Thursday, 29 March 2012
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Father Ignatius was in the Sacristy tidying up after morning’s Mass when one of his parishioners came in and asked if he could have a quick chat. Being quite approachable, the priest glanced quickly at his watch and agreed to spend a few minutes with the young man, in his mid-twenties.
“Father … I’m losing my Faith …” was the abrupt introduction.
Father Ignatius said nothing, encouraging the young man to continue with a nod. “I’ve been a Christian all my life, but there are times when I’m totally confused. I ask myself whether God really exists … whether it’s all real … or just some invention. I wonder whether God … Jesus and the whole of Christianity have just been invented over the years by society … just to regulate itself … I sometimes find it a real struggle to believe that God exists … but the more I try to believe the more I doubt.”
“I don’t blame you,” replied the priest, and this had the desired effect of gaining the young man’s full attention.
“We’re living in difficult times,” continued Father Ignatius, “times of confusion, half-truths and miss-information. The world is in financial crisis and turmoil. People are losing their jobs and their livelihoods. They fear for the future. Nothing seems as it should be. It is no wonder people get confused and don’t know what to believe anymore. And in their confusion and daily worries they can’t keep their focus on God. They hear and read so many conflicting stories they don’t know what to think anymore … to the point where they even start doubting God’s very existence.
"You’re not the only one who came to me recently saying what you’ve just said. That you doubt God exists.”
“Oh …” said the man.
“When the Jews left Egypt, they were confused too …” the priest went on, “they had left the relative safety of slavery behind them, where they were fed and watered, and here they were, going round in circles in the desert following a man promising them jam tomorrow … or was it milk and honey?”
The young man smiled.
“So they rebelled against Moses. They didn’t want to believe in his God, leading them to safety. Despite what they had seen that God did for them … dividing the sea so they could cross safely, sending food from Heaven and so on … they still doubted and rebelled. They were more interested in placing their Faith in a statue made of solid gold. At least this was something they could see and touch and admire!
“Years later we read in the Bible about other people doubting and in confusion … just as you feel right now.
“Peter had been with Christ for at least three years and had seen His miracles and heard His sermons. He witnessed the healings, the raising from the dead, walking on water, feeding the thousands. He of all people had no reason to doubt. Yet when it came to the crunch he too doubted and denied knowing Christ … not once, but he denied knowing Him three times.
“How does that compare with you … hmmm?
“As for the disciple Thomas … well he just refused to believe period.
“So you’re in good company young man. You’re not alone in doubting about the very existence of God your Creator.”
At this the young man was totally confused and didn’t know what to ask next.
Perhaps he had expected some magic formula to restore his ailing Faith, a wave of a wand, or some soothing words from his priest … but alas no … the priest just confounded his thoughts by affirming that his doubts are neither unusual nor unexpected.
Father Ignatius smiled and said, “That didn’t help did it?”
“Well …” hesitated the young man.
“There once was a man whose son was very ill, and he came to Jesus for help” continued Father Ignatius, “ ‘Help us if you can,’ he asked Jesus. Jesus replied ‘Everything is possible if you have Faith,’ to which the man said ‘I do have Faith, but not enough, help me to have more.’
“Jesus healed this man’s son. He saw that the man was struggling with his Faith, as you’re doing right now. So He helped him.
“We don’t all have the same strength and vigour of Faith. Some, like you’ve admitted, are a little weak and waver from time to time. Just like Peter and Thomas did.
“But don’t tell me about it. Tell God, in your own words. Tell Him you’re struggling to believe; ask Him to help you.
“Say over and again I believe, Lord; help my unbelief.
“The good Lord will help you … but only if you are willing to believe … if you’re willing to fight your doubts, and your fears, and your confusion.
“God loves you, and He does not wish to see you go astray, away from Him. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond your capabilities. He is not in the business of losing souls you know …”
Father Ignatius paused for a while and then continued in his gentle voice.
“There’s an old Cherokee Indian legend about a youth’s rite of passage, when he becomes a man so to speak.
“When the child is of a certain age his father takes him to the forest where he has to sit blindfolded overnight. He shouldn’t take off the blindfold but sit there, in the darkness, hearing all the noises of the night … animals howling, the rustling of the trees and so on, and conquer his fears.
“The next morning, at sunrise, he takes off his blindfold and looks around him only to find that his father had been sitting with him all night, protecting him from danger. He shouldn’t tell what happened to anyone else, so others may experience the love of their fathers too.
“You are now blindfolded and confused. But God your Father in Heaven is right beside you, protecting you at all times. Because He loves you, more than any earthly father can love his children.”
The young man smiled and wiped his eye with the back of his hand.
“OK … I think you’re already on the first steps towards recovery … I suggest you pray time and again … especially when you feel doubts coming on … recite the Rosary … have you got one?”
The man nodded.
“Our Lady will always protect you if you ask her. Don’t be afraid to tell her how you feel.”
As the man left the Sacristy much relieved than when he first came in Father Ignatius added, “and whilst you’re praying, don’t forget to say one for me!”
Friday, 23 March 2012
I’ve always considered education to be very important; especially scientific education. You know … physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and engineering. The kind of education that makes the world a better place.
Full of enthusiasm, I went to the library the other day and I started reading scientific books. I found one that particularly interested me entitled “Einstein’s Theories Explained Easily For Those People Who Knew He Was On To Something Good But Never Quite Understood What This Great Genius Was Trying To Teach The World!”
I must admit they could have done with a shorter title. The title was so long it carried on to the back cover.
Anyway … I started reading this book “Einstein’s Theories etc …” and noticed that sitting at the table next to mine was a man reading a book about World Statistics. It was a much shorter title although it had the same number of pages as my book. Every so often he muttered to himself “Oh dear …” “Dear oh dear …” and such like expressions spreading doom and despondency on my re-awakened enthusiasm for the wonders of science.
Eventually he lent over towards me and said “Do you know that every time I take a breath in and out someone somewhere in the world dies!”
I suggested he uses a better mouthwash.
But I digress. Back to my book. Which is much more interesting, I tell you.
Einstein was quite a clever person you know. It’s really amazing what that man knew. It’s so wonderful that every so often the world produces great geniuses like him who discover or invent new ways to improve our lives and makes us all better for it.
Folks like Einstein and Penicillin didn’t get to where they are by just kicking a ball in the park, you know. I bet they spent many an hour in the library reading books and doing their homework instead of watching TV.
Here are a few interesting facts I learnt from the book about Einstein.
The furthest away you are from the earth’s gravity the faster time goes. Say you’re on earth with nothing better to do than looking at your watch. And out there very far away in space there’s another person also looking at his watch. He’d be in a spaceship of course; otherwise he won’t be able to breathe in space. Anyway … according to Einstein the other fellow’s watch will go faster than yours.
To prove this, scientists have placed a very accurate clock, measuring the smallest nth of a second, at the top of a very tall skyscraper, and an exactly similar clock on the ground floor.
After a period of time the clock at the top of the building was a few minutes ahead of its counterpart at the bottom. It had gained time because at the top of the building time was faster than at the bottom. Because it was further away from the earth’s gravity.
Not convinced, I tried this experiment at home.
I put a clock upstairs in the bedroom and another one downstairs in the hall.
The following day the clock at the top was ONE HOUR ahead of the one downstairs.
The battery in the clock downstairs had run out.
Einstein also claimed that because time is faster in outer space, away from the earth’s gravity, then someone in outer space, say a twin, would age faster than his brother on earth.
The book therefore recommended that people should not live in high-rise apartment blocks because they’ll age faster than people living at ground floor level. Especially if the elevator is not working and they have to walk up and down all those stairs to their apartments.
