A Blacksmith’s Fear of God Helps Him Find the Just Price

We find a concern for God’s justice reflected in a conversation between Saint John Bosco and a simple blacksmith who supported the saint’s works and began the following conversation:

–“Do you know what my biggest worry is?”

–“Surely it must be to live and die in the grace of God.”

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–“No, I’m not worried about death. I take care, though, to be prepared for it when it comes. My biggest worry is this: I am a blacksmith, and I am very much troubled when after finishing a job I have to decide on the price I must charge. As I enter the charge in my book I ask myself: Will the good Lord write down the same amount? If I charge more, won’t that be a charge against me? To play it safe, I always charge 20% less than the ordinary rate” (Giovanni Battista Lemoyne,  The Biographical Memoirs of St. John Bosco, ed. Diego Borgatello [New Rochelle, N.Y.: Salesiana Publishers, Inc., 1965], 1:230).

Obviously not all tradesmen can or should take such a position. However, the fact that this simple and prosperous blacksmith and many others like him showed such a great concern for justice can only have created an atmosphere favoring commerce in general.

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