VICTOR S E MOUBARAK

Monday, 30 May 2011

Our Lady.

The month of May is dedicated to Our Lady.

I invite you to visit this website dedicated to her. Please click HERE.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Forever hell.

Father Ignatius was taken aback by Quentin’s question one evening when they were watching TV in the Parish House living room. Quentin owned a small garage and workshop nearby and every so often he would take the priest’s car for maintenance or to fix something that had gone wrong. That evening, he’d just returned the priest’s car when an important football match had just started on TV. Quentin did not have time to go home to see the game, so the priest invited him in and they both enjoyed a mediocre game seeing their favorite team lose.
 
But football was not on the mechanic’s mind when he asked his unexpected question.

“Father …” he asked, “if God loves us so much, how can he possibly condemn someone to an eternity in hell? Eternity is a long time … it’s for ever like.”

Father Ignatius switched the TV off. He poured himself and Quentin another cup of coffee. He was playing for time and wondering how best to approach this subject.

“There is this misconception,” he said finally, “that priests know everything. Now that may be true of others but not necessarily me …”

Quentin smiled and said, “No matter how bad a person is, or was, surely an eternity is a long punishment. I feel sad for those in hell for ever and ever. If it was up to me, and I knew that someone was truly sorry and repented after his death, I would forgive him. Is God not more merciful than me? Does He forgive people after they die, if they truly repent?”

Father Ignatius put down his cup and replied, “Jesus tells us about hell in the Bible. It has been described as a place where fire burns and people stay there for ever. Christ’s parable about the rich man and Lazarus states that there is a chasm between earth and hell that cannot be bridged.

“So, seen from what the Bible tells us, it does seem that those who go to hell are there for an eternity.

“Now then … seen from your perspective, a human perspective, this does seem somewhat harsh. No matter what someone may have done, surely an eternity is too extreme a punishment.”

“That’s right” agreed Quentin.

“But God sees things from His perspective, which is of course different to ours.” continued the priest.

“You’re right in saying that He is merciful and forgiving. More than any human can be. But He is also just.

“Over the years, many wise heads have pondered the same question which you ask. So you’re not alone here Quentin; you’re amongst the great theologians and philosophers of history!”

Quentin smiled again.

“Some have argued that a merciful God would in His own time forgive those in hell and they would join Him in Heaven.

“Some have also said that God will some day forgive even Satan. And that hell will some day be empty as everyone there truly repents and is forgiven as they rejoin God in His Glory in Heaven.

“Now wouldn’t that be wonderful?” asked the priest, “humanity totally forgiven as a result of the ultimate sacrifice that Christ suffered for us.

“That is God’s love and mercy in the extreme. Total love, full of mercy and forgiveness!”

Father Ignatius stopped for while; then he went on just as calmly as before.

“But nothing of what I have just said is Biblical. There is nothing in Christian teaching that implies God will eventually forgive everyone, even those in hell.

“It’s human conjecture, borne of human nature, human sense of justice and forgiveness.

“God sees things God’s way; not our way.

“As I see it, God’s love is so much that He gave us the freedom of choice. We can choose to respond to His invitation to love or choose to ignore it.

“God’s invitation is always open. Even if we don’t RSVP.

“Now those who choose to ignore God will eventually end up in hell. Whether it is a burning fire, or whatever else we may imagine it to be, one thing is certain. Hell is an exclusion of God.

“No one goes there by mistake. We choose, through our actions, to exclude ourselves from God.

“For how long … I wouldn’t hazard a guess. An eternity maybe … or as you and others surmise perhaps as long as it takes for God to forgive, once again.”

“That’s what I was thinking,” said Quentin.

“Yes I know,” replied Father Ignatius, “and as I said, you’re not alone in your thinking.

“Was it not C S Lewis who said that the door of hell is locked from the inside?

“We send ourselves to hell by turning down God’s invitation to love … and we lock ourselves in self-imposed exile, by continuing to refuse to love Him, by continuing to refuse to acknowledge our sins and repent; rather than God locking us in from the other side of the door.”

“I see …” mumbled Quentin.

“But I repeat,” said Father Ignatius, “none of this is Biblical. It is merely the result of assumptions from human minds who like to believe in an eventual ‘get out of jail free’ card which we can all ultimately use.

“If you ask for my opinion. I believe God knows what He is doing. And nothing is impossible to God. We should trust Him to do the right thing!”

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Favorite Bible Readings.

Karinann and Barb have tagged me to say which are my three favorite Bible Readings.

How difficult !!! There are so many ... OK, here goes:

Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name; you are mine. ISAIAH 43:1-5

Well, this speaks for itself. Whenever I go through difficult times in my life, (quite often it seems), I remember to take courage and as far as I can, shake away any fears. The next passage also gives me encouragement when I'm feeling low and things go wrong.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. PSALM 23.

If you read the whole Psalm slowly, taking in every word, I hope you too will feel God's calming love and care in your life at times of troubles.

I believe Lord; help my unbelief. MARK 9:24

If I'm honest, my Faith often falters and stumbles when things get difficult. And this passage reminds me that I'm not alone in feeling this way.

And I will be with you always, to the end of time. MATTHEW 28:20

This promise from Our Lord certainly keeps me going and reminds me that Jesus is here with us right now; only a prayer away.

Hey wait ... that's not three ... that's four. Poor mathematical education I guess.

Here are more of my favorite readings on various subjects. Please click HERE.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Missed.

Then He led them out of the city as far as Bethany, where He raised His hands and blessed them. As He was blessing them, He departed from them and was taken up into Heaven. Luke 24:50.

After saying this, He was taken up to Heaven as they watched Him, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They still had their eyes fixed on the sky as He went away, when two men dressed in white suddenly stood beside them and said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into Heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw Him go to Heaven.” Acts 1:9.

