Thursday 27 February 2014

No peace ...

Please allow me to quote from my book "Visions" where Jesus says: "This world cannot know peace until it learns to forgive. Forgiveness is the way to peace".

Regular readers of this Blog, (that's just you and me, the two of us), will know that I often post humourous articles and fun stories here.

I know from analysing the stats that these articles often attract new readers who came here by searching for "jokes", "fun" or other similar words and, having found me, hopefully spend some time looking at the other more serious Christian posts; and hopefully get to know Jesus through what I write.

As I look at life around me, in my locality or on a wider scale through the news media, I notice that as a human race we still have not learnt to forgive.

We may well have advanced in numerous fields such as science, technology, the arts and so on ... but we're still unable or unwilling to learn the very basics regarding mutual peaceful existance.

We've all been hurt in life at one time or other. Some more than others. The hurt runs deep and the wounds are still raw and painful. No one is immune to being hurt.

The trick is - what do we do next?

Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, if my brother keeps sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” answered Jesus, “but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18: 21-22

According to my calculator this adds up to 490 times. But I'm sure Jesus did not mean to limit us to that number.

How do we forgive?

True forgiveness means that we no longer hold something against the one who hurt us. No thoughts of revenge, retribution, punishment or anything like that. We just let what they have done pass away and we move on.

Someone asked me the other day – I have forgiven but cannot forget the pain and hurt caused to me. Does that mean I’ve not really forgiven?

The simple answer is:

If none of the feelings mentioned above are in our hearts – then we have truly forgiven.

Jesus asked us to forgive. Not to forget.

Of course we'll remember the hurt. The more the hurt the more we'll remember as every day something happens to remind us. This is natural.

The second trick is:

We use every remembrance of the hurt to forgive once again.

We also use every remembrance to pray for the one who hurt us. We hand that person over to God as well as the hurt itself.

You cannot possibly hate someone you are praying for.

When Jesus looks at the scars in His hands, feet and side He remembers; and forgives once again.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

History - Galileo's discovery

This history lesson will focus on how we got to find out that the earth is round and revolves around the sun as well as round itself.

It all started a long time ago in Italy when a man called Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) became a famous mathematician, physicist and philosopher. He was born in Pisa and often walked leaning sideways. When he eventually became famous the townsfolk built a tower in his honour and made it lean sideways to look just like him.

He achieved great distinction amongst society by doing his homework whilst at school and not wasting time watching TV or playing video games. This proved easy for him because at the time neither TV nor video games had been invented; so it was either a choice of doing homework or helping with the household chores.

Anyway, as he grew up Galileo used to think a lot. He would sit on a chair in the veranda for hours and just think rather than help his father work in the fields. One day he looked over the field at the people far away and wondered why they were small. "Do people shrink as they walk away from you?" he thought. "And how is it they grow up again the closer they get to you?"

It was a mystery which exercised his imagination until his friend Vidi Maximus suggested that he should invent the telescope.

It is worth noting here that Vidi Maximus was the second of the three Max Brothers - Veni, Vidi, Vici.

Vici was always fighting, whereas Vidi had great foresight as well as hindsigth because he had eyes at the back of his head. Not much is known of the elder brother Veni.

But I digress as I often do to add interest to my conversations and to check whether you're still paying attention or have fallen asleep.

So, using a few inner rolls of toilet paper Galileo stuck them together and made a long cardboard tube. He looked down one end and was disheartened to find that the men in the field were just as small as before.

It took Vidi Maximus quite a lot of patience to explain to Galileo that it would be better if he were to put some lenses in the tube first. And that's how Galileo invented the telescope.

One day as he was sitting in the veranda thinking, Galileo noticed that the shadow of a nearby tree moved every so often and it was not always in the same place. He looked up to the sun and was nearly blinded by its brilliance; so he cursed that he had not invented sunglasses as well as the telescope.

