Sunday, 30 June 2019

Nun On The Run

It was Friday evening and Father Ignatius was alone in the Parish House listening to his favourite classical music. He sat in his armchair by the fire, eyes closed, and with his hand slowly moving his index finger in the air as if holding a baton and conducting an orchestra. Just as the music reached his favourite piece of Verdi’s Aida … The Triumphal March … just then, the front doorbell rang and interrupted his grand moment of triumph.

He jumped off his chair, switched off the record player and said sotto voce, “OK … hold it there all of you … we’ll return to this piece presently …”

He opened the door to be confronted by Sister Martha.

“I’m not interrupting anything?” she asked.

“Oh … only Giuseppe Verdi …” he replied.

“Yes … I’ve heard him through the open window … he’s getting better under your leadership … mind if I come in?”

He moved aside and let her in.

“Would you like tea or coffee …” she said as she made her way towards the kitchen.

“Tea please,” replied the priest as he walked back to the living room.

Sister Martha was in her late sixties yet she was as youthful and energetic as anyone half her age. She lived at the Convent nearby with a dozen other nuns, and she taught at the local Catholic schools. She often called in on the priests at St Vincent for a chat and a cup of tea on her way home, especially on Fridays when she stayed a little late at the school.

Moments later she entered the living room carrying a tray of tea and ginger biscuits; the priest’s favorite, as she knew very well.

“Ah … I didn’t know we had ginger biscuits,” said Father Ignatius, “I didn’t find them earlier on when I looked …”

“Mrs Davenport has shown me where she hides them …” said Sister Martha pouring two cups of tea, “she told me if you’d find them you’ll finish the whole packet …”

A few minutes of silence later as they slowly sipped their tea Sister Martha was first to break the quiet.

“Ignatius … have you heard about Sister Cecilia?” she asked.

“No … I can’t say I have …” he replied, “what’s the problem …”

“I am not breaking any confidences Ignatius … she asked me to speak to you … she’s already spoken to Mother Superior today …”

“Sounds ominous …” said the priest putting his cup down.

“Well … she works at the hospital as you know … she’s a nursing assistant there … well, not to put too fine a point on it … she’s fallen in love with a young doctor there …

“She told me she doesn’t know how it happened …” continued Sister Martha, “they got attracted to each other and she feels she can no longer continue her vocation …”

“You say she spoke to Mother Superior?” asked Father Ignatius.

“Yes … today. She told her she’d been thinking about this for about a month or so … she wishes it didn’t happen but it has … she wants to leave the convent and pursue a new life with him …

“She told me that Mother Superior was very understanding and suggested that she leaves the Convent for another one down South to give her time to think …

“But Sister Cecilia doesn’t think it will help … she wants to leave her vocation altogether.”

“I see …” said the priest calmly, “and you say Cecilia asked you to speak to me …”

“Yes … she wanted your advice …”

Father Ignatius smiled weakly.

“The poor soul …” he mumbled, “what advice can I give her Martha?” he asked rhetorically.

“When we decide to take up our vocation to serve the Lord,” he continued, “we do so after a lot of soul-searching, a lot of prayers, and a lot of training. It takes years as you know Martha … this is perhaps deliberate to give us a chance to think seriously on what we’re doing and the commitment we’re undertaking …

“Yet … despite all that … it does sometimes happen as in this case, that individuals can no longer continue their vocations and wish to leave. It happened some years ago to a priest I knew well … he has left the church and is now married with a family of his own …”

“It’s terrible …” Sister Martha said quietly.

“I suppose it is …” he replied, “as a Church we frown when people break their marital vows and divorce or separate … and I suspect this is no different …

“When a priest or nun break their vows and no longer wish to continue their vocations … it is perhaps the same as couples seeking divorce …

“Yet Martha … whilst I understand what people like Cecilia or that priest I spoke of are going through … I cannot condemn them …”

The nun looked up at him with a frown.

“I cannot condemn them, Martha …” he repeated, “I agree that it is wrong to break the vows they made freely … but at the same time … who am I to stand in the way of true and genuine love … if that is what’s happened in this case. I know it was exactly what happened in the case of that priest … I knew him very well.

“He fell in love with a teacher … he shouldn’t have … but he did … He wanted to leave the Church … just like Cecilia … He confessed to me … it was heart breaking … he told me he could not go on serving as a priest.”

“What did you do?” asked Sister Martha.

“I forgave him of course …” replied Father Ignatius, “how could I possibly withhold absolution … He was repentant and he knew that he could no longer serve as a priest … even if he gave up his lover and was moved to another Parish … He knew that he would not be a good priest and that deep in his heart he’d be a fraud … He’d be serving against his will and would be cheating the Church as well as God Himself …

“Yes …” said Father Ignatius thinking back to that event in the distant past, “I forgave him and absolved him …

“When we forgive someone else, we touch his very soul with the merciful love of Jesus Christ our Lord. How could I stand in the way of such love?

“Eventually … the bishop let him go … and as I said, he’s now married with a family.”

“What do you want me to say to Cecilia?” asked Sister Martha.

“Tell her that I’ll be praying for her …” he replied, “tell her to think about what Mother Superior advised … and that I’ll be always available if she wishes to have a talk with me … How old is she?” he asked.

“Thirty … last month!”

“She’s young and no doubt very frightened …” said Father Ignatius calmly, “I believe that whatever we do … our role is not to condemn but to forgive … She is doing what she feels is right for her life …

“Our Lord forgave many sins when He walked this earth … who am I to stand in the way of true repentance?”

MORE FATHER IGNATIUS STORIES FREE FROM HERE

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Floating Memories In My Mind

Every so often in life we all find ourselves sitting back and remembering times gone by and perhaps weighing up past events against what is likely to happen in the future.

Certain occasions seem to trigger such reveries from the many dark corners of our minds. It could be at the time around the New Year when we look back wistfully at the year just ended and wonder what the next twelve months will bring. Or it could be at the time of one's birthday, or other anniversary like a wedding anniversary, or 25 or so years in marriage, that these memories come floating by to the front of  your head and keeps you pondering.

Sometimes it is a piece of music that triggers such old memories, or a smell of perfume or something, or visiting a place. Anything and anytime can wake up the spirit of times gone by. Without warning or prior notice.

Imagine for instance you're lying there in your bath, relaxing amongst the soap bubbles and warm water, perhaps reading one of my books, when suddenly a thought strikes you from nowhere ...

Which is in fact precisely what happened to me the other day ... ... ...
I wonder if the Flat Earth Society has members all-round the globe? 

Then another thought came to mind, where did the phrase riding a tiger come from? Imagine having a riding school for people to ride hyenas. That would be a laugh!

