VICTOR S E MOUBARAK

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Terrible Day at Work !!!

It was a terrible day at work today. My secretary was upset because her dog died.

I went out and bought her an identical dog.

She was even more upset because she now has two dead dogs!


Sunday, 28 April 2013

The gate



In the Gospel of John Chapter 10 Jesus says several times "I am the gate".

In Chapter 10 - 9 He says "I am the gate. Those who come in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture."

This seems strange at first. We can understand when Jesus says "I am the Way" or "I am the Good Shepherd"; but gate? What does all that mean?

To understand this we need to visualise how a sheep pen at the times of Christ looked like. It was a circular or square enclosure built out of stone, wooden fencing or just hedges. And it had an opening through which sheep got in and out.

But shepherds in those days were poor people. They certainly would not have the money to build gates at the opening of the pen. They stayed "watching their flocks by night" with their sheep.

The pen looked something like this:
 

And the shepherd would lie across the opening, sleeping with his sheep, and making sure that none would get out during the night. Also protecting them from wolves or other predators.

So, the shepherd was in fact the gate.

That's what Jesus meant when He said He is the gate.

He protects us from evil and stops us from going astray.

Friday, 26 April 2013

A night at the opera



I inadvertently mentioned at home that my boss had given me two tickets to the opera followed by a booked table at a great restaurant.

Next thing … we were sitting in one of those private balcony seats watching a lot of people on stage shouting at each other in song and walking about as if they’re constipated.

I smiled and feigned enjoyment.

I read the brochure, mostly to find out how many intervals there were and whether this place has a bar or not. Then, since there was nothing much else to read, I glanced at a summary of the plot of this play or musical or whatever it is we were watching.

What is it with opera? Why can’t it be simple and easy to understand?

Apparently, this fellow called Orlando loves the pretty young lady called Miranda. But one day whilst riding his horse he bumps his head against a low lying branch from a tree and falls from the horse and gets amnesia.

Now Amnesia has an identical twin sister called Memoria who, having found Orlando in a daze takes him to her home and looks after him. In time both Memoria and Amnesia fall for Orlando’s good looks and he falls in love with one of them but does not know which one, so alike they are.

Miranda finds him in the arms of Memoria, or was it Amnesia, (I can’t remember), and gets very jealous.

Miranda in turn falls in love with a plumber called Risotto.

One day Risotto realizes that Orlando is finally regaining his memory and is falling in love with Miranda all over again; much to the dismay of Memoria, or was it Amnesia? (I can’t remember!). Perhaps it was both … so alike they are.

As you would expect in all good operas; an argument ensues between the five of them; with a choir of about thirty people in the background screaming their song as if their lives depended on it. I’m not sure who the choir represents, but it all added up to the noise.

“Do you love me?” screams Miranda.

“Do you love me?” repeats Memoria … or was it Amnesia … I don’t care.

“Do you love me?” asks the other twin sister, whatever her name may be?

“Do you love me?” asks Risotto of the three women hoping that someone at least would care for him.

And that’s when we were relieved with the first intermission and a large glass of whisky in the bar. Sadly, fifteen minutes later a bell rang and everyone rushed to their seats. I can’t understand why.

I asked the barman if the bar stayed open. He said no; but offered to refill my glass so I could stay there alone for a bit longer.

Half an hour later I rejoined my seat and was told I had just arrived for the denouement. I looked in my dictionary for the meaning of that word.

Apparently, Risotto the plumber had challenged Orlando to a duel with metal pipes he uses in his plumbing business.

They fought for five minutes whilst singing at the same time. Eventually Orlando was hit hard on the knee and fell to the ground holding his chest.

“Son morto … son morto …” he sang loudly, which means I am dead.

Instead of calling for an ambulance and taking him to the ER room at the hospital; Risotto and Miranda joined in the singing, accompanied by the twin sisters and the ever-present choir. The more they sang the more Orlando responded even louder.

It took him ages to die holding on to his chest although I clearly saw that he was hit in the knee.

Eventually, he got up from the ground and the whole cast took several bows to the rapturous applause from the audience.

I really enjoyed that evening. Best whisky I had for ages.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Cocktail Queen catches up

There are times in life when whatever we have done in the past has a habit of catching up with us and come back to haunt us, or bite us on the backside, or give us a pleasant surprise even. And that’s what happened to Father Ignatius when the door bell at St Vincent Parish House rang one sunny afternoon.

There at the door was a pretty young lady of about 23 years of age with two toddlers, a girl aged about five and a little boy aged four.

“Hia … Father … Ignatius isn’t it?” she said with a smile, “I have a surprise for you!”

“Good afternoon …” he replied gently.

“May we come in?” she asked, “the little ones want to go to the toilet … and I have something to tell you …”

Father Ignatius led them into the downstairs waiting room and showed them where the toilets were. He then asked Mrs Davenport to prepare some tea and biscuits and orange juice for the children.