He figured out that either the sun is moving around and so giving the illusion that the shadow is moving, or the sun is standing still in one place and it was the earth which was moving.

He waited until nightfall and then he got his friend Vidi Maximus to walk in a big circle in the street holding a lit torch. To his delight he noticed that as Vidi walked around in a big circle the shadow of the tree moved round as well. This proved to Galileo that the earth moved around the tree ... until Vidi patiently once again pointed out that the earth moved around the sun not the tree.

Eventually, the slow Galileo saw the light, from the torch as well as in his head, and realised that the earth indeed moved round a stationary sun. They were both so excited by their great discovery that they stopped suddenly and cheered at the top of their voices. Unfortunately they were run over by a passing fast chariot.

The following day, dazed and bedraggled, Galileo got out of hospital and decided to go public with his discovery. He told everyone that the earth revolves around the sun. They all laughed at him.  

Some church people said that this was all heresy and he should be arrested.

It was at this period, whilst challenged for his beliefs, that he is supposed to have said "Eppur si muove!"

This is a famous saying which in Italian means "and yet it moves".

This is believed to refer to the fact that he maintained at all times that the earth revolves around the sun; and has nothing to do with the notion that he was referring to his over-large mother-in-law who got up from her chair to make everyone a well deserved Expresso coffee.

Saturday 22 February 2014

Love thy neighbour

“Jesus answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ ”

Father Ignatius stopped reading from the Gospel of St Matthew Chapter 22 and looked up at the congregation sitting there.

“And that’s where the problem lies,” he said, “love your neighbor as you love yourself.

“It’s almost too difficult for some people; and do you know why?

“It’s because too many people just do not love themselves.

“Yes … that’s right … they don’t really love themselves.

“They find faults with themselves and see no reason to like or love who they are. Many have a problem with their self-image or about their character in some way.

“They think they don’t look pretty enough for today’s society.

“And it is not just our physical appearance that some of us find cause to dislike; the shape of our nose, or our ears or whatever else we think is wrong.

“Some people don’t love themselves because they feel inadequate in some way or other. They feel they’re too shy perhaps, or not bright or clever enough like their friends, or not successful as others at work or in business.

“Many people sadly conjure up any reason they can think of which erodes their self-confidence, their self-esteem, and leads them not to like or love themselves.

“When Jesus said ‘as you love yourself’; He did not mean we should all have a Narcissus complex and be totally self-centered and self-obsessed.

“He was teaching us to appreciate who we really are. Not the outer part of ourselves, the visible body which we may find fault with, but our inner self. Our very soul!”

Father Ignatius paused for a while.

“We are the Creation of God. Each one of us different and unique. Each one of us beautiful in our own way and worthy of love,” he continued with a smile, “God does not make mistakes. There are no rejects off His production line …

“Every one of His Creations is different, unique, and perfect in every way. And certainly worthy of love.

“And with your help, I will prove it to you.”

He looked up at the congregation in anticipation. They were intrigued and he definitely had their full attention.

“I want you to promise me you’ll do as I ask … will you do that?”

They nodded and some said yes and agreed.

“When you get home after Mass I want each one of you to take a piece of paper and write down two or three things about yourself which you like.

“It could be anything. Your ability to play the piano perhaps, or the fact that you’re a hard worker, or maybe you’re a good cook, or you are good at drawing, painting or writing.

“Or it could be that you sing so well that the neighbors have broken all your windows to hear you better!”

They laughed.

“And when you’ve written down your list of two or three items, I want you to consider them as gifts from the Good Lord especially for you.

“Whatever is good about or within you is from His making, and not from your own efforts. He gave you the ability to sing, dance, and play music or whatever else you are or can do. These are gifts He gave you when He made you as a baby all those years ago.

“And as you learn to thank God for these gifts, as you begin to appreciate these gifts from Our Lord, especially and uniquely for you; then slowly and in time you’ll learn to appreciate yourselves.

