Sunday, 14 February 2010

Approachable Ignatius.



Time was when priests were more approachable and people felt more at ease discussing their problems with them and seeking guidance. But times change and with them habits and customs change too.

Nowadays people are more willing to spend their hard-earned cash consulting psychiatrists and counselors than asking the man of God for his wisdom and opinions.

Somehow, this distancing from one’s flock has been precipitated by busy modern lifestyles where people are working all hours at their disposal. And priests too are pre-occupied with Parish meetings, Ecumenical Councils, and various other tasks and targets set upon them by their clerical hierarchies.

Father Ignatius was well aware of this changing trend, and being an old-fashioned old-school type of priest he did his utmost to keep in touch with grass roots in his church. He knew most people personally by first name, he visited them at home often, or in hospital when they were ill, or at the police station or jail when they were in trouble. And in turn, they did not hesitate to trouble him with their worries and problems at all times of night and day.

Many times did he settle down of an evening to watch his favorite team play football on TV, or to listen to his favorite classical music when the phone rang and a parishioner needed help. Or the door bell rang, and they brought their problems to his doorstep or lounge even!

Mrs Frost was such an example when she turned up to the Parish house one evening in tears.

“My husband has just left home” she sobbed as she sat down on the settee clutching a handkerchief tightly in her hand.

Father Ignatius listened attentively and sympathetically. There was very little he could practically do straightaway. The newly married couple had a row about something or other and Mr Frost stormed out of the house in a temper.

The priest tried his best to console Mrs Frost and after saying a prayer together she calmed down enough to return home; which was within walking distance of the church. Father Ignatius promised to call on them the next day after morning Mass.

Thankfully Mr Frost was at home and with his usual patience and gentleness Father Ignatius succeeded in getting them to discuss their problem. Amongst the tears and prayers it soon became apparent that their troubles stemmed from lack of communication leading to misunderstandings and confusion.

“Praise the Lord …” said the priest gently, “you really do love each other deeply; yet you can’t hear each other because of the noise of your busy lifestyles.

“Let me tell you a story which perhaps may help you to focus on what is going on here …” continued Father Ignatius,

“There once was a married couple who'd been together for many years; longer than the two of you have been married.

“One day the wife was unwell with a heavy cold. Her loving husband stayed at home and helped around the house. After seeing the children to school he offered to make her something to eat.

“She asked for a salad sandwich made with a French baguette which they had just bought that morning.



“The husband went into the kitchen, cut the ends of the French baguette, and with the middle bit made the most delicious sandwich, with tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers - just as his wife likes it.

“She must have felt pretty bad that day, because when he presented the sandwich to her she snapped ‘Why do you always cut the end bits of the baguette for yourself? They're my favorite!’

“He smiled and said ‘My dear, I hate the end bits, they're crunchy and dry ... I've been having them for years because I thought you hated them too!’

“You see … all these years he was trying to please her, and little did he know that she preferred the end bits of the French bread … and all this time she thought he was selfish by taking her favorite bits of the bread to himself, but she said nothing because she loved him as much as he loved her … all because of lack of communication.

“How many problems can be avoided in life if we learn to communicate honestly and openly with each other?

“So as I leave you can I urge you please to find out how you like your sandwiches,” he concluded with a smile.

26 comments:

  1. What a lovely story for Valentines day Victor.

    Only thing is, I can't decide which end of the baguette I prefer...........

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  2. Hi Shadowlands,

    It's so nice to see you visiting here again. Hope you're keeping well.

    I like any part of the baguette with salad, olive oil and ground pepper. Or with olives and fetta cheese. Or ... I'm hungry now ...

    Bye ...

    God bless.

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  3. Really wonderful story...As always, a wonderful lesson! Cathy

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  4. I wish every young couple could read this story.....thank you.

    Happy Valentine's Day......:-) Hugs

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  5. Hi Cathy,

    I'm so glad you liked this story.

    Hello Bernie,

    Lack of communication is a problem indeed in our busy lives these days.

    Happy Valentine's Day and may God bless you Cathy and Bernie.

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  6. This was a lovely message for Valentines Day.

    As for baguettes, I like them best as French toast. We had some this morning for our Valentines breakfast!

