Tuesday, 26 May 2020
Monday, 25 May 2020
Sunday, 24 May 2020
Difficult as it might be; living one day at a time is a wholesome self-control mechanism which teaches us patience and genuine reliance on our Lord.
Of course, we all like to plan ahead, to be in control of our future, and to prepare for all eventualities. There’s nothing wrong in that, and it would be foolhardy to leave all to chance and do nothing.
Yet, at the same time, we should balance our every plan with the reality of what is now. We should live each day in gratitude for what God has given us today, rather than look ahead to what is yet to come.
They say, “You never know what’s round the next corner”. How true. All it takes is a sudden event, an illness, an accident, something out of our control, to put all our plans into disarray.
Saturday, 23 May 2020
Man: I would like to buy this Guinea pig please?
Shop Assistant: Certainly sir, let me get him for you.
Assistant picks up Guinea pig and puts him in a small box with holes on cover for it to breathe. Buyer looks at animal which instantly rolls over with feet pointing upwards.
Man: Hey ... this Guinea pig is dead. He is as stiff as a board. Look how he rolled over.
Shop Assistant: He is not dead, sir. He is hibernating.
Man: Hibernating? It is the middle of June!
Shop Assistant: Yes sir, he is from South America. They hibernate in summer in South America. If he was from Northern Europe he would hibernate in winter.
Man: So he will remain stiff until winter?
Shop Assistant: Not necessarily. A quick ten seconds in the microwave oven will soon revive him.
Man: I don't believe you. He seems dead to me. Look, his eyes are wide open, and his fur is beginning to fall off.
Shop Assistant: All right. I'll let you have it for half-price.
Man: Half-price? I'd expect a bigger discount for a dead hamster.
Shop Assistant: Guinea pig ...
Man: All right. A dead Guinea pig ...
Shop Assistant: I tell you what ... I'll let you have it for free if you buy another Guinea pig as well.
Man: OK ... I'll have that one too.
Shop Assistant places another Guinea pig in the box.
Man: He seems rather slow moving to me ...
Shop Assistant: That's because he has a bit of a migraine. He was at a party last night. You know ... all that dancing and singing ... and the drinks and the girls ... He must have a bit of a hangover this morning.
Man: A party? He was at a party?
Shop Assistant: A funeral actually. And a get-together afterwards to celebrate the deceased's life.
Man: Who died?
Shop Assistant: This other Guinea pig. But he did not turn up to his own funeral.
Man: Why not?
Shop Assistant: He was up for sale at a reduced price!
Friday, 22 May 2020
Thursday, 21 May 2020
How long do souls stay in Purgatory? Is it a day for every venial sin? A week? A month? Longer?
How many days off do they gain when we pray for these souls or celebrate Mass for them?
What does Purgatory look like? Does it have a fire like hell? Is it hot or cold there? Or is it perhaps just warm so you feel uncomfortable but you don’t burn?
Does it have devils looking after all the inmates; like in hell, or are they a little kinder perhaps?
Are we in pain when in Purgatory? Like the fire in hell?
The notion that Purgatory is some sort of Purification Centre or Car Wash where all souls with venial sins go to be made clean before entering Heaven has long vexed many wise minds.
The Catholic Church bases its teaching from Scripture. In Revelation Chapter 21 Verse 27 it says ‘Nothing unclean shall enter Heaven.’ So, strictly speaking, if we die with venial sins on our conscience we’re not spiritually cleaned; and that’s why we go to Purgatory.
The belief in the existence of Purgatory goes back to the early Christians; and other Christian denominations also believe in such a place where souls go before they are ready to enter Heaven.
Given that very few of us will die with no sins whatsoever on our conscience, the Church teaches that there must exist a place, or a state of being, or a state of purification, where we are cleansed of our sins and we can enter Heaven. This place, or state of being, is known as Purgatory.
