing to better himself and get on in life. Yet, put in its true perspective, there were many others with no jobs at all and living literally in poverty.

Father Ignatius wished to convey this message to the young man, but he had to do it gently and without being critical of someone hoping to improve a bad circumstance.

He sat down on his chair behind his desk and looked at the young man in the face for a second or two and then asked:

“Have you got all your own teeth?”

The young man was taken aback at this unexpected and somewhat irrelevant question.

“Ehm … yes …” he mumbled.

“All your teeth hein?” repeated the priest, “no false teeth or dentures?”

“Yes …” said the man.

“That’s good … Just like me” said Father Ignatius pensively, “I have all my own teeth. No false ones. I’ve been lucky that way!”

After a few moments of silence the young man asked, “What has that to do with what we were talking about Father?”

“Oh … I was just thinking …” remarked Father Ignatius, “there’s plenty of talk about grinding and gnashing of teeth in the Bible.

“I wondered what would happen to those people with no teeth. Would they get given dentures do you think?”

The young man was now more puzzled than ever and thought the priest was perhaps getting a little senile.

Father Ignatius smiled and asked “Are you in good health?”

“Yes I am …” said the man emphatically.

“In good health … and doing a menial job at the factory! It’s good to want to improve yourself. You live in a rented apartment do you not?”

“Yes I do … not far from the church!” said the man.

“Oh yes … I forgot,” said the priest, “and you go regularly to church too. That’s good. And you help with the Youth Club we run here. That’s very commendable you know.”

The young man smiled.

“Let’s try to recap,” said Father Ignatius gently, “you’re young, fit and healthy too, you live in an apartment nearby, work at the factory on the East side of town, doing menial jobs as you say … You go to church … A good Catholic lad I suppose … I also know you have a red bicycle. I’ve seen you cycle to church. And you help with our youth work … And to top it all you have all your own teeth … mustn’t forget the teeth!”

The young man smiled again as he understood what the priest was saying.

“You see …” continued Father Ignatius, “life is very hard for many people these days. And I don’t decry your wish to do better for yourself. That’s very laudable.

“But when we pray to God, let us thank Him for what we have rather than bemoan what we haven’t!

“He knows our situation and He’ll certainly take care of us.”

The young man went away much wiser than he came and very grateful for his lot.


  1. Hello Victor, Yes we have everything in the world to be thankful for.
    My mother-in-law (Italian) have all of her teeth until the day she died at 92yrs. She never used a toothbrush, just her finger and salt...
    Hey!!! I hope you get a VOKI!! I'd love to hear your English accent...My father was from there...and.... many thanks for putting your book cover on my autograph book!
    Please say a prayer for my is shortly to be sent to publishers, then we shall see???
    (It's an inspirational love story)..
    Hugs Crystal Mary

  2. Victor, love the moving dentures! Very interesting how you focus on the grinding and gnashing of teeth as a way to show how blessed we are in life. Wonderful story!

  3. Victor,
    Funny picture and a great story!
    We have so much to be grateful for in our lives despite tough economic times as Father Ignatius so gently points out.
    What's a VOKI? I never heard that word until I read Crystal Mary's comment. Whatever it is - I hope you get it :) (Provided that it's not some strange disease or something, of course!)

  4. Hi Friends,

    Indeed we are blessed more than we can imagine. I always thank the Lord that I still have my own teeth! Although there's so much I continue to pray for ... and I get the impression He's rather busy!

    Crystal Mary: I shall pray right now about your book. Best wishes. I'm rather too shy to put my voice on VOKI!

    Anne: I really like those moving dentures. I try to get a picture that fits with the stories I tell.

    Mary: A VOKI is a device by which you welcome your guests on your Blog by talking to them. Visit Crystal Mary and look for a "FLOWER" on the right hand side of her Blog. Click on the PLAY button and you'll hear Crystal Mary talking to you. Now you know what it is I look forward to hearing your voice on your Blog. You can use a synthesized voice if you don't want to talk yourself.

    I, however, am too shy and can never work out these modern contraptions. I tried it some time ago when Crystal Mary mentioned it to me and I nearly blew the speakers out it was so LOUD!

    God bless you all.

  5. Thanks for the info, Victor. I'll visit Crystal Mary and check it out. I'm shy, too :) When a person writes online you can't tell if a person is shy but if they have to speak you can!

  6. I never thought to be thankful for my teeth, but I guess I should be! I frequently have dreams about losing all my teeth, which is most distressing. So I really should be thankful. And thankful for all the other blessings I sometimes take for granted.

  7. What a time appropriate post my dear friend. So many people are suffering today and many need to be reminded of all they have to be thankful for.
    ........:-) Hugs

  8. You offer such a wise perspective on life. This post is a wonderful lesson in the need for awareness of our haves and not the have-nots and the reason for gratitude to the Creator for his gifts! Thank you! Cathy

  9. Hello Mary, Sarah, Bernie and Cathy,

    Thank you so much for your encouraging and supportive comments. I'm so grateful for your kindness.

    Well Mary ... I couldn't get VOKI to work so I did my own thing instead. Now it's your turn!

    God bless.

  10. Thanks for this one Victor. Fr. Ignatius always knows how to get those tough lessons across gently. Gratitude is something that we can easily forget when the negative seems to take over. I try to keep St Paul's words of being thankful to God in everything.
    Love the photo cube- very cool.

  11. Hello Karinann,

    It's so nice for you to visit and comment. Thank you.

    I agree ... we sometimes forget to count our blessings when life gets a little difficult.

    Hey ... Im glad you like the cube.

    God bless you Karinann.



God bless you.