Saturday 29 December 2012

More Scientific Facts

Did you know that Absolute Zero is the lowest possible temperature you can ever get to? You just cannot get any lower than Absolute Zero.

It is in fact -273.15° on the Celsius scale and −459.67° on the Fahrenheit scale. It is over 100 kilos on the bathroom scale if you have been over-eating lately.

At Absolute Zero nothing really happens. The buses will not run so it is pointless waiting for them at the bus stop. And don’t even be tempted to lick the bus stop sign whilst you're there because there may be all sort of germs on it.

Absolute Zero is also what most men get from their wives when they've said something that upsets them.

Moving up from Absolute Zero, the highest temperature that has ever been recorded is on a ladder 35 feet tall. It was when an amorous young knight in Olde England attempted to deliver a plate of spaghetti to his paramour who was trapped in a tower because the door was frozen solid and he couldn't turn the key in the lock.

Which reminds me … I once saw a ghost with an eye-patch! He said he was going through the keyhole when someone put the key in.

Hot temperatures can be very hazardous to health, especially in the kitchen whilst cooking. Most accidents in the home happen in the kitchen. Scientists believe this would not be the case if people cooked their meals in the bedroom instead. But unfortunately people rarely follow scientific instructions.

The instructions on the packet of quick cook rice said “Take sachet out of packet and stand in boiling water for 10 minutes”. I did that and burnt my feet.

I also read in my Cooking Instruction Manual that to avoid tears whilst peeling and cutting onions you should do it under water. It works, but you have to come up for air every few seconds.

An elaborate meal is a bird within a bird within a bird. Basically you stuff and cook a small bird in a bigger one, say a baby partridge inside a chicken, and the chicken inside a large goose. Do not use a grouse for this because people with a grouse are not very cheerful.

To prepare a bird within a bird is very easy. Basically you have the chicken swallow the baby partridge and then the goose swallows the chicken. Whenever the goose opens its mouth the chicken’s head comes out and says “Cockledeedledoo !!!” and as it does so the partridge looks out of the chicken’s mouth and smiles. And swallows fly all over your kitchen.

Care for another glass of whisky?

Thursday 13 December 2012

Future Foretold

The fair was in town once again with all its amusement stalls and tents pitched in the park opposite St Vincent Church. The lights were shining bright on the big wheel, the round-about and other rides, whilst the music blared for miles around.

Father Ignatius was in the church’s car park when he overheard some youngsters talking loudly:

“I’ve had my fortune told by Mystic Matilda. She looked into the glass ball and it turned all full of smoke inside.”

“What did she tell you? You’re a loser and will always be a loser …”

And somehow, just these words, a snip of an overheard conversation became the basis of Father Ignatius’ sermon on Sunday.

He approached the lectern and asked: “Did anybody here go to the fair last night?”

A few nods and yeses greeted his unusual question.

“I hear there was a fortune teller there. Did anyone go to check their fortune?”

Not many volunteers this time.

“Interesting thing telling peoples’ future … it’s all nonsense of course; but then you all know that, don’t you?” asked the priest with a smile.

“Let’s suppose for a minute that it is not nonsense at all. Let’s suppose that the fortune-teller in the park opposite can really tell your future.

“Let’s suppose Mystic Matilda, for that is her name I believe, can really foretell your future and it is really accurate every time. Every little detail of it. And unfortunately for you she predicts a bad future.

“She says that you’ll lose your job within six months. You’ll suffer a terrible painful illness. You’ll have an accident … I’m sure you know what I mean ….

“And you’re certain the fortune-teller is always accurate and these things will happen. There’s no escaping your fate. How do you feel about that?”

Total silence greeted his piercing question; so Father Ignatius pointed to the children sitting up front, “How about you … you look very intelligent to me. Can anyone tell me how you would feel if you knew your future will be bad?”

A young girl raised her hand and said, “I’d feel terrible and very frightened.”

“Yes Louise … you’re right. You’d feel terrible and very frightened indeed. You’d be terrified and most likely want to change your future at all costs.

“Now let me tell you about someone who knew His future well in advance. Probably from the age of twelve; just the same age as you sitting here up front. When He was found by His parents in the temple in Jerusalem.

“He knew then what was going to happen to Him all His life. He knew He would be betrayed by His own follower. He would be arrested. Beaten, spat upon, mocked and tortured. A crown of thorns put on His head. Made to carry His own Cross and then die a most horrible painful death Crucified between two thieves.

“He knew all that throughout His life. Being human He must have shared the same human emotions we have. He would have been very frightened and terrified just like young Louise said.

“Being human He most probably had nightmares about His whole future. How often I wonder as a young teenager did He wake up in the night having seen His future in His dreams. Can you imagine how terrible this must have been? Knowing what would happen to you and there’s no escape?

“Daily His future must have been on his mind. Just seeing the terrible suffering that He had to face must have been in itself a daily torture for Him. All that evil that is to come His way at our hands!

“But did He give up? Did He try to run away from it? Did He try to change His future?

“When He prayed in the garden before His arrest the devil did tempt Him. Jesus did ask God His Father to make it all go away … but then accepted His terrible terrible fate just for us.

“He was both God and man, and as man He suffered all that pain and that horrible death on the Cross, just for us.”

Father Ignatius stopped for a few seconds, then continued.

“And now I want to address you mothers … how would you feel if you knew for certain what would happen to your children? Your loved ones. And you were told for certain that the future would be terrible for them.

“Can you imagine for a moment how Mary felt throughout her life?

