Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Father Ignatius and the Painter


Once upon a time there was an unscrupulous painter who was very interested in making extra money if he could. He often thinned down his paint with turpentine to make it go a bit further. Sadly, he got away with this for some time.

One day Father Ignatius decided to paint the outside of the Parish Hall white. He asked for several quotations and this painter’s was the lowest price quoted. As the priest was short of funds the painter in question got the job.

So he set about erecting the scaffolding and setting up the planks, and buying the paint and, yes, I am sorry to say, thinning it down with turpentine.

As the painter was up on the scaffolding, painting away, the job nearly completed, there was suddenly a horrendous clap of thunder, the sky opened, and the rain poured down washing the thinned paint from all over the Parish Hall walls, and knocking the painter clear off the scaffold to land on the lawn among the gravestones, surrounded by telltale puddles of the thinned and useless paint.

The painter realised that this was a judgement from above …

He got on his knees and cried:

“Oh God … oh God … help me … what should I do?”

And just then a thunderous voice replied:

“Repaint !!! Repaint !!! And thin no more !!!”

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Monday, 28 December 2015

I am better than you



“I’m so pious ... Always on my knees praying ... So much so that I’ve calluses on my knees the size of mountains ... Ha ha ... I fast too and go for long periods without water ... I’m alright really ... I’m a devout Christian ... Not like all those un-believers.”

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men — robbers, evildoers, adulterers — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Why did Jesus have to come to earth?



Another week, another Friday. Father Ignatius set out from St Vincent Church to St Joseph Catholic School to take on the Catechism class with the 15 years old.

It was always a challenge facing those youngsters, especially since he allowed a few minutes at the end of class for free discussion. They could ask anything they wanted and he promised to give them an honest answer – even if he didn’t have an answer, he promised them to say so.

A young pupil put up her hand and asked:

“Why did Jesus have to come to earth? Why didn’t God continue to speak through the prophets like Moses and all the others? And send His Commandments and messages that way? Did Jesus really have to come and die for us to be forgiven? Couldn't God just forgive us?”

“That’s an intelligent question Catherine,” replied the priest, “in fact it’s more than one question; all intelligent at that!”

The young pupil smiled proudly.

“I am not God,” said Father Ignatius, “and I cannot possibly explain what went through His mind when He sent us Jesus; or His motivation for Christ’s Virgin birth, sinless life, death and Resurrection. I know and believe that God decided to send us His Son Jesus to die for us. Yes, He could have just forgiven us, as you say. Being God, He could have done what He wishes, and still can. But I believe that He sent us Jesus, His Son ... and when Jesus was raised to Heaven He sent us the Holy Spirit, who is still with us today ... ”

He stopped for a while to clean his glasses which gained him some thinking time; then putting them back on he continued:

“Let me tell you a story I heard years ago …”

The whole class was now focused on his every word. He knew how to captivate their attention and he firmly believed that honesty, combined with his modern-day parables, would make them remember what he had to say and hopefully mold them into a lifetime founded on the Word of God.

“Once upon a time there was a farmer living in Canada where, as you know, the winters can be very cold and miserable.



“One such cold winter evening in the midst of a very violent snow storm, the farmer was in his home keeping warm by the fireside when he heard banging on the side of his house.

“What could it possibly be? He thought as he heard the continuous thump, thump, thump coming from outside?

“He ignored it at first, but as his dog was getting a little fractious by the sound the farmer put on his heavy overcoat and woolly hat and went outside to investigate.

“He struggled in the blinding snow and nearly slipped once or twice.



“As his eyes grew accustomed to the darkness he discovered that a flock of wild geese had lost their way in the snow storm and landed in the field near his house.

“There were literally hundreds of them. Disorientated, cold and wandering everywhere.

“They were landing heavily like an airplane with failed engines, and many of them crashed against the side of the barn.

“The farmer realized that left out in the cold they would soon perish without any shelter.



“So he opened the doors of one of his barns and hoped that they would go in for the night.

“But no ... they remained out in the cold cackling and walking around in circles rather than seek shelter in the barn.

“He tried to shoo them in by walking behind them with his arms spread out ... but to no avail ... the geese ran everywhere except into the barn.



“He tried to persuade his sheepdog to herd them into the barn. But the dog had better ideas in mind. He raised his back leg to answer a call of nature then ran back into the house.”

The class of students laughed in unison.

“The farmer thought to himself ‘If only I could talk to these birds in their own language and explain to them that the barn will shelter them from the snow ... It’s their only way to salvation from this freezing cold …’

“Then an idea struck him.

“He opened another barn and let out his own geese in the yard. The yard was now full of his flock as well as these Canadian wild geese. All cackling away in the freezing snow.

“After a minute or so he shooed his own geese into the open barns again and to his relief the wild geese followed them to safety.”

The priest stopped to allow the story to sink into their young minds.

“You see … I think God had the same problem with us humans on earth.

“For years He spoke to us through the prophets as Catherine said when she asked her question. But did we listen … of course not. We continued in our sinful way.

“So God sent His only Son to us, as a human, so that we may see Him, hear Him and hopefully listen to Him speaking to us in our own language.

“Some of us have accepted Jesus as the Son of God and have heeded the Word of God, as spoken through Christ our Lord.

“But years later, even now, there are many who are not listening still.

“And that’s what we must remember at Christmas time. It isn’t just about the baby Jesus being born in a stable. It is more important than that. It is about the reality that God Himself visited us here on earth all those years ago.”

Thursday, 17 December 2015

What did she know?


It’s amazing how sometimes a chance remark or a word spoken in jest can lead one to think something anew or with a fresh point of view.

