Monday 5 April 2010

Distant God.

It was Good Friday, about nine in the evening, as Father Ignatius settled down in his armchair by the fire. It was still cold for this time of year and snowing yet again. He put a couple of logs on the open fire and picked up a book to read.

Moments later Mrs Davenport, the housekeeper, entered the large living room and announced that Geoff Henderson had just called in and was waiting in the reception room.

“Oh let him in …” said Father Ignatius standing up to greet his visitor.

Geoff Henderson was an architect and he had brought with him some plans to discuss some alterations to the Parish Hall and the area behind the garage. After their discussions were over the priest said:

“How are you these days Geoff? I haven’t seen you in church for a while now!”

Geoff hesitated as he gathered his papers together and sipped a little coffee.

“To be honest Father …” he said finally, “I’ve been rather busy lately …”

“Too busy to go to church?” asked Father Ignatius.

“Well … actually, I feel that God is distant these days …” confessed the architect standing up to leave.

At that point Canis the dog, who was lying by the fire, yawned heavily as he made himself more comfortable.

“That’s not a comment on what you’ve just said,” joked the priest, “sit down Geoff if you have a minute to spare.”

The architect sat down again.

“This dog and I have a special relationship,” said Father Ignatius, “when I take him for a walk in the park I sometimes let him off the lead. He runs away like mad here there and everywhere in no particular direction. He is free and he’ll go where he wants. Sometimes he is quite far away. It is he who has distanced himself from me Geoff; and not the other way round.

“Do you see what I mean?”

“Yes … I do … I suppose it is me who’s distanced myself from God,” replied the architect, “but I suppose it is because I no longer see Him as relevant in my life.”

“I wonder whether Canis sees me as relevant in his life?” asked the priest, “the other day I was cleaning the back garden and he looked at me as if to say ‘I like this … I poo wherever I want and you get to pick it up … that’s a special relationship all right!’ ”

Geoff smiled.

“And what’s more …” continued the priest, “he seems to be absolutely useless. He is certainly no guard dog. If we were to have a burglar in the house he would probably show him where I’ve hidden my stash of chocolates.

“The other day he came face to face with a cat in the back garden. He stood still like a statue. Then turned his head towards me expecting me to run and bark after the cat.

“I did not move. The cat started to panic and run but then stopped in total confusion and looked at the dog.

“Canis looked at me and then at the cat once or twice, and then he whined and ran inside the house to hide in his bed.”

Geoff chuckled quietly.

“But I like him Geoff,” said the priest, “and I wouldn’t part with him. And he seems to like me.

“Do you know … I think God likes you. In fact I know He loves you for sure, because He said so, many times in the Bible.

“I suspect you’re off the lead now and you’re running successfully all over the place. You don’t need God really … you have a great business, a lovely car which I must admit I envy, and a good life. No wonder He seems distant.

“But God is there all the same Geoff. Protecting you from more ills than you can imagine without you knowing it. All because He loves you.

“When you get the time, come and visit Him in church just to say Hello!”

Geoff said nothing.

“I don’t mean to be critical,” continued Father Ignatius gently, “we all get distanced from God at some stage or other in our lives Geoff.

“It would be wrong of me to see this happen to you and say nothing.

“Take one step at a time. Come to church on Sunday, and when you feel ready come to Confession. Or come again and see me for a quiet talk.

“You’ll find God will welcome you back in His loving arms like a father welcoming his prodigal son.

“You’re a good man Geoff deep down. I wouldn’t be doing business with you otherwise. I’ll be praying for you.”

“Thank you …” said Geoff quietly.

“I’ll be praying also that you won’t charge me too much for the building extension!” said Father Ignatius.


  1. This was a wonderful explanation of the "desert" I sometimes feel in my prayer life. Thank you VERY MUCH! Good day to you! Cathy

  2. This is a great story. There have been times I have felt distant from our great God, but I'm thankful those times are few and far between.

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I have enjoyed visiting yours this morning and will be back.

    Blessings of peace and all that is good.

  3. Hello Cathy and Debra,

    It's nice to see you visiting again Cathy. Welcome Debra, I look forward to your frequent visits and comments.

    We all get a little distant from God sometimes. I believe He allows that to happen as part of His great gift to us - the free will to choose. Let us pray that we eventually make the right choice.

    God bless you Cathy and Debra.

  4. Thanks for this one Victor, what a great story. I have to admit that its certainly not just parishioners that feel distant from God at times, even as a priest I sometimes wonder where God is and then have to remind myself that I am the one who has been too busy or preoccupied and not taken time to visit. It reminds of the story of the young monk and his Abbot. When the Abbot suggested the novice should have a least one hour of personal prayer each day the young man replied that he was much too busy for that. The Abbot thought briefly and then said, "well then maybe you should take two hours".