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  7. Hi Sarah,

    I think we should start a Baguette Appreciation Society. You like French toast, I like them with salad and olives and fetta cheese. Shadowlands has still to decide. What do other readers think?

    God bless you Sarah. Thanx for your visit here.

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  8. I enjoy your Father Ignatius posts, Victor! I laughed at the dog's name in The missing cross. Secretly, I was glad Father did not tell the detectives about the men. They kind of reminded me of the good thief on the cross :)

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  9. Hi Victor
    I can SO relate to this story. Communication has always been difficult in our 62 years of marriage. But we keep trying. That's my Valentine message to young couples.
    Keep trying.

    Thanks for the sweet story.

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  10. Oh, and thank you for praying for my friend who had a brain tumor removed, she is doing very well:)

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  11. Hello Mary,

    Thanx for writing in and for your kind comments. Father Ignatius' dog is a good Roman Catholic dog; hence his Latin name! I left the ending of the story somewhat open because it is not clear whether what the men in the park said is akin to being in a confessional. They clearly knew who stole the Cross. If the priest told this to the police this may have led to an arrest.

    I'm grateful to God that your friend is now doing well. Anyone needing prayers here are always welcome to ask me through the comments column. Or privately via my website www.holyvisions.co.uk

    Hi Maryellen,

    It's so nice of you to write in. I agree, communication can be a major problem in marriage, at work, and in life in general. It's a balance between keeping things to oneself and bottling it in, or saying something which could be misunderstood and have repercussions.

    I'm grateful to you and Mary for your comments. May God bless you Maryellen and Mary.

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  12. Another great story. I've never heard of the humble baguette being used in a story to demonstrate the importance of good communication before!

    I think we all enjoy baguettes. My favourites are as an accompaniment to a bowl of wholesome soup; with good some good French cheese or made into garlic bread with a good Italian lasagne. Mmm, I'm making myself hungry, thinking about it!

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  13. Hello Miss Ellen,

    I'd forgotten about baguette slices with garlic bread. That's nice too. As well of course as ... du pain, du vin et du Boursin!

    God bless.

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  14. I posted a story on my blog about your book:

    http://basketcase-adventures.blogspot.com/2010/02/what-im-reading-these-days-vol-1.html

    I'm also leaving it in the sidebar; I'm starting a list of favorite books there.

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  15. Thank you so much Sarah for your kindness to me.

    God bless you always.

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  16. I'm so grateful to get ANY of a baguette with this lot I don't care which bit it is.

    I have a very important question Victor....who is Fr. Ignatius' favourite football team?

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  17. Hi Mother of this lot,

    Ah .. but do you like plain baguettes or with sesame seeds, or poppy seeds or ...

    As for Father Ignatius' favourite football team: Christians United of course.

    God bless you and your family for visiting here and for your comments.

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  18. You know what, Victor? Truthfully, I wish more priests were like Father Ignatius. Where I live there is a huge shortage of priests and it is hard to get spiritual help because they are run ragged. When I was a kid this was different. Priests used to even come to dinner at parishioners homes. I understand times have changed but there have been times when I have really needed spiritual direction. I guess I really have to pray more for vocations.

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  19. You're so right Mary. I remember priests coming to our home for Sunday lunch as we grew up. One used to visit at least two or three times a week ... (perhaps we were terrible sinners!).

    Now they seem to be so busy ...

    Thank you for visiting here Mary. God bless you.

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  20. I did not want to post another comment on your latest post because I didn't want to interfere with your comment count. I just want to let you know that I have just posted a link to that post in the hope of directing some more comments to it.

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  21. This is a great story and a wonderful lesson for all relationships, not just for married couples.

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  22. Hello Puzzled,

    Thank you for being so kind and considerate. I hope you visit here again and comment. God bless you.

    Hi Elizabeth,

    You're so right. Break-down in communications do lead to a lot of difficulties ... and not just in marriages.

    God bless.

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  23. Your hearwarming, sweet story, reminds me of the Gift of the Magi. God bless you and Feliz Navidad.

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    Replies
    1. Feliz Navidad to you and your family Mommynovenas. Thank you so much for your visit. Looking forward to your many returns here.

      God bless.

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  24. Replies
    1. Thanx Eileen. We hope to see you here again soon.

      God bless.

      Delete

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