Father Ignatius was helping with the dismantling of the Nativity scene in church and putting away the various statues safely for use the following Christmas. One of the helpers lifted the statue of the Virgin Mary and remarked: “Look at her face. She looks sad. It’s as if she knew what was to happen to Jesus when He grew up.”

“She’s probably tired after giving birth,” replied another helper.

“No … she looks sad, not tired. Do you think she knew that Jesus would be crucified Father?”

Father Ignatius sat down on a nearby chair.

“I think we need a rest, at least I know I do …” he said.

The other helpers stopped for a while.

“It’s a good question you ask …” continued the priest, “many people have argued about the Virgin Mary over the years, and no doubt will continue to do so. Not everyone holds her in such high regards as we do. Some see her as a woman who gave birth to the Son of God, and just that.

“Many doubt her various Apparitions throughout the world.

“As for how much she knew … well that’s another matter.”

“What do you mean Father?”

The priest finished cleaning his glasses and put them on again. It was a trick he had perfected when he wanted some thinking time.

“Let’s consider Mary when the Angel Gabriel announced what is to happen. Did the Angel just tell her about the Birth of Jesus, or did he, or the Holy Spirit perhaps, also tell her of what is to happen after that?

“Was she told that Jesus would grow up to perform many miracles? That His Mission on earth was to redeem us from our sins? That He would be arrested, beaten, tortured, have a crown of thorns put on His head, made to carry His own Cross and then nailed cruelly to it until He died in agony?”

“I’m not sure … the Bible doesn’t say much about this,” said one of his listeners.

“No, the Bible doesn’t …” continued the priest, “it does not record everything. For example, we have a gap in Christ’s life from the age of twelve when He was found in the temple by His parents to the age of thirty or so when He started His Mission on earth.

“The Gospels in particular focus mainly on Christ, as they should, and don’t mention Mary or Joseph very much.”

“Well what do you think Father?” he was asked again.

“What I think is only a personal point of view.

“I doubt that God would have asked her to become the Mother of Jesus without telling her what this entailed.

“I believe the Holy Spirit would have told her what is to happen. We don’t know in how much details … we can only guess at that. And throughout her life, from the moment the Angel Gabriel visited her, she had snippets of confirmation of what is to happen.

“When she visited Elizabeth … we learn that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and confirmed ‘you are the most blessed amongst women, and blessed is the child you will bear!’

“When she presented the baby Jesus in the temple, Simeon warned her ‘and sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.’

“And when at the age of twelve His parents found Jesus in the temple He said ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’ And Mary treasured all these things in her heart.

“Yes … I believe she knew quite a lot what was to happen to Jesus.”

“Wow … no wonder she looks so sad …” exclaimed one of the helpers.

“This leads us to consider something else,” added the priest.

“Imagine you knew every detail that is to happen in your life. Every illness, sad moment and unhappiness that is to happen. And you could not change it. You had to go through it. How would you feel? Would you be able to cope with the fear and agony of knowing what is to happen to you?

“We don’t know how much Mary knew of her future and that of Jesus.

“But Jesus certainly knew what would happen to Him. Every detail from the moment of His arrest to His death. Peter’s denial, Judas’ betrayal, His disciples fleeing in fear. The agony of His torture and Crucifixion.

“Can you imagine how He must have felt as He grew up, as a teenager and young man, knowing that this day was still to come? The horror of it must have been unbearable.

“Yet He went through with it … just for us!”

They were all silent for a few moments as they considered the seriousness of what they’d just heard.

Friday, 11 December 2015

No Peace

Please allow me to quote from my book "Visions" where Jesus says: "This world cannot know peace until it learns to forgive. Forgiveness is the way to peace".

Regular readers of this Blog, (that's just you and me, the two of us), will know that I often post humourous articles and fun stories here.

I know from analysing the stats that these articles often attract new readers who came here by searching for "jokes", "fun" or other similar words and, having found me, hopefully spend some time looking at the other more serious Christian posts; and hopefully get to know Jesus through what I write.

As I look at life around me, in my locality or on a wider scale through the news media, I notice that as a human race we still have not learnt to forgive.

We may well have advanced in numerous fields such as science, technology, the arts and so on ... but we're still unable or unwilling to learn the very basics regarding mutual peaceful existance.

We've all been hurt in life at one time or other. Some more than others. The hurt runs deep and the wounds are still raw and painful. No one is immune to being hurt.

The trick is - what do we do next?

Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, if my brother keeps sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” answered Jesus, “but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18: 21-22

According to my calculator this adds up to 490 times. But I'm sure Jesus did not mean to limit us to that number.

How do we forgive?

True forgiveness means that we no longer hold something against the one who hurt us. No thoughts of revenge, retribution, punishment or anything like that. We just let what they have done pass away and we move on.

Someone asked me the other day – I have forgiven but cannot forget the pain and hurt caused to me. Does that mean I’ve not really forgiven?

The simple answer is:

If none of the feelings mentioned above are in our hearts – then we have truly forgiven.

Jesus asked us to forgive. Not to forget.

Of course we'll remember the hurt. The more the hurt the more we'll remember as every day something happens to remind us. This is natural.

The second trick is:

We use every remembrance of the hurt to forgive once again.

We also use every remembrance to pray for the one who hurt us. We hand that person over to God as well as the hurt itself.

You cannot possibly hate someone you are praying for.

When Jesus looks at the scars in His hands, feet and side He remembers; and forgives once again.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

St Paul's lost litter to the maddern wold

Deer fiends,

I am riting this litter to warn you of the dangers of modern thyme.

Life is moving fast these dais. It is not as when I was round on earth. Back then life was much slower. We wear more care full, especially when talking or writing too each other. We thought carefully aboot what we said.

I used too write with a quill on parchment pepper or thick sheets of papyrus. A quill was a feather I plucked from a mongoose and sharpened its end - of the feather not the mongoose. I tipped the feather in ink and wrote slowly and carefully so as not to make any misteaks.

