Tuesday 31 January 2012

Let him die !

Father Ignatius was a member of the Doctors and Patients Consultative Committee at the local Hospital.

The Chairman of the Meeting welcomed all present and said:

“Thank you for attending this Meeting which we have arranged to discuss a matter on which the Hospital Board has asked for our views. Over the past few months there have been a number of premature births in this hospital and, as you would imagine, it has proved a very difficult and emotive issue for both the medical staff and parents to deal with.

“Let me introduce Doctor Farmington who will address us for a few minutes on the subject in question.”

The doctor stood up and explained about instances when babies are born pre-maturely, some as early as twenty three weeks into pregnancy. He explained that despite medical advancements and efforts made to save the infant, in the majority of cases, those who survived, had severe physical and mental disabilities throughout life.

These disabilities, sometimes painful, resulted in the child leading a very difficult existence dependent on others and on constant medical attention, with no hope of ever being cured to lead a normal life.

The doctor also explained that often, the very intervention by medical staff to save the baby, created medical risks which would adversely affect the infant in later life; for example brain damage, infection and so on.

The dilemma facing the medical profession was whether it would be more humane to let such premature babies just pass away peacefully rather than condemn them to a difficult and often miserable life.

The doctor was followed by a Senior Social Worker who went on to add that in a large number of cases, where the baby was saved despite the severe disabilities, the strain on the family was such that marriages frequently ended in divorce causing further pain and heartache to everyone involved. Furthermore, in many cases any other children in the family suffered too because of the extra attention and resources afforded to the disabled child by the parents. Often one or both parents had to give up work to look after the disabled child putting further pressure on the families’ finances.

The debate went on as to the limited financial resources available by families and the State to assist in such cases.

One or two parents at the meeting maintained that disabled children are well-loved by their parents and are central to their families despite their disabilities. They talked about the sanctity of life and how they, as parents, had the right to decide on medical intervention and not the medics or anyone else.

“You’re very quiet Father,” said the Chairman of the Meeting, “Although I might guess on your views …”

A few people laughed.

“By guessing my views, you may well save me the agony of having to decide on this …” replied Father Ignatius.

The Meeting fell silent.

“I fully appreciate the difficult decisions that have to be made by all concerned in such cases as premature births …” continued the priest.

“It is true of course that where the medics intervene, using their great skills, the results more often than not are a disabled child unable to fend for himself throughout what could be a long life.

“As we’ve heard, this puts a great strain on all concerned and marriages often break-up as a result inflicting further pain on the whole family.

“Understandably, the parents in such cases want everything possible to be done to save the child, and they cling to faint hope that all will turn out well. This is Faith indeed, albeit in reality, as we’ve heard, in most cases it is misplaced Faith since the surviving child is permanently and severely disabled.

“Yet, we must remember, that in these traumatic few moments when a decision has to be made, the parents are acting without any medical knowledge or facts whatsoever, and they base their decisions to save the child on pure loving instincts.

“Faced on the one hand with definite medical and statistical evidence of the outcomes of intervention, and on the other hand on parental love, hope and faith … how are we as a society to decide on this terrible dilemma?

“Who are we, I ask, to play God and decide to condemn a human being to a life of misery for themselves and those around them?

“If a child is born pre-maturely, extremely so in some cases, is this not a sign that the mother's body has rejected it because there is something wrong with it? By intervening are we not interfering with the natural course of event?”

The doctor and the Social Worker smiled sensing the argument going in their favor. Father Ignatius stopped for a second or two as he often did to focus peoples’ attention.

“Let me invite you to consider something else,” he continued.

“There are instances where babies are born after their full pregnancy term, yet, they are born with severe difficulties; like a hole in the heart for example …

“What do the medics do then? Do they reject them as faulty and let them die?

“Or do they do their utmost to help these young lives who sometimes, they too, grow up with disabilities?

“So I ask myself, what is the difference between a child born pre-maturely and another born after its full term? Why should one benefit from the skills and expertise of the doctors and not the other?

“Our skills, whatever they are, are God-given. We’ve done nothing by ourselves to achieve what we achieve.

“A skilled doctor for instance owes his skills and aptitude to assimilate and use knowledge to a Higher Being. This applies to all of us.

“And as such we owe that Higher Being, God, a duty to use our skills, whatever they are, for the benefit of humanity.

“Rather than ask whether the doctors should intervene in the case of pre-mature babies, why don’t we ask God to intervene? Don’t we trust Him enough?

“My views, Mr Chairman, if you’ve guessed them correctly … are that the doctors should do their best with the skills and expertise at their disposal to help these young lives … and then leave it to God to intervene as to the quality and length of life which transpires as a result of their efforts.”

Thursday 26 January 2012


Father Ignatius was met at the door of Parish House by an ashen faced Mrs Davenport, the housekeeper, who said in a trembling voice.

“Father, I think Mr Luxton-Joyce is dead!”

“What do you mean … you think?” asked the priest.

“Well, Mr Luxton-Joyce’s butler rang about an hour ago and said that he had felt very faint and lost consciousness and has been taken to hospital. I haven’t heard any more since …”

Father Ignatius got back into his car and drove straight to the hospital.

He made his way to the main reception where he was well known as a regular visitor and asked which Ward his friend and church benefactor was in.

“Oh … he’s not in any Ward,” said the receptionist, “Mr Luxton-Joyce is in a private suite on the third floor, and he has brought with him a personal nurse to look after his needs. You’ll need to announce yourself to her …”

The priest hurried up to the third floor and was met by a stern faced nurse who wanted to know the purpose of the priest’s visit before letting him in. She insisted that, in her professional opinion, the eccentric millionaire was not to be disturbed by anybody and that the only visitor with him now is his wife.

The priest tried to explain in vain to the epitome of bureaucracy blocking his entrance to the private suite when God must have lost patience with her and intervened by making a distant phone ring.

“Wait here … and do not move!” she said harshly as she went to answer the phone.

Father Ignatius must have suffered another bout of deafness because he didn’t hear her properly and entered the large room to be met by a tearful Rose, Theodore’s wife.

He was lying in bed asleep with an oxygen mask on his face and tubes and bleeping equipment all around him.

“He’s resting at the moment …” Rose said as the priest sat down on a nearby chair. “He fainted last night after exercising on the treadmill and we phoned for an ambulance. The doctors have checked him out and they said it’s extreme exhaustion. He should take it easy in future …” she smiled feebly.

The priest smiled back and said a thankful silent prayer. He then brought out his Rosary and they started praying quietly. At the third decade Theodore stirred a little and opened his eyes. He tried unsuccessfully to remove the oxygen mask on his face.

“Take this off me …” he mumbled, “I’m not a dog to be muzzled like that …”

Rose carefully removed the oxygen mask and Theodore blinked once or twice and then seeing Father Ignatius he said, “Hello Padre … are you here as a friend or in an official capacity?”

“How are you feeling?” asked the priest gently.

“Oh … I’m fine … not dead yet! At least I don’t think so … although that nurse out there makes me wish I was … what?”

Father Ignatius smiled.

“I don’t know what the fuss is all about …” continued Theodore, “can’t a man faint a little without being rushed into hospital?”

“I understand you’ve been overdoing things,” replied Father Ignatius trying to reassure Rose as well as the stubborn eccentric.

“Nonsense … in business you can’t overdo things … For years I’ve worked hard to be successful and I’ve never slowed down or taken my eye off the ball … what?”

“At least don’t use that treadmill as often … and so vigorously …” pleaded Rose.

“I won’t switch it on …” he smiled with a wink, “and I’ll take it easy by walking on the treadmill width-wise side to side rather than along its whole length!”

Father Ignatius continued the Rosary prayer and after hearing the man’s Confession he gave him and Rose Communion.

They then discussed the fragility of life and how vulnerable we all are as we walk the tight rope balancing life from death.

In a rare serious moment Theodore admitted that in his pursuit of success, more often than not spurred by an up-bringing where failure was not an option, he had neglected the spiritual more important focus of his life.

“That’s really taking your eye off the ball … what? Padre!” he chortled.

“Keep your mind set on the things that are in Heaven, not on things here on earth!” replied Father Ignatius with a smile.

(Colossians 3).

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Miracles DO happen ...

Monday 23 January 2012

Father Ignatius spies goodness.

Father Ignatius had an appointment at the Cathedral in the City and he happened to mention it to Theodore Luxton-Joyce, the rich benefactor and friend of the priest.

“Oh … I hate going to the City,” said Theodore frowning a little, “how do you plan going by train or are you driving there?”

“Like you, I hate the City, it’s far too busy and I don’t like driving,” replied the priest, “I hope to take the train!”

“If they run on time,” chortled Theodore, “the trains are always late these days … not like years ago when they always left on time and arrived at their destination on time.

“These days they never stick to the published time-table. The only way they’ll keep to their agreed schedule is if they replace the time-tables with calendars!” He laughed loudly at his own joke.

“Yes … I see what you mean. But for me, it’s better than driving.”

“I tell you what Padre …” interrupted Theodore enthusiastically, “when are you going? Next week you said?”

“Next Wednesday …”

“I’ve had a capital idea … what?” Theodore interrupted again, “my wife is away visiting her family next week. I have nothing to do. Why don’t I come with you to the City? We’ll go by car … my chauffeur knows the way well, so there’ll be no driving for either of us. I can go sight-seeing then meet you at the Cathedral when you’re ready!”

“I couldn’t possible ask this of you Theodore” replied Father Ignatius, “it’s very generous of you and …”

“Well it’s settled then …” the eccentric millionaire interrupted again, “I’ll pick you up at St Vincent’s on Wednesday morning.”

On the day in question the two of them were chauffeur driven in a luxurious car to the City and both went, as planned, their separate ways.

By late afternoon Theodore arrived at the Cathedral to collect Father Ignatius as arranged.

The church was empty so he sat on the pew next to the Sacristy door so that he could see Father Ignatius when he came out of his meeting.

The rich man looked around him at the splendor of this great Cathedral for a few moments, then he got up and lit a candle by the statue of St Anthony. No particular reason, it just happened to be the nearest statue to him. He then sat on the pew again and wondered if there is a Saint Theodore. “Theo means God in Greek! What?” he thought to himself.

He got a broken Rosary from his pocket and started praying. “Must mend this Rosary sometime,” he thought, “lucky all the beads are still here … just the chain is broken!”

His meandering thoughts were disturbed by a noise at the back of the church. He turned round and saw a man come in.

The tall thin stranger, dressed in a red shirt, blue jeans and a tatty overcoat came to the front and sat next to Theodore.

He knelt down and pretended to pray for a few seconds, then he sat down again and turning to Theodore he asked in a strong Scottish accent, “Is the vicar here, do you ken?”

“You mean the priest,” Theodore replied, “there must be more than one in there … I’m waiting for one of them as a matter of fact!”

“Aye … a priest will do,” said the Scotsman, “they come out of there one at a time do they? Just like waiting for a bus, is it?”

“Well … no. If you wait a while, someone is sure to come out.”

“Do you ken the priest can lend me some money?” asked the Scot tentatively.

“You’ll need a bank for that, old boy” chortled Theodore, “these priests are as poor as church mice … what? They’ll more likely ask you for money than give you any!”

The man scratched his head briefly and then continued, “I’m from Scotland, you see.”

“Yes … I gathered from your accent old boy! Grand place, so it is. I’m half Scot myself … the half which wears the kilt …” Theodore laughed loudly forgetting for a moment where he was.

“I came down here in England to look for work,” continued the man. “Things are pretty bad in Scotland so I thought down here might be better. I’ve been in a bed and breakfast for a week. And I found no work here either.

“I ran out of money and don’t have my fare back home!

“Do you think you can lend me some money to get home to my wife and wee bairns? I’ll pay you back …”

To the man’s surprise Theodore immediately pulled out his wallet and asked, “How much do you need old boy?”

“The coach fare is about £20 … it leaves this evening at eight.” replied the Scotsman.

Theodore took five £20 notes from his wallet and handed them to the astonished man.

“That’s … that’s far too much,” he mumbled in disbelief, “and they are notes from the Bank of Scotland too … not English ones …”

“Yes … I was in Edinburgh last week …” Theodore smiled.

“Let me have your address … I’ll pay you back … a bit at a time …”

“Think nothing of it,” replied Theodore, “buy something for your family!”

At this point Father Ignatius had just come out of the Sacristy and witnessed the whole event.

Theodore continued, “If you’re serious about moving down here with your family … give me a ring on this number … think about it with your wife!”

As the man disappeared out of the church hurriedly Father Ignatius asked Theodore “was that a vagrant begging for money?”

“I just gave him some spare change,” lied Theodore, “he’s from Scotland I understand … what?”

“The reason I asked,” said the priest, “is because this church has packets of food prepared for people who come here asking for help!”

About seven months later Theodore got a call from the grateful Scotsman. He still hadn’t found work in his country. So he and his family decided to move to Northern England and work on one of Theodore’s farms.

Saturday 21 January 2012

Why is the FISH a symbol of Christianity?

Before I answer this question let me say that I've always wished to swim with dolphins. But I couldn't afford such a holiday so I went swimming with sardines instead.

Now sardines are not as clever as dolphins. Why else would they get into a tin and leave the key on the outside?

Every other canned fish you buy, tuna, salmon, pilchard and so on, you have to open with a can opener. But sardines ... they have a key on the outside. Why?

Unless of course you buy those tins with a ring pull. Again, on the outside ... so the sardines can't pull the ring and get out.

Anchovies thought they'd be clever by being so salty that no one would eat them. They were wrong. They've now become a delicacy much sought after and fished than before.

And now about the original question ...

The symbol of a fish was found on ancient Christian monuments and buildings. It represents Christ.

The Greek word for "fish" is ICHTHUS.

If we take the letters of that word they provide the first letters of other Greek words.

Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter

Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour

So the symbol of the fish suggests all this to a Christian. It may well have been a secret sign used by early Christians to identify each other.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Father Ignatius teaches Theodore

It was Tuesday morning and Father Ignatius was surprised to see Theodore Luxton-Joyce’s car in the church’s car park. The rich millionaire had not called on the priest at the Parish House so the only place he could be would be in church; rather unusual for Theodore since he only went to church on Sundays.

Father Ignatius entered the empty church and found Theodore sitting upfront, by the statue of the Virgin Mary; on the very pew where the priest often sat to recite the Rosary.

At first the priest ignored the rich man for a while and stayed at the back of the church praying. Then, after twenty minutes or so he decided to approach him; it was after all rather unusual for Theodore to come to pray mid-week, so something must be troubling him indeed.

“Hello Padre …” mumbled Theodore un-characteriscally. He was usually so cheerful and full of joie de vivre, but not this time.

The priest smiled and sat beside him.

“Tell me old boy …” said Theodore after a while breaking the silence, “does God really listen to prayers? Or is it possible He is more busy with someone else’s problems and He has to prioritize. Like I often do in business?”

“Oh, He listens to all prayers, I’m sure of it,” replied the priest gently, “but sometimes He doesn’t answer straight away. He may say ‘No’ to our prayers, or ‘Not now … I have something better for you’. But He’ll answer your prayers for sure. In His time, and in His way.”