“You’ll start to like yourselves as you really are; a gift from God.

“Whoever you are today is a gift from God. Whatever you do with your lives is your gift back to God.

“And as you learn to love yourselves a little better, then will you be able to appreciate and love your neighbors as Jesus commanded.”

Thursday 20 February 2014

History - The Romans


History can be a dull subject to learn and teach depending of course on who’s doing the learning and the teaching.

As a child I once talked in class and the teacher threw a piece of chalk at me. He then said: That’ll teach you to talk in class!

And as it happened a long time ago it is history; so I learnt then a history lesson which I remembered to this day.

If you pay attention; you’ll learn a bit more history in the next few minutes or so.

Let’s go back to Roman times. When men were tough and strong and women told them what to do. Women always had the ability to make men obey their wishes by hiding the remote control even then. But I digress.

In ancient Roman times there were a lot of sculptures of Roman emperors and famous people; these were usually sculptures of their heads and busts and faces, although you could also get sculptures of the whole person if you were rich enough to have one done.

The history behind all these sculptures is quite fascinating I must say.

You see, in Roman times there were a number of check-points by the Roman guards along the Appian Way. That’s the strategic main road connecting Rome to Brindisi and Apulia. The road was named after the Roman censor Appius Claudius Caecus.

He it was who held a census in the year something or other AD, and having discovered that most Romans did not like broccoli was frightened out of his census.  

Anyway, the Roman Centurion guards along the Appian Way always stopped all chariots and checked that the drivers had a driving license.

Unfortunately, as cameras had not been invented at the time, all owners of chariots, such as emperors, senators and the like, carried a sculpture of their heads or faces with them as a form of Roman Identity Card.

That’s why there are only Roman sculptures of famous people and not the peasants and plebs.

As I said, some Romans were rich enough to carry a sculpture of their whole body with them in their chariots rather than just the head or face. Unfortunately the statues were so heavy that they often broke the chariots and fell to the ground.

This happened to a Roman lady called Venus whose statue fell off the chariot and the arms got broken. Historians have still to work out why she was not wearing any clothes when her sculpture was made; and exactly where her arms were when she posed for the stonemason.

When asked by Venus’ angry husband whether she had posed in the nude for him, the stonemason tried to deny it and said that he did the statue from memory. This didn't help his case and the husband punched him on the nose.

History also teaches us that ancient Romans collected urine. By that I don’t mean that they resisted going to the toilet and walked around cross-legged. I also don’t mean that they collected it like you or I would collect stamps, or books or whatever else people collect as a hobby.

No … they collected urine in large tubs left around in the street. People would walk by and when nature called they deposited their half-pint in the tub – there in public!!!

The collected deposits were then used in washing all those white togas. Apparently the ammonia in the urine acted like a bleaching agent and turned the togas extra clean and white.

And when all the senators met and debated in the senate and some jeered at one of them making a controversial speech by shouting “You stink!” – they meant it quite literally as well as referring to his speech.

And whilst we're on this subject ... what subject? 

Keep quiet and pay attention!

I want to mention another person born in Italy who was a famous Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, astronomer and all round big head know-it-all.

His name was Archimedes and although he was a Greek he was born in Syracuse in Southern Italy. No doubt his mother was on vacation there at the time; but the least said about it the better!

Anyway, one day this Archimedes fellow was asked by King Hiero II to find out whether a crown he had made was pure gold or whether it contained silver; which is cheaper.

Archimedes thought hard about this problem, especially since he was not allowed to break or damage the crown in any way. 

One night as he got home tired he decided to have a bath. Now in those days they didn't have baths like we do today with running water and drainage. All they had was a metal tub which they placed in the middle of the living room and sat in it washing themselves and watching TV.

As TV had not yet been invented they normally put a statue in the corner of the room and watched that instead. 

