After I graduated from Saint Louis University law school in 1982, my wife and I moved back to Peoria. At that time, my wife was pregnant with our second child. Shortly after returning to Peoria, I began teaching CCD classes on Sunday mornings at St. Sharbel Catholic Church to seventh- and eighth-grade students.
A couple of weeks ago one of my clients started talking about one of his favorite pastimes — reading comic books. My mind immediately flashed back to when I was a boy in the 1960s. Back then, I hated reading assignments from school, but I loved reading comic books. The first product that I ever ordered through the mail was a product that I discovered by reading an advertisement in a comic book.
If you’re like me, you probably never heard of Saint Bernardino of Siena (1380–1444). I learned about him a couple of weeks ago when I read a summary of his life. His feast day is on May 20, the same day as my birthday. This year, when I turned 57, I decided that it was time for me to learn about the saint who is honored by the Catholic Church every year on my birthday.
Last summer while my wife and I were having dinner at a local restaurant, the waitress who was serving our table asked me how everything was going with my law practice. I looked at her, hesitated, and answered, “It’s going pretty well.” Since I didn’t recognize her, I asked, “Do you work for a law firm?” She answered that she had worked at the courthouse for several years before quitting her job.
In March 1990, I interviewed my grandmother, Cecilia LaHood (Grandma Ceil), for an article I was going to write and distribute at an upcoming 80th birthday party her children were planning for her. Grandma Ceil’s date of birth was April 15, 1910. During the interview, Grandma told me that her family lived in three different houses during the first six years of her life. None of those houses had electricity or hot water. I recorded the interview and later transcribed what Grandma said. Here’s what she told me about their fourth home:
At about 1:30 on a Friday afternoon 13 years ago, I took a break from work and sat down to eat a quick lunch. While I was eating, I glanced through a multipage sales letter I had received from a company I had never heard of. The owner of the company claimed that he was a multimillionaire, and he was promoting a three-day conference in Las Vegas, where (he promised) he would teach the “secrets” of how to become wealthy.
As you know, two of the Ten Commandments deal with covetousness: “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife,” and “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods.” Covetousness is defined as an inordinately strong desire for possessing someone or something. In his book Victory Over Vice, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said: