Fr. Ted Colleton

I have to thank the Lord and my Irish heritage for the fact that I have enjoyed excellent health for almost all my live—at least the physical level. However, I have to admit that I do suffer from a serious disease at the intellectual or psychological level. It is called “Plagiarism.”

It comes from the Latin “plagiarius” which means a “kidnapper.” It mainly afflicts those who write articles for magazines and monthly newspapers. What it means in practice is the tendency to copy or “kidnap” the writing of other people and pretend that they are the product of your own intelligence. The disease usually attacks towards the end of the month when a message comes through on your answering machine—“Father, we expected your article yesterday.”

A sudden attack

I suffered a sudden attack of plagiarism a few days ago, when I was sitting in the office of a school principal. On the notice board I spotted an article under the above heading and asked the principal to let me have a copy, which he did. I have no idea who the author is or even if I am guilty of offending against the copyright laws. But I have recovered from the attack of “Plagiarism” and admit that I am not the author. However, I think these “The Commandments of Human Relations” are well worth passing on to my readers. The practice of them could make a tremendous difference to our lives and the lives of those whom we meet with or pass on the “Road of Life.”

1. Speak to people. There is nothing so nice as a cheerful word of greeting.

2. Smile at people. It takes 72 muscles to frown and only 14 to smile.

3. Call people by name. The sweetest music to anyone’s ears is the sound of his/her own name.

4. Be friendly and helpful. If you would have friends, be a friend.

5. Be cordial. Speak and act as if everything you do is a genuine pleasure.

6. Be genuinely interested in people. You can like everybody if you try.

7. Be generous with praise – cautious with criticism.

8. Be considerate with the feelings of others.

9. Be alert to give service. What counts most in life is what we do for others.

10. Add to this a good sense of humour, a big dose of patience and a dash of humility – and you will be rewarded many fold.

Perhaps the above Commandments could be summed up in the following verse.

“Is anybody happier because you passed their way?

Does anyone remember that you spoke to them today?

The day is almost over and its toiling time is through. Is there anyone to utter now a grateful word of you?

As you take a glance over the day that’s slipping fast, did you help a single person of the many that you passed?

Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?

Does the one whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?

Did you win the day or lose it?

Was it well or sorely spent?

Did you leave a trail of kindness or scar of discontent?

As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say, “You have earned one more tomorrow by the good you did today?”