Anyway, as Archimedes entered his house pondering about the crown dilemma he discovered the tub there in the living room with water already in it. He was so tired that he gladly took off his clothes and jumped in the water thus displacing some of the volume therein.

Unbeknown to Archimedes, his wife had filled the tub with sea water and put a few crabs there to keep them fresh until lunch.

Archimedes jumped out of the tub and ran in the street naked shouting "Eureka" which in Greek means "I've found it". However, he also added a few other choice words in his native language which loosely translated mean "Who is the **** who put crabs in my bath? My manhood will never be the same again!"

Later on, as he calmed down a little and nearly got arrested for indecent exposure, he realised that as a body, (his and the crabs), is placed in a tub of water it/they displace an equal amount of water as the volume of said bodies. That didn't mean much to him; so he Googled his crown problem and solved the mystery of how to ascertain whether it was pure gold or not. He could of course have checked for any Hallmarks as we do now and save himself all the trouble of an encounter with a dozen crabs.

This concludes our history lesson for now. I hope you’ll remember what you’ve learnt here today.

Tuesday 18 February 2014

How time was invented

Have you ever wondered how we first learnt to measure time?

Here's a quick lesson you'll never forget.

Many years ago at the time of the Romans there was an Italian called Role. He was the tenth son of a tenth generation of men called Role - in fact he was known as Role the Tenth. Which in Roman times was written Role X.

Anyway Role X, and everyone else for that matter, noticed that it was sometimes daylight and sometimes night. "But how do we measure such a recurring occurence to see how long is daytime compared to night time." thought Role X.

So he asked the opinion of his friend Galileo who at the time was looking up at the sky and wondering why the sun was always in different locations.

This is not the Galileo physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher who lived between 1564 and 1642 - but most probably an earlier ancestor of his; which shows that the Galileo family were very clever for generations. But I digress. 

Anyway, after a short discussion with Galileo, Role X planted a big candle which he had borrowed from his local church right in the middle of his garden. (The candle was in the middle of the garden - not the church. Just pay attention).

He measured the candle carefully. He waited until the sun was right above the candle, (i.e. no shadow), and he lit the large candle and left it lit until the following day when the candle had no shadow again. He then blew the candle out and measured the bit that was left. From this he deduced how much candle had burnt over the period it was lit.

He then got another candle with exactly the same dimensions and marked with his pen 24 equal segments from top to bottom. That's the candle's bottom not his bottom! Are you really paying attention?

He called each segment "hours". He quite rightly thought that if he lit the new candle at the same time as the previous day, (i.e. no shadow), he will call that MIDDAY and then every segment as it burnt down would be an HOUR, until the following day when there will be no more segments on the candle; and when there was no shadow (i.e. MIDDAY again).

Are you still paying attention? Good.

Role X decided he'd call the 24 segments one DAY.

He lit the candle and waited. But the experiment did not work because it was windy that night and the candle blew out.

He prepared a third candle which this time he kept indoors. That did not work either because the sun did not cast a shadow indoors.

So in total desperation, Role X bought himself a watch and solved all his problems about time.

Well ... I did promise you a quick lesson you'll never forget. Go buy yourself a watch and forget about lighting candles in the wind.

Monday 17 February 2014

The toilet roll

They say that life is like a toilet roll; the nearer it gets to the end the faster it goes round.

How often do we speed busily through life from one thing to another and rarely have the time to stop and enjoy what life is all about.

Let's slow down a bit and make happy memories for tomorrow.

Sunday 16 February 2014

What are you doing now?

I was travelling on the train the other day. I settled down in my seat and made myself comfortable for the long journey ahead. Opposite me sat a man in his late fifties reading a newspaper. Just as the train was pulling out of the station another man entered our carriage hurriedly. The man sitting opposite looked up and recognised him immediately.

"Hello Jack ...." he greeted the newcomer, "haven't seen you for ages ... not since college days ..."