“I haven’t got time to wait. I need an answer now … what!” interrupted Theodore regaining his natural petulance once again.

Father Ignatius smiled and said, “It says in the Bible that to God one day is like a thousand years. He sees all. The past, present and the future. It could be that what you’re asking for is not good for you in the future. Just be patient for God’s answer.”

“I haven’t got time to wait … certainly not a thousand years old boy. I need an answer now …” Theodore continued, “A few months ago, my Company bought a piece of land North of town on a hill. We planned to grow various crops there … wheat, oats, barley, that sort of thing.

“At the top of the hill there’s a line of trees all along the border between our land and our neighbour. Hundreds of them all in a straight line like soldiers. Next to the trees there are bushes. A bit lower and shorter than the trees but standing beside them all along the border.

“All the time I thought the trees and bushes belonged to our neighbour, but my Estates Manager has discovered that they belong to me. He checked the deeds with the Land Registry; they belong to me all right. The Estates Manager also tells me that by cutting down the trees and bushes and replacing them with a wire fence we’d gain more land and increase our crops by about 7 %. That’s quite a big margin Padre, I tell you! So I told my people to cut down the trees and bushes. No sooner did they start that the neighbour complained.

“He said I’m disturbing the wildlife … birds and that sort of thing, living in the bushes. He took and injunction against me stopping me from pulling down the trees and bushes. He’s supported by the Council and some local preservationists. There’s to be a Court hearing soon. So I can’t afford to wait a thousand years for God to respond. Can’t you hurry Him up Padre?” concluded Theodore with a forced smile.

“The trees and bushes are yours!” said the priest calmly. Theodore nodded.
“If they’re mature trees then they must have been there for some years. Possibly a hundred years or so. Whoever owned the land before you must have either found them there, or planted them himself, assuming his family owned the land for generations.”

“You’re right Padre. The last owner had the land in his family for a number of years. His grandfather farmed there, then his father, and then him.”

“Why do you think they did not cut the trees?” asked the priest.

“Dunno … maybe they didn’t have my Estates Manager to advise them. An increase of 7% in crop yield is not to be laughed at … what?”

“I was raised on a farm.” said the priest, “a small holding. Nothing as big as yours! And I remember my father saying that bushes and trees break the cold northerly wind in winter. They shield the land and protect the crops. Especially crops like wheat which tend to bend down and break in high winds.

“Trees also protect the land from erosion when it rains heavily, especially on hilly grounds.

“Bushes provide homes and shelter for all kinds of birds; which often feed on insects which may attack crops. So the birds can act as an insect control to protect the crops.

“But then, I’m not a farmer … so what do I know? I’m a priest and you’re a businessman … and I too would be glad of an increase of 7% in my congregation.”

Theodore said nothing for a few seconds and then said pensively, “I remember reading something about farmers in old times planting trees and bushes to shelter crops from the wind. I’d forgotten all about it. But then, I’m no farmer Padre. I’m a businessman trying to make a good return on my investments. And my Estates Manager is a Business graduate from University; so what does he know? You’ve convinced me Padre … those trees were put there for a purpose.”

Theodore got up to leave with a broad smile on his face.

“It seems that God has answered your prayers after all,” Father Ignatius pointed out, “Maybe not the answer you wished to hear, but the right answer no doubt!”

“Quite true Padre … what?” Theodore beamed back, “and if you want my advice, one way to increase your congregation by 7% is to be more lenient with your penance at Confession.”

Thursday 12 January 2012

Fruit Fly Lesson

The fruit fly lives for just one day. Just 24 hours.

It wakes up in the morning, brushes its teeth, and by the end of the day it is brown bread … totally dead.

It’s hardly worth it buying a tube of toothpaste and using it just once!

So remember this next time you brush your teeth. Thank God for yet another day and enjoy what it brings!