Then I remembered a story my late father said to me, may he rest in peace. There once was a hyena which always got attacked by a tiger in the jungle. So it asked his friends, a group of monkeys, to accompany him in case of an attack and to help him in the fight. Sure enough the tiger appeared and the monkeys run away up the trees. The tiger attacked the hyena and tore him to pieces.

When the tiger had his fun and went away, the hyena asked the monkeys why they did not help him. They replied, "You were laughing so much we thought you were enjoying yourself!"

Anyway my thoughts then somehow turned to death. I wondered what happens after death.

I know what we are taught about eternal life and the here-after; but somehow I wondered what if there actually is re-incarnation? Can you imagine? Returning back as a tin of evaporated milk?

It was made from contented cows, you know!
How did the cows know to stop when the tin of milk was full? Did they stop in mid flow, I wondered.

Then, thinking back about death, I asked myself whether cows, and other animals, go to Heaven when they die.

I almost hoped that they don't. Because I do not want to come face-to-face with the Sunday roast telling me off for having eaten it.

Can you imagine meeting in Heaven that wasp, or yellowjacket, you killed last summer? It might well sting you in the backside in revenge; because they don't wear anything under those long robes they give you in Heaven, you know! And they are open in the back like those robes you get in hospitals. What if you backed off into a cactus? Are there cactuses in Heaven? Or is it cacti?
I imagined Saint Peter warning me about the yellowjackets and me holding my legs tightly together to protect my manhood.

Somehow, the thought made me smile and then laugh out loud.

What is laughter? I asked myself, but did not reply.

I thought about it for a while. It is a build up of energy that starts somewhere deep within one's diagram, (just above the belly button), and rushes up your asparagus, and comes out as a loud noise out of your mouth.

From anywhere else and you're in trouble! Especially if you have an attack of wind.

Anyway, this train of thoughts somehow took a turning back to death and family members now long gone.

I remembered my dear old mom. She always used to say to me, "take every thing with a pinch of salt!" Mind you, she made a terrible cup of tea.

She told me once that when I was born in hospital I was very ugly indeed. Apparently the nurse slapped me on the backside and hit my dad in the mouth.

I wondered about babies for a while ... I remember reading somewhere that about 13% of babies are conceived in an IKEA bed. This is surprising considering those shops are normally well lit.

Some people even name their babies after the place they were conceived ... like Brooklyn, or Carolina. I don't think BMW and Volkswagen are good names for babies though.

Anyway, as I grew up, like the ugly duckling, I became really good looking. I recall when I worked in London I was stopped in the street by a very beautiful woman who said, "Hello handsome. Can you direct me to the optician please?"

In my reverie, sitting there in the bath, I recalled my dear old uncle. He was very well educated and a professor at the local University where he taught graffiti and hooliganism.

He used to tell his students, "Sticks and stones may break my bones. But words will never hurt me!" Then one day a printing press fell on him.

He was quite a character my uncle. Once he put a cake and custard in his wife's nylon tights and then declared, "Never trifle with a woman's affection!" I don't think she had a sense of humour, my aunt!

She was quite a figure to look at and wonder. A real hour-glass figure, she had. She said she had been on a peanut and melon diet. The peanuts didn't do much good for her, but the melons ...

My other uncle was a glazier. You know, a person whose trade is fitting glass into windows and doors. Once, working at this multi-storey block of offices, he spent all day changing the glass in over 100 windows. Then he realised he had a crack in his spectacles.

By this time the water in the bath was getting a little cold and it was time I got out and practised my body-building poses in front of the full length mirror. It reminded me of the time when I went to see the doctor. He asked me, "Do you have trouble passing water?"

I replied, "I get a little dizzy when travelling over a bridge!"

He was a great Shakespearean actor, my doctor. Toured the USA and other countries for years. His favourite role was in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Have you seen his Bottom? Or perhaps caught a glimpse of his Malvolio on the Twelfth Night? That's quite a sight when you're feeling a little down.

Anyway, enough of me and my bathing memories.

At least they are better than those of yet another uncle of mine. His doctor told him to keep away from all dampness because of his rheumatism. So he sat in an empty bath and vacuum cleans himself!

Friday, 28 June 2019

Song Saves Twenty Babies

BACKGROUND - Father Francis Maple is a Franciscan monk who celebrated his 50th Anniversary as a priest in 2013. (Click his name for website link)

Some years ago Father Francis recorded a Pro-Life song entitled A Cry from the Heart and was released originally on casette tapes (later on CDs). He says on the tape cover "I would like to dedicate this song to any young girl or woman who may listen to it and decide not to have an abortion. Life is God's gift."

Thankfully, the song has saved many babies from abortion. Their pregnant mothers heard the song and decided not to go ahead with abortion.

Years later Father Francis met a young boy who told him that his mother heard the song when pregnant and decided not to have an abortion. The boy said he owed his life to the priest. Father Francis has received over 20 other similar testaments of babies being saved.

A copy of the tape came into my posession some time ago and it was in poor quality. Someone helped me to restore it and put it on You Tube. I've put other Father Francis Maple songs on You Tube - with his permission of course. Check them out HERE.

Father Francis has sung in public over the years (and still does) in malls, shopping centres and at his own concerts and has raised over £1m for charity. He has also written several books (sermons, cooking recipes, jokes), and has contributed (and still does) to many newspaper columns and Catholic newspapers and magazines. He spends a lot of time travelling throughout the UK leading Missions in various Catholic churches.

I hope you enjoy this video recording of "A Cry from the Heart" and that the song continues to save many babies from abortion. Hopefully readers here will like the song and write about it.

Mommy keep me safe, mommy keep me warm

Handle me with care, mommy help me to form.

I am ten weeks old, and I know the time will come
when you will give birth to me.

The gift you gave to me are a pair of bright blue eyes
So some day I will see you smile and love me.

I’ve already got my arms and a little podgy nose,
And at the end of my feet I’ve got five little toes.

I look forward to my life, ice cream and slimy snails,
teddy bears and little fairy tales.

Going for walks in the park
Running home before it’s dark.
And being tucked into bed with a kiss.

Where are we going today?
Am I in a boat or bus?

Why are we lying down?
Being drawn on four wheels?

And we go through the door
and there’s people dressed in green.
Everything seems so strange and so clean.

Mommy if they hurt you just let out a scream
and I know someone will come to help you and me.

Mommy what’s going on I am starting to cry
Come quickly they are forcing me to die.

They are killing me mommy, they are pulling me apart
My arms and my legs and now they’re at my heart.