Jesus did describe Heaven at one time as a mansion with many rooms. So it follows, perhaps, that in our imagination we visualize Purgatory as a physical place too.
The pertinent point, however, is that the Church teaches that there is a stage where souls destined for Heaven undergo a period of purification.
May I add that when Jesus was hanging on the Cross He turned to Dismas, the Repentant Thief and said, "I promise you this very day you will be with me in Paradise!"
Wednesday, 20 May 2020
I've often wondered. If I were to hold a Sinners Convention, how many people would turn up?
The reason I suppose is because most of us don't consider ourselves to be sinners. Not big ones anyway.
I mean ... when is the last time you killed someone?
Or robbed a bank?
Or embezzled from your employer or business?
Or coveted your neighbour's wife/husband, or ass?
OK ... I know ... I know ... some people do partake in that coveting sin. They cheat on their partners and think nothing of it. Well ... you know how it is? It could be just a one off ... or sometimes because they are not happy at home anyway. I mean ... It's their right to be happy in life is it not? (Or so they think!)
And that's where the problem lies ... "or so they think".
They believe that a slight flirtation is OK.
And anyway ... all these are all small sins, if sins at all. Not like killing and really stealing from a bank which are mentioned in the Ten Commandments.
On reflection, no wonder not many people would attend my Sinners Convention ... there aren't that many sinners in the world today.
Perhaps some people are sleep-walking their way into hell.
Tuesday, 19 May 2020
I know he has a small dog, but he replied, "No ... this is for me. I am on a dog diet. I probably should stop because the last time I did it I ended in Intensive Care in Hospital."
I was puzzled at his response, and she was intrigued and asked him to explain.
He said that essentially dog food is the perfect diet which is nutritionally complete. He puts some "Woof Woof" pellets in his pocket and whenever he is hungry he eats a few.
By this time everyone in the queue was listening attentively.
Horrified, she asked him if he ended up in Intensive Care because the dog food had poisoned him.
"No ..." he replied, "I just stepped off the curb to sniff a poodle's butt and a car hit me!"
Monday, 18 May 2020
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.
Sunday, 17 May 2020
‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’
Jesus here is speaking of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God, and Jesus Himself, who will come down from Heaven at Pentecost and be within the disciples.
There's often confusion in people's minds about the Holy Spirit. Who is He exactly?
We are taught about God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit … He doesn’t seem to have a title or description.
St Hilary of Poitiers, a Bishop in the 3rd Century AD, described the Holy Spirit as “the Gift”.
He is the gift given to us by God after Jesus ascended into Heaven.
He is the very Spirit of God, God Himself, come back to us on earth to dwell within us and to help us in our Christian life.
That’s why He is sometimes referred to as the Helper, the Counselor, God’s own Being living within us.
The Holy Spirit didn't just descend on the disciples at Pentecost and that's it. A once in a lifetime event. He is present here and now today and is within some people who ask for His presence within them.
Now that last fact itself, God's own Being living within us, causes even more confusion amongst Christians and non-Christians alike.
Sure, Christians believe the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples at Pentecost teaching them what to say in various languages and how to proclaim the Good News to all. But now? Today? Does the Holy Spirit enter our very souls today?
Can you imagine that?
God. Living within us. Guiding us. Helping us. Teaching us. Advising us when to speak and when to remain silent. What to say and what to do.
Isn’t that wonderful? Or is it too difficult to imagine or believe?
If you were to say to a non-Christian that God is living within you in the form of the Holy Spirit they would most probably scoff, or smile politely or perhaps think you've lost your mind.
The very concept is difficult for many Christians to believe; never mind those who don't believe at all.
And yet ... Isn’t it a tragedy that in this day and age, when many are too willing to believe that the devil can possess an individual unwillingly and reap havoc in their lives; many people find it difficult to understand that the Spirit of God is willing to abide within us and lead us to an eternal better life in Heaven.
But only if we ask Him.