“She knew from the moment she presented the baby Jesus in the temple when Simeon told her sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart. She knew then what would happen to her Son.

“Can you imagine that? Raising a little child, hugging Him, loving Him and caring for Him. Teaching Him to take His first faltering steps, teaching Him to talk, feeding Him and looking after Him every day like a devoted loving mother does.

“And knowing every moment she does these loving things what is to happen to her precious child. Knowing every detail that is to happen to Him. How did she cope with her own Cross to carry throughout her life?

“Not only did she carry this terrible pain in her heart throughout her life, but she lived to witness it as well. For she was there, at the foot of the Cross, when her Son breathed His last breath. She held His dead body in her arms. My heart breaks just thinking about it ….

The priest stopped for a while and silently thanked our Lady for accepting her ordeal on our behalf.

“Now what are we to learn from all this?” asked Father Ignatius in a soothing voice.

“Our future is uncertain; we may be concerned, frightened even, about what is to happen to us and to our children. The financial situation in this town is in a very bad state with many losing their jobs. Prospects are none too good, and it is understandable if we sometimes feel a little apprehensive and doubtful.

“Let us learn from Jesus and Mary and take courage. God was always with them and at no time did He abandon them. Nor will He abandon us.

“When we’re feeling anxious and worried let us turn to Mary and ask her help. Let’s implore her to come to our aid. She has lived through terrible times and she’ll know exactly how we feel. And I’m certain she’ll console us and help us to go on; just like she did all those years ago.

“Let’s honour her right now by reciting the Hail Mary …”

Tuesday 11 December 2012

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.”

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Pizza Meravigliosa

I went to my favourite Italian Restaurant for one of their famous pizzas.

The customer at the counter was waiting for his pizza take away (or "to go" as they say in USA).

The restaurant assistant put the hot pizza in a cardboard box and then holding the pizza slicer said: "Would you like it cut in eight or six slices?"

The customer replied: "Oh ... only six slices; I don't think I can eat eight slices".

Sunday 25 November 2012

Prayer Gift

Prayer is the greatest gift we can give one another.

It shows a generosity of spirit, love and caring for each other - just as Our Lord asked us.

Should any of you need prayers, or wish to offer a prayer for me, or seek prayers for someone else or a particular cause, you can always join us in prayer by clicking HERE

Or by visiting the link "Donate a Prayer" at the top of this page.

Monday 12 November 2012

At the Circus

Why is it that people mistake the way I dress for what it is not?

Let me explain.

The other day we went to the circus as a family. I was dressed in my usual cowboy type hat with a large feather on the side, an orange colored jacket with large squares in a lighter shade of orange, and bright red tartan trousers; not forgetting my favorite bow tie of course!

We sat in the big top, which as you all know is a large circular tent with the audience sitting all round the circumference with the show taking place in the middle area of the tent.

The music was blaring loudly, every one was happy with excitement and all was going well … until someone pointed out that they’d forgotten something in the car. Being the gentleman that I am I got up to get the forgotten item.

On the way back I must have mistakenly taken the wrong opening in the tent. I stood in a long corridor type enclosure with a lot of other people some dressed as clowns, others in Tarzan type outfits carrying heavy weights, others in ballerina costumes, and then behind me people came holding on to horses, and one man gave me a small donkey to hold by a rope tied to his neck. Then further behind us came more people with elephants and tigers in cages on trucks.

There was a big drum roll from inside the tent and pretty soon everyone moved forwards to a loud fanfare.

It was obvious to every one but me that I was part of the big entrance into the large tent announcing the start of the show.

I had no option but to walk forwards with the crowd holding on to the donkey.

As we entered the tent the clowns beside me started to throw a large beach ball at each other.

One of them caught the ball and threw it at me knocking my hat off!

I heard the audience roar in delight.

I stopped and bent down to pick up my hat when the clown behind me kicked me in the backside to the delight of the audience, except my family sitting nearby!

I let go of the rope holding the donkey and went back for my hat. At which point, for some reason, the donkey ran away from the orderly queue and started hopping up and down like a wild bucking bronco.

This frightened the elephants which started trumpeting loudly.

Fortunately someone caught the donkey quickly and order was restored although the audience thought it was all part of the show as they applauded enthusiastically and laughed loudly.

I put on my hat and walked in unison with everyone else once more around the big tent. Whilst looking straight ahead trying to avoid eye contact with my family I accidentally stepped into a deposit left there by an elephant. The audience near me at the time whooped in delight!

Eventually I followed everyone else out of the big tent and I made my way back to the car to get cleaned up.

I returned to my family and had great difficulty explaining the whole situation to them.

Friday 9 November 2012

Silent Prayer

In a Catholic Church, when we celebrate Mass, just before the Gospel is read, the congregation makes a small Sign of the Cross on their forehead, on their lips, and on their breast.

What's all that about?

In fact, it is a silent prayer all by itself.

The Sign of the Cross on one's forehead reminds us that the word of God should always be in the forefront of our minds. No matter what we do throughout life, it should always be in accordance to God's wishes and God's Commandments. By keeping God always on our mind we ensure that we're always close to Him and that we're less likely to go against His will.

The Sign on our lips means that we pray that we're always prepared to witness for God when the right time requires it. Many people often shy away from speaking up for God in conversation with family and friends, especially when He is ridiculed or spoken against. People tend to keep quiet for fear of offending others, or for fear of being ridiculed themselves. Instead, our lips can often be used to gossip, malign others, to spread rumours, lies and ill will. The Sign on our lips is a prayer that our lips are always used to glorify and serve God in all that we say.

The Sign on our breast is a prayer that God may always be within our heart and that we may grow to love Him and never stray from His love. Hearts can often hide grudges, hatred, revenge, envy, and all sorts of other sins. Signing the Cross on our heart is a prayer that we may be always pure and receptive to God's love and grace. 

The Sign of the Cross on our forehead, lips and hearts. A silent prayer all in itself.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Kyrie Eleison

Originally, the Mass in Eastern Europe, where it started, was celebrated in Greek.

With time, as Christianity spread further West into Europe it was celebrated in Latin.

And as time moved on, it is now celebrated in English, or whichever language is spoken in the Country where Mass is celebrated.

Except for three words which have survived time and are still from the original Greek Mass.

Kyrie Eleison
Christe Eleison

Meaning "Lord have mercy" and "Christ have mercy".

It is important to remember that by "Lord", or "Sir" we do not mean that we look up to Our Lord as some Master or Ruler. In this context, the word "Kyrie" means "Lord" in the sense of a child looking up to one's loving parent and asking for help, love, guidance and protection.

So when we sing at Mass "Kyrie Eleison" we look up to God our loving Father and ask Him to be always by our side and have mercy on us. And we call upon Christ His Son, in the same prayer.

Sunday 4 November 2012


When celebrating a Catholic Mass, just before the reading of the Gospel, the congregation and choir sing "Alleluia".

It's an old English word, derived from Latin, and originally from the Hebrew word Halleluyah meaning "Praise the Lord!"

Now ... if we look carefully in our Missal, it says "May be omitted if not sung".

Have you ever wondered why it says so?

Well ... let's imagine you are at a Birthday Party and in a straight face you recite calmly:

Happy Birthday to you 
Happy Birthday to you 
Happy Birthday dear friend 
Happy Birthday to you

It doesn't quite have the same effect does it? It just has to be sung.

Some songs have to be sung. They cannot be recited, however well we might try.

And it's the same with the "Alleluia. It is an ancient song of praise to Our Lord giving us all an opportunity, however bad we may think our voices are, to praise Our Lord in song for all He has done for us.

So let us raise our voices in joy and Praise Him now and when we next attend Mass.

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Are you a Christian role model?

I was reading the parable of the lost coin the other day (Luke 15:8) and my thoughts wandered … what is the greatest loss one can experience in this world? Is it the loss of a worthless trinket with great emotional value to the owner; or an expensive item of jewelry or such like; or great sums of money? Is it the loss of a loved one? Or what?

I concluded that for a Christian the greatest loss is the loss of one’s Faith.

I am often saddened by the number of people who say they are losing their faith or belief in God.

Why is that I wonder. Is it because we live in a technologically advanced age and people find it difficult to relate to a super-natural omnipotent God whose love they have never actually experienced in their lives? Or is it because when times are hard people struggle to relate to a Supreme Being they can turn to for help?

The other day on TV someone said: "Now that more and more people realise that there is no God, how can people relate to such issues as death, what comes after death, and why we are here on earth in the first place?"

Note the significant verb in that sentence. "Realise".

The speaker is implying that if you still believe in an omnipotent God then there's something wrong with you. You are not enlightened and awake enough to "realise" that it is all a work of fiction invented years ago by man to suit man's own needs.

So ... is this why people are losing their Faith, even some Christians? Is it because of peer pressure not to believe?

Or is it perhaps a shortage of good Christian role models? People who set us a good example of how to be Christ-like.

I then realized that we are all role models for others; whether we are parents, teachers, preachers or whatever. We are all unwittingly setting an example for others to emulate.

The magnitude of that realization frightened me.

Being a Christian is quite a responsibility you know!

Wednesday 24 October 2012


Let's try to perform a magic trick on the Internet and see if it works.

The success of this trick will depend very much on what you do, so it's important that you please follow the instructions below TASK by TASK very carefully as we perform this magic trick together. If it works it’s only because you’re brilliant and you've made it work ... it has nothing to do with me.

Let's first identify the four kinds of cards available in a pack:

OK ... let's get started. 


Take a pack of playing cards and remove the jokers. 



Now shuffle the pack well and select a card.  



Now multiply the value of that card by 10.

So if the card is a 6 you now have 60. If it's a 9 you have 90 ... and so on. Very easy this bit.

REMEMBER the Jack is 11, the Queen is 12 and the King is 13. So if you selected a Queen you now have 120.

OK … done that? Good! You're very good at this ... well done.


Now add 13 to the number you’ve got.

You’re doing well so far.  

Please keep your card close to you so I can’t see it.


Now look at the card carefully.

If it is a SPADE add 1 to the number you have.

If it is a HEART add 2 to the number you have.

If it is a CLUB add 3 to the number you have.

And if it is a DIAMOND add 4 to the number you have.


Nearly there … this bit is simple.

In the comment box below type the number you now have after performing all the tasks outlined above.

OK ... that's it!!! 

Now give me some time to think about all this and I'll reply to you in the comments box below soon.

I hope you'll like this trick ... I've never tried it before so I'm hopeful it will work.

Good luck.

Monday 22 October 2012

Father Ignatius in hospital

Father Ignatius had visited his parishioners in hospital so many times that he was now well known by the medical staff and the nurses. So it came as no surprise to him when one afternoon he was phoned by the Hospital Ward Matron and asked to come over as quickly as possible.

Agatha Dartford had been admitted to hospital by ambulance and she was asking for him by name.

Agatha was 93 years old and three years ago, being no longer able to look after herself, she had to leave her lovely cottage in the countryside and she was moved by her family to the Green Meadows Home for Senior Citizens.

She lost her independence that day, as well as all the lovely memories which her little cottage in the country contained.

She had moved in that little house many years ago just after marrying her husband. She raised her family there; all five of them who have now grown up and moved to other towns and cities far away with their own families.

The day she moved to Green Meadows was a dark day indeed in her life. She knew it was the logical thing to do of course; but sometimes logic really hurts. There’s no way that a frail person like her could look after herself alone in the countryside. So her family decided to sell her cottage and most of the furniture and other items which they did not want and moved her to the Home more through coercion than love.

“It’s better for you Mom. They can look after you better there; and you’ll have company with other people …” they said; “Green Meadows will provide you with all you need and you won’t have to cook or clean or do any of the household chores anymore. Aren’t you lucky Mom … it will be wonderful!”

But Agatha liked to cook for herself, and to eat when she wanted, sleep when she wanted and do as she wishes; rather than be regimented in a home with other people.

Yet; old age teaches you patience and it teaches you to accept what is inevitable and outside your control.

She was rather weak and in poor health so it seemed logical to have someone care for her; but wouldn’t it have been nice to live with one of her children and enjoy the company of her grand-children and see them grow up!

“We’ll come and visit you often …” was no substitute to living with her family and share their lives and dreams and hopes. To see them every day in good times and bad and to share their lives together.

Her children had all done well in life and all had large houses which could have easily accommodated her; but she’d be in the way no doubt and would cramp their successful lifestyles. They’d made that plain enough; even though they never actually said it.

So, reluctantly she accepted their decision and did move to Green Meadows; and indeed they did look after her very well in there. The personnel were very kind and helpful, including the nurses and medics whenever she needed them.

As for her family … yes … they visited her as promised … about once a year or so.

She was fortunate enough to have befriended Father Ignatius who used to visit another resident at Green Meadows.

So he visited her regularly about once a week and sometimes he brought her some of her favorite chocolate cakes from the bakery just next to St Vincent Church. They normally chatted for about half-an-hour or so and then they recited the Rosary together before blessing her and giving her Holy Communion.

Today, however, the priest was rushing to the hospital in response to her calls for help.

When he arrived there he was greeted by the Hospital Ward Matron who knew him well. She explained that Agatha had fallen at Green Meadows Home and had bruised her arm and left side badly. She was obviously in terrible pain and the medics wanted to take some X Rays photos to check that there are no broken bones.

But Agatha would not co-operate despite her obvious pain. The nurses tried to help her prepare for the X Ray tests and she held her left arm close against her chest and would not open her hand which was closed tightly.

They asked her what she was holding but she would not respond and closed her hand tighter still; asking for Father Ignatius to come and see her.

“Thank you for calling me Denise …” said Father Ignatius to the Ward Matron, “perhaps you’ll take me to her.”

Moments later he entered Agatha’s room and the nurses in attendance left closing the door behind them.

“Hello Agatha …” said the priest gently, “you’ve given us quite a fright … tell me what happened to you …”

“I fell at the Home Father … and they brought me here by ambulance …”

“Ah … I see; any excuse to escape Green Meadows is it …” he smiled, “or is it a trick to get me to bring you some chocolate cake?”

She smiled back and her eyes brightened at the thought.

“They want me to have some X Ray photos Father … and they want to take this from me …” she added motioning her clenched hand.

“I don’t understand …” said the priest calmly.

“When I moved to Green Meadows three years ago … just after my 90th Birthday it was … I lost everything.

“My children sold my house, they sold my furniture … and took away whatever ornaments and little things I had … or got rid of what they did not want. I had some lovely porcelain ornaments Father; and they sold the lot; or took the valuable ones for themselves.

“They moved me to Green Prison … that’s what I call it … with only the clothes I was wearing. That’s the rules of that place. They provide you with everything; including your clothes you know …

“My children even took all my old photographs of my dear Ken and I when we were wed … and the photos of the children as they grew up … and every bit of souvenir and memory that I had in that little cottage were I spent all those years …

“I have nothing in this world that belongs to me …

“Except this …” she said shaking her tightly closed hand gently.

“And now the nurses want to take even this … I want to go back to my cottage Father!”

Father Ignatius hugged her gently so as not to hurt her where she was bruised and kissed her forehead.

“Now then Agatha … you know well that your cottage was out in the country … and if you were to go back there it would mean that I’ll have a terribly long drive to come and visit you … you don’t really plan to inconvenience me do you?”

“No Father …” she said smiling.

“Besides … at Green Meadows they look after you well don’t they?”

She nodded.

“And it’s so much nearer for me …to come and visit you” he smiled.

“But I tell you what … as soon as you get out of hospital I’ll arrange with the Warden at Green Meadows to take you out for a drive in the countryside and we can visit your cottage. Would you like that?”

“Yes Father …” she replied enthusiastically.

“But first we need to have these X Rays done to make sure you’re OK. Can we ask the nurses to get on with this do you think?”

She nodded.

“Would you look after this for me Father?” she asked as she opened her hand.

And there, held ever so tightly that it had imprinted itself in her palm was a finger Rosary.

“You remember you gave me this some years ago Father?” she said.

The priest nodded gently.

“It’s all I have in the world that is mine. And I use it every time we recite the Rosary together and also every day when I sit by the window watching the birds in the garden at Green Meadows.”

Father Ignatius took good care of Agatha’s finger Rosary; and returned it to her when she’d had her X Rays done.

He also kept his promise and took her for a drive in the countryside by her cottage when she was eventually discharged from the hospital fully recuperated. And he took her to her favorite bakery for chocolate cakes and tea too!

Tuesday 16 October 2012

At the seaside

I was on business at a seaside town and I finished my afternoon meeting early. I decided to take a walk on the beach.

It was warm and everyone was either swimming or lying there on the sand half-naked enjoying the sun and cooking slowly.

Not me. I decided to be as inconspicuous as possible in my pin striped suit, emerald green bow tie with pink spots, hat with a bright feather sticking out of the side, and of course, dark sunglasses.

I must admit though, I envied all those people enjoying the cool sea. They certainly looked happy, so I decided to join them.

I approached the edge of the sea and took off my shoes and socks, which I put inside the shoes. The red sock in the left shoe and the green sock in the right shoe … that way I’ll remember which is which when I get to wear them again. Then I rolled up my pin-striped trousers all the way to just above the knee and I walked into the sea.

Oh … it was lovely. Even though people looked at me suspiciously! I could see the expression on their incredulous faces through my dark glasses and they could not see that I was looking at them looking at me. So I had the advantage on them I think. Even though they were giggling surreptitiously and nudging each other.  

Anyway … I ignored them as I am accustomed to doing when people stare at me in the street or on the train in my attire.

Suddenly, I started dancing and hopping from foot to foot in the sea, splashing water everywhere and attracting more attention to myself.

A woman asked: “Is this Candid Camera?”

A number of onlookers laughed at me and someone said “I think he’s filming a comedy film. Where are the cameras Mister?”

I must admit, the same thought would have crossed my mind if I saw someone in pin-striped suit dancing in the sea; but I was in too much pain to see the funny side of what was happening.

I got out of the water to reveal a huge jellyfish stuck to the outside of my right leg. Why is it that with all these half-naked people in the sea the jellyfish chose me to attack? Does he not like business attire perhaps? Or is it the feather in my hat and my green bowtie?

“Jellyfish … jelly fish …” I cried out in pain.

“Oh … quickly,” said a rotund woman, “you must wee-wee on it!”

How could I possibly wee-wee on it whilst wearing a pin striped suit? Or wearing anything for that matter! The creature was attached on the outside of my leg just below the knee and I can’t see it as a physical possibility to attack it with … Oh never mind.

The woman then said, “Or you can let someone else wee-wee on it!”

As I could not see a queue of volunteers ready to assist me in this manner I continued to jump up and down and hitting the jellyfish with my hat. It broke the feather right off and made the hat quite un-wearable.

A young man came running to my help and said “You have to pour vinegar on it! Do you have any vinegar?”

“Oh yes,” I thought, “I always carry a gallon bottle of vinegar in my pocket just in case of such an occurrence.” 

But I was in too much pain to say anything. I just shook my head.

The man asked someone to run to the Fish and Chips shop nearby and get a bottle of vinegar.

“I have no money!” said the other person.

I got out my wallet and gave him a £5 note … the smallest currency I had. He smiled and ran away. I wondered if I’d ever see him again.

Eventually he returned with a small bottle of vinegar which the first young man gently poured on the jellyfish. It shriveled and let go of my leg.

“You must get this seen to in hospital.” said the young man.

I nodded and thanked him. I turned round to get my shoes only to find that the tide had come in somewhat and taken them out to sea with the red and green socks waving at me happily as they sailed away!

I hopped bare feet and minus my hat into a taxi and to the nearest hospital.

And the moral of this story, dear friends, is: Never go to sea in a pin-striped suit!

Sunday 14 October 2012

Money money money

The reading in church today was from Mark 10:17-27.

I’m sure you know the story about the rich man who was told by Jesus to sell everything he had, give it to the poor, and follow Jesus.

The man just could not do this, and went away sad.

Jesus also says that famous saying about it being harder for a rich man to enter Heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.

And people have been debating that hyperbole for years. What did it mean? Did Jesus refer to a gate called Needle, or was it a mountain pass which was so narrow you had to unload your camel of what it was carrying, pass the camel through, and then load it again.

In reality, it doesn’t matter.

What’s important is the message behind the hyperbole and the advice to sell everything and give it to the poor.

Did Jesus mean it?

Here’s my take on it – unorthodox as it may be.

I doubt very much if every rich man on earth sold all their property and gave it to the poor that it would make any difference. It would be like putting a snowflake in a burning furnace.

Anyway, it is not physically possible, since if every rich person sold their property, by implication, they would sell it to someone else who would in turn be rich in order to be able to buy it. I’m sure you follow the tautology.

So what did Jesus mean?

He certainly was not speaking against wealth. Wealth creates wealth. It creates jobs and it creates the wherewithal to help others less fortunate than ourselves.

Christ condones, nay encourages, the creation of wealth in His parable about the servants given a gold coin each by their master. When he returned from his travels the master discovered that two servants managed to make their fortune increase whilst the third just didn’t bother. So he rewards the hard-working servants and punishes the other. Luke 19:11-27.

Jesus was teaching responsible wealth. There’s nothing wrong in working hard and amassing a fortune honestly.

As long as we use it responsibly.

Those who are fortunate to have wealth should remember their responsibility to share it with others, and to help others, as best they can. This doesn’t mean sell everything and give it to the poor. It means be aware of those around you who are less fortunate than yourself; and share your good fortune with them.

If you were to sell everything then once it's gone, it's gone - you can no longer help the poor and you may well become poor yourself. What's so clever about that?

In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) Jesus does not condemn the rich man for being rich; but for not even realizing, never mind caring, for a poor man starving at his gate.

So there you have it: work hard, be wealthy, but remember others less well-off than yourself.

And wealth does not necessarily mean riches and money.

Some people are wealthy in different ways: wealthy in wisdom and knowledge, wealthy in health and stamina, wealthy in talents and so on.

Those amongst us who are well educated and knowledgeable should not look down on others haughtily and with disdain. Use your knowledge to teach others.

Those who are fortunate to be healthy should remember the sick and if possible visit them or help them as best they can.

Those with talents for music, the arts, sports or whatever should share their talents with others. Imagine the good you can achieve as a sportsman if you visit a school and share a few moments coaching children in whatever it is you do. Or if a musician or celebrity shared a few moments with less talented yet aspiring youngsters. That visit would be imprinted on young memories for life – and may well inspire them to do better and achieve more.

Let’s all look at ourselves deeply and discover what wealth God has given us.

Money, good health, a talent for music, painting, singing or whatever … and let’s share it for the glory of, and in thanksgiving to, God our Creator.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Hardened hearts.

Father Ignatius came across some sad realities of life the other day. 

It was a dark and wintry cold evening when he was called out to visit an elderly parishioner at home who was very ill and nearing the end of his life. The old man's wife was there and a few other relatives all gathered around the old man's bed praying and crying. 

In conversation the priest learnt that this parishioner had a grown up son living not far away. Although he had been warned about his father's poor health he had not come to see him. Apparently, father and son had not met or spoken to each other for years following a family argument.

Sadly, even though the son had not visited his dying father, the father in turn did not want to see his son.

The priest, in an attempt at reconciliation, made an effort to contact the son by telephone. But it was too late. By then the father had died.

The son never turned up to the funeral.

Father Ignatius’ heart was at breaking point during the funeral. He remembered the fifth Commandment about respecting one's parents and the words in Our Lord's Prayer "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sinned against us". He wanted to say something about this during his sermon but decided that it was not appropriate at the time.

Instead he offered a private Mass for the whole family and prayed that the act of reconciliation may never again be so thwarted by entrenched self-indulgent righteousness.

Saturday 6 October 2012

How important are you? Really?

How important are you? Really?

Who are you exactly?

Wife? Husband? Parent? Daughter? Son? Sister? Brother? Friend?

Married? Single? Divorced? Widowed?

What do you do in life?

Home-maker? Home-schooling? Self-employed? Employee?

Lawyer? Doctor? Mechanic? Carpenter ... ... ...

How many people rely on you in life?

Your spouse and children? Elderly parents and siblings? Colleagues at work? Neighbours and friends?

What do you do for them in life? Nurture your family who rely on you as your dependents? Help your parents with chores they can no longer do for themselves? Or be there for them as their health fails them? Be there for your family, siblings, colleagues and friends when they need you?

Perhaps you also help an elderly neighbour with the shopping, or gardening or other chores. Or you may visit people in hospital or in prison or provide food and clothing for the down-and-out in the streets?

Maybe you help in church with the cleaning, writing the newsletter, playing the organ or a member of the choir? Or be more active on the Parish Council or whatever else is needed to be done in church.

You know ... even the dog and cat rely on you for food and shelter!

Just think for a moment how many people rely on you and whose life you have touched by just being here right now. And how their lives would be affected if you were no longer here.

How important are you?

Very important, I should say. A VIP no less.

Think of that next time you pray. And ask God to look after YOU.

Not for your sake; but for the sake of all others who rely on you.

God bless.

Friday 5 October 2012

Computers affect our lives

Wednesday 3 October 2012

The Celebrity Talent Factor

Someone once said something clever about being famous and a celebrity. I can't remember who it was ... perhaps it was me. Or maybe it was someone else ...

Anyway, as I was about to say before I interrupted my train of thoughts ...

Funny things trains ... they're always late I find. Why is that? I read the other day that the train people will rectify their lateness by replacing timetables with calendars. That way they'll be more accurate.

"The train on platform 3 will arrive in London tomorrow!" Now that's more accurate I think.

The other day they said on the loud speaker at the station that the train was late due to shortage of staff. Why can't they recruit taller people?

Now then ... where was I? Oh yes ... someone once said "I could have been very famous if I had a voice like Sinatra's!"

A lot of truth in that. If I could sing like Sinatra or some other great singer I could be famous too.

Or if I could run fast as an Olympic athlete, or play football well, or if I were a great writer, or musician, or an actor, or whatever else passes as worthy of adulation these days, I too could be a famous celebrity recognised and welcome everywhere.

And that's the problem in this modern world of ours. Everyone wants to be famous and a celebrity instantly. Without any hard work, or patience ... instant fame is the name of the game.

Talking of instant ... I read the other day that the scientist who invented an instant laxative has been fired from his job. But I digress.

Whenever you turn on the TV you see youngsters, and not so young people, all hoping to win a talent show and become famous celebrities. Some can't sing, dance, or do anything else to save their lives ... but they all want to be famous.

Does anyone ever stop and think, I wonder, where all the talent comes from?

If someone can sing, dance, play a musical instrument, be great at athletics, play sports well, or be a great businessman, doctor, lawyer, or whatever else ... have they ever wondered where all this talent comes from?

Did they do the slightest thing all by themselves to achieve such greatness?

Didn't God give them all the talents and the ability to do whatever they are good at?