And I won’t see the sky, or the grass or the trees.
and I won’t see the moon, or feel the breeze.

I love you mommy dear, you know I really do
But I only wish you could have loved me too!

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Coming To Terms


It had been a horrible gray day, with dark skies and continuous light drizzly rain as you often get in England. A very soft freezing wind blew gently from the North; the kind of gentle wind which would hardly make a leaf tremble yet it could go right through you chilling your every bone.

Father Ignatius was in church. He stood by the doorway and looked at the rain and thought of his childhood. His mother used to say when it drizzled like today that it was the angels crying because of the many sins in this world. He said a silent prayer for his parents now long gone.

Every now and then, the cold wind carried with it a sweet sugary smell from the brewery nearby. The aroma of caramel or syrup, or was it malt, thought the priest, enveloped the whole church and Parish House.

Eventually, Father Ignatius locked the church door and crossed the car park in the gentle rain as he made his way towards the Parish House.

As he entered the house, closing the door behind him, the phone rang and he was asked to go to the hospital.

Half-an-hour later he was at the bedside of Isabelle Bennett.

Isabelle was a lively 28 years old, always cheerful and laughing enthusiastically as she spread happiness to everyone she knew. Father Ignatius had known her for some years now as well as her young husband Martin. They were both members of the Parish Council and took part in many church activities and events.

Then suddenly, about a month ago, Isabelle was taken seriously ill and admitted to hospital where she remained ever since. She was not getting any better and the doctors had given up hope.

She smiled feebly as Father Ignatius entered the hospital room where she was lying in bed. Her face ashen in colour and her beautiful blue eyes very tired from the many injections and pain-killers she’d received. Her husband sat by her side Rosary beads in hand holding her hand gently.

The nurse brought in another chair which she placed on the other side of the bed; and Father Ignatius sat down.

“Are you in pain?” he asked her gently.

She shook her head. Her husband raised the hand he was holding to his lips and kissed her.

Father Ignatius started praying quietly as the nurse left the room. He gave Isabelle Holy Communion and then sat down beside her.

“Can we recite the Rosary Father?” she asked softly.

And for the next few minutes the priest and her husband recited the Rosary together whilst her lips moved gently as they prayed.

When they had finished praying she asked him how he was, and made small conversation. Her voice was soft and somewhat laboured as she drifted in and out of consciousness. One moment she was talking about church matters and the next she was asleep, then awake once again.

At these moments of silence Father Ignatius sat quietly and prayed silently.

She moved her other hand towards him and held his hand. Holding her husband and her priest in each hand.

Suddenly, she squeezed the priest’s hand tightly and said: “Don’t look so miserable Father. I’ll be seeing Jesus before you.”

Father Ignatius moved a little forward and kissed her on the forehead.

About twenty minutes later she passed away peacefully.

The funeral was very emotional. The church was full to capacity with friends and relatives coming to mourn the loss of such a young and vivacious life.

Her husband Martin was totally devastated to have lost his young wife within seven months of marriage.

Father Ignatius prayed for him and the whole family who found it very difficult to come to terms with such an early death.

He explained that in a way a funeral is like a ship sailing away from the harbour. As they were all gathered there saying goodbye to Isabelle they can imagine standing by the sea shore as the ship sails away. As they wave their goodbyes and the ship gets smaller and smaller as it reaches the horizon and they can see it no longer; there on the other side are her friends and relatives long gone before her waiting by the sea shore to welcome her with Jesus into a new world.

A few weeks later, the priest witnessed the first signs of renewal when young Martin phoned him one morning.

“Father,” he said, “I will inscribe what she said on her tombstone.

“It will read: Don’t look so miserable. I’ll be seeing Jesus before you.”

Three years later … and Martin is studying for the priesthood.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

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, 25 June 2019

Where's Einstein when you need him?

OK ... settle down now and listen up ... I am looking for an Einstein brain amongst you to help me solve some very difficult problems.

I am writing a scientific book explaining Einstein's Theory of Relativity in conjunction with the flow of time versus space and the curvature of the space time continuum in relation to gravity.

Try saying that with a mouthful of marshmallows!

Pay attention and I'll try to make this simple both for you and me.

If I were in an open top car driving fast my wig would fly off. As I don't wear a wig, it's all my real hair folks, the chances are that my hat will fly off.

OK ... got that? Hold on to that thought.

Now then, the circumference of the earth at the equator, is just under 25,000 miles - let's call it 24,000 miles.

If I were to stand on the equator, (say in Ecuador), facing East, (because the earth turns from left to right - from West to East),  then it would take a whole 24 hours for me to be back round at the same point where I started as the earth revolves one revolution.

So in effect, if we divide 24,000 miles by 24 hours, we can say that by standing there facing East I am travelling at 1000 miles an hour.

Why doesn't my hat blow off? Why does it fly off when driving a car at say 100 miles an hour but not at 1000 miles an hour? Where's Einstein when you need him?

And if I stood at the North pole, right at the top of the world, I would spin round ever so slowly and get back to the original point where I started in 24 hours - and I'd be very tired standing all this time without a toilet break.

However, if I stood at the South pole, right at the bottom of the world, all the blood would rush to my head because I would be upside down.

If you don't believe me then try this experiment. Take a tennis ball and stick a pin on its equator. Now stick another pin on its North Pole. Revolve the ball from left to right and you will notice that the pin on the equator is travelling faster than the pin on the North Pole is revolving around itself. You will also notice that you have ruined a perfectly good tennis ball. Serves you right for listening to my crazy advice!

Now Einstein had many other theories which I am trying to simplify in my book. And where indeed your help is needed in explaining them.

It is believed that Einstein said that nothing is faster than the speed of light. This is in fact wrong. It was not him but it was a German physicist called Max Planck. His full name is Karl Ernst Ludwig Marx Planck -  but let us call him Max Planck for short. This should not be confused with Max Factor who are also in the business of slowing down time by making women look much younger than they are. 

So ... if we imagine I am in my car standing still, not driving. If I switch on the car headlights; the light will take a tiny infinitesimal period of time to travel from the car to be seen far off at another place in the distance. The speed the light travels from my car to that distant place is known as the speed of light.

Now then ... imagine I am driving the car at 100 miles an hour, and I switch on the headlights. Is the speed of light still the same as when I was standing still or is it 100 miles faster?

And is my hat still on my head or has it blown off?

And if I was driving East on the equator will my speed be 100 miles an hour or 1000 miles plus 100 miles an hour? And would I fall in the water as I run out of land to drive on?

Did you also know that Einstein contradicted Isaac Newton and said there is no such thing as gravity. Obviously he had never been kicked out of bed for watching the sports channel instead of being amorous with his wife!

