Thursday, 30 June 2011

Theodore's Deal.

Father Ignatius visited Theodore Luxton-Joyce, the eccentric rich benefactor, at his magnificent mansion in the countryside to discuss Parish Council business.

But it was obvious that this was the last thing on Theodore’s mind.

“Ah … welcome Padre” he said with a grin on his face like a child wishing to share a secret or surprise.

“How nice to see you once again! Let’s go to the library, I have something there I wish to show you. I’m sure you’ll like it what?”

The priest followed the millionaire through the large entrance hall and down the corridor towards the library.

“Here … what do you think?” said Theodore as he flew open the library doors and entered the spacious room.

Father Ignatius said nothing at first; wondering what it was which was supposed to interest him.

“Over there … just by the window …” said Theodore “they call it a treadmill. It’s a brand new contraption which is all the rage in London you know.

“Apparently, in London they have these in hospitals to give people who’ve been somewhat poorly much needed exercise. I wouldn’t be surprised if some day some enterprising person wouldn’t have these machines in a hall somewhere and charge people to use them.

“I might think of doing it myself perhaps. Meantime, I bought myself one … want to try it?”

“What is it exactly?” asked the priest hesitantly.

“It’s an exercise machine old boy …” enthused Theodore, “that bit down there is a continuous belt which goes round and round automatically. It’s electric you know. You switch it on, stand on it, and walk … Here let me show you.”

Theodore jumped on the treadmill and walked slowly for a few minutes before switching it off.

“Simple … isn’t it? You can walk for miles without leaving the house!”

“But, why would you do that, when you have such beautiful countryside around you?” asked the bemused priest.

“Aha …” replied Theodore still excited about his new acquisition, “with this machine you can walk at any time, day or night, in all weathers.”

Father Ignatius smiled.

“And what’s more …” continued Theodore, “you can march to the sound of bagpipes … I switch on the music first and then hop onto the machine.

“Doesn’t go so well to the sound of classical music of course, but I have plenty of records of military bands marching to the sound of pipes and drums. Takes me right back to my days in the forces … don’t you know!”

“I’m glad you found something to help you exercise …” said the priest quietly.

“One main drawback though …” Theodore went on with a frown on his face “It’s very cumbersome when you’re holding a glass of whisky whilst walking. I tend to spill most of it all over the place. Good twelve years old single malt too!

“I thought of putting the whisky in a small bottle and using a straw to drink … but it’s difficult putting ice cubes in the bottle. Unless you crush them first of course … what do you think?”

Father Ignatius was at a loss for words. After a moment’s or two of silence he said, “It’s good to have some physical exercise to keep fit. If only we could also encourage people to have some spiritual exercise!”

“What do you mean?” asked Theodore.

“You know …” said Father Ignatius putting his hands together as if praying, “more time with Our Lord is good for the soul.”

“Well … I go to church on Sundays, Father. As you know all too well!”

“Yes … of course. But I also meant more time in silent contemplation here at home. Reading the Bible perhaps or some other Christian book. Or visiting church more often … or our Prayer Group meetings … or …”

“Oh no … definitely not that!” interrupted Theodore, “not your Prayer Meetings with people waving their hands in the air and speaking in unintelligible incomprehensible words. My wife Rose has been to the Prayer Meetings and told me all about them …”

“Yes … she’s often there.” said Father Ignatius, “she doesn’t wave her hands about nor speaks in tongues … Yet, she takes part in the singing and prayers. She wouldn’t continue to attend if she didn’t get any benefit from it. Why don’t you join her sometime?”

Theodore said nothing as he poured two large glasses of whisky. You could almost hear the cogs turning in his mind.

“I’ll attend with Rose on one condition …” he said finally, “You walk for a minute or two on this treadmill and try it out. I’ll hold your whisky for you!”

And that’s how Father Ignatius gained another member to the weekly Prayer Group.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Receiving Jesus.

Father Ignatius finished reading from Matthew Chapter 8 Verse 5 then waited for the congregation to sit down.

“Imagine …” he said, “that I asked you to share your lunch with me today …

“If I said that Mrs Davenport, our housekeeper, has gone away suddenly and has not prepared Sunday lunch. So instead of staying at home alone with a piece of bread and ginger marmalade, I’d come home with you after Mass and share your meal with you.

“What would you think?”

He waited patiently for a few seconds.

“Would you think … Oh no … I haven’t had time to clean the house. It’s in a right state and I don’t want him to see it this way!

“Or … Not today, without prior notice … All we have at home is a few eggs and some bread …

“What other reasons would cross your mind, I wonder, to stop me from visiting you unannounced?”

After a few seconds’ pause he continued.

“In today’s Gospel we read about a Roman Centurion asking Jesus to heal his servant. And when Jesus agrees and makes his way towards the house the soldier says, ‘I am not worthy that you come into my house …’

“He doesn’t stop Jesus because the house is not clean, or because he has nothing to offer Him by way of refreshments … He says that he is not worthy to have Jesus visit him.

“He is a Roman Officer, a member of an occupying army with many soldiers under his command. He has power over many men and territory. Yet, he does not feel worthy enough to have such an eminent person as Jesus visit his home.

“He goes on to say ‘Just say the word and my servant will be healed!’

“What Faith, from someone who supposedly should have no Faith at all in Jesus! After all, Jesus was considered by the Romans as just another Jew in this occupied land ... nothing special.

“He says to Jesus, ‘I trust you enough and in your power, that you only have to say it, and my servant will be well.’

“And of course Jesus heals the servant without visiting the house.”

Father Ignatius stopped for a few moments once again.

“I wonder if we have similar Faith!” he asked.

“Do we trust Jesus enough to believe that He will listen to our prayers? Or do we harbor some doubts in our minds?

“Are we worthy to have Him visit us in our homes? Or will He be shocked by the cobwebs in every corner of our soul?

“And when we come forward for Holy Communion, and repeat the Centurion’s words, do we really mean them? I am not worthy to receive You ... ... ...

“Or do we hide the cobwebs of sin in our very souls? For make no mistake about it. This is what Communion is … Jesus abiding within your very soul.

“And if there’s sin hidden in our hearts … then we are not worthy indeed to receive Him.”

Monday, 27 June 2011

Friday, 24 June 2011

Ancient.


Father Ignatius was on his way back from a school trip to the museum in the big city with the young children from St Andrew’s School.

The young seven-year olds were a little boisterous and excited after their first school outing; and the six adults on the bus had their work cut out keeping them in their seats. When everyone was seated, Mr Foster, the Headmaster, took a roll-call to ensure that no one was missing.

As the bus made its way slowly through the busy traffic the children discussed amongst themselves their museum visit and the souvenirs they had bought from the museum shop.

A few of them sitting next to Father Ignatius discussed the various ancient exhibits they had seen from years gone by and asked him which were his favorite.

“I wouldn’t say I had a favorite as such,” replied Father Ignatius, “but I suppose it is impressive how many of these exhibits have survived all these centuries and how much we have to learn from ancient civilizations …”

“Are you ancient?” asked a seven year old.

“I suppose I am …” replied the priest with a smile.

Mr Foster smiled too, but said nothing.

“Will they put ancient people like you in the museum? And people will come to see you?” asked another youngster.

“Now that’s a good idea …” replied the priest, “do you think anyone would be interested?”

“No …” replied another promptly, “old people are not interesting … my grand dad is old … he is 58 and he does not like burgers and milk-shake.”

“Ah … that’s the ultimate test of antiquity,” declared Father Ignatius, “being 58 and having a dislike for burgers and milk-shake!”

The children continued discussing amongst themselves and the priest started reading a book about Ancient Civilisation which he had bought from the museum.

About half-an-hour later he closed the book and looked up.

“Learn anything interesting Father?” asked Mr Foster.