Moments later they were all in the waiting room as Mrs Davenport came in with the refreshments. As she left, closing the door behind her, Father Ignatius asked, “How can I help you?”

“You don’t remember me?” she asked.

“Well …” he mumbled embarrassingly, “I get to meet so many people over the years …”

“I’ll give you a clue …” she interrupted, “about five years ago … the age of this little girl; now that should jog your memory.

He looked at her blankly.

“I was the Cocktail Queen working at the Bitten Apple Night Club … I offered to let you in without paying … and you were too embarrassed to be seen there I think!

“I told you I was pregnant, having a baby … do you remember?”

Father Ignatius lifted his eyebrows as faded memories came rushing back from the deep recesses of his mind.

“Ah …” she said in exasperation, “you still don’t seem to remember me … that’s not very flattering to a pretty girl you know … and I thought I had made quite an impression on you!

“Well I do remember that you were none too happy when I told you I were pregnant … it made you quite mad I think …

“As I recall I came to see you and tell you all about it … you took me in your office upstairs.

“And that’s when I told you I were pregnant and I wanted to have an abortion and get rid of it.

“You got very upset with me and you advised me against it. I thought what right have you to tell me what to do? You said it was a living human being and it was wrong to kill it … and that I would always regret it.

“As I said at the time, I was working at the Night Club … the Cocktail Queen I was … very popular with the clientele I were!

“I couldn’t keep the baby could I? It would have interfered with my job. Who has ever heard of the Pregnant Cocktail Queen? You can’t wear those skimpy outfits with a big bump upfront can you?

“Anyhow … I left you and I was proper upset with you I was … telling me to keep the baby!

“Months later we met again at the supermarket and I told you that I had the baby after all …

“It’s this little girl here; you never met her. I called her Ignatia after you. Well it’s her middle name really … Ignatia is rather an odd name don’t you think? But I had to name her after you. Her first name is Hilary.”

The priest smiled feebly.

“So when I had Hilary I gave up working at the Night Club and took on a job at the supermarket where we met.

“I was living with Hilary’s father at the time … When I told him what you’d said to me he agreed that I should not have the abortion … even though he was keen on it at first …

“His name is Alec. We later married you know … not in a church like, but at the Registry Office. A year later we had Mark here … he’s about four years old!”

“Yes … I remember,” said Father Ignatius, “I’m so glad you and your husband decided not to proceed with the abortion … she’s such a pretty girl. I’m sure you love both your children.”

“Oh yes … we do love them very much, my husband and I. We’re ever so happy. If it were not for you I would not have my precious Hilary!

“I still work at the supermarket … part-time like … I have to look after the kids and all! You don’t go to that supermarket anymore … ‘cos I haven’t seen you for ages!” she said, “My husband Alec works at the bus depot you know … he asked me to come and see you … since you helped us the last time when I were pregnant with Hilary … Alec said perhaps you can help us again!”

“I’ll do my best …” he said gently.

“Well, it’s about Hilary here … I took her to the Catholic school down the road and they wouldn’t let her in … the Head Mistress there was a proper snooty fancy pants she was … She said she couldn’t accept Hilary because she didn’t have a Baptismal Certificate. So Alec, my husband, suggested I come to you for a Baptismal Certificate. And could we have one for Mark as well while we’re at it … I hope they don’t cost much! ”

“It’s not that simple …” said Father Ignatius, “I take it the children have not been baptized!”

“No … I don’t think so. I was brought up a Catholic on my mother’s side … she taught me the Hail Mary and showed me a little chain with beads … but I don’t think I got baptized … it was too expensive in them days … is it expensive now?”

“No … you don’t have to pay” he replied gently, “what the Head Mistress at the school meant is that before your children are accepted at the school she has to give priority to Catholic families and their children. I’m sure you understand that.”

“Yes I do … I’d like to come to church with my husband and the kids and learn about God and all that … only I was put off by a woman I work with.

“She said the Catholics are expensive … they have two money collections and sometimes more on Sunday and even on weekdays if you go to church to pray. She said you have to pay to get a Baptismal Certificate … which is what the Head Mistress asked for.

“This friend … Diane is her name … well she said you also talk in a foreign language in church … Italian was it? No … no … Latin. That was it. Only we don’t know Latin Alec and me … I left school at fifteen and can just speak proper English … never mind Latin.

“She also said Catholics have to eat fish every Friday … well we can’t do with that … It’s expensive for a start and Alec is allergic to shell-fish … brings him out in spots it does!”

“There appears to have been a lot of misconceptions about the Catholic Faith …” said Father Ignatius, “what I mean is that you’ve misunderstood about the Catholic Church … never mind. Many people make the same mistakes.

“Can I suggest perhaps that you and Alec come to a few meetings when we can talk about God and Jesus and the Catholic Faith? You said you were willing to learn.