Now life is much faster with electronique gadgets with there prescriptive sex. You type one thing and out comes an other. Then you press send and the damage is don. What you did not mean to say has been said and the other person can get upset or very heart.

Pleese communication slowly and carefully. Do not heart each other by what you say. Be gentile with one another. I remember a fiend of mines always used to say: Sticks and stones may break my bones. But words will never heart me. And then a printing press fell on him. Ouch!

So take cake ... care.

I'd better stop now. My quill is getting blunt. I use it to hit the keys on this keyboard and it breaks easily. Not like the olden thymes.

Yours sin cere lee,

Sain PAuL.

Monday, 7 December 2015

The Graceful Lady

For the last three Sundays Father Ignatius noticed a new member of his congregation attending Mass and always sitting in the same place on the left of the Altar.

She was an elegantly dressed lady in her mid to late fifties. She took part in silent prayer throughout Mass and never came forward for Communion. At the end of Mass she got out of church without speaking with anyone and drove away in a nice new car. Not the sort of car you see often in St Vincent Church whose parishioners are mostly either out of work or earning a pittance in a job in the poorest town in the country.

Father Ignatius liked to wait in the car park after Mass and greet his parishioners as they came out of church. Yet he never managed to speak to this mysterious lady who always left just before the final hymn ended, and so avoided contact with him or any other parishioner.

This week however the repetitive saga would have a different outturn because Father Donald was offering Mass; so our resourceful priest decided to wait in the car park a few minutes before Mass ended and so have the opportunity to greet his mysterious new visitor.

As the elegant woman came out of church early Father Ignatius greeted her with a smile.

“Hello, I’m Father Ignatius … I don’t think we’ve met …” he said.

“Yes Father … how remiss of me …” she replied in a refined English accent, “perhaps we can meet somewhere and I’ll introduce myself …”

Father Ignatius was taken aback. He certainly did not expect such a response.

“Ehm … we can go in the Parish House” he mumbled.

“Excellent … lead on and I’ll follow” she smiled.

Minutes later they were both in the large lounge room downstairs in the Parish House. She sat on the armchair near the warm fireplace; the very chair the priest often used when watching TV or listening to his beloved classical music. He sat on the settee opposite her.

“I haven’t been attending your church for long," she started.

“You’re very welcome here …” he encouraged her.

“The truth is … I haven’t been to church for almost thirty years,” she continued, “but my husband died a month ago and I thought I’d come back …”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear it …” the priest sympathized.

“Sorry that I’ve come back to church or that my husband died?” she asked teasingly, and before the priest had time to reply she smiled and went on “oh … don’t worry Father, actually I’m glad he’s dead … I’ve cursed him often enough …”

Father Ignatius knew to say nothing and let her continue.

“We married some thirty two years ago to be precise and he left me for another woman after two years of marriage. We had a young son aged one year at the time. My husband moved to another part of the country to start a new life with his new lover and I haven’t seen him since.

“He provided generously for the up-bringing of our son. He was fairly wealthy and made arrangements for moneys to be regularly credited to my bank, yet he never made contact nor visited our son since the day he left.

“My son is grown-up now and married with two children of his own. And my husband and I never divorced.

“He went to live with his girl friend, and had two other children with her although he never married her. And last month he died in a car accident.

“I heard from his solicitors that he left money for our son and for me.

“And I cursed him once again … I never forgave him for the pain he’s caused me and that’s why I’ve not been to church ever since the day our marriage broke down!”

“Well, as I said, you’re very welcome here …” Father Ignatius replied encouragingly once again.

“I know it’s wrong not to forgive Father …” she continued as calmly as before, “but I just can’t. And that’s why I haven’t been to church for a long while.

“I don’t even know why I’m back in church now … for the past three weeks at least. Perhaps I’m hoping that God will give me a ‘get out of jail free’ card,” she smiled. “You know what I mean … He’d forgive my hatred for my husband yet let me continue to hate him.”

“I doesn’t work like that …” Father Ignatius said gently.

“Yes I know Father. You’d have thought that after all these years I would have moved on … but I haven’t …” she continued lighting a cigarette.

“That’s because the hurt caused to you all those years ago has not healed. For various reasons the pain has not been given time to subside and fade away. Memories perhaps remained too vividly alive and so fuelled your anger and made the pain worse,” he explained as quietly and gently as before.

“Anyway … that’s my story,” she smiled stubbing out her just lit cigarette in the ashtray, “I may or may not continue to come to church … but it’s been nice meeting you Father. You’re a very gentle and caring person, and I appreciate your kindness.”

“Let me ask you something …” Father Ignatius asked just as she was about to get up, “if your husband was alive today, and he was here right now, full of genuine remorse for the hurt he has caused you all these years. If he asked you to forgive him, knowing full well that there’s nothing he can do to turn back the clock and put things right. If he genuinely and truly asked you for forgiveness; would you find it in your heart to forgive him?”

“What an interesting question …” she replied, “yes … on reflection I think I would forgive him.”

“It’s too late for him to ask your forgiveness,” said the priest, “but it’s not too late for you to forgive him.

“For your own peace of mind … and for your own sake and salvation, you must forgive him once and for all. The memories and hurt may well linger on, but with true forgiveness will come healing and in time reconciliation with Our Lord.”

“I’ll try …” she said showing emotion for the first time.

“That’s all God is asking of you. And I’ll be here to help you if you need me …” he replied.

And that’s how a wounded soul finally managed to find peace and healing. She continued to attend Mass on Sundays and had several discussions with Father Ignatius and Father Donald over a period of time to make her way back to God.