Finally, my friends, I would like your help in explaining Einstein's Theory of Relativity. As you know, he said that the richer you are the more relatives will turn up at your funeral. Which begs the question; is it worth going to anyone's funeral if these people will not be around to come to yours?

NOTICE 
No tennis balls have been harmed in the writing of this post - 
except the ones you ruined by sticking pins in them.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Conspiracy Theories


I have never believed in conspiracy theories. Although, I think there probably is a conspiracy theory to disprove or deny all conspiracy theories.

Originally I was going to entitle this article Conspiracy Theories And Other Lesser Known Alleged Facts That You Did Not Know About And Yet You Ought To.

But there was not enough room on the paper for such a long title so I abbreviated it to just Conspiracy Theories ... so that you just know that I may well be talking about other things than just Conspiracy Theories.

Anyway, there I was the other day in the museum standing in the newly appointed room for the Exhibition Of Shoes Throughout The Centuries ... ... ...

Let me interrupt myself and hasten to add that I am not a frequent visitor of museums. In fact, I am not a visitor at all and had not been in one for centuries; which in itself is a fact that should be displayed in a museum of sorts. I believe museums are for people with nothing to do in their present life who busy themselves with the lives of others from the past.

No ... I was in the museum to meet a friend of mine for lunch at a new restaurant in town. She is an accountant visiting the museum for some finance meeting or other ... ... ...

Let me interrupt again and hasten to add that she is not the typical boring accountant one usually meets. The ones who permanently carry an abacus with them and are so slow and boring that they shake your hand one finger at a time. No ... Laura is young, very pretty, interesting and with an infectious joie de vivre that makes you feel ten years younger just by being with her.  

As I was saying before my thoughts derailed my train of thoughts ... there I was at the Shoe Exhibition waiting for Laura when I was approached by this man. I could tell by his sandals and the fact that he carried a bag of quinoa that he was one of those liberally minded do-gooders who loves everybody and wants to save the planet for his many children, grand-children and their children for generations to come. I bet his farts are super-filtered to capture any noxious gases that might pollute the atmosphere for eons into the future.

By the way ... here's a fact you may not know ... quinoa is a fancy cereal, not a grass, unlike wheat and rice. It is botanically related to spinach. Its seeds are rich in protein, dietary fibre, B vitamins, and dietary minerals in amounts greater than in many grains and is gluten-free. It also tastes like the droppings you find at the bottom of your parakeet cage.

So, this man approaches me at the museum and says, "Do you realise all the time you have been standing here an area the size of Wales has been cut down in the rain forest!"

So I moved to another room in the hope they would stop cutting those trees.

He followed me into another room filled with human and animal skeletons and various whales and fish bones ... a proper dog's breakfast, if I may say so. "Some of these bones are not of earthly origin," he opined.

I was about to say something when he continued, "aliens from outer space landed on this planet many centuries ago but there is a conspiracy to keep this secret so as not to cause mass world panic!

"These aliens are still here right now and they are studying us and our behaviours ...

"You can tell an alien because they don't have a navel, a belly button, because they are not born like us. Which explains why there are no aliens belly dancers ... and they don't sunbathe on the beach.

"Aliens are in our homes as we speak ... or even when we're silent. They hide behind the fridge because it is one place where you don't often vacuum clean.

"Have you ever been at home busy doing something, washing the dishes, cooking or reading quietly when you think you saw out of the corner of your eye a sudden movement? That's an alien observing you. Watching your every movement and sending information back to the mother-ship. All this data and photos of all of us is being stored and recorded by outer-space creatures for future use".

I imagined photos and videos of me in the shower being shared on various websites in inter-galactic space.

He asked me whether I had ever swam with dolphins. I said I could not afford it so I went swimming with sardines instead.

He explained that in ancient times there was another world under the sea inhabited by intelligent life. These creatures still exist and take the form of friendly fish like the dolphins. "They are mammals you know ..." he said, "just like us ... they live deep down in various oceans and they come up where there are people in order to study us ..."

"At least they don't take photos in my bathroom," I thought to myself and said nothing.

"Years ago a scientist studying dolphins in their natural habitat discovered the East Pole you know ..." said the quinoa eating liberal, "but this too has been kept a secret from the world. Unlike the other Poles the East one is warm and not snow covered. That is why it is so easily camouflaged. Not many people know about it.

"You've heard that the ice caps in the North and South Poles are melting, haven't you?" he asked.

I nodded.

"As the ice melts, the sea levels will rise above the land, and more of us will live next to the beach. Property prices will shoot up ... that's why the powers that be are doing nothing about the melting ice caps. They are busily investing in cheap inland properties waiting for prices to go up when the sea reaches them.

"Talking of inland properties ..." he continued knowingly, "did you know that people living by the sea need not pay taxes? That's why they call it the INLAND Revenue. But not many people know that and pay taxes anyway. However, these powers that be, will not pay taxes when the sea reaches their inland homes because they'd be by the sea!"

By this time my head and brain were hurting and I had lost the will to live. But Laura came to my rescue and brought me back to the real world of today rather than being in this fantasy past of creatures from outer-space photographing my bottom, or dolphins hiding in the East Pole.

I'll never visit a museum again.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Rejected



Father Ignatius came out of the Sacristy after Mass and found Sharon still in church with her little three years old daughter Petra. They were standing by the Statue of Our Lady trying to light a candle.

“Are you still here Sharon?” he asked, “how are you these days?”

He must have touched a raw nerve because tears started building up in Sharon’s eyes as she said, “We’re well Father … doing as best we can."

Father Ignatius sat on the first pew and little Petra left her mother and came running to him, handing him her toy bear.

“That’s a lovely bear” said the priest taking it from her hands, “what is his name?”

“John …” said Petra enthusiastically as she climbed on the pew and sat next to the priest. “John, you and me can now pray together …” she added, as her mother a few feet away knelt down by the statue for private prayers.

Sharon was a single mother. Her husband left her for another woman just after Petra’s birth and has not been seen since. Eventually, having no news whatsoever of her run-away husband, she divorced him in the civil court and brought up her little child as best as she could on Social Security Benefits.

After a few moments of silent prayers she joined the priest and picked up her daughter on her lap.

“I’ve been trying to get a part-time job …” she said, “nothing much, just a few hours a week to supplement my benefits and to become a little independent …”

“That’s good …” replied Father Ignatius gently.

“There’s just no work available …” she said, “I can’t go full-time because I have no one to look after Petra … and part-time work is either not available or is too far from home requiring two bus rides to get there.”

Father Ignatius said nothing as he prayed silently and handed the toy back to the child.

