Sunday, 27 March 2011

God Send!

Theodore Luxton-Joyce the eccentric millionaire made himself comfortable in his armchair near a roaring fire and said:

“It’s jolly decent of you to come and see me so quickly Padre … I’m in real difficulty you see …”

Father Ignatius put down his cup of coffee and said nothing. He encouraged Theodore to go on by nodding politely.

“It’s Gregor McBurnish … you know him of course … he played the bagpipes at out wedding!”

The priest nodded again.

“Well … he’s let me down badly … he’s gone abroad. Australia, or New Zealand I believe … he went to visit distant family. You can’t get more distant than Australia I say … what?”

Father Ignatius smiled.

“And now I’m in trouble with Colonel Grant … old Army friend. That’s where you come in … I thought. You’re a decent chap ... Never let me down … unlike McBurnish … You can help save the day with Colonel Grant … He is Catholic you know … but he hasn’t been in Church for years … Grant that is, not McBurnish. He’s Church of Scotland you know.”

“I don’t think I understand …” Father Ignatius enquired.

“I need your help to sort out Colonel Grant … you can handle a gun I take it?” asked Theodore.

Father Ignatius was taken aback at the question.

“No … no …” mumbled the priest, “Why don’t you start from the beginning Theodore. What trouble are you in exactly …”

“Well … ehm … every two years Colonel Grant holds a shooting contest at his mansion some thirty miles or so from here … McBurnish and I are always on the same team … he can’t make it this year so I thought you’d replace him …”

The priest breathed a sigh of relief.

“Ah … I understand. But … but … I’ve never ever been near a gun, never mind shoot it …”

“I suppose not …” interrupted Theodore, “the Bishop’s crook is more your weapon of choice what?” He laughed heartily.

“And I wouldn’t be comfortable shooting at birds or rabbits or whatever …” continued the priest.

“Oh no … it’s not that.” Theodore interrupted again. “We shoot at clay pigeons … little clay discs which are thrust into the air by a machine. You shout “PULL” … the chap at the machine releases the disc high in the air and you shoot it before it hits the ground. We play in teams of two and then there’s a decent lunch at the mansion. You’ll get to meet some new people and you’d be doing me a great favor Padre. It’s in three weeks time and I could teach you to shoot …”

The day in question was pleasant enough although not Father Ignatius’ cup of tea. As expected, he was paired with Theodore and despite trying his best the priest missed more clay discs than hit them. Fortunately, Theodore was a better marksman and did not miss one disc.

During the buffet lunch which followed Father Ignatius mingled with the guests and it was soon obvious that he had nothing in common with these people. He wondered why he had agreed to accompany Theodore and wished he’d soon return to his more mundane lifestyle at St Vincent Church.

As the priest decided to go out for a walk in the gardens there was an almighty clattering of dishes breaking and cutlery falling in the dining room. He turned round and saw a man fall to the ground … It was Colonel Grant.

The guests picked him up and sat him in a chair, whereupon he asked to speak to the guest priest.

Father Ignatius approached him and the other guests moved away to give them some privacy. The Colonel was conscious and spoke quietly to the priest whilst someone phoned for an ambulance. Theodore tried to contact the Colonel’s wife who had gone to town for the day.

Eventually the ambulance arrived and took the Colonel to hospital. He died of a heart attack on the way there.

On the way back to St Vincent Church both men remained quiet for a while. Finally Theodore spoke:

“It was lucky you were there Father …” he said, “God must have wanted you to be there for the Colonel … that’s why McBurnish had to go to Australia and miss the shoot …”

“I’ll admit I did not want to go with you at first,” Father Ignatius replied, “but God had something different in mind. He must surely love the Colonel to ensure there was a priest with him in his final moments!”


  1. “I need your help to sort out Colonel Grant … you can handle a gun I take it?” asked Theodore.

    Father Ignatius became distinctly nervous at this point, I noticed.

    Miraculous story, in the end though. Thank you for posting it, it reminds us God has the timetable in hand, ahead of us.

  2. A wonderful story of consolation. Encouraging too to know I'm cared for in the same way. Thank you! Wishing you a grand day! Cathy

  3. Great post as always, Victor. I love Fr. Ignatius' visits with this feisty Scotsman.
    God will often bring us out of our comfort zones when He needs us to do something.
    God bless!

  4. What an original way of reminding us that God has a plan - and that the route he leads us down isn't always the one we think is right. (Half the time I don't even realize I'm on it!)

    God Bless

  5. Super story. Very good reminder. Everyone is always talking about *feelings* and what feels comfortable. But doing what feels comfortable doesn't always put us where we need to be. I pray that God puts His plan into my heart.

  6. Oh God is good placing Father Ignatius in the perfect place at the perfect time....I too wouldn't like to shoot anything, even clay pigeons. Have a wonderful Sunday my friend...xo

  7. Hello Shadowlands. It's great to see you visiting here gain. I hope you're well.

    Hi Cathy. I wish you a great day too. It's reassuring to know that God cares for us.

    Greetings Karinann. I must admit that I don't know what will happen whenever Theodore features in these stories. He's quite unpredictable - even for me!

    Yes Michael. God has a plan indeed for each one of us. He provides us with opportunities to do good and it's for us to take them.

    Welcome Amanda to this Blog. You're right that we should be aware of God's plan for us. Even though it might not be comfortable for us.

    Hey Bernie. I hope you're well. You've not been Blogging lately. I've visited you almost everyday. Keep well my friend.

    God bless you Shadowlands, Cathy, Karinann, Michael, Amanda and Bernie. And your families too.

  8. I really enjoy your stories about Theodore, Victor! He's such an odd character and his antics make me smile!

    God sometimes lines things up in amazing ways like in your story and I never fail to be amazed at his kindness and love when he does things like this. He truly cares about each of us individually as your story shows. Providing a priest for a dying man at just the right moment is a perfect example of this! Thank you for the wonderful story :)

  9. You're right Mary in that sometimes God leads us in certain directions which are good for us ... if we trust Him enough to follow His lead.

    Thank you for your visit Mary, and God bless you.

  10. I loved this story. I love it that God would go to such lengths to make sure a dying man had the comfort of a priest. I pray I can be as cooperative as Ignatius so God can use me to minister to others.

  11. What a lovely thing to say Sarah.

    God bless you and yours.



God bless you.