Yesterday, she went to Confession and had Communion for the first time in over thirty years.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

John's Legacy

A man wandering in the desert, dressed in clothes made of camel hair, and eating locusts and wild honey. (Mark 1:4-8).

Not exactly sartorial elegance. More of an eccentric if you ask me.

Yet this was a man with a mission.

His mission – to tell everyone about Jesus. To prepare them for His arrival.

His name – John, the Baptist. In case you confuse him with another John.

An outspoken man who feared no one in his quest to do what God had asked him. He even dared to criticize the king, and paid dearly with his life for doing so. (Mark 6:14-29).

His legacy to us?

Courage and Obedience.

Despite living in dangerous times, this man had courage to speak out and tell the world about Jesus; and dared tell the King that he was wrong.

How often are we presented with the opportunity to speak about God, about our religion and our Christianity. Do we shy away and miss a good opportunity to witness for our Lord? Or have we got a tiny fraction of John’s courage? And obedience?

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Accents and Slang

The other day a friend of mine and frequent visitor to this Blog, Lulu, mentioned English accents in one of her posts. By the way ... as I go off to a tangent ... Have you ever visited Lulu's Blog? If not, I suggest you do. You'll like what she writes there - makes more sense than what I write here. Just click on her name above and off you go. But not just yet ... finish reading my post first.

Anyway, as I was saying before I interrupted myself ... Lulu mentioned English accents; and this set me thinking. The British Isles are a relatively small area geographically, yet we have many varied and different accents to contend with.

Up in Scotland we have different accents in the Capital Edinburgh and in Glasgow, as well as in other parts of Scotland. Then we also have Welsh and Irish accents as well as the many accents in England itself. Someone from Liverpool for instance would sound totally different from a person from Manchester only a few miles away, or someone from Birmingham, Norfolk, Cornwall or London. In fact in London you'd find different accents depending from which part of London you come from.

But I wonder how many of you have heard of Cockney London Rhyming Slang?

This is a way of speaking prevalent in the East End of London whereby you use a rhyming word or phrase to mean something else totally different. So if you're ready; here is your first lesson in speaking in Cockney Rhyming Slang.

Adam and Eve - meaning "believe" - Would you Adam and Eve it? (Would you believe it?)

Apples and Pears - meaning "stairs" - He went up the apples and pears.

Barney Rubble - meaning "trouble" - He is real Barney Rubble he is!

Brahms and Liszt - meaning "pissed" (drunk) - He came out of the pub totally Brahms and Liszt.

This next one is a bit rude:

Bristol - short for a football team called Bristol City - which rhymes with titty meaning breast. So you would say - She had some large Bristols on her. Or, look at those Bristols.

Butcher's - short for butcher's hook - rhyming with and meaning "look" - Let me have a butchers at it. (Let me look at it).

Are you keeping up with me? Ok ... guess this one - Dog and bone.

Give up? It means phone.

I spoke to her on the dog and bone. She said her dog's meat (feet) hurt her and she had an itch on her fireman's hose (nose) and a pain in her Gregory Peck (neck). She went out and crossed the frog and toad (road) to fetch her dustbin lid (kid). When he got home, her dustbin lid (kid) was Hank Marvin (starving) and wanted feeding; but he said he wanted a Jimmy Riddle (piddle = urinate) first. So he went up the apples and pears - or tables and chairs (stairs) and pointed Percy to the porcelain (pointed his man bits to the porcelain urinal or toilet). She called him down but he must have been Mutt and Jeff (deaf) at the time because he didn't answer her.

She heard him wash his hands with a bit of Bob Hope (soap) and then he had a bread and cheese (sneeze) because he was coming down with a cold. He sat in front of the custard and jelly (telly = TV) and watched the baked bean (queen) give her Christmas address to the nation.

Anyway, that's enough Cockney Rhyming Slang for now. I'll say goodbye and go to the trouble and strife (wife) in the hope that she's got a Vera Lynn (gin) ready for me.

Tara now!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

How old is the earth?

For a long time now scientists and archaeologists and all sorts of learned people looking up at the stars and digging various places on earth for artifacts and things have been asking each other how old is the earth. Some have surmised that it is millions of years old, others have said it is older than that, give or take a day or two either side, whilst some believe the earth is really trillions of years old if not more.

Well, I can tell you with a fair degree of accuracy that the earth is 12 years old. Yes, just 12 years old. I know that my theory does not pass much scrutiny by learned scientists, or the one or two readers of this Blog who know better; but bear with me whilst I explain.

It all happened some 12 years ago whilst we were all asleep and we did not notice it. There was a major cosmic happening and the earth as we know it entered a vortex leading to a black hole with a singularity much greater than anyone could imagine. That is of course if anyone was awake to imagine it. Entering such a vortex is like going round and round with the water as it goes down the plug hole in your bath. Eventually, you too go down the plug hole with the water.

And this is what happened to earth. In doing so, it somehow rejuvenated in energy and stamina albeit not necessarily in age. So, although measurements like carbon dating, or archaeologists unearthing things dating back centuries may prove the earth existed more than 12 years ago; in energy terms it is only 12 years old. It's like giving an old coot a massive dose of vitamins and making him young and "active" much to the displeasure of his wife or girl-friend. Which reminds me; if I may be allowed to go off at a tangent for a bit: Did you know that archaeologists make the best marriage partners? The older you get the more interested they are in you.

Anyway, the earth entered this vortex leading to a black hole and came out the other end much rejuvenated and as young in stamina and energy as if it were 12 years old. And we didn't even notice it.

Why did this happen? I hear you ask.

Well it's simple really. The earth as it was then was slowing down. As you know, it turns from left to right all the time and has been doing so for ages. But like anyone who has had a life's diet of large burgers and French fries washed down with great amounts of drinks the earth was getting heavier and much slower. The turn from left to right was taking longer than the accustomed 24 hours each turn.