“It’ll be just you and Alec and me, or Father Donald if I’m not here. You can bring the children too and I’ll ask Mrs Davenport, whom you’ve just met, to look after them.

“It’s just once a week, in the evening or at weekends … and in time, if you wish, you can have the children baptized and you and Alec too … if you wish.

“And it will be in English … not one word of Latin will be spoken, I promise.”

She smiled broadly and asked “How much will it cost?”

“There’s no charge at all …” he replied smiling back, “the Love of Christ is priceless but you don’t have to pay … He already has!”

“And what about the fish?”

He held back the urge to laugh and said “Don’t worry about that … you don’t have to eat fish or anything else you don’t want to eat … on Fridays or any other days!”

And that’s how it was that the Cocktail Queen and her husband Alec attended Catholic teachings at St Vincent and in time, the two of them and their children were baptized at a private ceremony attended by both priests and Mrs Davenport.

Hilary now attends the Catholic school and Mark has been registered to attend the following year.

The family is now part of Father Ignatius’ flock!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

CREDO


Every large organisation or institution has a Mission Statement. A statement outlining what the Organisation is set up to do, what are its values, ethics, and purpose.
 
Many years ago, in the year 325, the first ecumenical council of churches met and wrote a "mission statement" which is better known as the Nicene Creed. The name originates from the city of Nicaea in Turkey, where the ecumenical council met.

Also known as the Credo, (I believe), this document or statement has been accepted by most Christian denominations in the world.

It is, in fact, what a Christian truly believes. It is what identifies a Christian from anyone else. 

Let's look at it in some detail:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty.

This proclaims at the onset that there is only one God. We are taught to see him and address Him as a Father. A symbol of love, caring, mercy and forgiveness. And that He is almighty; not like any other father here on earth.

Maker of Heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

He is so almighty that He has made everything. Visible and invisible.

This bit is important. It says visible and invisible. Not seen and unseen. If I were to leave one room and enter another I become unseen. But I am not invisible.

The use of the word invisible is to underline the fact that there is an invisible, spiritual, world which we do not see. We are both visible in human form and invisible in our spiritual form - our soul.

There is also an invisible world of angels and spirits of those departed from this world. As well, of course, as the invisible Holy Spirit.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages. God of God, light of light, true God of true God. Begotten not made, consubstantial to the Father, by whom all things were made.

Note in particular that we say one Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Lord, our Master, and there is no other.

Begotten - born of a Father (God) - not made by God just as He made us, and the planets and everything else.

Before all ages. Jesus has always existed. He did not just begin to exist when He was born on earth. This is when He appeared to us in human form. But before that, He has always existed with God, because He is God.

Consubstantial to the Father. From Latin consubstantialem, of one essence or substance. This word was used by the Council of Nicaea (325) to express the Divinity of Christ. The Trinity is not a hierarchy. It isn't God at the top, then Jesus, and then the Holy Spirit. All three are equal and one; and have always been so.

Who for us men and for our salvation came down from Heaven. And was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary and was made man;

Another proclamation that Jesus, who always existed, became human form through the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.

was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried; and the third day rose again according to the Sciptures. 

What is Pilate doing here? Why is he getting a mention in the Creed?

This is very important and significant. Jesus' life, death and resurrection is not some fairy story we hear and tell our children. "Once upon a time ..."

This is actual fact and it happened at a point in time. When Pilate was ruler. The mention of Pilate is to serve as a beacon in history so that future readers reciting the Creed can identify when these real facts actually happened.

Jesus died and rose again as predicted in the Old Testament by the prophets.

And ascended into Heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, and shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose Kingdom there shall be no end.

Jesus is indeed King in Heaven with God. We also believe that He is with us here and now in Spiritual form. Always by our side and ready to help us with our needs.

But we also believe that He will return to earth in human form as He did all those years ago.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who together with the Father and the Son is to be adored and glorified, who spoke by the prophets.

Another proclamation that the Holy Spirit is one with the Father and the Son.

The Holy Spirit has always existed. Just like God and Jesus.

He inspired the prophets to write what they wrote, and to predict the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The prophets did not make it all up as a fairy story. They were told by the Holy Spirit what to write.

And the holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

The word holy does not refer to us. There are plenty of so-called Christians who are far from holy! This refers to the Church. It was created by Jesus through Peter and it is holy because of this.

Catholic means throughout the world, universal. (Katholikos from katholou).

Apostlic means belonging and starting from the Apostles as chosen by Christ.


I confess one baptism for the remission of sins.

If we are to be put right with God we just have to accept Him through baptism and to confess and be sorry for our sins.

And I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

This is yet again very significant. Here we proclaim that this life, in this world, is only a passing phase. When we die there will be a resurrection and a new spiritual life in a spiritual world.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Mathematical Matters



Mathematics is all about numbers and the relationships of numbers to one another. For example, do you know that there are more stars and planets in the universe than all the grains of sands in all the beaches and deserts in the world?

