Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (24)

by Kenny Cheng

A braggart acrobat arrived in Chieri and would purposely perform his shows in the public square on Sundays during Mass to attract more spectators. He would boast that his tricks were more important than anything a priest could teach. John Bosco decided to challenge him to four contests, each staking 240 francs. The first was a running race; John Bosco reverently crossed himself beforehand and won. The second was a long jump near a bridge. The acrobat jumped right in front of the bridge wall, but John Bosco landed on the wall, vaulted over it, and won. The third contest was performing “magic wand”; John Bosco deftly passed the rod around his body but the acrobat dropped it from his nose and lost. The fourth contest was climbing a tree and getting one’s feet highest; the acrobat reached the top branch, but John Bosco did a handstand on the same branch and won. The performer was humbled and would have been bankrupted, but John Bosco had mercy and only asked him to treat the two of them and his friends to dinner. The grateful performer was impressed by John Bosco’s determination to bring people closer to God.

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