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Chance Encounter

Father Ignatius visited Mrs Florenti, an elderly widow, in her cottage in the country. She was very distraught and confused. Her five year rental contract on the cottage was due for renewal and her landlord, a farmer, had increased the rent by more than 100%. There was no way she could pay the proposed rent and would have to move.

The kind priest checked the paperwork and it was all in order. The contract was due for renewal and there was nothing Father Ignatius could do apart from sympathize and say a silent prayer to God for help.

As he left the cottage a large farm vehicle drew up to the adjacent field and two people came out; Theodore Luxton-Joyce and another man.

“Hello Padre …” Theodore greeted the priest, “What are you doing here?”

“Just visiting a friend,” replied Father Ignatius.

“Jolly good … this is Gerald Thomson, my Estates Manager. We’re here to look at this piece of land … Care to join us?”

As they walked slowly up the hill adjoining the cottage Gerald Thomson excused himself and went up ahead and started taking measurements of the land with his theodolite.

“Good grazing land this … what!” said Theodore breaking the silence, “Luscious grass … and plenty of it. And the land is sheltered from high winds by those trees up there. It’s a great place to raise sheep!”

“Are you interested in this place?” asked the priest.

“Yes … Coston Enterprises, my Company, have put an offer on this land and we hope to buy most of this hill … all the way down to where we parked our cars, including the cottage with vacant possession!”

“Including the cottage?” asked the priest rather surprised.

“Yes … I’ll need that to house the farm labourer … or shepherd you might call him, who’ll look after the flock! Should you ever need a nice piece of lamb, be sure to let me know Padre … what?”

“Ehmm … thanks,” mumbled the priest as he continued, “Theodore, do you know who lives in that cottage?”

“No idea old boy …” replied the rich businessman picking up a handful of grass and smelling it, “they tell me you can identify good grass by smelling it … can’t understand it really, smells ordinary to me … here have a smell!”

The priest took the grass from Theodore’s hand and surreptitiously threw it away.

“You see Theodore,” hesitated Father Ignatius, “that cottage has been home for an elderly widow for many years. The owner of the house has just doubled her rent, no doubt to get her out. Did you know that?”

Theodore stopped and looked down the hill at the cottage. “No … of course not. I leave all the business stuff to the Estates Manager, Thomson over there … He told me he’d found a piece of land suitable for our purposes with a house to put the shepherd in … and we’ve come here to look at it!”

“I was visiting the old lady living in that house just as you arrived!” said Father Ignatius.

“That’s jolly decent of you Padre …” enthused Theodore, “you’ve a heart of gold. You came to help her move did you?”

Father Ignatius bit his lip as he silently despaired that Theodore was not getting the point.

“The thing is …” he said quietly, “she has nowhere to go … she’s lived here for years at moderate rent. There’s no where she can find a similar rent.”

“She can always come and live with us …” blurted Theodore, “well, not in our house of course. I doubt Rose, my wife, would like that … neither would I. The place is already too crowded with the butler, the kitchen staff, and the other employees … what!”

Father Ignatius said nothing trying to understand the sudden change of events.

“On the edge of our grounds, where I live, there’s a small house on the left, just by the entrance to the grounds … You must have seen it as you drive in?”

The priest nodded.

“My gardener lives there … he looks after the grounds. He wants to move out to live with his sister nearby. The place will be empty in a month or so. We can put the old lady there and I’ll have that cottage for my shepherd!”

Father Ignatius was about to say something when Theodore interrupted.

“And you can tell her I’ll charge her the same rent she’s paying for the cottage … even though the gardener’s house is bigger … what?

“And she’ll be next to other people rather than alone on this isolated hill. She can call on us or our staff should she need any help …

“You get her out of that cottage Father and you’ll be doing me a great favour! What’s her name?”

“Mrs Florenti …”

“Italian is she?” asked Theodore.

“No … Scottish actually. From Aberdeen. She married an Italian years ago.”