Without telling you the number of stars the mere image I have depicted has conjured in your mind how many stars exist.

There are indeed many grains of sands in the desert. I should know.

I was once a member of a research team in the desert and my task was to count the number of grains of sands. I counted up to 23 and got tired. So I can categorically claim that there are more than 23 grains of sand in the world and more stars than that in the universe. Just look up to the sky at night to prove it.

The Ancient Greeks were great mathematicians. Pythagoras for instance used mathematics to work out the measurements of shapes, especially triangles. He found out that the square on a hippopotamus is bigger than two other squares in the bush. He also had great respect for flava beans as he thought they were the source of life itself. One day he was chased by his enemies and he came across a field of beans. He stopped and refused to go through it and was killed by his enemies.

Archimedes was another mathematician of sorts. He was having a bath one day and the water in his bath overflowed. He ran in the street naked shouting “Eureka” and was arrested for indecent exposure.

One day I was traveling on a train with my college professor of mathematics. The train was going fast and we passed a field full of sheep. He remarked “Look over there, 134 sheep!”

I was impressed and asked him how he counted them so quick with the train traveling so fast. He replied “Easy … I counted their legs and divided by four!”

A bit later we passed another field full of sheep and I tried the same trick. I counted the legs and divided by four; but I had a remainder of three. Which means there was either one sheep with three legs, or three sheep with one leg each!

The Ancient Romans, unlike the Greeks, used letters instead of numbers. The letter I meant one, II meant two, III meant three … they then got tired and tried something different. IV was four, V was five, X was ten … and they also had L, C and M as numbers.

All this suddenly stopped when the Emperor Claudius received a text saying – I LV CLAVDIVS – and he didn’t know whether it was an amorous message from his girl-friend or his wife’s new telephone number.

Einstein too was a great mathematician who devised Einstein’s Theory of Relativity without the use of a calculator. According to him, the richer you are the more relatives will attend your funeral.

Also, according to Einstein, if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to see it then it will remain upright.

He was once asked, is it true that sound does not travel in a vacuum, and if a man shouts in a vacuum then his screams will not be heard?

He replied “It depends whether the vacuum is switched on at the time and how much dust is in the dust bag.”

Which all reminds me of the skunk running through the forest as the wind suddenly turns direction. He stops and says “AAHH … it all comes back to me now!”

Thursday, 18 April 2013

A Message from Father Francis Maple

 
Dear readers, 
 
Thank you for your good wishes and prayers.

I have just returned from being chaplain on a 13 night cruise on the ship Aurora. I would not have missed it for anything.  It was as good as giving a parish Mission.  I was at the beck and call of crew and passengers.  My stay on the ship was just a small part of the world cruise many of the passengers were making.  I got on the ship at Laem Chambang and got off at Dubai. The places we called at were Singapore, Port Kelang, Mumbai, Muscat and Dubai.  I did not see a spot of rain.  Sunny skies everyday while poor Britain froze.  I came back brown as a berry.  The cruise went without a hitch.  Everyone was so kind.  I was welcomed by crew and passengers.  Some of the crew had not seen a priest for nine months.  I met so many interesting people who shared their stories with me.

It was while on the cruise I celebrated my Golden Jubilee to the priesthood at the Easter Vigil ceremonies.  I offered up the Mass for all present as I told them it was this day 50 years ago I was ordained a priest.  The crew at the end of Mass presented me with a chocolate cake on which were written in yellow the words 'Congratulations'.  Then they sang the song 'Congratulations and Jubilations.'  I was really touched.  About 150 crew and passengers were present.  It was an occasion I shall never forget. 

Most days I said two Masses, one for the passengers at 08.45 and another for the crew at 23.30.  The crew Masses were well prepared and accompanied on a key board with lively hymns I had never heard.  Some of the hymns were in the crew's native languages.  The crew came for Goa, Mumbai and the Philippines.

God bless,

Fr. Francis

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Cocktail Queen



Father Ignatius was washing his car in the church’s car park one afternoon when he was approached by a young lady wearing a low-cut T-shirt, a short skirt, and knee-length boots.

“Are you the priest that works in this church?” she asked.

He was still wearing his white collar and replied, “I am the Parish priest. How may I help you?”

“Can we speak privately please?” she asked again.

Father Ignatius put down the bucket of water and invited her into the Parish house. He sat at his desk in his office and she made herself comfortable in the armchair by the window.

After a short silence she said, “This isn’t easy for me …”

“Take your time,” replied Father Ignatius gently.

“Don’t know where to start …”

“Start at the beginning … what can I do to help …”

“I serve drinks at the Bitten Apple Night Club … I’m a barmaid … they call me Cocktail Queen …” she interrupted.

The priest nodded and said nothing, encouraging her to go on.

“Have you been there? The Bitten Apple … just by the cinema?”