Unlike the devil, the Holy Spirit will not abide in a person unless He is asked. Unless He is invited.
All we have to do is to believe and to invite the Holy Spirit to be within us.
Saturday, 16 May 2020
Friday, 15 May 2020
Thursday, 14 May 2020
Lady Godiva, was an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who lived in Britain all that time ago. She was the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia and they had a son called Aelfgar. (I suppose when you're rich and famous you can name your children what you want. Personally, I prefer "Hey You" as a name; but I digress).
Both Lady Godiva and her husband Leofric were very generous benefactors to religious houses. (Can you imagine being called Leofric? O Leofric, Leofric! Wherefore art thou Leofric? Doesn't sound right does it? But I digress once again. OK ... let's concentrate now and get on with the story).
As I was saying, they were both very generous and in 1043 Leofric founded and endowed a Benedictine Monastry in Coventry, England. Apparently Godiva was the persuasive force behind this generosity and she moaned and moaned "Leofric, build me a monastry. Leofric, build me a monastry ..." until he gave up and built her a monastry.
You know how persuasive women can be when they want something?
They go on and on and on ... clear the footpath of snow, don't forget to mow the lawn, the house needs re-painting, have you taken the trash bins out? Ehm ... sorry ... my mind was wandering a bit there ... thinking aloud what?
Well, at least I've never been asked to build a monastry. I suppose clearing the footpath is better and cheaper than having to build a monastry. Although I must admit, if it was a choice between visiting the mother-in-law and building a monastry, I would build a monastry any day. It is less stressful with much less moaning on and on in stereo !!!
But I digress yet again. Stop interrupting me!
In 1050 the couple also gave land for the St Mary's Monastry in Worcester and for the minster in Stow St Mary in Lincolnshire.They are also benefactors of other monasteries in Leominster, Chester, Much Wenlock and Evesham.
Lady Godiva also gave a lot of jewellery and precious metals to various causes over her lifetime.
So all in all, she was an all round good egg as we normally say; and the sort of person you would like to meet and befriend. Especially if you're short of a penny or two.
Until we come to the legend of what she once did, (or did not do, depending on who you believe).
It seems that Lady Godiva took pity on the people of Coventry who were paying too much taxes imposed by her husband on the town. She appealed to her husband to lower the taxes and moaned and moaned for days on end "Please lower the taxes ... Please lower the taxes ... Please ... Pretty Please ..." You know how women go on and on when they want something? Have I mentioned that to you?
Well this time Leofric would not listen. But she went on and on about lowering the taxes. Eventually, to shut her up, (he must have had a terrible headache poor soul), he said "I'll lower the taxes if you strip naked and ride a horse through the streets of Coventry!"
To his surprise she agreed. Now that's dedication for you. Would any of us go to such lengths for our fellow man? (Don't answer that).
Lady Godiva issued a proclamation that on a certain day everyone should remain indoors and shut all their windows because she was going to ride naked on a horse throughout town. (I wonder how many horses volunteered for the job).
Now how naive is that? Did she really expect everyone to stay indoors after such an announcement? Would you?
Are you really telling me that NO ONE was tempted to take a photo with their cell-phones and post it on Facebook?
On the day in question Lady Godiva rode naked on a horse and paraded throughout town.
But a tailor called Tom succumbed to temptation. He made a small hole in his window shutters and had a good look at what he should not have been looking at. And that's where the name Peeping Tom originates from.
Apparently he was struck blind after the event.
His friend Ivan Eyeful was wiser and more cautious because he chanced one eye through his peep hole.
Anyway, believe it or not, her husband kept his word and abolished the taxes.
Now why can't the wives of our politicians do the same thing and lower our taxes?
As I said, the veracity of this story is hotly disputed amongst historians.
But it raises an important question:
Assuming that Lady Godiva did as it is said in order to help the poor people of Coventry; is it OK to strip naked for a good cause? To help one's fellow man?
