Tuesday 29 December 2009

A Christmas Puzzle.

As it is Christmas, here's a little puzzle to get the little grey cells in your brain working.

Study this diagram carefully.

There are two rooms side by side in a corridor. Room A and Room B.

You are in Room A. You cannot see Room B or what is in it.

Room A has three electric switches on a table - switch 1, switch 2 and 3.

Each switch connects to a light bulb in Room B. But you do not know which switch connects to which light bulb.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify which switch connects to which light bulb.

You are only allowed to visit Room B ONCE only. That is the time when you identify which light bulb connects to its correct switch.

Once you leave Room A you cannot go back there - you have to go to Room B to identify the light bulbs.

How do you do it?

Answers in the comments box below. Thanx. Happy thinking.

P.S. I'll post the answer in the comments box shortly. Good luck!

Wednesday 9 December 2009

I'm losing my Faith.

Father Ignatius was in the Sacristy tidying up after morning’s Mass when one of his parishioners came in and asked if he could have a quick chat. Being quite approachable, the priest glanced quickly at his watch and agreed to spend a few minutes with the young man, in his mid-twenties.

“Father … I’m losing my Faith …” was the abrupt introduction.

Father Ignatius said nothing, encouraging the young man to continue with a nod. “I’ve been a Christian all my life, but there are times when I’m totally confused. I ask myself whether God really exists … whether it’s all real … or just some invention. I wonder whether God … Jesus and the whole of Christianity have just been invented over the years by society … just to regulate itself … I sometimes find it a real struggle to believe that God exists … but the more I try to believe the more I doubt.”

“I don’t blame you,” replied the priest, and this had the desired effect of gaining the young man’s full attention.

“We’re living in difficult times,” continued Father Ignatius, “times of confusion, half-truths and miss-information. The world is in financial crisis and turmoil. People are losing their jobs and their livelihoods. They fear for the future. Nothing seems as it should be. It is no wonder people get confused and don’t know what to believe anymore. And in their confusion and daily worries they can’t keep their focus on God. They hear and read so many conflicting stories they don’t know what to think anymore … to the point where they even start doubting God’s very existence.

"You’re not the only one who came to me recently saying what you’ve just said. That you doubt God exists.”

“Oh …” said the man.

“When the Jews left Egypt, they were confused too …” the priest went on, “they had left the relative safety of slavery behind them, where they were fed and watered, and here they were, going round in circles in the desert following a man promising them jam tomorrow … or was it milk and honey?”

The young man smiled.

“So they rebelled against Moses. They didn’t want to believe in His God, leading them to safety. Despite what they had seen that God did for them … dividing the sea so they could cross safely, sending food from Heaven and so on … they still doubted and rebelled. They were more interested in placing their Faith in a statue made of solid gold. At least this was something they could see and touch and admire!

“Years later we read in the Bible about other people doubting and in confusion … just as you feel right now.

“Peter had been with Christ for at least three years and had seen His miracles and heard His sermons. He witnessed the healings, the raising from the dead, walking on water, feeding the thousands. He of all people had no reason to doubt. Yet when it came to the crunch he too doubted and denied knowing Christ … not once, but he denied knowing Him three times.

“How does that compare with you … hmmm?

“As for the disciple Thomas … well he just refused to believe period.

“So you’re in good company young man. You’re not alone in doubting about the very existence of God your Creator.”

At this the young man was totally confused and didn’t know what to ask next.

Perhaps he had expected some magic formula to restore his ailing Faith, a wave of a wand, or some soothing words from his priest … but alas no … the priest just confounded his thoughts by affirming that his doubts are neither unusual nor unexpected.

Father Ignatius smiled and said, “That didn’t help did it?”

“Well …” hesitated the young man.

“There once was a man whose son was very ill, and He came to Jesus for help” continued Father Ignatius, “ ‘Help us if you can,’ he asked Jesus. Jesus replied ‘Everything is possible if you have Faith,’ to which the man said ‘I do have Faith, but not enough, help me to have more.’

“Jesus healed this man’s son. He saw that the man was struggling with his Faith, as you’re doing right now. So He helped him.

“We don’t all have the same strength and vigour of Faith. Some, like you’ve admitted, are a little weak and waver from time to time. Just like Peter and Thomas did.

“But don’t tell me about it. Tell God, in your own words. Tell Him you’re struggling to believe; ask Him to help you.