Enlightened with this knowledge I have moved our bedroom downstairs and the kitchen, (where we don’t go that often thanks to fast-foods delivered to our door), has been moved where the bedroom was.
The bathroom moved downstairs by itself when I overfilled the bath with water and it came down through the roof.
Einstein also said that in outer space, at the very edge, space is curved. This is because, apparently, gravity (I don’t know whose gravity if gravity is in effect on earth); but stay with me for a while on this … in outer space the very edge of space is curved because gravity makes it so.
I could not understand how this related to bananas being bent; maybe they come from outer space. Or perhaps I was distracted by another book about fruits which someone else in the library was reading.
Einstein also taught about light. Did you know that nothing can go faster than light?
If you could arrange a race between say light, sound and someone in the fastest car ever made; light would always win. That’s because it has moved off the starting line before the sound of the starting pistol has reached your ears.
And if the fastest car was driving with its lights on, then its light would reach the finishing line at the same time as the other light running on foot. Because light travels at a constant speed regardless of its mode of transport.
The light from the sun reaches the earth at the speed of light. The distance it has to travel however is so long that by the time it reaches the earth it’s night time down here and we’ve all gone to sleep.
I’ve tried to measure the speed of light in my home experiments. I think I’ve actually proved that some of Einstein’s Theory about light may well be wrong.
If nothing goes faster than light then how come with these new energy efficient light-bulbs I can get downstairs faster than the light at the top illuminates the staircase?
But then these light-bulbs were not invented when Einstein was around. So we can’t blame him for getting this one wrong.
Finally, a word about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
This one is simple: The richer you are the more relatives will turn up at your funeral.
Just bought a CD for my dog. It's a special recording in ultrasonic sound. Only dogs can hear it. You put the CD in the player and you hear nothing, but the dog can enjoy music and songs.
The CD has songs such as "How much is that doggie in the window?", "Puppy love", "Shep", "You're nothing but a hound dog" and my dog's favorite "Who let the dogs out".
There's a cat version with "I thought I saw a pussy cat", "Top Cat", "What's new pussycat?" and all the songs from the musical Cats as well as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
The CDs make a great gift for your pets birthday. You can play them as loud as you want and the neighbors will never complain - but their pets might if you have not invited them to the party !!!
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Friday, 16 March 2012
This is an effective way of checking one’s personality and characteristics. Please follow these instructions carefully. You’ll understand why later.
FIRST: As you are holding the mouse with your right hand; place two fingers from your left hand on the back of your right hand just where the two red spots are on the picture above. Imagine you’re taking your pulse, but do it on the BACK of your right hand. – see the picture above again. Of course, you won’t feel a pulse – don’t worry for now.
If you’re left handed and the mouse is in your left hand; then place two fingers from your right hand on the same place - as in the picture below.
OK … that was easy. Hold the mouse and place two fingers where the red spots are.
Now read in a loud voice, SLOWLY, the following words. Not so loud that you can be heard in the next Continent; but loud enough for someone standing 3 feet away can hear you.
OK … you’re ready for the Personality Reality Check. Holding the back of your hand with two fingers start reading slowly and aloud NOW:
Amazing how easy it is to keep someone amused isn’t it? Now try it again by reciting the alphabets. Enjoy!
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Father Ignatius was busy in his office dealing with some paper work when Eric, a young man in his mid-twenties, came in.
“I’ve changed the oil Father and gave the engine a good run. It’s as good as new.”
Eric was a car mechanic at the local garage and every now and then he came over to the parochial house to maintain the priest’s car and undertake any minor jobs that needed doing.
“Thank you” replied Father Ignatius, “I’ll await the invoice from your boss in due course.”
“Oh I see you got that picture of Jesus …” said Eric pointing at the wall. “The boss has the same one in his office at work.”
“It’s very popular …” mumbled the priest hoping that the youngster would soon leave. He had plenty of paperwork to get on with and he could really not afford the time for a chat.
“Did He really look like that?” continued Eric.