The earth was getting heavier because of the millions and millions of people who over the years have been born and died. Imagine as far back as the year dot how many people have been born. What happens to them when they die? They are either buried or cremated and their remains remain on earth, if you pardon the pun. Think also of all the trees and plants who have been "born" and eventually died. All these have their remains still on earth. The same for animals, birds, fish and everything else. They die, they remain on earth and new ones come along to eventually die and also remain on earth. Nothing actually leaves the planet which is getting heavier all the time.

And because it is heavier it becomes slower. Which means the sun has more time to shine on the same area as it passes slower and slower underneath it. And this my friends is what contributes to global warming.

It has nothing to do with all the other theories you've heard about regarding global warming. Not even the fact that we light so many candles in the world; at birthday parties, in churches, in restaurants, at intimate dinners or even in the bath. What's the idea of lighting candles in the bath anyway? Quite dangerous I think if you happen to singe your hair. Take it from me. Lighting candles does not lead to global warming. The earth slowing down does.

Going through the vortex at very high speeds has meant that the earth lost some (a lot) of its excess dust and is now a little lighter and its turn around speed a little more normal. For now ... We could all help it along by becoming lighter ourselves and eating less burgers and fries. And breeding less!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Galileo

We've mentioned Galileo before on this Blog but there's no reason why we can't mention him again. So here goes: Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) famous Italian mathematician, physicist and philosopher from Pisa.

In 1583, Galileo entered the cathedral in Pisa. Some men were carrying out some repairs and someone accidently set in motion a heavy lamp which was suspended from the ceiling. The lamp kept moving to and fro, to and fro, backwards and forwards. Galileo sat there on a pew and watched it move backwards and forwards ... backwards and forwards "you are feeling sleepy, very sleepy, your eyes are getting tired, your eyelids are heavy ..."

Sorry ... I got distracted by my own writing there. Exciting what? I'm so good at suspense that sometimes I surprise myself. Anyway, back at the suspense.

The suspended heavy lamp, (see what I did there with the word suspense?). As I was saying, the swinging lamp set Galileo thinking. He was easily amused. 

He noticed that the to and fro swings seemed to be timed almost the same. He put his fingers on his left wrist and counted his pulse. To his surprise the swinging of the lamp was almost the same as his pulse.

It was a Eureka moment.

He got in touch with a Swiss friend of his called Role the Tenth because he was the tenth son of a man called Role who called all his children Role. Anyway, Role the Tenth shortened his name to ROLE X. He was so excited by Galileo's discovery that he and Galileo invented a watch which works like a pendulum. It was the first time that pendulums were used for time keeping purposes.

People wore the watches on their wrist and went around swinging their arms to and fro, to and fro, to keep the watch working. Unfortunately, in doing so they often hit other people in the eye or in the face causing a lot of injuries. So the pendulum watch never took off as a successful idea. This did not deter Role X who went on to invent much better sought-after watches.

Back to Galileo, however, who also undetered by his watch experiment went on to invent the telescope. He took a long tube and put a glass lens at each end et voila.


Galileo placed the telescope by the window high up in his house in the attic and, remembering his adventure with Role X years previously, he started swinging the telescope to and fro, to and fro. He moved it to the left, then he moved it to the right, and then the left again.

And this is what he saw.
And this ...
And also this ...
Of course, those were the days before curtains in windows were invented. So Galileo put his telescope to good use by watching his neighbours' goings on all evening.

He was there for so long that his wife grew a little worried. She switched off the radio in the kitchen where she was listening to "Woman's World"; a popular programme at the time, and went up in the attic.

"What are you doing?" she asked Galileo in Italian. (She did not speak English, but even if she did, it was pointless speaking to Galileo in English because he did not know English either).

"Oh ... I am looking at the heavenly bodies" he lied as he swung his telescope upwards towards the sky.

His wife was suspicious about this but said nothing. It was after all a very cloudy night with not even a moon, so there was no chance he would have been watching "heavenly bodies" - not unless they were mooning him from their windows!
 
The following day, whilst Galileo was out of the house buying pizza for lunch, she went up to the attic and put a little ink on the end of the telescope from which you look. She knew from listening to the weather forecast on the radio that that very evening would also be very cloudy and therefore there was no point in watching up to the sky for planets or stars.

That very evening, Galileo pretended to be tired and went to bed early. As you've guessed, he spent all night watching his neighbours again.

The next morning he woke up with two black rings round both eyes. That's because he had gotten very tired watching for "heavenly bodies" with just one eye, so he alternated eyes to have a rest.

His wife challenged him and he confessed and told her the whole truth. 

Rather than be angry, which is what you would expect under the circumstances, or over the circumstances even; the clever wily lady invented binoculars to save one from having to change eyes when watching whatever it is you want to watch.

Which goes to show:  

Man might think he is clever. But in reality woman is much cleverer than him.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

A Vision?



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.

“Who?”

“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 

More Father Ignatius books FREE HERE.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

William Shakespeare

Settle down now, and pay attention. Today's History Lesson is about a famous Elizabethan who lived between 1564 and 1616 by the name of William Shakespeare. It is not known what other name he had outside of this period, but to many he was also known as the "Beard of Avon", because he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in England and because he had a beard. But then, most people at the time had beards and they were not called the "Beard of London", "the Beard of Nottingham", or wherever else they came from.

Shakespeare's life is full of controversy and it is fair to say that he is the most talked about subject of conversation and debate in England (and elsewhere) apart from the weather. That is, if you have nothing else to talk about apart from Shakespeare and the weather. Some people like to discuss science, medicine, politics, religion, saving the planet, conservation, re-cycling and numerous other subjects, but they are not as important as Shakespeare and the weather.