A few days after the Resurrection Jesus was raised to Heaven in full sight of His disciples.

Can you imagine how they must have felt?

They’d been with Him for three years or so. Saw Him preach and heal the sick. Witnessed His arrest, death and Resurrection. And now … He was gone.

They must have missed Him very badly as they walked back to their homes. Confusion, fear and doubts must have crossed their minds several times.

He is gone … and He is missed.

Missing somebody is a sign that their presence had an influence on your life, your well-being and your happiness.

Their absence now has created a void in your life. An emptiness, and a longing to be with them once again.

We’ve all missed someone at one time or another in our lives. It is usually someone who has been kind to us.

Are we ever missed when we are no longer there? Have we done something nice to someone who will remember us and miss our presence in their lives?

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Theodore Luxton-Joyce speaks his mind.

Father Ignatius and Father Donald welcomed a visiting Franciscan priest, Father Randolph, to the Parish for the weekend to lead the Marriage Renewal Seminar.

The Seminar was held on the grounds of the Parish Gardens providing plenty of time for the participants to spend time together re-assessing their married life, in preparation for a Renewal of Vows Ceremony to be held after Mass on Saturday evening.

The two Parish priests were pleased that they managed to get twenty married couples to attend the weekend event and looked forward to a successful Seminar for all involved.

The same cannot be said however for Theodore Luxton-Joyce, the eccentric friend of Father Ignatius and very generous benefactor of St Vincent Church.

Theodore preferred to be well away from “organized love-ins”, as he called the Seminar and would not have attended for one moment had he the choice. But his lovely wife, Rose, convinced him otherwise and he, being an old romantic, albeit he hid it well, acquiesced to her request.

After lunch on Saturday the group met at the Church Hall and was addressed by Father Randolph.

He spoke about the necessity of working at a marriage to make it successful, and explained how very often couples tend to drift apart because of the pressures of modern living and having to work hard just to keep body and soul together. He went on to stress the importance of “being aware of the other person in your life”, the importance of “listening” to their feelings, and “showing love” by saying something nice every now and then, by holding hands, giving a hug every so often and not taking one’s spouse for granted.

“Love doesn’t end after the honeymoon” declared Father Randolph, “it’s a precious flower which needs nurturing and feeding every day if it is to flourish for a lifetime!”

At this point Father Randolph noted Theodore Luxton-Joyce raising his eyebrows and looking in the distance out of the window, no doubt wishing he was anywhere else but here.

“What do you think Theodore?” asked the visiting priest, “Do you think it’s important to tell your wife, Rose, that you love her?”

“Every day?” asked Theodore.

The Group laughed and Fathers Ignatius and Donald, sitting at the top table, looked at each other silently.

“Yes … every day … why not?” continued the Franciscan priest after the laughter died down.

“I don’t see the point …” replied Theodore, “Rose knows that I love her very much … (then looking at his wife) … you do know that don’t you?

“What’s the point of all this adolescent childish talk … it goes without saying that I love her … what?

“I wouldn’t have given up a weekend of good fishing and come here, if I didn’t love her … don’t you think old boy?”

The Group laughed again.

“Fifteen – love …” Father Donald whispered quietly to Father Ignatius.

But Father Randolph was not to be beaten so easily.

“No … it does not go without saying …” he responded quietly, “it is important to tell your wife, or husband, that you love them. That they are not taken for granted. It is important to say it … and say it often. It’s important to be nice and to compliment one’s spouse every now and then.

“Very often I’ve seen couples drift apart yet deep down they do really love each other. They just don’t bother, or don’t have time, to say it. With time, they forget what first attracted them to each other. And every time we forget … love dies a little!

“Let me challenge you Theodore if I may …”

“Fifteen all …” Father Donald whispered softly under his breath. “A good return from the visiting priest!” Father Ignatius sat quietly and said nothing.

“I want you to answer quickly without thinking,” Father Randolph challenged Theodore. “Are you ready? Without thinking … what first attracted you to your wife Rose?”

“She makes a decent steak and kidney pie … what?” declared Theodore.

The Group broke down into hysterics.

“Thirty – fifteen to your eccentric friend!” Father Donald said to his colleague Father Ignatius.

Father Randolph was astute enough to continue with his talk rather than get into a pointless debate with Theodore. Minutes later he asked the Group whether anyone had personal knowledge or experience of marriages breaking down after a long period together. He called them “mature divorces”.

Theodore raised his hand.

“I bet you regret inviting him …” Father Donald whispered to Father Ignatius.

“Years ago … when I was in the military, one of my people got divorced after twenty years of marriage …” said Theodore.

“I asked him why … and he said his wife was violent what? Apparently she threw things at him in an argument … Anything … Cups … saucers … cutlery … crockery … anything that came to hand.

“Turns out she threw things at him throughout the marriage … twenty years of it.

“I asked him why he took so long to decide to leave her.

“He said her aim was getting better … what?”

The Group burst into laughter to the embarrassment of Rose, whilst Father Randolph tactfully decided to call a short tea break.

“Game … set … and match!” declared Father Donald as he got up from his seat.

The rest of the weekend proceeded without further difficulties for Father Randolph, albeit Theodore was the most popular member of the Group.

As they drove back home he asked his wife, “You don’t think it necessary to say ‘I love you’ every day … do you?”

“It’s nice to hear it every now and then…” she said, “It’s reassuring you know. Women like reassurance!”

“Tell you what old girl …” he replied, “I’ll write it down big on a piece of paper. You can read it as often as you want when you need reassurance … what?” he chortled heartily.

She smiled; knowing full well that he was the world’s biggest romantic, yet his up-bringing did not allow him to show it.