“Jesus … did He look like that? This is the picture painted by that nun isn’t it? What’s her name?”
Father Ignatius put down the letter he was reading and turned to Eric. It was obvious that although he wished to get on with his work the Good Lord had other plans for him.
“Her name is Sister Faustina. Her real name at birth was Helena Kowalska.”
“Greek was she?” asked Eric making himself comfortable in the armchair near the window.
Father Ignatius took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes with his right hand, as if to summon every once of patience that the Good Lord might send him. “Why now, when I’m busy,” he prayed silently.
“No Eric,” he said with a smile, “she was Polish.”
“That’s right; I knew it was somewhere foreign. Near Jerusalem where Jesus came from …”
“Not quite near Jerusalem …”
“And she actually saw Jesus and painted Him. That’s what I have been told. Do you believe that?” interrupted the young man eagerly.
“I mean … she could have been lying. Can you prove that she actually saw Jesus and He looks like that picture?”
“Despite my age,” said the priest abruptly, “I can assure you I was not around when Sister Faustina was around. So I can’t actually prove what you ask for.” He then immediately regretted what he had said and continued in a more gentle voice.
“Look Eric, we are told that Sister Faustina back in 1931 had a Vision of our Lord. She saw Him dressed in white and standing very much as in the picture there. From His heart rays came out, one red and another pale, as you can see.
“The Lord spoke to her and asked her to paint an image according to the Vision she can see and to write ‘Jesus I trust in you.’
“And that’s how we came to have this picture."
“Oh …” said Eric.
“Now you and I have two choices to make,” continued the priest.
“We can believe this is all true. Or we can believe she was lying and nothing really happened.
“If indeed the story is true and we chose to ignore it we would have lost a great opportunity to venerate the image of Christ; as He has asked us to do when He spoke to Sister Faustina.
“And what a great pity, and tragedy that would be! To ignore a request made by our Lord Himself.”
“I see …” said Eric pensively.
“Our Faith has a number of mysteries Eric,” continued the priest in his gentle tone, “things that we are invited to believe without any proof and without any evidence. That’s why they call it Faith. To believe in something when your common sense tells you otherwise.”
There followed a few moments silence whilst Eric digested the information he’d just heard.
“Does Jesus appear and speak to people these days too?” he asked finally.
“I believe He does,” replied Father Ignatius, “He certainly spoke through the Holy Spirit to Father John Woolley. Here, you can borrow his book …”
Eric picked up the book handed by the priest and read the title, “I am with you.”
He then asked, “Jesus performed miracles when He was on earth … Does He do so now? Do miracles happen now Father?”
“Yes … they do. Miracles happen every day to a lot of people. The sad fact is that too many are not willing to believe that they happen.
“Christ is alive and is amongst us now as He ever was. He speaks to us and guides us through His Holy Spirit.
“But hearts have hardened Eric. Plenty are not willing to believe.
“They may consider themselves Christians or Catholics but they don’t know what to believe anymore. They just go through the motions by going to church and by claiming they’re Christians.
“Christianity is not just a label Eric. Or a brand name. It is real. Christ is real and is alive today as He ever was. It is not an event that happened two thousand years ago which we commemorate as a Remembrance every Sunday. Christ is alive and here today. He is here in the Eucharist; He is here in the Holy Spirit who abides in our very soul, if we let Him. If we invite Him …”
Eric hesitated for a while and then asked “I’d like to really believe in all these things Father. I don’t know how …”
“That’s a good start … wanting to believe. Opening your mind and heart to the Lord.
“Pray about it. Ask God to help you believe. If you like come and join us at the Bible classes we hold every now and then here at the Parish center.
“Ask for God’s help and leave the rest to Him.
“Say what you can read in that picture on the wall, ‘Jesus, I trust in you’ and mean it every time you say it.”
Note: I am with you. Author John A Woolley ISBN 09508840-7-3
Monday, 12 March 2012
Friday, 9 March 2012
Father Ignatius considered himself a “traditionalist priest”, as he liked to call himself.
