A Tribute to Bob Ronald

by on Wednesday, 07 January 2009 Comments
You were smiling a lot, Bob, not speaking very much.
But, during these last years, you wrote down streams of words,recollections, essays, editorials...And, above all: fables. Around 250 of them.
You loved fables, you loved these short stories with malicious endings

- "There are lessons hidden here" -,

stories with dogs who bark and dogs who do not bark,
stories with trees, kings and farmers,
stories full of the wisdom taught by the Earth and by Heavens,
stories as flavory as the cookies that your mother was keeping in a jar.
We loved your fables, Bob, and we will share them with many,
with all people ready to open up their ears and to listen.

But do you know Bob?

You were a fable by yourself, the best, the most majestic of all the ones you wrote.
You were for us the parable of God.
Seeing you as you were, we learnt to know better the God who takes patience,
the God who has lovingly entrusted the world to his sons and daughters,
the God who transforms us just by doing nothing, just by staying with us.
And we were also witnessing in your silent, constant and formidable fight
the God who works as a gardener so that life may flourish,
the God who cherishes all forms of life,
the God who constantly works in the rocks, in the flesh and in the spirit.
Yes, you were for us the living story of the God who inhabits your body, our bodies,
and who makes them the seed of His Kingdom,
provided we freely accept to fall into the earth and to die there for bearing fruit
as you did, day after day, with few words and good smiles.

So, Bob, thanks for having been the seed and the story hidden in our midst,
and help us to make sense of our own story, keeping gratefully in mind
the fable that has been your life,
now that it has become one with the wondrous story of Christ

- "For there are lessons hidden here."
 

Bob was born in Martinez, California on Oct. 1, 1932. He entered the Jesuits in 1950 and was ordained a priest in 1965. He arrived in Taiwan in 1957 and was diagnosed with polio in 1958. After getting a M.A. as a professional rehabilitation counselor he founded the Operation De-Handicap in 1973 and worked at the Veteran General Hospital till his retirement. During the last five years he worked as English editor for Renlai and eRenlai and wrote around 250 fables as well as more than 200 editorials and essays.

 

We will miss him dearly. At the same time, we remember him as a living story of the God, a parable of God in our midst, showing us the patience and serenity of the Creator who has entrusted the world to his sons and daughters as well as His tireless labor for making life grow and triumph. Bob was a patient but formidable fighter, and will help us to receive as a gift the resources of strength, and inner peace that we continuously need.

Benoit Vermander (魏明德)

Benoit Vermander lives in Shanghai. He teaches philosophy and religious anthropology at the University of Fudan.

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