“No, I’ve never been there …” he answered calmly, and wondering where all this is leading to.

“If you ever want to go let me know … I can let you in without paying the entrance fee … get in at the back …”

“Well … that won’t be necessary …” hesitated Father Ignatius, still wondering what this young lady wanted.

“I’m not a bad person you know … people look at me and think I’m a bad person …”

“I’m not here to judge you,” he answered, still remaining calm to help her say what she had on her mind.

“This is very difficult, but I have to tell you because I believe in God and all that …” she stopped for a few seconds and sighed. He let her pause for a while until she continued, “I’m pregnant … there I said it!”

“That’s good news … isn’t it?” he said with a smile.

“A nuisance more like … it’ll interfere with my work … and my boy-friend is mad about it. It’ll be Christmas soon … and a right present he’s given me …”

“I see …”

“Well he said we should get rid of it … he is willing to pay and all … I was wondering whether God would forgive me if I got rid of it … because I can’t give up work you see …”

“You’re asking me to condone the killing of a living human being; because that’s what it is you intend to do,” said Father Ignatius sternly.

“I’m asking for forgiveness” she said, “I was brought up Catholic years ago as a child, although I don’t go to church now … I’m too busy you see … I was told if you confess your sins the priest has to forgive you …”

“It doesn’t work quite like that …” he said hiding his temporary loss of patience.

“You can’t ask for forgiveness for something you’re about to do. Something which you know is wrong; and yet you intend to do it all the same.”

“It's either that or I lose my job and lose my boy-friend. Then where will I be?”

“You do realize what abortion is Miss, do you not?” he asked gently trying to calm down the situation before it got out of hand. “It is the ending of a life. It is not a matter to be considered lightly and in a cavalier way as you and your boy friend seem to think. I do not believe that it is right, and I must advise you against it in the strongest way possible. I urge you to re-consider what you’re intending to do …”

She looked at her watch and interrupted him once again, “Do you think if I go to another church the vicar there would forgive me?”

It was obvious that she was not listening and that her mind was made up. All she needed was re-assurance from the church, or any representative of a Deity she happened to vaguely believe in, that what she was doing was right.

“I doubt that you will find any vicar or priest who would …”

“I’ll have to go now,” she said looking at her watch again, “I’m on at the Bitten Apple in half-an-hour …”

“Before you go, just wait a second … I’d like you to get in contact with these people if you can. They may be able to help you. They will talk to you about your pregnancy, but I must tell you, they will never agree to you having an abortion. On the contrary, they will help you see what a gift you have living within you right now …”

“Whatever … I’ll think about it … I don’t think they’ll help … I just have to get rid of it … I’m not into having babies and all that …” she said taking the card from his hand and making her way out.

As he saw her leave Father Ignatius prayed silently for that living human being threatened with death before breathing his first breath.

All that happened some months ago and the priest never met the young lady again … until yesterday.

He was at the supermarket and about to pay for his purchases when the cashier recognized him. She told him that the baby is six months old now, and that she gave up work at the night club and was now working at the supermarket and living with her boy-friend, the baby’s father.

As he drove away the priest praised God for saving the unborn-child and prayed that maybe … one day … this young family may get to know and love the Lord.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

A Cry from the Heart - Pro-life Song - Father Francis Maple

BACKGROUND - Father Francis Maple is a Franciscan monk who celebrates his 50th Anniversary as a priest around this time.

 HAPPY ANNIVERSARY
FATHER FRANCIS MAPLE
ON YOUR
50TH YEAR
AS A PRIEST

Thank you for hearing the call and for your many years serving Our Lord.
May God bless you and protect you always.

Some years ago Father Francis recorded a Pro-Life song entitled A Cry from the Heart and was released originally on casette tapes (later on CDs). He says on the tape cover "I would like to dedicate this song to any young girl or woman who may listen to it and decide not to have an abortion. Life is God's gift."

Thankfully, the song has saved many babies from abortion. Their pregnant mothers heard the song and decided not to go ahead with abortion.

Years later Father Francis met a young boy who told him that his mother heard the song when pregnant and decided not to have an abortion. The boy said he owed his life to the priest. Father Francis has received over 20 other similar testaments of babies being saved.

A copy of the tape came into my posession some time ago and it was in poor quality. Someone helped me to restore it and put it on You Tube. I've put other Father Francis Maple songs on You Tube - with his permission of course. Check them out.

Father Francis has sung in public over the years (and still does) in malls, shopping centres and at his own concerts and has raised over £1m for charity. He has also written several books (sermons, cooking recipes, jokes), and has contributed (and still does) to many newspaper columns and Catholic newspapers and magazines. He spends a lot of time travelling throughout the UK leading Missions in various Catholic churches. Father Francis contributes articles and sermons from time to time to the Community of Catholic Bloggers website.