Sure enough, he accepted that changes happen in life generally as well as in the Catholic Church, and that he had to accept them; but it didn’t mean that he agreed with the changes that came his way from “earthly above” – a term he used to describe the church’s hierarchy, as opposed to “Heavenly above” when he referred to the Almighty.
One particular new development which the priest didn’t like was handing the Host during Communion to people in their hands. He preferred the traditional placing of the Host on the tongue, and for people to genuflect by the altar rail to receive Communion. But change he did, and he gave way to new procedures as an obedient priest must.
This Sunday, however, his concerns were put to the test.
As he gave out Communion to the queue of parishioners walking up the center aisle he noticed two youngsters, both aged about eighteen or so, coming towards him. He had not seen them in church before and assumed they were visitors to town. As they came to him in turn, they both held out their hands and he placed the Host in it.
A sixth sense perhaps prompted him to keep an eye on them as they moved away. And he noticed than neither placed the Host in their mouths but walked away slowly.
“Would you please stop” he said sternly, at which point they both hurried and then ran away. Unfortunately in doing so one of them dropped the Host on the floor.
The priest went to recover the fallen Host and shouted “Stop those two …” but unfortunately they escaped through a side door followed by two parishioners.
By the time they came out the parishioners found the car park totally empty … there was no one in sight.
“Which way did they go?” asked one.
“They were too quick … didn’t see them …” replied the other; and after a few moments’ conversation they went back into the church.
That would have been the end of it … but God had other plans.
At that very moment Father Donald was coming out of the parochial house and making his way to the church. He had seen the youngsters running and overheard the conversation of their pursuers. Rather than continue his way towards the church to find out what had happened he had the presence of mind to follow the youngsters at a distance.
They made their way into the park opposite the church and eventually sat down on one of the benches. Father Donald approached quietly and hid behind a tree.
“Have you got it then?” he heard one of them ask.
“Yeh … here it is” replied the second youth, “where’s yours?”
“I dropped it in church.”
“Sorry … let me see it … it looks like a piece of thin paper or card … why do they call it a Host?”
At this point Father Donald realized what had happened and knew he had to act quickly. He approached the bench from behind and grabbed both individuals simultaneously from the back of their shirts. He was really strong and knew how to take care of himself. A skill he had learnt in his native Glasgow where he fought many a street fight in his youth.
He asked them to turn round slowly and face him, kneeling on the bench whilst doing so.
Perhaps because of his broad Glaswegian accent, or perhaps because of his stature and the fact that they were taken by surprise, both youngsters obliged and turned round slowly. Neither made an attempt to escape or pull back. They knelt on the bench facing him whilst his strong hands held them tight by the back of the neck.
“Now then …” he said calmly, “which one of you has the Host?”
“I have Mister …” replied one of them.
“OK … I’ll let you on my right go. Please walk away slowly and stand by that tree.” said the priest releasing the youngster without the Host, who obediently walked way towards the tree.
“As for you young man, please place the Host in my hand,” continued Father Donald holding out his hand and retrieving the stolen Host.
After releasing the second teenager the priest stood there and asked them “Do you realize the seriousness of what you have done?”
They shook their heads “No …” said one of them.
It was certainly not the time for a discussion on Christianity or the reality that is the Eucharist. The priest had to say something to end this encounter.
“In the name of God whom you do not know I forgive you and so does He. I pray for you that you may yet get to know Him.”
He turned back towards the church and never saw the two of them again.
The following Sunday at Mass Father Ignatius was determined to make a stand. He approached the lectern confidently and said:
“As many of you know by now we had an incident here at last Sunday’s Mass. Two youngsters came up front for Communion and instead of placing the Host in their mouth when I put it in their hands, they ran away. In their hurry to escape one of them dropped the Host on the floor. The other Host was also retrieved by Father Donald who had followed the youth out in the park.