They sat together opposite me and went on for ages reminiscing about the past. I closed my eyes and hoped that the journey would soon be over. The original man sitting opposite went on to explain how he'd become Marketing Director of a large multinational firm, then he moved on elsewhere as Head of Sales and Marketing, and then as Head of this and that ... The list went on as he boasted on how well he'd done in life.

His friend had become a teacher. He joined a local school after leaving college and he'd been there ever since. He listened attentively at the long list of successes which his companion related and then asked him: "What are you doing now?"

The first man stopped in his tracks, swallowed deeply and admitted that he was out of work. He'd just attended an interview for a job in the City, but did not hold much hope. 

I suppose life isn't always easy and smooth for most of us. We all have our ups and downs. Yet, no matter what we did or who we were in the past; surely what is important is what we are doing right now.

We may be at work, in between jobs, or perhaps with no job at all. The important thing is to do something right now. The past is behind us and gone. Sure, we can learn from it and use our experience to shape our future as best we can. But there really is no point in dwelling on how successful we were then.

It's not where you've been that matters.

It's where you're going to!

Monday 10 February 2014

At Heaven's Doorstep

I stood at the doorsteps of Heaven in full anticipation. It was not a large Pearly Gate shining brightly as we’ve often been told and is depicted in some pictures; no … this was just a small wooden door. A humble ordinary wooden door with no sign or any distinguishing features foretelling where it led to.

I remembered the quote from the Bible: “Knock and it shall be opened to you …”

I knocked and as my luck would have it the door opened outwards and hit me in the face.

An old bearded man stood there and asked: “Yes … what do you want?”

“I … I … want to enter Heaven …” I mumbled hesitantly.

“Why?” he asked abruptly.

“Because I want to spend eternity with God …” I replied still fumbling for suitable words.

“And what makes you think He wants to spend an eternity with you?” retorted St Peter sternly.

It was a good question. We often assume that because we’re good Christians our entry to Heaven is guaranteed, but are we judging ourselves by our standards or God’s standards? I may believe that I am good to enter Heaven; but am I really?

The Saint noticed my discomfort and asked: “Who are you anyway?”

I gave him my name and he produced an electronic tablet and started punching his finger on the screen. I thought he was quite an up-to-date Saint technologically speaking considering his age.

“Ah yes … your name’s here …” he said finally, “I had to check. You’d be surprised how many people we get here expecting to enter Heaven as if it were a hotel. It isn’t an open house for all and sundry, you know. Just because some people attended church on Sunday and did not eat meat on Friday does not automatically give them free access to Heaven.

“As my friend Matthew quoting Jesus wrote: ‘Not everyone who calls me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do what my Father in Heaven wants them to do.’

“Look it up in Matthew’s Gospel at 7:21.

“He always had an affectation of numbering every sentence he wrote, old Matthew did. But don’t tell him I said so!”

I smiled feebly not knowing what to say.

The Saint continued: “The trouble with the world today is that too many people do the bare minimum and expect they are in God’s good book. Over the years they have interpreted the Ten Commandments to be ten suggestions and debating points to discuss and amend as they wish to suit their selfish lifestyles.

“The reason God asked Moses to write them in stone is so that they don’t get altered. Admittedly, Moses broke the first set; but fortunately there was another copy available.

“Over the years people have broken every Commandment even though they were set in stone.

“As I was saying to some of the disciples over tea this morning … people these days are no different to the Pharisees and Sadducees of my time on earth.”

I could see Saint Peter was rather upset which was indicative to what we’d learnt about him in the Gospels. Sometimes outspoken and short-tempered. For he it was who hit a priest’s servant with a sword when Jesus was arrested. I stepped slightly backwards in case he hit me with his electronic tablet.

He looked at me and chuckled, “I see here that you’re due a short spell at the Purification Center” he said, “Some of you lot call it Purgatory … it’s a bit like a car wash where you’re cleaned up and made ready to enter Heaven for eternity. I’ll be seeing you again shortly!”