I hope you enjoy his song "A Cry from the Heart" and that it continues to save many babies from abortion. Hopefully readers here will like the song and write about it.


Mommy keep me safe, mommy keep me warm

Handle me with care, mommy help me to form.

I am ten weeks old, and I know the time will come
when you will give birth to me.

The gift you gave to me are a pair of bright blue eyes
So some day I will see you smile and love me.

I’ve already got my arms and a little podgy nose,
And at the end of my feet I’ve got five little toes.

I look forward to my life, ice cream and slimy snails,
teddy bears and little fairy tales.

Going for walks in the park
Running home before it’s dark.
And being tucked into bed with a kiss.

Where are we going today?
Am I in a boat or bus?

Why are we lying down?
Being drawn on four wheels?

And we go through the door
and there’s people dressed in green.
Everything seems so strange and so clean.

Mommy if they hurt you just let out a scream
and I know someone will come to help you and me.

Mommy what’s going on I am starting to cry
Come quickly they are forcing me to die.

They are killing me mommy, they are pulling me apart
My arms and my legs and now they’re at my heart.

And I won’t see the sky, or the grass or the trees.
and I won’t see the moon, or feel the breeze.

I love you mommy dear, you know I really do
But I only wish you could have loved me too!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

No stranger at the door

“ … and there we were both standing at the doorway of the Church,” said Father Ignatius, “and then he asked me if I could spare a cup of coffee. I didn’t think he drank coffee. What do you think he drank anyway?”

“St Peter?” asked Father Donald.

“Yes … St Peter,” repeated Father Ignatius, “what do you think he drank. Surely not coffee. It hadn’t been discovered then! When he was alive on earth.”

“Oh … boiled fish water, I shouldn’t wonder” laughed Father Donald, “must have tasted really horrible I should think!”

“And then …” continued Father Ignatius after a short pause, “and then, as if by magic, we were here in my office. I was sitting at my desk, like now, and he sat in the very armchair where you’re sitting in!”

Father Donald looked around him in the armchair and said nothing. Father Ignatius continued.

“St Peter sat just where you’re sitting Donald. He looked just like we’ve seen him portrayed in the movies. Tall guy and well set. With a beard and wearing a brown tunic … and sandals. I remember distinctly the sandals … Big man, he was … I wouldn’t wish to be on the wrong side of an argument with him. He was here in this office.

“He asked what I thought of him.

“I mumbled the usual things we’ve been taught in seminary … Loyal follower of Christ, leader of the Disciples, Head of the Church … That sort of thing!

“He smiled and picked up a biscuit … he preferred the chocolate covered ones and commented that they tasted different to the ones he was used to in them days … That’s exactly what he said … in them days!”

Father Donald raised an eyebrow and smiled, whilst Father Ignatius went on.

“Then he asked me to be honest. Not repeat what I’d been taught. What did I really think of him?”

Father Donald smiled once more and said nothing.

“Well …” Father Ignatius went on, “I hesitated of course … it’s quite a shock seeing St Peter face to face and being asked such a direct question …

“I said that some theologians consider him to be a bit irresolute of character … Tends to speak first, sometimes acts quickly, yet … a bit hesitant when the chips are down!”

“Wow …” said Father Donald, “did he hit you for saying that? He has a bit of a temper our St Peter you know.”

“No … he remained calm,” replied Father Ignatius, “He said ‘I don’t care about what theologians think … what do they know? I’m asking for your opinion Ignatius!’ He called me Ignatius … so he knew full well who I was. Then he asked me if I had any more of those brown covered biscuits …

“I gave him the whole packet of chocolate biscuits which somehow I had here in my desk; and then I said that I sympathized with his predicament and how he’d been portrayed by some theologians. He was and I’m sure he still is very loyal to Christ. He spoke first because of his confidence and beliefs in our Lord.

“He hesitated a little when he jumped into the lake and tried to walk on water. But anyone would have done that … Jesus had asked him to come to Him … so at least he did show real Faith by jumping into the water … but his Faith faltered … understandable really!

“And that’s when St Peter sat a little forward in the armchair and calmly said to me … ‘Quite the diplomat aren’t you Ignatius?’ I remember distinctly those words … and they were not said in a complimentary way either … He asked me to go on … what did I really and honestly think of him …

“So I swallowed hard Donald … I knew what he wanted me to say but I was too scared to say it. He nodded gently to encourage me …

“And very quietly I mumbled that he had denied Christ three times …

“He looked me straight in the eye and all gentleness seemed to have gone from his face. He waved his hand gently at me, still holding a half-eaten chocolate biscuit, as if to reprimand me … you know, as we do with our finger when we point at a little child, and then he said ‘After over two thousand years you people still hold that against me! And you call yourselves forgiving Christians … The Lord Himself forgave me with His knowledgeable look full of love and pity for me. But you Christians still bring this matter up …

“And it’s the same with Thomas … Whenever I meet him he says that the only thing that people remember about him is his doubting, and they can’t relate anything else he did after that.