“What happened here last Sunday is a sacrilege.
“The Host as you know is not just a wafer, or a biscuit. It is the Body of Christ.
“And I allowed the Body of Christ to be desecrated by handing it out in peoples’ hands. For this grave sin of thoughtlessness I have begged Him for forgiveness.
“I am personally responsible for what happened last Sunday to the Body of Christ and I know that I will be answerable to Him personally one day for my sin."
The priest paused for a while.
“I have decided that from today, Communion will no longer be given in the hand in this church. Not as long as I am here.
“From now on, I would like you please to come forward and genuflect side by side here by the Altar rail. I will then give Communion on the tongue as we used to do previously.
“I’ve discussed this with Father Donald and he agrees and he will be following the same practice too.
“I have also discussed this matter with the Bishop who said that although the decision is ours to make in this parish; he will not be advising other parishes to change their practice.
“If anyone has a problem with this change please have a word with me afterwards or with Father Donald.”
Father Ignatius stopped for few moments to let the message sink in, then continued:
“I think you ought to know that we have identified one of the youngsters who ran away with the Host last Sunday.
“He is a Catholic boy who has in the past attended Mass here and was educated in our local Catholic school.”
The congregation gasped almost in unison. The priest waited for the noise to die down and then went on:
“I also feel responsible for that fact in itself.
“The fact that one of our own children could carry out such a deed proves that we have failed him somehow.
“It is obvious that we failed to teach him, and possibly other children, the true meaning of the Eucharist. As your priest I am guilty of that grave omission.
“I fail to understand how a child who took First Communion in this very church and was educated by us, amongst our own, did not understand the reality of Communion.
“I have discussed this at some length with Mother Superior at St Joseph School and the Headmaster at St Andrew’s. Both will take action to remedy the situation.
“But most of all I would like to plead with you parents. You are the first point of contact with your children, and rightly so. You promised at their Baptism that you will bring them up in the Faith. Please remember this and use every opportunity to teach your young ones the reality that is Christ and His Divinity.
“Teach them by example. Teach them by words. Teach them by praying together daily as a family, and by reading passages from the Bible.
“Father Donald and I are here to help you if you wish.
“The Lord God has given you the gift of children. Your gift to Him is to bring them up in the Faith.”
Thursday, 8 March 2012
Father Ignatius was in his office when George came running in.
“Father come quick” he gasped in between breaths, “the Virgin Mary is crying ….”
“Calm down George … take a deep breath … now tell me, what is going on?”
“The statue of the Virgin Mary, in church …” said George, “it is crying. Come and see for yourself ….”
The priest left the Parish house and followed George across the car park and into the church. By the left of the altar there was a large statue of Our Lady high on a pedestal. Father Ignatius had sat there in the front pew many a time reciting the Rosary.
As he approached the statue, Sonia, who was there with George and others cleaning the church in time for Sunday spoke first.
“Hello Father,” said Sonia, “this is really weird. We were cleaning around here when I looked up at the statue and noticed her cheeks were wet. I thought I was seeing things … but look … doesn’t it seem wet to you?"
The priest looked up, and true enough; the statue’s face seemed to glisten in the light.
“George …” he said, “there’s a small ladder in the garage. Would you mind getting it please?”
Moments later Father Ignatius climbed the ladder gingerly to get a closer look. And for certain, there was a little moisture on the statue’s face, just beneath the eyes and on the face. He took out his handkerchief and wiped the statue dry.
“It’s probably condensation,” he said as he got off the ladder, “it sometimes happens in old churches. Condensation builds up and turns to moisture on a cold surface.”
The situation was quickly defused and the volunteers got back to cleaning the church.
That evening, as Father Ignatius sat on the front pew to pray the Rosary he looked up and sure enough the statue was moist again on the face. He looked carefully standing on a nearby chair and was convinced that, somehow, the condensation, or were they tears, had built up once again. Only on the face of the statue.