  5. I really liked this story. It is so true - sometimes we forget about God because we are so tied up with our own doings. I've come to realize that nothing I ever accomplished that I valued could have even been possible without God allowing it and giving me the grace to do it. Keep those great stories coming!

  6. Hello Anne, Father Jon, and Barb.

    Thank you so much for visiting and for your nice comments. Welcome Barb, this is your first time here - hope to see you again soon and often. Thanx Father for your story about the Abbot. I too find that sometimes God is not listening to me - perhaps I talk too much and give Him a headache. I should listen more no doubt.

    God bless you Anne, Father Jon and Barb.

  7. No time to explain Victor, but I needed to read this today. Thank you x

  8. Hi Colleen and Mother of this lot,

    It's lovely to see you visiting again. Thanx for taking the trouble to write in.

    God bless you Colleen and Mother, and your families too.

  9. Funny and so full of truth! My sister was asking me about you today, I guess she thought your comments on my blog were so funny that she came here to visit, too:) I'm going to pass your book on to some of my family members after I'm finished! You make my husband laugh, he's another one who keeps asking me about you. I explained to him that you are the same Victor as the author of the book I'm reading:) I'm hoping that he'll read it, too. The truth is though - I've only seen him read 3 books in all the years we've been married!

  10. Great anecdote.

    I think most of us have felt distant from God at some point or another in our lives; I know I have. I'm so grateful that God in His goodness always brings me back to Him and the plans He has for my life.

  11. Another great story with a wonderful lesson, Victor you are an angel helping all of us with your Father Ignatius stories.....many blessings my friend........:-) Hugs

  12. Hi Mary,

    I'm so pleased that I make people smile. These days you have to laugh to survive the day to day pressures of life. When I look in the mirror in the morning I laugh so much I can't shave!

    I'm glad your sister visits here too! What is her name so I can look out for her in the comments box?

    Thank you for passing on my book to your family to read. When you finish reading it, if you like it, tell your Blog readers too. (If you don't like it - don't tell anyone. It will be our secret!) I do hope your husband reads it. I do realise that some people (like myself) do not read many books. That's why I wrote my book very slowly to help people who don't read many books. I've yet to read it myself!

    Hello Tracy,

    It's great to see you visiting again. I agree, we all tend to feel distant at times from God. I know I do ... a lot. I pray and pray ... and wait and wait ... perhaps He is teaching me patience. I hope He hurries up about it.

    Sometimes though I feel, and I know, that all will be well. Because from experience He has been with me every time in the past when I needed Him.

    Hi there Bernie,

    I hope you are keeping well. Thank you for being ever so kind to me. I'm so pleased that you, and others, enjoy my Fr Ignatius stories. Many hugs to you Bernie.

    God bless you Mary, Tracy and Bernie - and your families too.

  13. Victor, I also take encouragement from past experiences with God. I'm reminded of how in the Old Testament we see Israel building monuments to remind them of the great things God has done.

  14. Hi Tracy,

    I'm sure you've read the poem about footsteps in the sand. And I feel it's true in my life. He has been with me at every point when things weren't going so well; even though I didn't realise it at the time. As you say, it gives us great encouragement as we go on in life.

    Praise the Lord.

    God bless you Tracy.

  15. Victor,
    My sister's name is Kathy and my brother's name is John. They both read my blog and have asked about you. I love your book! It's funny, I love Father Ignatius and all the characters, particularly Fred and Mary [don't ask me why :)]. I think God has blessed your book Victor. Either that or you asked God to touch the hearts of everyone who read it. I was just reading it before I popped on here. I have a little left [because my daughter always interrupts me when I'm reading] and am hoping to finish it tonight after she goes to bed. Some of the parts make me laugh so hard, while other parts touch my heart. God bless you, Victor, I'll let you know more when I'm finished it :)

  16. John isn't the brother I wrote to you about the other week, that was my other brother. I wouldn't be surprised if Jim peeks at my blogs, though. He's a curious guy :) At least I hope he does.

  17. Hi Mary,

    I'll look out for Kathy in the comments box. Also for John and Jim should they wish to comment here.

    God bless you and your family Mary. Thank you for your kind comments about my book and I.

  18. This is a great illustration of how we distance ourselves from God. And it really does seem to happen when everything is going right, when we are busy keeping every detail running smoothly. It's so good that God is always there when we realize we've strayed to far. He is always faithful.

  19. You're so right Sarah. When things are going well we distance ourselves from God thinking we can get along by ourselves. What we don't realise is that He allows us that freedom - like a father allows freedom for his child to learn from his mistakes. Yet He is always there should we need Him.

    God bless you and your family Sarah.



God bless you.