“Well let me tell you something clever Ignatius that you are’ … That’s what St Peter called me, Donald. ‘Clever Ignatius that you are …

“Let me tell you something … Have you ever considered what would have happened if I did not deny our Lord? I would have most probably been taken by the crowd and hung from the nearest tree …

“They were horrible they were … and angry and wild. Those same people who pretended to love Him, whom He had healed and taught over the years suddenly became very wild. They became angry, almost feral … And of course I was scared. They were probably scared too, you know. They had to act this way because acting any differently would have resulted in them being hanged too!

“And by denying Christ, the Son of our God, I unwittingly set in course the chain of events which followed. Jesus knew exactly why I had to deny Him at the time of His capture.

“After His Resurrection, when He appeared to us on the shore of the lake as we were fishing; it was the third time Jesus appeared to us after He was raised from death … We had just eaten together, and Jesus asked me three times if I loved Him. And every time I said yes He asked me to take care of His lambs and His sheep!’ ”

After a short silence Father Donald asked “What happened then Ignatius? When St Peter told you that?”

Father Ignatius replied.

“Well, he finished eating his biscuit and then he asked me whether I thought I had done a good job of looking after Our Lord’s lambs and sheep …

“Before I could answer … I just woke up!”

“That’s quite a dream …” said Father Donald, “and quite a message from St Peter.

“Christ knew precisely why Peter had to be spared at the time of His capture … in order to lead the Disciples and the Church!”

Monday, 8 April 2013

Why is the FISH a symbol of Christianity?

Before I answer this question let me say that I've always wished to swim with dolphins. But I couldn't afford such a holiday so I went swimming with sardines instead.

As soon as they saw me all the sardines swam away leaving me alone in the sea as a subject of ridicule and fun. The chief-sardine said: "Oh it's him again ... let's get away as soon as possible!" and they all left at once!

Now sardines are not as clever as dolphins are they? Why else would they get into a tin and leave the key on the outside?

Every other canned fish you buy, tuna, salmon, pilchard and so on, you have to open with a can opener. But sardines ... they have a key on the outside. Why?

Unless of course you buy those tins with a ring pull. Again, on the outside ... so the sardines can't pull the ring and get out.

Anchovies aren't that much cleverer either. They thought they'd avoid capture by being so salty that no one would ever eat them. They were wrong. They've now become a delicacy much sought after and more fished than before. Who'd ever heard of anchovies on pizza before they became salty?

Come to think of it, most fish are somewhat stupid. They have the whole ocean to swim in and yet they swim into cans and tins and put a label on the outside to make themselves more marketable.

And now about the original question ...

Why is the FISH a symbol of Christianity?

The symbol of a fish was found on ancient Christian monuments and buildings. It represents Christ.

The Greek word for "fish" is ICHTHUS.

If we take the letters of that word they provide the first letters of other Greek words.

Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter

Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour

So the symbol of the fish suggests all this to a Christian. It may well have been a secret sign used by early Christians to identify each other.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Reminiscing about False Teeth


Years ago I was a member of a group of entertainers. I presented the variety acts on stage and did a bit of stand-up comedy and chat with the audience. The shows consisted of pop music and songs, a bit of classic music and opera, old tyme “Victorian” songs, a bit of dancing and comedy sketches mainly written by me.

We rehearsed for ages beforehand and did our shows in church halls, old peoples’ homes, Women’s Institute Meetings and so on; to raise money for charity and to entertain the old folks.

A particular sketch came to mind out of the blue the other day.

Imagine if you will, on stage a number of men dressed as nuns, led by a tone-deaf tenor with a strong pronounced accent, singing this beautiful song from the Sound of Music.
 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Those tabs at the top




Q - What are those tabs or folders at the top of this Blog all about?

A – They are there to help you navigate your way through the Blog. Just click any of them and find out more.

Q – How much does it cost?

A – Nothing. They are FREE. Like everything else on this Blog.

Q – Can anyone use them?

A - Yes, of course!

Q – I am a vegetarian, can I use them?

A – Yes, anyone can regardless of their IQ or profession.

Q – Do I have to wear anything formal to use them?

A – It depends where you are. If you’re in a public place like work, Internet CafĂ© or using your laptop on a train, it is advisable that you are decently clothed. If you’re in the privacy of your own home you can wear what you like, or nothing.

Q – I am using my laptop at work. I am going home to click on the tabs.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Emmaus Valley


“Father, is it possible that God stops loving us?” Roger asked Father Ignatius.

The priest stopped what he was doing and asked, “What brought this on? It’s rather a strange question to ask.”

“Well Father,” continued Roger, “We’re told that God loves all of us. But is it possible that sometimes He turns His attention to someone else, and we’re not in His good books, or in His priorities anymore?”

“Feeling neglected are we … is that the problem?”