The mysterious incident did not happen again. He checked the following day several times and all seemed back to normal. Or so he thought.
Because somehow the local paper had got hold of the story and placed it on their front page, having also obtained a picture of the statue in question.
“VIRGIN IN TEARS” read the headline in big letters.
It quoted various un-named parishioners who said they had seen the Virgin Mary cry and suggested a miracle had occurred.
By itself, the newspaper article was a small story in a town where nothing ever happens. Yet the priest felt he needed to address the issue quickly.
On Sunday he approached the pulpit and said:
“I am sure you have all read the article in the press about the statue of Our Lady over there.
“And no doubt you want to hear my views on the matter. So let me tell you now categorically that in my view I do not know.
“I do not know whether this was a build up of condensation or whether they were tears as some people believe. I can only tell you that this happened a few days ago and has not happened again since.
“But I think we should consider this.
“Has the Virgin Mary good cause to cry? I ask you.
“When she looks down on us what does she see? Does she see pure believing loving hearts, or hidden lies and hypocrisy?
“What is the state of Her Son’s Church on earth these days? Have His words taken roots and flourish abundantly in our hearts and in our lives? Or do we just pay lip service to our beliefs and wear Christianity as a badge rather than a Truth?
“There is really nothing more we can say about the events here a few days ago. Whether we witnessed a miracle or whether the moisture on the statue was just a natural occurrence will remain a conjecture for some time no doubt.
“But one thing is certain. That event has given us all an opportunity to look deeply within our hearts and ask whether we have given cause for Our Blessed Mother to weep.”
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
Me: Hmmm … I have a few days free right now and maybe I should …
Subconscious: Oh good … we’re going on holiday!
Me: Holiday? No … of course not …
Sub: But, we haven’t been on holiday for sometime …
Me: Yes we did … we went to the seaside for the weekend two years ago … that was nice …
Sub: Wasn’t it just? OK … what will you do with your free days?
Me: Well, I was intending to plan …
Sub: Oh no … not more plans. You’re always planning something; and writing documents, and filing all sorts of bits of paper. It’s your need to be in control of everything. Always planning! Why can’t you let things be? Surprise yourself. Be instantaneous. Let things happen for a change, without any plans and schedules. What is it you’re planning this time?
Me: Well … my funeral, as it happens.
Me: My funeral.
Sub: Are you feeling well? No aches and pains I should know about? Apart from your brain that is! What’s brought on the sudden need to plan your funeral?
Me: Well … It helps get things organized … you know … when the time comes. It saves the bother and worry for those left behind to have to sort things out.
Sub: But … the whole purpose of dying is to get others to sort things out. It gives them something to do and stops them moping around with miserable faces.
Me: It would be nice to organize the funeral service in church. My favorite readings … favorite hymns …
Sub: Oh no … not those sad hymns. What is it with people and sad hymns at funerals? Why not sing something cheerful?
Me: Like what?
Sub: Like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Maybe people would like to sing those at your funeral rather than your sad hymns.
Me: But people always have mournful songs at funerals.
Sub: Don’t they just? And what is it with that song from the movies? What’s it called? And I will always love you. With that very long elongated … I … which goes on and on before singing will always love you. What’s all that about?
Me: It’s sad. It depicts the love people have for the person who has died.
Sub: What nonsense. If you really love someone you tell them so when they’re alive. When they’re with you. And you show that love through the way you treat them. Not tell them all about it when they’re dead … When it could be too late.
Me: You have a point there …
Sub: I always do. Take my advice. Forget about planning your funeral and go and show your love for somebody.
Me: How well put …
Sub: And another thing … you’re a pain in the neck … working your way South!
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Once upon a time there was an old priest who became rather forgetful and tired of giving sermons at Mass on Sunday.
He used to write down his sermons and then read them at Mass; but more often than not he used to forget bringing his sermons to church; so at sermon time he had nothing to read anyway.
He reasoned that if he had to write down his sermons in order to remember them, then how could the congregation be expected to remember them after leaving church.
