My dear young friend,
How easily you become annoyed in your city! Surely this is a man whose
infirmities are obvious. He is blind – that is easy enough to test. Whether or
not he has this fell disease you name AIDS may be hidden, but surely blindness
should be sufficient.
Why, indeed, has God made this man to stand in your path each day as you go
to your work? As the Scripture says, the poor are always with us. If his blind
eyes seem to be upon you most particularly, should you not take it as a sign
from the Lord? For who else directs the eyes – and steps – of the blind?
There is a simple enough purpose in all this. Like all Christians, you must
be taught to give alms. The lesson may be hard or easy, but it does require one
thing. It requires someone to receive those alms with thanksgiving and blessing
for your name. Thus will you learn charity in this world and be blessed in the
You would pass the man by. You turn your eyes away from his unseeing orbs and
walk swiftly. Is this wise? Does this not indeed harden your heart? Had God
placed an army of beggars before you it might be different. You are correct; you
cannot cure the hunger of the world. But our Lord has not placed an army in your
path; only one beggar. When you turn away from him, do you not harden your
heart? Do you not sear your conscience?
Indeed, I think you have much to learn of this beggar. Day by day he stands,
bearing his supplication on silent paper. Surely you can see that by this method
he is fed – and thus learn that persistence is a virtue. For if he is fed in
his quiet persistence by the sinners who pass by, how much more will we be fed
if we persist in beseeching the Lord of Heaven?
Your beggar dispenses yet another lesson to you. Does not his poverty test
your wealth? At the least you should examine yourself and be grateful to God
that you are not the one standing alone and blind. Do more than that. Consider
that our heavenly Father provides for this man as he provides for you. No doubt
you prefer your provision, but do ask yourself: of what true value is my wealth?
Is it simply for my pleasure, or is some greater purpose to be achieved?
You tell me that AIDS is fatal. My young friend, life is fatal. This beggar
gives you yet another lesson. He teaches you that your end will come too, and
who knows which of you shall die first? Consider well the manner of your end,
and commit your ways to God.
Taken in all, I think you are highly indebted to this beggar. He teaches you
charity and persistence, breaks the hardness of your heart, tears you from the
snares of wealth and helps bring you to a good end. Surely, for such services as
he has rendered to you, you could spare the man a coin or two?
With my kindest regards,
Isaac the alchemist