“That’s all the better” chortled Theodore remembering his ancestry, “you’ll be telling me she plays the bagpipes next!”

Theodore was more wily than he let on, thought the priest to himself.

As the two men walked down the hill again Father Ignatius thanked God silently for solving the old widow’s problem so quickly. Had he left her a moment sooner he would never have met Theodore, and he would never have known the reason for the doubling of the rent by the landlord, and Mrs Florenti would have ended up in an old peoples’ home.

Sunday 8 January 2012

Stand up Stand up For Jesus

As Christians, we all have a Mission given to us by Christ Himself. To go out and witness for Him and to spread His Word as best we can.

Some of us do this by being priests, deacons, nuns and monks. Others do it by preaching, writing and teaching. Or quite simply by the way we live our example for others to follow.

Quite a few of us choose to Blog. And what a wonderful free channel of communication we have with modern technology and Blogging. When we write what we write we never know who will read it and perhaps, through our writing, get to meet Christ for the first time in their lives. 

It doesn't matter what we write. It could be about our families, or about food and recipes, photos we've taken or art we enjoy, music or humour, as long as every now and then a Christian message seeps through our writings and does some good somewhere.

I wonder how many Christian blogs there are out there in Blogland each doing some good individually and a lot of good collectively.

Once we start blogging for Jesus we should continue to do so, and never stop. A weekly post is all it needs to keep the message flowing through the Internet.

A message of love, peace, hope and joy. And not a message of superiority, "my way is best", and "do as I say"; as I've often witnessed when visiting Christian sites.

Our Blog should be one which Christ likes to read.

A shining beacon witnessing for Him; and not a cacophony of arguments and bile.

Friday 6 January 2012


A man dies and goes to Heaven where he is face to face with St Peter.

The keeper of the Pearly Gates taps his computer keyboard a few times and asks: “What’s your religion?”

The man eagerly replies “Catholic”; knowing full well that this is the one and only true Church which Jesus founded all those years ago. Jesus was after all Catholic Himself.

St Peter looks up and says “Catholic hein? Not another one!”

“Is that bad?” asks the man worryingly.

“It’s that we have quite a few Catholics in here,” continues the Saint, “and we get more trouble from them than any other religion.”

“How so?” gulps the man in a panic.

“Well … they think they know it all for a start. They’re so judgmental too. And they argue so much … There’s a chap we’ve put in a room by himself and he still argues when he looks at a mirror. Something about Latin being the only true Catholic language …

“Do you know … some of them believe they’re the only ones here! We’ve put all the Catholics in one corner of Heaven and told everyone else to keep very quiet when they walk by there so as not to confound their belief.”

“Is that where I’ll go … if I’m accepted in Heaven?” asks the man with some hope in his voice.

“Well …” replies the Saint, “your credentials are in order. We can let you have access to the whole of Heaven where you can meet everyone else; as long as you don’t go around saying that Catholic is best!”

“Agreed … I promise!” says the man with a smile.

“Oh … and one more thing,” continues St Peter, “always carry a tin of sardines in your pocket. In case you come across another Catholic who insists on eating fish on Fridays!!!”

And the moral of this story is: Do we as Catholics set a good example for others to emulate?

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Watching me. Watching you.

"Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." Francis of Assisi

What did St Francis mean by this?

Here’s my take on it.

If you’re a parent there’s someone watching you. Your children. Watching and learning from you.

If you’re a teacher there’s someone watching you. Your class and your school. Listening to you.

If you’re a priest, vicar or pastor, your congregation is watching you.

If you’re a politician your country is watching you.

Whoever you are, a sportsman, TV or movie star, a famous personality, or a nobody like myself. There’s always someone watching you and ready to follow your example – be it good or be it bad.

We are all role models for someone else, whether we know it or not.

So let our life and our demeanour be such that Jesus would be proud of. And that’s one way to preach the Gospel – without words.