“I feel such a failure …” continued Sharon, “my life seems to be in a rut and stuck in failure … I’ve been rejected by my husband … rejected by my family who live too far away to care … and rejected by every employer in town and society in general …”

At this moment, almost by coincidence, the little girl on her lap said, “I love you Mama …”

“Well … you’ve certainly not been rejected by Petra …” said Father Ignatius quietly as Sharon kissed the child on the head.

“And I know you haven’t been rejected by Jesus either …” he continued.

Sharon smiled weakly.

“Rejection is very hard …” said the priest, “and we do sometimes feel as if we’re of no value or worth to others. But that is not always the case Sharon.

“We’re all valuable in the eyes of God, and we all have a contribution to make … you are very valuable to your little daughter who relies on you for everything.

“It’s good that you’re trying to find a job; and I feel deeply for you at what you see as rejection from employers.

“Rejection does not mean failure.

“Sometimes rejection provides you with clarity on where to go next. You say you’ve tried the local factories, and the electric company and the gas works for some clerical work …

“Perhaps your future does not lie there … I can’t say where just now … but maybe God is leading you somewhere else.

“For now it could be that you’re exactly in the right place where you’re supposed to be … and God wants you to spend your time looking after Petra.

“Sometimes He answers us by saying ‘Wait … not now … stay where you are and trust Me’; … do you see what I mean?”

“I understand …” Sharon replied smiling weakly again.

“I shall pray for you Sharon …” continued Father Ignatius.

“And now … would you mind doing me a favor please?”

“Yes Father …” she said.

“I’m having some trouble with the new speakers and microphone they installed in church recently. I wish to test the acoustics in here.

“Would you mind going to the lectern and read something from the Bible over there. Take Petra with you.”

Sharon walked to the lectern child in hand.

“Just read anything … I’ll stand over here” said the priest.

Sharon opened the Bible and read the first passage at the top of the page.

“That’s good …” said the priest, “wait a bit until I walk over there a little further back … now read again …”

She followed his instructions.

“The speakers here sound OK … I’ll go right back by the statue of St Peter … when I get there could you read again please.”

Sharon waited until Father Ignatius walked slowly to the end of the church by the exit door and then started reading the Bible.

He raised his hand in the air to stop her then walked slowly to the front once again.

“As clear as a bell …” he said, “I can hear your every word very clearly despite my old age … and if I can hear you, I’m sure everyone else can.”

She smiled.

“Sharon … we do need readers for Mass on Sunday. It’s really not fair to rely on just the same readers every week. You should really consider adding your name to the readers’ rota to help us out a bit.”

“But … I can’t read …” she exclaimed as she picked up her daughter tugging at her dress.

“You seem to have done OK just now … just think about it,” replied Father Ignatius, “you don’t have to decide right now …”

Sharon did think about it; and eventually she did join the readers list and did read on Sundays at Mass.

A few months later she also managed to get a junior clerical job working part-time at the local Catholic school leaving her child at the pre-school playgroup while she worked.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Couchless Psychiatrist

My psychiatrist friend burst into my office the other day and shouted, "WHY HAVE YOU NOT GOT A COUCH HERE?"

He runs a successful private business specialising in helping individuals, couples and group therapy with their personal problems.

As soon as he entered my office I took my feet off my desk and pretended to be busy. As I picked up a pen to write I accidentally dropped it on the floor and as I bent down to pick it up I banged my head hard on the corner of my desk. I saw stars and tweety birds flying everywhere for a moment or two.

I soon realised that the knock on my head had cut me in the forehead and it was bleeding quite a bit. My friend asked me if I had any Elastoplast plasters or First Aid kit. I said, "Why? Have you injured yourself too?"

Moments later my secretary came in having heard the noise and said, "Oh dear ... have you been fighting birds again?"

I'll have you know that I did nothing of the sort. Just because the other day a seagull landed on my head and scratched my face does not mean that I go out of my way to attack wildlife.

I spent the whole morning in hospital being tested for this and that and exposing my backside to various nurses with needles to vaccinate me against salmonella, tetanus, bird flu and many other dire illnesses I cannot imagine.

Just goes to show that in life you never know when you'll show your bottom to complete strangers.

Anyway ... my psychiatrist friend sat down and with a sigh to end all sighs he said he'd had enough. For years he had been there day in day out listening to an ever ending hoard of people coming in his practice and telling him their problems wide and varied.

"Why do I have to sit there and listen to all their troubles?" he asked.

"Because that's how you make your living," I said.

"Hmmm ... I never thought of that!" he reflected pensively.

"What exactly is the problem?" I asked chewing on a KFC chicken leg I had found in my desk drawer.

"Well ... I'm fed up with the lot of them ..." he answered, "like the man who has Walter Mitty Syndrome. He works as an elephant attendant at the local zoo yet he believes he is a world famous eminent psychiatrist. He comes to my office quoting Freud, 'Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar ...' Jung, 'Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you ...' and Nietzsche, 'That which does not kill us makes us stronger ...' What nonsense ... try a bout of diarrhoea ... see if that makes you stronger.

"You know ..." he continued, "after six months of the best treatment my money could afford, I cured him. I convinced him that he was no more than a worker at the zoo employed at cleaning after the elephants.

"When I sent him my bill he refused to pay it claiming it was his alter ego psychiatrist who had healed him, not me!"

I suppressed a smile licking my fingers of a remaining few chicken crumbs.

"Then there's the man who has a morbid fear of the underside of tables," he exclaimed, "he fears under the table in case there's a tarantula spider down there ready to pounce on his lap and bite his private bits!"

I recoiled slightly on my wheeled chair wondering what ... or who ... might be under my desk. For some reason I imagined my mother-in-law. Is there a syndrome such as fear of mothers-in-law, I wondered but did not dare ask him.

"Oh ... the married couples are the worst," he cried out, "they come to me with double the trouble of single people ... conflicting arguments and points of view ...

"There's this man who complained that his wife suddenly spontaneously decides without a moment's notice that she wants to be amorous ... she enters the bedroom and wants intimacy there and then ... and does not give him time to imagine who he is making love to!"

"Why don't you suggest she role plays and pretends to be the sort of person he imagines?" I suggested more as a joke than seriously, "he can also pretend to be the person she would fancy ..." 

"Hey ... you are good," he said, "have you thought of being a psychiatrist? You'd earn loads with crap advice like that!"

"Just buy me another KFC meal," I replied as he left.

SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE INSERTED HERE - NOT VISIBLE

If you enjoy what you read here invite your friends to join us too.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Ring Ring ... Ring Ring ...

Phone rings ... ... ...