One of the greatest controversy about Shakespeare is whether he actually wrote the 30 or so plays, sonnets and such like writings or not. The fact that they have been written is not in dispute; but their authorship is.

Can you imagine being the author of all these writings and be forever praised and lauded by everyone?

"To be or not to be?" to quote Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe or Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.

So let's consider this controversy further for a moment and see what we know about old Bill the Beard.

He was an actor who went to London and made a small fortune in the theatre, and also by purchasing properties (theatres amongst others) which made him very rich. He returned to Stratford-upon-Avon and bought a large house and his fame spread.

Now then ... since no one actually saw him sitting at his computer late at night typing away furiously his many plays; it is safe to suggest that perhaps ... maybe ... there's a possibility ... that he was only the financial backing behind all these plays. He was a rich man, owned many theatres, and it is possible that he put on plays as a business; very much like a modern day producer puts on plays, or makes films or produces music records and CDs these days. It doesn't follow that today's producers write the plays or sing the songs on record; does it?

In time, Shakespeare's fame and plays became synonymous to saying "hoover" when we mean a vacuum cleaner, or "thermos" when we mean a vacuum flask. People went to see "Shakespeare plays" - that is plays produced and financially backed, but not written, by him.

Now, whatever the controversy about the authorship of these writings, one thing is for sure and un-disputed.

For years on thereafter, many generations of pupils have been forced to learn these plays and sonnets by heart for no apparent reason whatsoever, since they have no purpose in gaining you subsequent employment or career unless you wish to become a teacher and force another generation of students to study the same.

I remember as a child having to memorise several of the Beard's writings. The one that comes to mind with dread is from the play Antony and Cleopatra when Antony's lieutenant Enobarbus, once described Cleopatra's charms by saying: "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety. Other women cloy the appetites they feed, but she makes hungry where most she satisfies."

Which loosely translated means "She is a good looker, what? Makes my monocle steam up, by Jove. Would love sharing a pot of tea with her!"

I remember my teacher saying I should remember these lines by heart and quote them in the exams as it would comfort the examiner and make him more liable to award me good marks.

Of course, as a child, I did not know what they meant; but I memorised these words and repeated them over and again.

Unfortunately, a few days later our history teacher was late because his mother had died that morning. To comfort him I blurted "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety."

I got expelled for three days from school as a result. For some reason, I also failed my history exams that year.

And there you have it ... William Shakespeare ... the Beard of Stratford-upon-Avon ... writer ... perhaps ... dreaded memory of my past ... certainly.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Missing Without A Trace



I’ve been missing for three days. Without a trace. No one knew I was missing … except me of course. I suspect none of you noticed my absence.

A few days ago the family decided to take Aunt Gertrude down South to visit friends leaving me at home alone with the dog, the cat and the goldfish. Oh bliss … a whole three days without Auntie's Australian accent grating on my nerves. Without a family demanding this and that and volunteering me for all sorts of things.

As long as I can keep the pets well fed I’ll have a peaceful break all to myself. Although at times the goldfish can be quite noisy when they chatter and laugh at me from their fishtank.

Let me explain that we live in a very old Victorian house which has a cellar spanning the whole floor area of the property. You enter the cellar from a door just under the staircase.

We don’t use this basement often, it’s mostly a storage area nowadays where we keep half a dozen bottles of wine lying lazily on a shelf which I built myself … slightly leaning to one side mind you … but still OK if you wedge a book at the end and it stops the bottles from rolling off.

We also keep some foodstuff down there, mostly tins of soup, various tins of vegetables and fruits and other household goods like detergents, washing liquids and so on. And books, plenty of books. I built a few more shelves in one corner which I call the library and we've put a number of books which we refer to every now and then. You get the idea … it's just a storage area for things we use now and then.

The basement used to be a small apartment for a servant or butler in years gone by … it has a small kitchenette and bathroom still fully plumbed in and in working order, and a tiny living/sleeping area. Originally I wanted to send our guest from Australia, Aunt Gertrude, down there; but I was over-ruled, as often happens in our houshold, much to the amusement of the goldfish.

Now where was I? In the basement … or about to enter the basement to be precise. I needed a book about Australian parasites so off I went downstairs as one would in such circumstances. 

As I got to the corner where the books are, there was an almighty crash in the house as the dog started chasing the cat who followed me down in the basement. 

The dog … huge as he is … did not quite fit in under the staircase where the basement door is situated, but his immense stature slammed the door shut. That’s when I heard a clunk … clunk … clunk … sound all the way down the stairs and at my feet.

Perhaps I should have mentioned that the door handle has always been a little loose. I’ve always planned to fix it … Lord knows I’ve been told often enough … but with that and the leaning shelves it was all a question of priorities. Which one to fix first … and neither was done!

I picked up the door handle and tried to open the door. No use … it would not work. And that’s how I went missing without a trace in my own house.

No one knew I was there. No use shouting for help. No one would hear me. No point in phoning for help. I didn’t have the cell-phone with me.

Try as I might to open the door but it was all in vain. An hour or so later I heard the phone ring in the house and the loudspeaker on the answering machine said “Hello … we’ve arrived safely … Oh … you must be out. See you when we return. Have fun. Bye!”

Great … what a prospect. Trapped in my own house for three whole days.

Now it is said that in such circumstances of extreme trauma one should sit down calmly, take deep breaths and concentrate. No need to panic.

Calm down and concentrate.

And nothing aids concentration more than a drop or two of wine.

Fortunately we have plenty of that here. Or beer if one prefers … which is also easily to hand.

After an hour or so of concentration I still had no idea on how to get out of my prison.