“I suppose so … whilst reading this book I’ve been thinking about our attitude to age and ageing …”

“What do you mean?”

“We seem to be in awe at something ancient …” continued the priest, “we wonder at the pyramids, and ancient monuments and relics. We marvel at old paintings by the great masters … and in this country we even have some buildings listed so that they cannot be altered or pulled down because of their historical architectural significance …”

“What’s wrong with that?” asked the headmaster.

“Oh … nothing wrong as such … but I can’t help wondering how many old people here in Britain live alone. Their families having grown up and moved on, these old folk are rarely visited by friends or neighbours. Perhaps Social Security visits them every now and again …

“There are quite a few in our Parish you know …”

“Yes … it’s modern society I’m afraid …” said the headmaster glumly, “people are too busy living life to care about each other … or their old folks. Some are too eager to put their parents in an old-folks home … too busy to look after them I suppose … I can understand that …”

“Can you? Some countries do in fact honor and respect their old people. Sending them to an old-peoples’ home is unheard of in those countries. They all live together in large families and the grand-parents have a lot to contribute to the family and the children’s up-bringing …

“But as you say … it’s different here in Britain … our modern lifestyles make us more interested in an ancient vase or similar relic than in human beings … it's such a pity we don't value our old people as much as we value an old building ...”

“Perhaps the Government should have old-folks listed, just like buildings!” joked Mr Foster.

Father Ignatius smiled. “There’s one thing I’ve learnt from this book,” he said with a glint in his eyes, “you’d better make friends with an archaeologist … because the older you get the more interested they are in you!”

The headmaster laughed and then added “Perhaps we can do something about it Father … in a small way … in our Parish that is …”

“What … have our old people listed by the Government or get them to meet up with archaeologists?”

“Can we not organize a group of volunteers from the church to visit lonely parishioners in our midst? Help them with the shopping perhaps, or with small jobs in the home or garden? I could get some of our older pupils to accompany the adult volunteers. It would help our youngsters no end … teach them to respect and help their elders … we could also involve the other Catholic school in town …”

And the enthusiasm of Mr Foster, which started from a conversation on a bus, soon turned into reality in a matter of weeks. And it's still going strong in that small Parish community.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Our Father ...

"Our Father who art in heaven....."

“Yes. How can I help you?”

”Hein? Who’s that?”

“You called me. I’m listening …”

”I didn’t call anybody … I was just praying … The Lord’s Prayer! Our Father who art in Heaven …”

“That’s me … Your Father in Heaven … now carry on praying …”

“Eh … Hallowed be Thy name …”

“Ha … Do you remember when you were very young you used to say ‘Harold be Thy name’? For a long time you were convinced my name is Harold; until someone put you right. What does it mean anyway … Hallowed be Thy name?”

“Eh … hmmm … does it mean you are Holy?”

“That’s right … carry on …”

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”

“Hold it just there … Do you really mean what you just said?”

“Sure, of course I do …”

“Or do you mean ‘Thy will be done’ as long as it is what you want? Do you really accept my will all the time? Even when it’s not convenient for you, or when life gets a little difficult?”

“Well … sometimes when things get really bad I get very worried …”

“At least you’re honest. Remember this always; when things are really bad for you it is still my will. I allow it to happen but I never abandon you. I’m always close to you … all you have to do is trust me.”

“Gee … thanks.”

“Carry on …”

“Give us this day our daily bread …”

“Let’s stop again … This means that I will provide for all your needs. It’s good of you to ask; but rest assured that I will always provide you with what you need. Go on with your prayer …”

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us …”

“Even your neighbour?”

“What?”

“You never forgave your neighbour after that argument you had a few days ago … In fact you still hope that you’ll get even some day …”

“But … but … You know it was his fault!”

“Of course it was … and he did apologise. But unless you truly forgive him, you truly no longer hold a grudge and have no ill-will or ill-feelings towards him; it doesn’t count does it?”