I woke up with a smile on my face.

Saturday 8 February 2014

Blowing in the wind

Why is it that embarrassing things keep happening to me?

Let me explain.

At our supermarket car park you usually pick up a ticket at the barrier which you place inside your windscreen so that the car park attendant can easily see it when he does his rounds. When you leave, you hand the ticket at the exit barrier and if you’ve stayed over an hour you pay a small fee; otherwise you have parked for free.

I’d finished shopping and I placed all my goods in the car. As I opened the driver’s door a gust of wind blew the ticket out of the car. I chased after it. It went under another parked car some yards away. I looked around for the car park attendant – there was no one to be seen. The place was deserted.

I knelt down and there winking at me teasingly was the ticket under a parked van. It was just out of reach as it smiled at me saying: “Come and get me!”

I went totally flat on my tummy and stretched my arm right out under the car, inching forwards a bit at a time until I touched the ticket with my fingertips. Another stretch and … “Got it!”

At this point I heard a woman say: “Are you all right Sir?”

I eased myself from under the car as she said: “You seem to have fainted, Sir; and rolled under this van!”

Before I could explain myself she had called the car park attendant who now appeared out of nowhere. Where was he when I needed him?

The attendant called for help on his walkie-talkie radio. Another shop assistant turned up with a chair followed by someone else with a glass of water.

“Sit down Sir …” they all seemed to say in unison, “have a sip of drink!”

I tried to explain what had really happened …

“He’s delirious poor soul …” said the woman who first found me on the ground, “he doesn’t know what he’s saying … maybe he hit his head hard as he fell!”

“I did not fall …” I said biting my lip to suppress any insults on my mind “I went down on my knees voluntarily!”

“Did you want to pray, dear?” she asked patronisingly, then turning to the others she mumbled “he doesn’t know where he is … thinks he’s in church!”

At this point the first aider turned up with his bag with a red cross on it. He opened it and asked “Is he bleeding? Where did he hit his head?”

Before I could answer, the assistant manager turns up and asks me “Are you making a complaint and seeking compensation, Sir?”

This gave me the opportunity to explain matters to someone who might be able to listen. I asked that everyone leaves except the assistant manager. I told him what happened and assured him I had not intention to make any complaint or seek compensation. I just wanted to leave.

He went away much relieved.

As I reached the exit barrier the attendant there wanted to charge me a fee for overstaying my welcome.

I had to explain it all over again. He called the assistant manager who let me out without paying.

The moral of this story is:

You don’t need to go down on your knees to pray.

No … that’s not it.

Oh … watch out for gusts of wind before you open the car door. (Don’t eat too many beans!)

Thursday 6 February 2014

Footprints in the sand - New Version

Imagine you and the Lord Jesus are walking by the sea together. For much of the way, the Lord's footprints go along steadily, consistently, rarely varying the pace.

But your footprints are a disorganised stream of zigzags, starts, stops, turnarounds, circles, departures, and returns.

For much of the way, it seems to go like this, but gradually your footprints come more in line with the Lord's, soon paralleling, His consistently.

You and Jesus are walking as true friends!

This seems perfect, but then an interesting thing happens: Your footprints that once etched the sand next to Jesus' are now walking precisely in His steps.

Inside His larger footprints are your smaller ones, you and Jesus are becoming one.

This goes on for many miles, but gradually you notice another change. The footprints inside the large footprints seem to grow larger.

Eventually they disappear altogether. There is only one set of footprints.

They have become one.

This goes on for a long time, but suddenly the second set of footprints is back. This time it seems even worse! Zigzags all over the place. Stops. Starts. Gashes in the sand. A variable mess of prints.

You are amazed and shocked.

Your dream ends. Now you pray:

"Lord, I understand the first scene, with zigzags and fits. I was a new Christian; I was just learning. But You walked on through the storm and helped me learn to walk with You."

"That is correct."