My mind was getting a little hazy … perhaps it’s the lack of air down here. There’s a small window at the far end of the basement leading to the back garden of the house. It’s at ground level when you’re out in the garden … if you see what I mean. It’s too small to get out of; and it is barred anyway. 

Let's take another drink and concentrate.

Now then … if I could get the cat out of the window he could go for help! (Hic ... pardon me ... hiccup!)

I could tie a message to his collar! No that won’t do … he doesn’t wear a collar. Too dangerous you see, he could get caught on a tree branch and injure himself. So we’ve never put a collar on him. Perhaps I could go out and buy him a collar. Ooops ... I can't get out ... hic!

Perhaps I could tattoo a distress message on his body … a bit extreme I must say! It’ll stay with him for life. “HELP … I’m trapped in the basement!”

The problem is I have no tattooing equipment whatsoever down here, and I’ve never tattooed anyone in my life let alone a cat.

What if I cut a message in his fur with scissors? Like some people do with their hairstyle when they cut their hair in different patterns? Would the cat stay still long enough until I finish cutting his fur I wonder?

I think I need another drink … hic!

Ah … I got it. This is certain to work. I could empty all these tins of peas … well some of them anyway … no one likes peas. I could tie them to one another with a long string and tie that to the cat’s tail.

He’d make such a noise running all over town that someone is sure to find him and read my message which will be written on one of the tins.

I emptied about a dozen tins. Peas taste awful when eaten cold you know … even washed down with beer. 

I tied the tins together. Wrote a message on several tins to make sure it is read. 

I called the cat sleeping happily in the corner. I tripped on the Australian book lying on the floor. The cat suddenly got up and shot out through the window.

Typical of that cat … un-cooperative to the last. He just would not help me in my hour of need.

I was found fast asleep three days later when the family returned home. And you didn't even miss me.

More stories about my cat in my FREE E Book  
"FELINE CATASTROPHES"

Thursday, 12 November 2015

THE PRIEST AND PROSTITUTE

ISBN-10: 150106570X 
ISBN-13: 978-1501065705

When Father Ignatius is suspected of murder his whole life is turned upside down. His faith takes a real shaking as he tries in vain to plead his innocence.

The Church is shaken to its very foundations and his parishioners jump to as many conclusions as they can find and start judging without any facts or evidence.

This is the time for the priest to find out who his real friends are. Or are they keeping close to him for ulterior motives?

“THE PRIEST AND PROSTITUTE” is a fast-paced story with believable characters and situations. A realistic self-test as to one’s faith and beliefs, as well as the ability to stay focussed on God when it seems He has abandoned you.

A tale of mystery, murder and intrigue as well as courage and self-control. Imagine what you would do if all the evidence points at you and you have no way of proving your innocence.

The author skilfully combines humour with suspense to deliver a Christian message relevant to today's society.

Victor S E Moubarak has published several books available from his website (some are FREE) or in Kindle format or paperback from Amazon

This is what our great friend and frequent visitor to this Blog, LULU, said about this book on AMAZON:

"A man of many talents, Victor, entertains us with a "Who Don It" in this offering! What I liked MOST about the story---the reminder to not jump to judgement based upon circumstances! Victor tells a story with a touch of tongue in cheek--always--and adds a lesson in morality and faith while weaving an intriguing tale of murder and mystery. The faithful stand by Father Ignatius, but most fall away and even call for heads to roll--reminiscent of the last days of Christ. A talented writer, Victor, has once again used the infamous Father Ignatius to keep us on the edge of our seats--while at the same time gently reminding us of important life lessons. A Great Read!"

THANK YOU SO MUCH LULU
I ENCOURAGE MY READERS TO VISIT YOUR BLOG.

And this is what MANNY said about the book on his Blog.

[Victor] recently wrote a full novel, The Priest and the Prostitute, with the Fr. Ignatius character, and when it came to my attention I quickly bought it off Amazon as a Kindle ebook.  I couldn’t put it down.  What a fun book, though the situation for Fr. Ignatius isn’t so fun since he’s accused of murdering a prostitute.  Here’s a short section, from the beginning of Chapter 4. 

One fresh late-August evening Father Ignatius arrived at St. Vincent at about nine o’clock just as it was getting a little darker.  He got out of the car and was on his way towards Parish House when he was approached by a blonde woman in her late thirties who’d just walked out of the church and made her way towards him.  He was surprised that the church was still open at this hour and he made a mental note to lock up before he got into the house. 

“Hello Father Ignatius,” said the woman as she stopped some four feet away.

It was a moment when one’s brain works at a million miles an hour trying to work out a situation and getting nowhere.  Her voice sounded so familiar.  So did her face.  Father Ignatius tried hard
to remember who she was and where he had met her before but it seemed his “little grey cells”
had let him down. 

“Don’t you remember me Father?” she said eventually, “I’m Joanna!” 

“Oh yes, hello!” he heard himself mutter. 

Joanna was an occasional visitor to the church on Sundays many years ago.  She was politely known as a lady of the night, and made no secret of the fact.  Many surmised that most gentlemen of the parish had at one time or another been entertained by Joanna.  Indeed she had confessed her sin many a time to Father Ignatius although she never named names. 

“Just hello,” she said, “No hug?” 

“I remember what happened the last time Judas hugged someone,” said Father Igantius and    regretted  saying it almost immediately. 

I’m going to stop there, because that’s a really good hook.  Isn’t that enticing?  The characters are idiosyncratically charming, and you really feel for Fr. Ignatius’ predicament.  Set in a North England town, presumably one where Victor lives, and though I’ve never traveled there it felt very immediate.  He captures it well I think.

THANK YOU SO MUCH MANNY 
I ENCOURAGE MY READERS TO VISIT YOUR BLOG

AMAZON LINK CLICK HERE AND HERE.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Waiting ... Waiting ... Nothing!