Hello!

Hello ... is that 342 177?

No ... it is ... 34  21  77 !!!

Sorry to have troubled you.

Don't worry about it. The phone was ringing anyway ...

Whilst I got you on ... are you the home owner?

No ... I am not.

Can I speak to the home owner?

He is not here ... I believe they are all on holiday ... the house has been empty for a while ...

Oh ... who are you then?

I am a burglar ... the phone happened to ring and I answered it by force of habit ...

But ... ... but it is day time ... I thought burglars burgle at night!

Oh ... I couldn't be bothered with that ... too dark at night ... the other day I tripped at night and nearly broke my neck ...

I see ... I think ...

Anyway ... how can I help you? Because I'm busy you see ...

Well ... I represent an Alarm Systems Company and wondered if the home owners would be interested in fitting a Burglar Alarm System in their house ...

I wouldn't think so ... not much to burgle here any way ... these people are so poor it is not worth stealing anything from them ...

What are you doing there then?

Well, I felt sorry for them so I am returning a few things I stole last week. A rabbit casserole for instance ... tasted awful ... gave me stomach ache and a Frequent Membership Ticket to the toilet ...

Was it that bad?

Yeah ... the rabbit was all too willing to let go of his lucky foot I think ... anyway must go ... there's someone at the door ... bye!

Good bye!

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

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.”

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Fund-raising


I am not sure if this happens a lot where you live, but this is something that happens a lot around here and to be honest it is getting a little out of control. I am talking, of course, about fund-raising.

Now, I am not against giving money to charity or for a good cause. Indeed I am known for my generosity and I often give at least one penny at the Sunday collection in church; even on those days when we Catholics excel at having a second and sometimes a third collection. That's three pennies in one day, I tell you.

No; what I am talking about is fund-raising when people approach you and say that they will do something or other if you would sponsor them for charity. Often it is relatives or friends and you are immediately put under an obligation to put your hand in your pocket and sponsor them. You can't make an excuse that you have given to charity once already this year. Sometimes the cause they are raising funds for is not one that you support anyway. Like raising money for the Home For Distressed Weasels; or Counselling Services for Failed Psychiatrists; or the Museum of Shoes Through the Centuries. The other day someone knocked at my door collecting for fallen women! I told him I haven't got any.

All these collections and fund-raising is wrong, very wrong, I tell you.

If someone wants to walk 50 or so miles  for charity why should I be punished by paying for it? If they want to take some exercise by walking aimlessly and hopefully lose some weight in the process, let them do so. Why should I pay for it?

Or pay for people to swim long distances, or abseil down a building, or parachute from a plane.

I have never seen the point of giving money to charity. You give money away and ... that's it. Nothing happens. You are financially worse off in this transaction.

It's ridiculous, I tell you. And just as ridiculous are the lengths people are prepared to go to to separate you from your hard earned pennies.

A friend of mine suggested the other day that if he were to grow a beard for a whole month I should sponsor him to back a particular charity. Well, I don't buy that. If he wants to be scruffy for a month that's his business.

Whatever next, I ask you? Will people volunteer to have a tattoo on their backside to be sponsored for charity? Mind you, if that person were a woman and she agreed to show me proof of the tattoo I might well be persuaded to contribute a penny or two.

Here in the UK we've had calendars printed by various people with women posing nude in aid of charities. The calendars are sold amongst family and friends to raise money for charity. There are similar male calendars too; but not as good, I tell you.

Now I don't know about you, but would you want a photo of Mrs Groggins down the road posing nude next to a tractor on a farm, or on a beach somewhere, or whatever. Would you hang such a photo on your wall at home or in the office? Or Mr Marmaduke sitting with his assets on full show on a horse, or milking a cow?

These people are not professional models. They are people from every walk of life willing to air their differences in front of a camera for a cause they deeply believe in. Laudable as it may be, I doubt that a display of skin which needs ironing will make me dig deep in my pockets.


More to the point, would you pose nude for charity? Imagine a charitable cause that is very close to your heart; someone or something that urgently requires funds; would you bare all to help them raise the money needed? What charity or special cause would that be?

Anyway, just to prove that I am not a miserly Ebenezer Scrooge let me tell you right now that I am doing something for charity. Perhaps you would be inclined to donate.

I shall be going on a first class holiday on a nice sunny beach for a fortnight or so where I will enjoy the local amenities and fine foods for a charity close to my heart - namely me. Will you sponsor me?

Monday, 17 June 2019

Lesson On Humanity

Human beings are very complex people indeed, compared to the rest of creations. Did you know, for example, that man is the only creature who would tear down trees to make paper and then print leaflets saying "Save the trees"?

Other creatures do not do that. Do you know why? Because they are too dumb to do anything, that's why. I mean, have you ever seen a parakeet bake a cake? Or a sloth make cans of beans to sell in the supermarket? The sloth just hangs there from a tree and sleeps for up to 18 hours a day waiting for humans to arrive and save him from extinction.

Let's face it, if you're going to sleep for all that long every day then we'd be waiting for eternity to have a sloth making cans of baked beans or cans of anything for that matter.

That's the problem with animals, birds, fishes and all other creatures. They do nothing. They are there just to eat or be eaten. Part of the food chain as I was taught at school.

We humans on the other hand are clever.

We can have children whom we educate and they grow up to have more children whom they educate and as education spreads and we all become experts at one thing or another we discover that there aren't enough jobs for all of us anyway and our education has generally been miss-spent because we are now educated and we know that we cannot use our education to good purpose because there are not enough jobs for all of us anyway because there are too many of us to start with.

Now try saying all that with a mouthful of marshmallows. I bet you can't. But a parakeet can. Do you know why? Because he is too smart to eat marshmallows.

So there you have it. A quick lesson about humanity.

Whereas human beings multiply ever more and cry out "save the planet" not realising that it is mankind itself that is ruining the planet; the sloth sleeps for 18 hours a day and the parakeet does not eat marshmallows.

Which leaves one question un-answered.

Whilst the sloth is hanging upside down from a tree asleep for that long; how does he go to the toilet? It must be both uncomfortable and inconvenient to relieve himself whilst asleep.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

The Holy Trinity



“Father, I really have difficulty in understanding the Holy Trinity,” said a parishioner to Father Ignatius.

“I really can’t understand why we sometimes have difficulties in just accepting the mysteries of our Faith,” replied the priest, “after all, God is not really that complicated is He?”

“It’s the three in one that I don’t understand. When we get to Heaven will we meet all three of them God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Or will we see just one?”

“When I get to Heaven and find out, I’ll phone you to let you know,” replied the priest with a chuckle.