“That’s not always easy …”

“I agree … But true forgiveness means that you no longer wish any retribution or revenge against those who have hurt you. Sure … you’ll always remember the wrong done to you, but let that be a reminder to forgive them once again and to pray for them.”

“Can I go on now?”

“Yes …”

“And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil.”

“This bit is a reminder that Satan is always there trying to take you away from me. He tried to tempt my only Son Jesus, so you’re not going to be much of a challenge to him. Whenever he tries to lead you astray repeat those words over and again and I will come to your help.”

“Thank you …”

“It’s getting late … go to sleep now!”

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

GOLDEN DROPLETS

Hello friends,

It's time for another book give-away.

GOLDEN DROPLETS is my latest compilation of short stories about Father Ignatius. These are all standalone little tales in the life of the priest featured in my Book "VISIONS", and here on this Blog.

None of the short stories are taken from "VISIONS" which is a fiction book about three children who see an Apparition of Jesus. You can read more about "VISIONS" on the right hand side of this post; and hopefully purchase and enjoy the book.

In the meantime, you can download GOLDEN DROPLETS in E Book format FREE right now.

GOLDEN DROPLETS is yours to download, copy, print and share with your families and friends.

You may even wish to tell all your readers on your Blogs to get their copies too. (I'd like that).

Download your copy of GOLDEN DROPLETS FREE by clicking on the link HERE.

Thank you and God bless.

Hey ... don't forget to pray for me. Thanx.

Victor S E Moubarak

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Reflections.

Reflections and prayers for those special times in our lives. Please click HERE.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

When I'm dead and gone.

Father Ignatius was at the monthly Any Questions Meeting held at St Vincent Parish Hall, whereby parishioners and their guests asked any questions which he and Father Donald would attempt to answer and teach about the Catholic Faith.

The discussion centered about death and our achievements in life.

Father Ignatius said, “Imagine you are dead and resting in your open coffin. Your family and friends pass by to pay their last respects. What would you want them to say?”

Someone hesitantly said that she’d like people to say that she was a good wife and mother and that she always attended Mass on Sunday.

Another person added that he was a good doctor and did his best for his patients.

A third parishioner went on to say that she was a good teacher and cared for all the children in her care.

Father Ignatius noted that Theodore Luxton-Joyce, the eccentric millionaire and generous donor to the church, was scribbling away in his notepad and was somewhat un-interested. He’d only attended the Meeting to accompany his lovely wife Rose.

So the priest asked him, “How about you Theodore? What would you like people to say when they see you lying in your open coffin?”

“I’d like them to say ‘I’ve seen him move …’ ” came the swift reply as everyone laughed.

As the laughter died down Father Ignatius continued, “I’m sure they’ll say you had a great sense of humor too …

“But on a more serious note … how exactly will we be remembered?

“A parishioner once told me that it was hypocritical to always speak well of the dead. If a person had been nasty and bad in his life, the only difference is that he is now a dead nasty and bad person. And to pretend otherwise would be insincere.

“This is a little uncharitable perhaps; but that parishioner had a point.”

Father Ignatius stopped, as he often did, to punctuate the importance of what he had just said.

He then continued, “Now is the time to ensure that people will be honest when they speak about us.

“We do this by remembering Christ’s commandment to love one another. And to practice that commandment.

“The best gift we can offer each other is our presence. We all have a part to play in other people’s lives. Just think for a moment how many people rely on you … your spouse, your children, your elderly parents, your neighbors perhaps … if you’re a teacher or a doctor the children in your school rely on you, as well as your patients …

“I need not go on. But the point I’m making is that we should be generous with our time with these people. Our very presence on this earth can be a source of great joy and happiness to others.

“When Jesus was raised to Heaven, His disciples missed Him and were sad to see Him leave them. They were totally devastated and confused.

“Missing someone is a sure sign that their presence affected your life in a good way.

“So let us be remembered not for who we were but for what we have done; and how we made a real difference for the good in someone’s life.

“And even though we might not move in our open coffin, as Theodore hopes, at least our lives will have moved others.”