Many of us often pray. Sometimes, our prayers are prayers of thanks to the Lord, but, if we're honest, more often than not we pray because we're asking God for something. We may be asking God to help us find a job, get a promotion at work, better health, a good and happy marriage or whatever else we consider to be our need, or indeed our entitlement. Yes, I repeat ... our entitlement. Because many of us believe we're entitled to things just because we consider ourselves to be good. Life really isn't like that.

Many of us pray for something and in our heart we are really saying: "Come on God! You know I love you. I go to Church every now and then, and deep inside I am really good. Why don't you let me have ... (whatever we want at the time)".

As every parent knows, when children go on and on pesterring for something or other eventually, because we love them, we may well give way and answer their demands.

In fact, Jesus reminds us of this when He mentions the widow who kept pestering the judge day in day out until eventually he gave way and gave her what she wanted. (Luke Chapter 18). In this parable Jesus teaches us not to be discouraged and to continue praying to God our Father for our needs.

But what happens when we pray and wait, and wait and nothing happens? We pray for days, months, sometimes for years for something to happen to improve our lot and God does not seem to listen or answer. We don't know why. Perhaps He is busy with more urgent and pressing demands from someone else. Perhaps our demands are not such a high priority in His ever increasing in-tray. But as far as we're concerned He is not answering; and to be quite honest, we are running out of patience.

What then? When we wait and wait and nothing happens?

Is it OK to get angry with God? To stamp our foot on the ground like a spoilt child and go into tantrums throwing our toys out of the pram in protest?

I believe it is OK to be angry with God. It will not get us very far; but it is still OK.

God can take our anger. He did after all take all our anger when hanging there on the Cross. So a bit of stamping on the ground won't hurt Him that much.

But like any loving parent He will consider our demands, and if it is good for us, He will in His time and in His way respond.

Remember that God can see not only our past but our future too, and sometimes what we're asking for is not exactly what we should have. What is good for us in the long run.

So what should we really do when our prayers are seemingly un-answered. From experience, I believe we should continue praying and have patience. And then some more patience. We really need to trust Him that He knows best. Even if trust itself is stretched to the point of disbelief, we should continue to trust Him. Through gritted teeth even. Continue to trust Him just as a child trust his parents without questioning.

Difficult? Sure it is. But not impossible. I have known people whose life and whose lot has changed from bad to worse over and again. But they never gave up. They continued to trust Him.

And that's the road to Sainthood.

Saints are sinners like you and me; but they never gave up trusting Him.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

A Message from God

One day God was looking down at Earth and saw all of the rascally behaviour that was going on. So He called one of His angels and sent the angel to Earth for a time.

When he returned, he told God, 'Yes, it is bad on Earth; 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are not.

God thought for a moment and said, 'Maybe I had better send down a second angel to get another opinion.'

So God called another angel and sent him to Earth for a time. When the angel returned he went to God and said, 'Yes, it's true. The Earth is in decline; 95% are misbehaving, but 5% are being good.'

God was not pleased. So He decided to e-mail the 5% that were good, because He wanted to encourage them, and give them a little something to help them keep going.

Do you know what the e-mail said?

Okay, I was just wondering, because I didn't get one either!!!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Are you missing out?

Are you missing out on some humour at my expense?

My memoirs made me laugh so much I had to write them sitting down.

A book not to be missed especially if you are throwing it at someone.

Makes an ideal Christmas or Birthday present to someone you don't like. 

A book with non-boomerang qualities. Will not return when thrown.

The only book in the world written slowly to make it last longer.

Not edible but can be grilled or barbecued safely.

This is the book which made the Mona Lisa smile.


The very book which made The Laughing Cavalier laugh.



The actual book which made Whistler's Mother look out the window in disgust.

 

And it's the book which made Rodin's Thinker take off his clothes and sit on a toilet seat outdoors.




What will this book make you do?

ADDITIONAL NOTE: This is what Lulu, a friend and frequent visitor to this Blog, said about this book on AMAZON -

"I was first introduced to Victor's work in the blogging world. I was so enamored with his great sense of humor, that I never hesitated when he announced this book on his blog, "Time for Reflections:. It is so refreshing to read a humorous book filled with wit and humor without the need to spice it up with vulgar language or sexual undertones. Victor shows us, page after page, life is quite humorous--especially when you don't mind making yourself the brunt of the joke. An easy to read--delightful page turner--Victor has once again hit a home room with this little charmer!"

THANK YOU SO MUCH LULU FOR YOUR GREAT WRITE-UP. MUCH APPRECIATED.


Reasonably priced to encourage you buying it.


Thursday, 5 November 2015

Confession Time

"Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It's been about 18 years since my last confession ...

"Yes ... 18 years. I have written all my sins down in a book ... I was a teenager at the time and one day I went out with a pretty young lady and afterwards ...

"You don't want to know the details about that? But it was a serious sin. You want me to move on to a more recent sin. But ... but ... what if it was a really bad sin which happened again with another girl-friend years later, and then once again ...

"I don't understand Father, it took me ages thinking over my past sins and I wrote them all down in this book ... It's about 90 pages or so!

"I understand ... if I committed a bad sin in the past, say a mortal sin, you don't need to know about it every time I did it. It's forgiven because there are other people waiting to confess.

"You don't even want to know about the sin involving an armadillo?

" Yes, an armadillo ... it's a leathery armour-shelled creature.

"Well, I worked at the zoo and I spray-painted an armadillo blue and told visitors it was a newly discovered species. When my boss found out he fired me.

"Oh ... more recent sins, like last week? Well, I was a bit lazy on Wednesday and did not go to work. I drank a bit too much on Friday night. And I took the batteries out of the remote control and told my wife it was broken; so we watched the football all night instead of Downton Abbey."
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