With such impeccable logic he decided to do something about it.
One Sunday morning at Mass he announced: “I’m getting old and forgetful. I really can't be bothered anymore with writing sermons I instantly forget. So from now on there will be no more sermons at Mass!”
His congregation was very disappointed and some even complained to the Bishop.
The Bishop called the old priest in for an explanation. Somewhat pensively the old priest explained that he could no longer remember what to say in his sermons, and even though he prepared sermons in writing, he often forgot to bring his writing to church, which meant he had no sermon to deliver.
The Bishop sympathized with the elderly colleague and said: “Here's something you could try. Next time you have to give a sermon say in a loud voice ‘I have an announcement to make!’
“This will ensure you have everyone’s attention. They will hang on to your every word.
“Then say just as loudly ‘I have fallen in love with a woman’.
“Now this will certainly have them all listening very carefully and remembering your every word.
“And then calmly tell them about the Virgin Mary, and all the good she did for us. It will be easy. Just speak from the heart of your love for Our Lady”.
The old priest was overjoyed and the following Sunday he stood proudly at the lectern and said loudly:
“I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT TO MAKE!”
And sure enough everyone sat up in their pews to listen very carefully. The old priest then continued just as loudly:
“THE BISHOP HAS FALLEN IN LOVE WITH A WOMAN …”
As the congregation stirred in their seats the old priest went on:
“I can’t for the life of me remember her name …”
Saturday, 3 March 2012
Thursday, 1 March 2012
Sue Elvis has nominated me for this meme which is doing the rounds at the moment. The idea is to mention books which you have read and which you recommend to other Bloggers.
Go along to Sue Elvis and see what she said about my books HERE.
Don’t forget to come back to my Blog otherwise you’ll miss what I have to say … This is going to be so good folks that I can’t wait to read it myself !!!
Anyway … as I was saying …
This meme requires me to tell you about books which I have read and to recommend them to you.
Well, as it happens, it is very difficult for me to recommend books to you to read because, to be quite honest, I don’t read very much myself. I just don’t have the temperament and patience to read books.
I have written and published seven books so far and I’ve yet to read any of them. Every now and then I sneak a peek at the last pages of my books to find out how the story ends.
To explain how difficult it is for me to read, the other day for example, I was reading in bed a medical book about insomnia and I fell asleep.
Having said this, I must confess that books have played a great part in my life and have influenced my up-bringing.
I remember as a child I was given as a gift the whole set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. And what a treasure those volumes were to me. They were just the right height for me to stand on them and reach the cookies jar on the top shelf.
As I grew up I got interested in entomology – the study of insects. A favourite book at the time was “The Life Cycle of the Common Flea” by Ivan Itch.
But I soon gave up that interest when I started travelling by train in Southern Europe. A very useful booklet at the time which I always carried with me was the local Railway Timetable. It came in very handy for swatting flies on the hot trains, and as a fan to cool myself.
Last year when Aunt Gertrude visited us from Australia she brought me a book as a present entitled “How to make your own boomerang”. Now what’s the point of that I ask you? As if I’d be making a boomerang by any chance! Every time I threw the book away it came back to me and hit me on the head.
To be serious for a moment ... I know that I should consider and recommend books for you to read, (apart from mine that is) …
Well, how about “Prison to Praise” by Merlin Carothers.
An inspirational book that may well change your life. It teaches us to Praise the Lord at all times no matter how bad the situation happening to us or to those around us at the time. Here’s a LINK.
My second recommendation is “I am with you” by Father John Woolley. This book consists of words of hope and encouragement from Our Lord, received by Father John through the Holy Spirit whilst praying.
If you open the book at random it’s amazing how often Our Lord is speaking to you personally and responding to your circumstances at the time of reading. Here’s a LINK.
My third recommendation was going to be the Oxford English Dictionary. But on reflection I doubt you’ll like it. The author changes the subject every few sentences.