Sunday, 20 February 2011


Father Ignatius had been tendering to his flock at St Vincent Church for years. He knew them all, the young, the old, the not-so-young and the infants still in their prams and push-chairs. He visited them often at their homes and shared their joys, their hopes, their fears and their doubts.

He observed that they all seemed to have one thing in common – they always worried about something or other. And in most cases, it was un-warranted worries about matters which may not even happen anyway.

Some worried about the economic situation and how they would make ends meet, or whether they'll lose their jobs, or be able to find a job even. Others worried about their families, their children, or the state of their marriage and life. Many worried about their health or some other problems - some real and some just imagined.

They came to him, his flock of sheep, day after day, week after week, with their problems and worries. Seeking his advice or sometimes just to unload their heavy weights on someone else. And as ever, he was always approachable, giving advice where he could, and praying with them for God's guidance and enlightenment.

One Sunday, whilst delivering his sermon he acknowledged that times were hard and that it was understandable when people worried about many things. He tactfully pointed out that more often than not, their worries were unnecessary since their fears never materialised anyway.

He reminded them that excessive worry showed a certain lack of Faith in God. A sure sign that we don’t believe He can help us. An insult even to His omnipotent power and His eternal love for us – His children.

Then, as if enlightened himself by a Higher Authority, he suggested something unusual to his congregation.

“Trust me on this,” said Father Ignatius in his gentle reassuring voice.

He asked the parishioners that the following Sunday everyone should bring with them to church a stone or a rock to which they should tie securely a label.

On the label they should describe briefly the nature of their problem or their worries – anonymously of course.

The stone or rock should be the size commensurate to the size or magnitude of their problem.

The following Sunday, sure enough, they all brought their rocks which they left outside the church.

There were small rocks, bigger ones, stones of all shapes and sizes and even a few pebbles tied inside a handkerchief to denote a lot of small problems.

One or two jokers even brought big boulders in wheelbarrows to show how huge their problems were.

During the sermon Father Ignatius said that he had read all the labels tied to the rocks and stones. He added that he had prayed about his parishioners’ worries and problems and that in prayer, God had spoken to him.

Father Ignatius asked the congregation to pick up any stone or rock outside the church on their way home, and in return, with prayers, God would help them, as long as they were willing to take on the problem written on the rock they had picked.

After Mass, they all went out, and after reading all the labels, they each picked a stone or rock and went home.

Each one of them had picked the same rock or stone they had brought with them to church that morning.


  1. Hmm. I was thinking as I read this, Victor, that perhaps as Fr. I.'s flock was leaving they would actually pick up the rock of another parishioner thereby taking on some of someone else's burden and praying for them. I wonder if Fr. I. was hoping for the same outcome. :)
    Thanks for more of Fr. I.'s wisdom and insight.
    God bless!

  2. Hi Karinnan,

    The lesson Father Ignatius was teaching here is that no matter what our problems are, other peoples' problems are worse in comparisson.

    God bless you Karinann and thanx for writing in.

  3. Beautiful imagery! I like to think that my problems are a custom fit for me - for in most cases, they are my own creation!

  4. What a wonderful illustration! And I have to agree with Mary Christine. My problems are just as custom made and indeed often of my own creation!! Thank you to both of you! Cathy

  5. It looks like this a case of:
    Better the devil they DO know than the devil they don't. No one wanted anyone else's headaches once they saw what they were and they chose to keep their own instead. At least these they knew and understood.
    Thanks for the wonderful story, Victor :)

    Mary Christine makes a good point here!

  6. We did something similar at a workshop one time, the only things was that we placed our problem on the stage and had to pick up someone else's, and Victor we all wanted our own problems back. Suddenly our problem didn't seem so bad as our co workers......this really had an impact on me and I have never forgotten it. Hope you are well my friend.....:-)Hugs

  7. On another note:

    I love your story about your dog from the Refuge Center!

    It's true. God has so much patience with us. Thank you for the gentle reminder.

    I had a dog like yours once. His name was Gus. I got him from the Rescue People. I fell in love with him at first sight.

    We took him to The Blessing of the Animals at Church. While we were waiting, Gus lifted his hind leg and did his business on the leg of the woman in front of us. It was the last time he got to go.

    Thank you for reading my blog, Victor.


  8. Hello Mary Christine, Cathy. Mary, Bernie and Joey,

    It's so great to see you all visiting me again and taking the time to write in.

    I agree that in the most part our problems and worries are of our own making. I know I tend to worry sometimes and it shows a certain lack of Faith on my part. I hope the good Lord has patience with me.

    Thank you Joey for the story about the dog. I may post a picture of mine here some day. (If he lets me!).

    God bless you all and your familes.

  9. A wonderful story. I do think God customizes our problems for us as His way to best get us to learn to trust in Him. Gee, it's been 65 years and I still haven't got it down! Sure hope others are more successful than I.

  10. What a clever message Victor. Brilliant as always. And a true lesson in perspective.

    God Bless you.

  11. Hi Barb and Michael,

    How kind of you to visit here and to write in. Thanx.

    God bless.

  12. Psalms 37:3-7 Tells us where we are to lay our burdens and what will happen if we commit our ways to the Lord. Until we understand that we have a savior that understands our troubles and trials, we will continue to lug our stones around. Thank you for posting this!

    God Bless,

    Three-Fold Cord, A Married Couples Meditations on God

  13. Hi Mark,

    You're so right. But for many, it is difficult to let go of their problems - real or imagined.

    Thanx for visiting us on this Blog.

    God bless.

  14. I love Ignatius' wisdom. I do believe I'd choose my own problems over anyone else's.

  15. That's right Sarah. Our problems aren't so big compared to those of others.

    God bless.



God bless you.

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