There are many instances of men and women being photographed nude for calendars which are then sold to raise a lot of money for a charitable cause.
Is this a good (fun) thing to do to help others; or is it wrong? Especially when we consider the amount of money that can, and has, been raised this way for causes like medical research, helping the elderly, ease starvation and so on.
If the cause is one that is very dear to your heart; would you go nude for charity?
Wednesday, 13 May 2020
"Indeed I do," he replied, "I saw him in The King And I fifteen times."
A few weeks later I went to another hairdresser. He asked me how I’d like my hair cut. I looked at him and said, “Like yours!”
He shaved my head totally bald. I was livid again. I said, “that’s not like yours!”
He replied, “Yes it is, but mine has grown again now!”
A few weeks later on I went to yet another hairdresser. He asked me how I’d like my hair cut. He had a photo of Gary Cooper. I pointed at the photo and said, “like him!”
He shaved my head totally bald. I was really livid, more than before. I said, “That’s not what Gary Cooper looks like!”
He replied, “He would if he came here for a haircut!”
When hope will be high and life worth living ... again.
I dreamed, that love had never died.
I dreamed that God would need a calculator to count the hair on our head.
Tuesday, 12 May 2020
Anyway … as I was about to tell you before I interrupted myself, what an eventful day today has been.
I started the morning by visiting my doctor.
The poor man was not well and I thought it’s kind to visit the sick.
As soon as I entered the doctor’s surgery he asked me to lie down on the couch. I asked him why and he said: “I want to vacuum clean just where you’re standing!”
Then he looked at me and asked “Do you get severe headaches in the morning, followed by stomach pains and trembling of the knees?”
I replied “No … why?”
“Because I’ve been getting these symptoms for a week and I wondered if you knew what they were!" he said.
“Anyhow … what are you here for?” he continued.
I showed him my arm and said “I’ve hurt myself in three places.”
He replied, “Stop visiting these places!”
“And another thing doctor,” I went on, “when I drink tea I get this very sharp pain in my eye.”
“Take the spoon out of the cup before drinking!” he said.
I hesitated for a bit and then told him what I was really there for.
"You see, doctor," I started, "sometimes I feel I am a dog."
"How long has this been going on?" he asked.
"Ever since I was a puppy!" I replied.
"OK ..." he said, "get on the couch."
"I'm not allowed on the couch," I replied. He sighed a little and threw his pen in the corner of the room. "Go and fetch it yourself," I said, "I'm not your dog!"
As I got off the couch the doctor asked me, “Tell me, do you have a horse?”
“No I don’t!”
“Pity,” he said, “I have some horse pills I got from a vet … you wouldn’t like to try them do you? You’ll soon be off at a gallop!"
I refused his pills, so he asked me "Do you have problems passing water?"
I replied, "Only when I cross a river ... I get a little dizzy".
"Anything else?" he continued.
"Yes ... I have water on the knee!" I said.
"That's because you're not aiming straight," he said, "tell me ... what are the symptoms?"
"They are yellow cartoon characters on TV ... there's Homer, Bart, Marge and Lisa ..."
"Yes, I know," said the depressed moth.
"Why did you come in and see me then?" asked the medic.
"Because the light was on ..." replied the moth.
(Oh well ... it made me laugh anyway.)
“Is this letter yours,” he asked, “the surname’s obliterated.”
“My surname is Moubarak” I replied.
He gave me the letter. It was from a lawyer. I had been left two valuable items in Aunt Matilda’s last will and testament.
I took the items to an antiques dealer and he confirmed them as a genuine Stradivarius and a Rembrandt.
Unfortunately, Rembrandt was bad at making violins and Stradivarius was a terrible painter!
As I was heading back home, just by the beach, a seagull flew above me and emptied its load on my head. I asked a passer-by if he had a paper handkerchief. He said "It's too late mate. The seagull must be miles away by now!"
And that's how my day was today. What was yours like?