“Say over and again I believe, Lord; help my unbelief.

“The good Lord will help you … but only if you are willing to believe … if you’re willing to fight your doubts, and your fears, and your confusion.

“God loves you, and He does not wish to see you go astray, away from Him. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond your capabilities. He is not in the business of losing souls you know …”

Father Ignatius paused for a while and then continued in his gentle voice.

“There’s an old Cherokee Indian legend about a youth’s rite of passage, when he becomes a man so to speak.

“When the child is of a certain age his father takes him to the forest where he has to sit blindfolded overnight. He shouldn’t take off the blindfold but sit there, in the darkness, hearing all the noises of the night … animals howling, the rustling of the trees and so on, and conquer his fears.

“The next morning, at sunrise, he takes off his blindfold and looks around him only to find that his father had been sitting with him all night, protecting him from danger. He shouldn’t tell what happened to anyone else, so others may experience the love of their fathers too.

“You are now blindfolded and confused. But God your Father in Heaven is right beside you, protecting you at all times. Because He loves you, more than any earthly father can love his children.”

The young man smiled and wiped his eye with the back of his hand.

“OK … I think you’re already on the first steps towards recovery … I suggest you pray time and again … especially when you feel doubts coming on … recite the Rosary … have you got one?”

The man nodded.

“Our Lady will always protect you if you ask her. Don’t be afraid to tell her how you feel.”

As the man left the Sacristy much relieved than when he first came in Father Ignatius added, “and whilst you’re praying, don’t forget to say one for me!”

Saturday 5 December 2009

Timely Reminder.

No matter how long you’ve lived in a town, there are always places where you’ve never been and you don’t even know about.

Today, quite by accident, I drove in a part of town where I’ve never been before and turned into a cul-de-sac with the street name of: GODSO CLOSE.

Indeed He is. No further than a prayer away.

A timely reminder if ever one was needed in this Advent Season.

God bless.

Friday 4 December 2009

Think manners.

Sometimes events coincide together, almost by conspiracy, only to accentuate something which you knew already but had kept at the back of your mind.

Father Ignatius went to his usual supermarket this morning and as he approached the door the customer immediately in front of him let go of the door which swung shut in the priest’s face.

It was obvious that the man saw Father Ignatius behind him as he looked back on entering the store; but he just didn’t bother to hold the door open.

Father Ignatius on the other hand, entered the supermarket and held the door open for the old lady following him. She entered, followed by a young woman pushing a pram, then two teenagers, then a young couple, and then two men talking with each other.

None of them acknowledged him standing there or thanked him for holding the door open. They walked past him and totally ignored him.

He found a trolley and started his shopping.

A few moments later a young man coming up one of the narrow aisles bumped his trolley with his; and continued on without apologizing.

Whilst buying his favourite ginger marmalade a short lady came up to him and asked: “Could you pass me that jar of honey up there? I can’t reach.”

He handed her the jar which she put in her trolley and walked away.

At this, the priest stopped for a moment of contemplation as he saw her turn in a hurry down another aisle.

“When I was young …” he thought to himself, “my mother always insisted on me saying please and thank you whenever I needed something … yet neither this lady nor any of those people coming through the door said thank you, or nodded, or even smiled … and that young man who hit my trolley didn’t bother to say sorry …”

And at that point his charitable nature came to the fore as his train of thoughts continued, “I bet none of these people are bad people … they don’t set out in the morning with the express desire to be nasty or rude … they’re just too busy and so rushed with the many things they have to do that they forget about the little niceties of life … unlike me … who only works on Sundays and have little else to do the rest of the time …” he chuckled to himself.

His thoughts then turned to the ten men healed by Jesus of a skin disease. Only one came back to thank Jesus.

“Where are the other nine?” asked Jesus.

“Perhaps they’re too busy doing their shopping …” thought Father Ignatius to himself, “… and I bet the five thousand who were fed by Him didn’t bother to thank Him or pay for the food either …”

On his way back to his car the priest witnessed an unusual event which pleased him no end.

A man drove by, parked his car, got out of the driving seat and walked to the other side to open the door for his wife.

The priest couldn’t believe his eyes.

He approached them quietly and with a smile said: “I’m so pleased to see that chivalry is still alive and doing well …”

“Chivalry has nothing to do with it mister …” replied the wife, “the car door on my side does not open from inside!”