Favor Bank: Can you recall the ‘favor’ The Godfather requested?

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Favor Bank

Godfather Bonasera funeral home after Sonnys deathMost of the time, there are good reasons why we are reluctant to ask for help, even from friends and even when we need it.

But other reasons might not be so good. For example, many people are reluctant to accept favors from others because they would feel obliged to reciprocate.

In Tuesday’s post this week, we looked at the famous opening scene in The Godfatherwhen the undertaker Bonasera seeks help from Don Corleone only when he found he couldn’t get justice from the courts and police.

After Corleone agrees to have some men beaten at Bonasera’s request, he tells Bonasera with no small degree of menace: “Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me.”

We’re left to wonder, and no doubt Bonasera worries about what frightful thing he might be called upon to do.

We find out later in the movie, after Sonny Corleone has been murdered by rival gangsters.

Don Corleone arrives at Bonasera’s funeral parlor along with men carrying Sonny’s mangled body and asks, “Well, my friend—are you ready to do me this service?”

And what does he ask for?

“I want you to use all your powers—and all your skills. I don’t want his mother to see him this way.”

Doesn’t that seem like a very modest request to make? To ask an undertaker to prepare a body for a decent burial?

Apparently, it’s possible to accept a favor, even from someone as evil as Don Corleone, without incurring a debt of reciprocity that can never be repaid.

What do you think about these remarkable scenes in The Godfather?

Does this network of favors surprise you at all?

These days, are you more, or less, likely to do a favor—or ask for one?

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(Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online magazine covering spirituality, religion, interfaith and cross-cultural issues.)

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