"And when the smaller footprints were inside of Yours, I was actually learning to walk in Your steps, following You very closely."

"Very good.. You have understood everything so far."

When the smaller footprints grew and filled in Yours, I suppose that I was becoming like You in every way."


"So, Lord, was there a regression or something? The footprints separated, and this time it was worse than at first."

There is a pause as the Lord answers, with a smile in His voice.

"You didn't know? It was then that we danced!"

Tuesday 4 February 2014

The Pope's Mistakes

Early one morning Father Ignatius received a phone call from Mother Superior. Sister Josephine had been called away to visit a very sick relative; would he take on her Catechism class of 7 and 8 year-olds.

He sat down at her desk and said, “Let’s start where Sister Josephine left off last week. What did she teach?”

A young boy put up his hand and said enthusiastically, “She said the Pope does not make any mistakes. He is unflappable!”

“No stupid …” interrupted a young girl, “Sister Josephine said the Pope is inflatable!”

“I remember it was inf something …” explained little Dennis to the priest, “in follicle I think …”

“I’m sure his Holiness would be pleased to learn that you consider him unflappable and inflatable!” said Father Ignatius gently, “I think Sister Josephine said that he is infallible.”

“It means he does not make any mistakes,” explained Dennis eagerly.

“Does it mean he can do all his sums right?” asked William.

“I don’t think so,” said Rose, “because algebra is very difficult. Everyone makes mistakes in algebra.”

“I hate algebra,” declared Derek, “and chemistry. Are you good at algebra Father?”

The priest tapped the ruler gently on the desk to get them to settle down.

“No Derek, I have never been good at algebra,” he confessed, “I found it a little difficult too.”

This had the desired effect of quietening them down.

“Now then,” he continued, “what did Sister Josephine mean when she said that the Pope is infallible?”

“He makes no mistakes,” said Sophie.

“Yes,” said Father Ignatius, “what I’m sure Sister Josephine explained is that the Pope, when speaking for the Church, and teaching about Christianity, he does so in a correct manner, which we should accept and obey.”

“Does this mean he is always right when answering Catechism questions?” asked Marcel.

“It means that he is guided by the Holy Spirit, who teaches him and tells him what to say. You know who the Holy Spirit is; do you?” Father Ignatius asked the youngsters.

“He is a pigeon,” declared Alfred, “because I have an image of Jesus in the water with John the Baptism and a pigeon. Dad said it is the Holy Spirit.”

“No …” replied Monica, “the Holy Spirit is fire which went on the Gospels heads when they were in the house, only it didn’t burn their hair. It made them speak many languages.”

“Yes … that’s true” confirmed Steve, “it made them speak in Arabaic.”

“No, it’s Aramaic …” corrected Dennis, “they spoke in all languages in the world except French!”

“Jesus spoke in English,” said Derek, “that’s why all the Bibles in the world are written in English!”

“No, He spoke in Latin. That’s why the priest says Dominus Vobiscum in Latin,” explained Harry who’d remained quiet up to now.

The priest tapped the ruler gently again on the desk to get them to stop talking. Obviously he had a lot of ground to cover to explain in simple terms to these enthusiastic youngsters the many mysteries of Christianity.

He told them how God at first spoke to us through the prophets, and then He sent Jesus to speak to us personally as a human being, although He is also God. It would have been difficult for people at the time to understand and fathom out the Holy Spirit, and the mystery of the Holy Trinity. So God allowed the Holy Spirit to appear in terms which people could perhaps understand, a dove, a voice from above, and indeed tongues of fire.

These mysteries are still difficult for some people to understand even today. That’s why we must pray often about them and ask God to help us believe, even if we don’t fully understand.

At this point the bell rang to signify the end of lesson.

As the children left Father Ignatius remembered that Sister Josephine was scheduled to take on his Catechism class this Friday.

“I wonder what booby traps she’ll lay for me with that lot?” he asked himself.