A great voice perhaps. Or the ability to dance, or be good at sports, business, medicine or whatever?

Didn't God give them the brains to be able to study, concentrate, and work wonders in medicine, science or whatever else people are good at? Didn't God give them the good health and good fortune to become in life what they have become today?

Yet ... when you watch famous celebrities on TV ... or aspiring celebrities ... have you notice how many of them are full of themselves and proud of what they have achieved; rather than acknowledging where their talents and abilities come from and thank God for their good fortune.

God gave us all talents to use in order to glorify Him. And it is right that we use our talents to their full extent.

As Jesus said: "No one lights a lamp and hides it under a bowl or puts it under a bed. ... " (Luke 8:16). 

It should be made to shine to honour and glorify God.

Although, personally, I would never put a lamp under a bed as it might start a fire throughout the house. Where's the talent in that?

But I digress once again.

So ... as I was saying ... let's not be shy about our God-given talents; but let's use them wisely for God.

Even if your talent is ... (like mine) ... writing Blogs that nobody reads.

At least Jesus is reading them and chuckling to Himself.

God bless.

Saturday 29 September 2012

You're the best friend I've ever had

You've been here beside me and shared all my dreams through the years
We’ve shared all the laughter and sometime you dried all my tears
You stood close beside me and held me when good times turned bad
I need you to know you're the best friend that I've ever had

Together we've laughed as we walked hand in hand in the rain
All the good times we've had comes back to my memory again
Now as the years pass they're turning from silver to gold
I pray we will share them together as we're growing old

You're my best friend the one friend I know will be there come what may
You're the one I depend on the one friend I turn to each day
So if sometimes I hurt you and the things that I say makes you sad
Remember I love you and you're the best friend that I've ever had

Remember I love you and you're the best friend that I've ever had

Sunday 23 September 2012

My new car

I've got a brand new car and I'm very proud of it.

It's an AUTOMATIC. I've always had manual cars before; you know, with a stick showing numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on. This is my first AUTOMATIC and I've had it for three days. It has only two pedals. One for the engine to go Vrooom Vrooom and the other to stop the car.

I found something peculiar about this car. In the morning I put the little handle next to the seat in position D for Day and the car runs properly. It's a joy to drive.

When it gets dark I put the handle in position N for Night and the car refuses to move. No matter how hard I press the pedal for the car to move, the engine screams Vrooooom Vrooooom but it does not move an inch.

Just this morning something terrible happened. I was late for a meeting so I put the handle in position R so that the car would Run fast but it went backwards and hit the car behind me.


It is easy to wave our hands in the air and Praise God and shout "Yay" in the Daytime of our lives when all is well and life is wonderful.

But in the Darktimes of our lives, when things go wrong for us and are terrible, we can so easily stop our praises and fall into the darkness of doubts, fears and unnecessary worries, and feel abandoned by our loving God.

And at such Darktimes we can even reverse back into temptations and sin because we can no longer see God's loving care which is only just a prayer away. If we trust Him.

Saturday 22 September 2012

The sorry ass

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing.

He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Enough of that ... The donkey later came back, and bit the farmer who had tried to bury him.

The gash from the bite got infected and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.


When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Hospital Experiences

In Australia the DNA spiral goes the other way round and it is spelled AND.

Monday 17 September 2012

Embracing Technology

Father Ignatius heard Mrs Davenport, the housekeeper, speaking with the telephone engineer in the main living room, so he kept well out of the way in the kitchen not wishing to be involved. He planned on having a quick toast and ginger marmalade for breakfast and then out of the back door and he was gone.

But too late … he heard Mrs Davenport calling:

“It’s been installed Father Ignatius … would you like to see how it works?”

He couldn’t pretend not to have heard and sneak out quickly, could he? That’s certainly not Father Ignatius’ style; he was honest to the nth degree. He’d heard her calling and that was that; honesty dictates that he has to answer her call.

He reluctantly walked into the living room and was greeted by a smiling telephone engineer, “Good morning sir … I have installed your new Series 12 Telephone Answering Machine and it is ready for action … if you care to see how it works …”

Father Ignatius was not anti-progress as such, but he felt that the phones should be answered by a real person at all times especially if on occasions someone might call the priests in an emergency. But he was eventually convinced by Father Donald and Mrs Davenport that it was time St Vincent Church entered the 20th Century so he finally acquiesced.

“This is the on-off switch …” explained the engineer, “and ideally the machine should be always on. This button here is to allow you to record your out-going message; that’s what the callers will hear when they phone you …”

Father Ignatius nodded passively half-listening; his mind concentrating on the un-eaten toast and marmalade in the kitchen.

Eventually, the engineer asked, “Any questions?”

“Does it make toast?” asked the priest almost instinctively.

“Eh … no sir …” replied the confused engineer.

“Perhaps the Series 13 machine would have this added feature …” smiled the priest, and then thought he’d better ask an intelligent question to compensate.

“At present all phones ring at once, this one, the one in my office and the one in Father Donald’s … one of us answers it first. Will this machine jump in first and answer the calls?”

“No sir … I have timed it that it will only answer after about one minute of the phone ringing … you can augment the time delay with this button here …”

Father Ignatius soon regretted his intelligent question and hoped the machine could make hot espresso coffee instead.

Throughout the day that machine became the center of attraction. Mrs Davenport proudly demonstrated it to every visitor to the Parish House. The vegetables delivery man got a full demonstration of which button does what, and so did the gardener when he came to mow the loan, and three members of the choir; but certainly not Mother Superior who declined politely as she sought refuge in Father Donald’s office for a school governors’ meeting.

