UBI CARITAS ET AMOR. DEUS IBI EST.
UBI CARITAS ET AMOR. DEUS IBI EST.
Saturday 29 September 2012
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
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.
MORAL OF THIS STORY
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
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.
MORAL OF THE STORY
When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you.
Wednesday 19 September 2012
Monday 17 September 2012
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
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.
Sunday 9 September 2012
Sunday 2 September 2012
The French priest was visiting from France to attend a Conference at Bishop’s House, but as there was no accommodation for him there it was decided to house him at St Vincent, where he was Parish priest many years ago before Father Ignatius, and for him to travel daily to the Conference from there.
On the appointed day Father Ferdinand arrived and was greeted by Father Ignatius whom he had never met.
The two men spent some time getting acquainted with each other before settling down to a sumptuous evening meal prepared by Mrs Davenport, the housekeeper.
At the end of the meal the French priest complimented Mrs Davenport on her culinary skills.
“That was marvelous Madame,” he said, “perhaps you should come with me to Tours in France where you can be my chef in our Parish!”
“What is that?” asked Mrs Davenport not understanding the man’s distinct French accent, “you want me to do the Tour de France? You expect me to cycle at my age?”
“Non … non … Madame,” continued the priest, “I said Tours in France. It is a City in Central France where my Parish is situated. I am known jokingly there as Le Curé de Tours … as in the book by Balzac!”
“Balzac?” asked the housekeeper as she left the room with a tray full of empty plates and cutlery, “I’ve never heard of him. But then I don’t know much about French cyclists!”
Father Ignatius smiled and said nothing, knowing full well that to have a conversation with Mrs Davenport is sometimes like speaking to a being from outer space.
“Eh bien …” continued Father Ferdinand, “how is the state of affairs in your little corner of God’s Kingdom on earth?”
“Generally things are getting along fine …” replied Father Ignatius, “most people are struggling in a small northern town where the economic crisis has had most effect. Poverty and desolation are widespread but people are coping as well as they can, with the help of God!”
“At least God is still with you …” said the French visitor, “even in this cold and damp place which I remember all too well from my days here! It has always been poor as I remember. Poor in wealth but rich in Spirit! I really liked my time here Ignatius. I regret having to return to France and handing over this bit of Heaven to you!”
Father Ignatius smiled and said nothing. He’d never heard his town described as a bit of Heaven before.
“You see …” the French priest went on, “there is in France a trend, a modern movement if you like, where it is fashionable to reconsider one’s beliefs in an Almighty Deity.
“It is now trendy, enlightened even, to say that God does not exist. He is either a figment of one’s imagination … or an invention created by man to soothe and protect himself from adversity, or even to control lesser educated fellow humans.
“We often see famous figures writing in the press or speaking on radio and TV about the non-existence of God.
“It is bad enough in itself Ignatius. But these people encourage others to follow in their beliefs. It’s as if the devil himself has visited our affluent towns and cities and he is on a recruitment drive.”
The French priest stopped and sipped a little coffee.
“That is sad …” commented Father Ignatius quietly.
“It is a crisis in every respect …” the French man responded, “the Church, in France and elsewhere in Europe I suspect, seems helpless in this situation …
“Sermons on Sundays and Church teachings have been toned down … mustn’t frighten the horses you see … as you English say!
“Talk of the devil and hell from the pulpit is greeted with ridicule and derision.
“But he exists all right. Ignatius. I’ve seen him often in my town … He is certainly winning over many souls at the moment with his fine convincing arguments on the media and the temptations he puts in our way to lure people to his way of thinking!”
Father Ferdinand stopped again as he put his cup of coffee down.
“I pray daily Ignatius,” he went on, “that this trend does not spread throughout Europe and beyond. But I fear that as wealth increases throughout nations and their populations the devil advances in its wake!”
“In that case the devil may never come here …” joked Father Ignatius, “this town has always been very poor … so much so that even the church mice are on a starvation diet!”
Father Ferdinand smiled as Father Ignatius went on, “In Christ’s death and Resurrection we know that God has conquered evil.
“He knows full well those who believe in Him and love Him. Whether we do this with full intellectual knowledge; or just with humble, simple humility and understanding.
“And the Lord knows full well those who stand against Him in defiance, and worse still, encourage others to do the same!”
The two men were interrupted by Mrs Davenport entering the room with another pot of hot coffee.
Father Ferdinand looked up and said, “Madame … you are one of God’s treasures here on earth. One day the Good Lord will be most pleased to have you serve coffee in Heaven!”
“I don’t know what you mean …” she said as she gathered more empty plates on her tray, “Do they have coffee in Heaven? What do you think Father Ignatius?”