“No Father … it’s that … I don’t know … I seem to be down in the valley at this moment in time. Sometimes I’m right up there and I feel great and all is well … and then at times I feel really down and things aren’t going so well …”

“Aha … I see …” exclaimed the priest, “remember, that in order to be up there, as you put it, we must start from a low point.

“There are times when our Faith is really strong and we feel at one with God … and then at times, we begin to wobble and wonder and doubt …

“It’s usually when things aren’t going so well in our lives. Is that what is happening to you?”

Roger hesitated. “Perhaps … yes, I feel a bit fearful about life in general … will I still have my job this time next year, with the financial situation being what it is? How will I cope at my age? Would I get another job … you know the sort of worries we all have …”

Father Ignatius remained silent for a while, allowing Roger to think about what he had just said. Then he asked:

“I was reading Luke Chapter 24 Verse 13 onwards this morning. Do you know what it is about?”

Roger shook his head.

“It’s an unfair question I suppose … to expect you to know chapter and verse by heart … not even a priest can do that!” exclaimed Father Ignatius.

Roger smiled.

“Just after Christ’s Resurrection, two of His followers were going to Emmaus,” said Father Ignatius.

“They were totally distraught about Jesus’ death, and even though they had heard news that His tomb is empty and that Christ is alive, they were still down-hearted and confused.

“Jesus appeared to them on the way. They did not recognize Him. They spoke with Him and told Him their news. They said that their Lord and leader had been crucified, and there were rumors going around that He was raised from the dead and He was alive again.

“Jesus did not tell them who He was but explained to them the prophets’ predictions about Him. He walked with them all the way to Emmaus, but still they did not recognize Him. It wasn’t until He broke and blessed the bread that they recognized Him.”

The priest paused again for a while; and then he went on.

“Why? I ask myself.

“Why did they not recognize Him when they first saw Him, or when He took the time to explain to them the writings of the prophets?

“Could it be that their minds were more pre-occupied with their own problems and their dilemma rather than listening to Him?

“You can just imagine how their mind worked and how concerned they were about their predicament.

“Their leader is dead. What are they to do now? Is it all over? Every thing He said and taught comes to nothing? And what of the future? What are His followers to do now?

“Can you see how their mind was working Roger?”

“Yes … I suppose they were frightened about their future,” said Roger.

“Just like you …” said Father Ignatius with a gentle smile.

“We are all just the same as those two disciples at times …

“Sudden events may affect our lives and turn it upside down. Events perhaps of our own making sometimes … or events that we did not contribute to, but they affect us all the same.

“And we panic. We fear the future, we fear matters getting out of our control and we turn our attention to our problems and our dilemma. Just like those two on the way to Emmaus.

“And from being on a high up there with our Lord, we’re suddenly plunged into the valley you find yourself in right now.

“Yet, all the time we are panicking Jesus is there, walking right beside us. Quite literally! He is waiting for us to recognize Him, to trust Him, and hold His hand in the full knowledge that He will see us through our darkest hour.

“It is our doubts, our fears and our worries which prevent us from seeing Him.”

Monday, 1 April 2013

What pets see ...



Strange thing happened when I was out for a walk the other day. I met my friend Phil who was taking his goldfish for a walk. Yes, his goldfish. He places the goldfish bowl in a pram and walks round the park to give the fish a change of scenery.

I suppose it’s not as strange as me taking the dog for a walk. My dog is so lazy that he now stands on a skateboard and I have to pull him behind me with a rope. Every so often he gets off the skateboard, sniffs the aroma around a tree or lamp post and leaves his calling card before mounting the skateboard again.

Anyway, Phil and I got talking and he asked me the oddest question ever.

“Do you ever undress in front of your pets?”

What?

I must admit, I had never considered the question before; but Phil said that he noticed recently his goldfish acting most strangely and they became very agitated whenever he undressed.
I explained that looking through the goldfish bowl everything they see must be out of proportion with each other; so looking at him must be quite a shock. It’s like looking at those concave and convex mirrors in fairgrounds when different parts of the body look out of proportion to each other.

(At this point my mind was doing summersaults, as I suspect yours is doing right now!)

He thought about it for a while and then said “I mean … pets may be a different species to us humans but they still think, you know. Fish, dogs, cats, hamsters and the like … they see you with nothing on and they may well think and wonder what is going on!”

I thought about this for a moment and I was about to say something when Phil continued:

“Now whenever we take the goldfish bowl upstairs in the bedroom we cover it with a towel before we undress so as not to traumatize the fish!”

“You take the goldfish to the bedroom with you?” I asked incredulously.

“Yes of course, they are part of the family you know. We don’t just leave them downstairs in the TV room. But you haven’t answered my question. Do you undress in front of your dog?” he asked.

I looked at my dog enjoying another tree and said nothing. Perhaps I should conduct a survey about this I thought.

So, what do you think?