There was silence for a moment or two as James continued to fix the priest’s car. Fr Ignatius stood there as an assistant handing different tools when asked.

“You obviously know how St Patrick used a shamrock to explain the Trinity,” asked Father Ignatius eventually.

“Yes … but it doesn’t really answer my question does it?”

“Everywhere around us we see in nature things made of many parts,” said the priest, “look at that tree over there. It is made up of a trunk, roots which you cannot see, branches and leaves, and sometimes it has fruits too. You don’t have difficulty accepting that all these parts make up one tree do you?”

“No Father,” said James, “I understand that they can be together as one tree, or separate … the tree, the leaves and the fruit. Is that how the Trinity works?”

“I don’t know. I just accept it and believe it,” said Father Ignatius.

“But let’s continue along this path for a moment.

“We believe in God. Whoever we perceive Him to be. Some imagine Him as a bearded old man living in Heaven somewhere; others see Him as a Spirit or a Supernatural Being perhaps … we each have a mental description of God.

“I prefer to see Him as Jesus told us about Him; a loving caring Father, Creator of everything.

“Are you OK this far?”

James nodded and put down the wrench he was using to fix the car. He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand and listened.

“In times of old God spoke to His people on earth through the prophets," continued Father Ignatius, “He guided them and gave them Commandments on how to live … I’m sure you read all about it in the Old Testament … But people did not always listen to the prophets as you well know James. They killed some of them and ignored quite a few.

“God could of course have sent punishments from above … floods, famines, pestilence and so on. And indeed He did for a while.

“He could of course have come down as a Superman type character … now that may have worked don’t you think?

“He could have frightened everyone of them into total and perfect submission. But that is hardly the behavior we’d expect from a loving caring Father is it? What is the point of enforcing His will on all of us and make us love Him under duress?”

James smiled.

“So God decided to come to earth as a human being. As one of us. A human we could see, talk to, listen to and witness His power of love through His miracles,” said Father Ignatius gently.

“He came as a vulnerable little baby. And for a while He was vulnerable indeed when Herod tried to destroy Him. He grew up amongst us and throughout His life it was love and only love which motivated His every action.

“Jesus was, and is, God made incarnate.

“Whatever image we may have in our mind about God being a Spirit or whatever … in Jesus we see God Himself made human just like us.

“Are you OK with my explanation so far?”

James agreed as he kept working on the car engine.

“And this is where some people get a little confused …” continued the priest.

“When Jesus was set to return to Heaven after the Resurrection, you can imagine the disciples were totally distraught.

“They'd lost all confidence, even though they witnessed the Resurrection and saw the victory.

“Their leader, their God was leaving now. What are they to do without Him? How can they carry on without His guidance? How can they build His church and preach about Him? What a responsibility without His loving, guiding hand!

“So God, Jesus, promised to return.

“And He did return, as the Holy Spirit. He returned in Spirit form, not in physical form. You remember the story of the Pentecost don’t you?

“He lived within them and they were enlightened. They spoke in different languages and taught throughout all lands.

“He lived there, just within their soul, not in human form, but as a Spirit. A Holy Ghost if you prefer.

“And the Good News is that God, Jesus, this very Holy Spirit never left. He is still here right now. He lives within some people as He did within the disciples. It doesn't mean that every Christian has the Holy Spirit within him. But some do. I have seen it.”

The priest paused for a while.

“What saddens me,” he continued, “is that these days it is so much easier for people to believe that the devil can possess people and live within them, as you see in the movies, but they cannot believe or even understand that God can, and does, live within us.”

“That’s true,” said James, “many people believe in ghosts and evil spirits.”

“Unlike the devil, God does not possess people. He dwells within us but only if we ask Him and invite Him,” Father Ignatius continued.

“That’s because God is love. He would not do anything against our will. He invites us to love Him back without any coercion whatsoever. We choose freely whether to love Him back or not. Whether to invite Him in our hearts or not.

“So when we say people have the Holy Spirit within them, we mean they have God, and Jesus Christ, guiding their very soul in every aspect of their lives; in what they do, in what they say, and when to do or say it. They serve as an example to the rest of us; and they help and lead us towards our Heavenly home.”

At this point, James, who was listening intently whilst working, dropped something accidentally on the floor.

Father Ignatius got down on his hands and knees to search under the car and picked up a bolt and nut with a washer ring on it.

The priest looked at his hand for a few seconds and then said:

“Hey … look at this James. A bolt and nut with a disc attached in the middle.”



James stopped working and looked at what the priest was holding.

“The three together are one item,” said Father Ignatius, “they work together to serve their purpose … a Trinity you might say.

“Let’s separate them.



“This bolt here represents God, Our Almighty Father.

“The nut represents Jesus, made human and come to visit us on earth.

“And this disc or washer is the Holy Spirit. You can see when we put them together again that the disc is held securely on the bolt by the nut.

“It’s the same with the Holy Trinity I suppose.

“We cannot get to see or be with the Holy Spirit, until we have accepted Jesus first. Take this nut off the bolt, and now you have the disc. Accept Jesus in your life, and the Holy Spirit will descend upon you.”

James smiled broadly.

“I’ll keep this as a souvenir to remind me of this valuable lesson,” he said.

“I suggest you use it to fix the car, and get yourself another set …” replied the priest jokingly.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

A Message From God


One day God was looking down at Earth and saw all of the rascally behaviour that was going on. So He called one of His angels and sent him to Earth for a time.

When he returned, he told God, 'Yes, it is bad on Earth; 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are not.'

God thought for a moment and said, 'Maybe I had better send down a second angel to get another opinion.'

So God called another angel and sent him to Earth for a time. When the angel returned he went to God and said, 'Yes, it's true. The Earth is in decline; 95% are misbehaving, but 5% are being good.'

God was not pleased. So He decided to e-mail the 5% that were good, because He wanted to encourage them, and give them a little something to help them keep going.

Do you know what the e-mail said?

Okay, I was just wondering, because I didn't get one either!!!

Friday, 14 June 2019

L'Esprit En France


It all happened in France all those years ago. I was staying overnight at an old auberge in Paris. It had been a long day working on business as well as sight-seeing whenever the opportunity allowed. But now I was really tired and shattered at the same time; if that is at all possible.

I jumped into bed and, as a last dutiful act of loyalty to my employer, I decided to read a Census Report showing population trends over the years in different French locations and how this would affect our business in this country.

A few minutes afterwards, as I was reading, I noticed a ghost standing by the foot of my bed. He was staring at me. I was frightened out of my Census.

He was wearing an old style type costume, a bit like the three musketeers or something from that era. And he had a patch on one eye.