Father Ignatius smiled to himself every time he heard her repeat which button is supposed to do what and then ask herself “at least that’s what I think the engineer said …”

“How lucky we are,” the priest thought to himself, “that God does not have an answering machine. We never hear Him saying ‘sorry there’s no one here to take your call’ or ‘call back later’.

“He’s with us always, just as Jesus promised, only a prayer away. Ready to listen, to help us and to guide us all the way back to Him in Heaven.”

Mrs Davenport had certainly taken to the machine and embraced new technology as it entered the Parish House for the first time. Father Ignatius was proud of that, and had not expected it from her. He saw her as more conservative and stuck in her ways.

“One day …” he said to her, “no doubt someone will invent a portable telephone which you take with you everywhere. And people will talk to each other as they walk in the street, as they drive and as they shop and so on … how would you like that Mrs Davenport?”

“But won’t all those wires get tangled up with each other as all the people walk about carrying their phones?” she asked innocently.

Later that evening Mrs Davenport confirmed in the priest’s mind that new technology had not yet reached the Davenport brain after all.

He overheard a conversation with a young Altar boy sitting in the kitchen doing his homework whilst waiting for his mother to pick him up.

The child asked Mrs Davenport who was preparing the evening meal: “If a person is in a vacuum can you hear him shout and scream?”

“It depends if the vacuum is switched on or off at the time, and the amount of dirt in the bag …” replied Mrs Davenport.

Friday 14 September 2012

Terrible Times

The last twenty days or so have been terrible for me.

Health scare.

I do know that a number of my readers have had, and some still have, serious illnesses and even painful ones. And I do know people with such illnesses. I've always admired and respected those people who bear their illnesses with dignity, fortitude and great Faith.

I'm writing this post in the hope that it might help someone in similar circumstances or in cases of great difficulty.

Whilst others can accept whatever God allows to happen to them, I find that at the first sign of difficulty I am like St Peter sinking in the sea, taking away his focus from Christ, and pleading for His helping hand.

Immediately human emotions come to the fore - disbelief, anger, confusion and so on.

"Is this really happening? Why is God doing this to me? What is to happen next? What if ... tomorrow ... never comes?"

Such emotions shut away our channel with God and leaves the field open for the devil to play havoc with our mind.

"Aha ... your God has abandonned you I see. That is if He exists at all!"

I suppose it is natural that our Faith is challenged at difficult times. A priest friend of my brother's once said when we are in such difficult circumstances we do not actually lose our Faith as such but it is challenged. Our human emotions may panic at first, which is natural; but the fact that we pray, however weakly, or the fact that we ask others to pray for us, is in itself proof that we still believe in an Almighty loving Deity ready to help us.

And the fact that the devil tempts us into believing that God does not exist is in itself proof of His existence; otherwise the devil would not have bothered with such confusing thoughts in our minds.

The instinctive response, according to Merlin Carothers (click here to learn more) is to Praise God in all difficult circumstances. We're not Praising Him because of the circumstances, but because He is still in control of events and that they are according to His will. And if we trust Him enough He will turn every circumstance to the good.

I discussed Faith with my brothers and sister, whom I consider to have greater Faith than me.

I was told that Faith is to believe that God is actually in charge and to dare to lose control to Him.

When I told a brother he had greater Faith than me, he replied that this was not the case, but that in his life he has met with many great difficulties (which I know full well); and every time God was there and has saved him from many terrible situations. So his Faith is based on fact.

I have been greatly helped by my brothers and sister in these difficult times and am very grateful for their prayers and those of my family.

I'm also grateful for the prayers of Father Francis Maple and those of my readers here and my friends.

Let me relate something which happened recently that helped me no end. A friend e-mailed me unexpectedly and said that she'd been thinking continuously about my recently deceased mother. She felt as if my mother was "nudging" her to pray for me; so she obeyed the "nudge" and prayed for me. Am I all right? she asked me.

This was before this friend (a reader of this Blog) had been told of my health scare. I have never met this person in "real life" nor does she know me or my family; but that e-mail shook my disbelief and sinking Faith into focus once again. Thank you friend.

You see, when we ask God for more Faith, He doesn't wave a magic wand and gives us more Faith; but He allows circumstances to happen where our Faith grows and where we have the opportunity to trust Him. To dare to lose control and to say "Thy will be done" and mean it.

A book which helped me a lot is "I am with you" by Father John Woolley. (Click here to learn more). 

The book contains a series of "treasured words of divine inspiration as given to Father John in prayer". Each page contains a short passage and it is amazing how often when you open the book at random you read God speaking to you there and then.

Here's what I read in the depth of my despair:

My child, the refusal of anxiety, now that you are firmly in My hands ... You give anxiety the soil in which to grow whenever you look away from Me, and survey the situation from a very human and limited viewpoint.

Prolonged and futile anxiety creates the climate for many other temptations, of which you are only too aware. When evil tries to implant anxious thoughts, stand upon Me and refuse them. Turn anxieties into opportunities.

Engross yourself with others' needs from the right motive (the motive of love), ensuring that less of your mind's energy is being poured into self and its needs - real or imagined.

Can you literally feel yourself thinking and acting in new ways ... refusing all that is not of calm and patience? Because you have been rescued from the power of darkness, you can simply let Me rob all anxieties of their power.

Consider the lilies of the field! (Matthew 6:28)

Thank you for your prayers. God bless.