When I gathered whatever courage there was left lying around all over the place, I asked him, pointing at the patch on his eye, "Are you a ghost of a pirate?"

"Oh non, Monsieur," he replied in a typical French accent, "I am not a peerate! I got zis one day when I entered a room through ze keyhole in ze door, and somebody put ze key in ze door at ze same time!"

"Oh!" I said, as he continued.

"I also used to enter ze rooms by sliding under ze doors, you know. But I stopped doing zat too. One day, I slid under ze door and zere was a woman cleaning ze room on ze other side. She sucked me into her vacuum cleaner!

"But not anymore, Monsieur. Now I travel ze conventional ghostly way by walking through ze solid walls!"

"Oh ..." I said in an English accent; not knowing how to say it in French.

"Ze problem  about ze walking through ze walls," he continued, "eez zat sometimes zere is a cupboard in ze ozer room and I end up locked in a cupboard. Or if zere is a table or ozer furniture zat is low I get ze corner of ze furniture hitting me in ze private bits!"

I winced as I felt his pain.

At this point a clock somewhere struck 10:35pm.

"Oh ... I must go to my wife Suzette" he said. "Madame Penoir, my wife, she gets veree upset when I am late! I usually tell her ze stories zat I am haunting tourists in old auberges; but she is not believing me. She says she can see right through me!"

And with zese words, sorry ... these words, he jumped out of the window and landed in the river below. I think he was in Seine!

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Scientists Predict Terrible News Of Gloom And Doom


Let's get straight to the point, un-pallatable as it may be, the world is heading for the Apocalypse according to various scientific research.

The sun, the source of all energy to this planet, will run out of fuel in approximately a billion years' time. As it runs out of the very essence that makes it burn so brightly, the sun itself will implode on itself very much like a shrinking balloon or ball and enter a self-created black hole sucking in the whole universe, including the earth, within it.

Coinciding with such an event, and perhaps related to it, a whole galaxy of stars will be drawn towards the earth and crash it with such force resulting in extreme thunder and lightning and fires consuming the planet and all upon and within it.

However, horrible as this scenario may be, yet another un-related event, is likely to happen many centuries earlier which will result in the extinction of the human race.

This is due to the fact of an inherent faulty Y chromosome in men. Since it is the male chromosome which determines the sex of a baby being born, this faulty Y chromosome will drastically reduce the number of males being born to humankind to the point where eventually only females will be produced. As the number of men is reduced to zero the whole reproduction system will be in jeopardy and humanity will cease to exist; unless science can find a solution before then. Which seems highly unlikely.

Consequently, the human race will be faced with yet another disaster as there will be no men to catch the spiders when they fall in the bath.

The population of spiders will increase drastically as they breed in every bath in the world and climb upon each other to escape out of the bathroom and spread throughout the world.

There will be spiders' webs everywhere getting thicker and thicker and stronger and able to trap bigger preys other than flies and insects.

Instead, the webs will be full of all kinds of animals and birds, and even humans, who happened to get caught and served as a meal to such giant spiders.

With cows getting trapped in spiders' webs and being eaten to extinction there will be a world shortage of burgers which will in itself precipitate the Apocalypse.

As already scientifically proven, the cow's digestive system produces large amounts of methane gas contributing to global warming. With such a drastic reduction in the world's cows population this will greatly precipitate a new ice age - known as a Popsicle.

One glimmer of light in the horizon is that scientists and others have often wrongly predicted the end of the world.

Meanwhile, it is recommended that menfolk should teach their wives and girl-friends how to catch spiders out of bath tubs.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Visiting My Ancestor

In Britain we have many castles. Not just up North and in Scotland, but also in every part of the country whether East and West or North and South. Some are still standing as in the photo above, whilst others are either just the outer shell of what was once a castle, or just a pile of bricks and stones beaten down by years of history.

Lately I visited a castle where purportedly my ancestor, the medieval King and Knight, Baron Sir Richard the Lion Liver, once lived. Click the crest on the right to learn more about him.

As soon as I entered the castle I was greeted by this armour which I understand he once wore when in battle, and also at the many jousting tournaments which he always won.

Note the lovely colourful plumage at the top of the helmet. Which explains why I always wear a cowboy hat with a feather on the side.
In one of the castle rooms we entered there was a table with two skulls side by side in a glass case. One skull was small and the other one much larger. They belonged to my ancestor, Sir Richard the Lion Liver.


       Sir Richard as a young child.     Sir Richard as an adult years later.

In another room we saw where the Knights of Sir Richard's triangular table used to hang their coat of arms.
In yet another room there was this intriguing painting with a story about Sir Richard written below it.
 Apparently, years ago Sir Richard fell down the stairs after a night's drinking with his knights and hurt his back. For ages he was bent with pain and walked with a stick as in the painting above. Eventually, he was persuaded to go to Gherkin the Wizard for a cure. After about five minutes with Gherkin, he came out walking straight and proud as if nothing had ever gone wrong.
Everyone cheered and danced with joy believing it to be a miracle. Sir Richard explained it was no miracle at all. Gherkin the Wizard had given him a longer stick.

The following photo best explains a famous story about my ancestor Sir Richard the Lion Liver.
Look at the windows on the left how narrow they are and shaped like a cross. This is deliberate so that the soldiers inside the castle could shoot arrows with their acurate crossbows without being seen by the attacking army outside, or shot back by the enemies' bowmen.

One night Sir Richard came back after a night's drinking with his knights at the local pub. He found the front door, (on the right of the picture where the visitors are), locked shut and his wife had gone to bed in a huff ... or was it a minute and a huff? I can't remember.

Anyway, Sir Richard did not want to ring the door bell and wake up the dragon inside ... or his wife for that matter. So he asked one of his servants to enter the castle from the back door. Now Sir Richard was a very accurate shot with the crossbow, even after a lot of drinking. So he said to his servant that he would shoot an arrow from outside through the second narrow window you see on the left. The servant inside the room would pull the arrow to which was attached a string, which was in turn attached to a rope. He would pull the rope inside the window and tie it to the furniture securely so that Sir Richard could climb into the castle.

All worked relatively well. Sir Richard shot the arrow through the window and it hit the servant waiting inside the room in the leg. The servant stifled a painful cry so as not to wake up the dragon. He didn't much care for his master's wife anyway.

He then tied the rope to the furniture so that Sir Richard could climb up. Once up Sir Richard discovered that the window was too narrow for anyone to get in.

So he got down again and asked his servant to let him in through the back door.

If you've enjoyed this tale about my visit to the castle half as much as I have enjoyed telling it; then I have enjoyed it twice as much as you.
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