Wednesday 31 March 2021

What's it all about?


This is Holy Week. A very important time for all Christians. It commemorates a time when the whole course of human history changed for ever. Yet in today's world, many people just remember chocolate eggs, good food and drink, and another excuse to be extravagant.

So what is it all about? This Easter celebration and this Holy Week?

I think one of the most important factors perhaps not often focussed on is forgiveness.

This week, it is right and proper, that we remember Christ's arrest, torture and cruel death by Crucifixion. And of course, His Resurrection three days later. 

But there is more to it than that.

Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth so we might see Him as a human. We might listen to Him, learn from Him, witness His power through His miracles, love and compassion. But He also came to earth to build a bridge once again between sinning humanity and God its Creator. It is through Jesus that we find our way back to God.

At the heart of this week is forgiveness and mercy. 

Jesus forgave the disciples for running away in fear when He was arrested. He forgave Peter for denying knowing Him. He forgave the crowd just as He was dying on the Cross for what they had done to Him. He forgave the repentant thief hanging on a cross just beside Him. I'd like to believe that He also forgave Judas who killed himself in despair for what he had done. We don't have any Biblical evidence of this last forgiveness, but let us remember that Judas was in a state of despair. He knew he had done wrong. He tried to return the money he received for betraying Jesus. He was sorry for what He had done. So I guess that an all-knowing God would have had pity on him at his darkest hour, just as He had pity on those who put Him on the Cross.

That's what's it all about. Forgiveness. Compassion. Love and Mercy.

Let us remember that when someone asks us for forgiveness. Or when we too need to seek forgiveness from God and others.

Tuesday 30 March 2021

No Stranger At The Door

“ … and there we were both standing at the doorway of the Church,” said Father Ignatius, “and then he asked me if I could spare a cup of coffee. I didn’t think he drank coffee. What do you think he drank anyway?”

“St Peter?” asked Father Donald.

“Yes … St Peter,” repeated Father Ignatius, “what do you think he drank? Surely not coffee. It hadn’t been discovered then! When he was alive on earth.”

“Oh … boiled fish water, I shouldn’t wonder,” laughed Father Donald, “must have tasted really horrible I should think!”

“And then …” continued Father Ignatius after a short pause, “and then, as if by magic, we were here in my office. I was sitting at my desk, like now, and he sat in the very armchair where you’re sitting in!”

Father Donald looked around him in the armchair and said nothing. Father Ignatius continued.

“St Peter sat just where you’re sitting Donald. He looked just like we’ve seen him portrayed in the movies. Tall guy and well set. With a beard and wearing a brown tunic … and sandals. I remember distinctly the sandals. Big man, he was … I wouldn’t wish to be on the wrong side of an argument with him. He was here in this office.

“He asked what I thought of him.

“I mumbled the usual things we’ve been taught in seminary … Loyal follower of Christ, leader of the Disciples, Head of the Church … That sort of thing!

“He smiled and picked up a biscuit … he preferred the chocolate covered ones and commented that they tasted different to the ones he was used to in them days … That’s exactly what he said … in them days!”

Father Donald raised an eyebrow and smiled, whilst Father Ignatius went on.

“Then he asked me to be honest. Not repeat what I’d been taught. What did I really think of him?”

Father Donald smiled once more and said nothing.

“Well …” Father Ignatius went on, “I hesitated of course … it’s quite a shock seeing St Peter face to face and being asked such a direct question.

“I said that some theologians consider him to be a bit irresolute of character … Tends to speak first, sometimes acts quickly, yet … a bit hesitant when the chips are down!”

“Wow …” said Father Donald, “did he hit you for saying that? He has a bit of a temper our St Peter you know.”

“No … he remained calm,” replied Father Ignatius, “He said ‘I don’t care about what theologians think … what do they know? I’m asking for your opinion Ignatius!’ He called me Ignatius … so he knew full well who I was. Then he asked me if I had any more of those brown covered biscuits.

“I gave him the whole packet of chocolate biscuits which somehow I had here in my desk; and then I said that I sympathized with his predicament and how he’d been portrayed by some theologians. He was and I’m sure he still is very loyal to Christ. He spoke first because of his confidence and beliefs in our Lord.

“He hesitated a little when he jumped into the lake and tried to walk on water. But anyone would have done that … Jesus had asked him to come to Him … so at least he did show real Faith by jumping into the water … but his Faith faltered … understandable really!

“And that’s when St Peter sat a little forward in the armchair and calmly said to me … ‘Quite the diplomat aren’t you Ignatius?’ I remember distinctly those words … and they were not said in a complimentary way either. He asked me to go on … what did I really and honestly think of him.

“So I swallowed hard Donald … I knew what he wanted me to say but I was too scared to say it. He nodded gently to encourage me …

“And very quietly I mumbled that he had denied Christ three times …

“He looked me straight in the eye and all gentleness seemed to have gone from his face. He waved his hand gently at me, still holding a half-eaten chocolate biscuit, as if to reprimand me … you know, as we do with our finger when we point at a little child, and then he said, ‘After over two thousand years you people still hold that against me! And you call yourselves forgiving Christians … The Lord Himself forgave me with His knowledgeable look full of love and pity for me. But you Christians still bring this matter up …

“And it’s the same with Thomas … Whenever I meet him he says that the only thing that people remember about him is his doubting, and they can’t relate anything else he did after that.

“Well let me tell you something clever Ignatius that you are’ … That’s what St Peter called me, Donald. ‘Clever Ignatius that you are'.

“Let me tell you something … Have you ever considered what would have happened if I did not deny our Lord? I would have most probably been taken by the crowd and hung from the nearest tree …

“They were horrible they were … and angry and wild. Those same people who pretended to love Him, whom He had healed and taught over the years suddenly became very wild. They became angry, almost feral … And of course I was scared. They were probably scared too, you know. They had to act this way because acting any differently would have resulted in them being hanged too!

“And by denying Christ, the Son of our God, I unwittingly set in course the chain of events which followed. Jesus knew exactly why I had to deny Him at the time of His capture.

“After His Resurrection, when He appeared to us on the shore of the lake as we were fishing; it was the third time Jesus appeared to us after He was raised from death … We had just eaten together, and Jesus asked me three times if I loved Him. And every time I said yes He asked me to take care of His lambs and His sheep!’ ”

After a short silence Father Donald asked “What happened then Ignatius? When St Peter told you that?”

Father Ignatius replied.

“Well, he finished eating his biscuit and then he asked me whether I thought I had done a good job of looking after Our Lord’s lambs and sheep …

“Before I could answer … I just woke up!”

“That’s quite a dream …” said Father Donald, “and quite a message from St Peter.

“Christ knew precisely why Peter had to be spared at the time of His capture … in order to lead the Disciples and the Church!”

Monday 29 March 2021

The Old Rugged Cross



Sunday 28 March 2021

Lenten Reflections




Saturday 27 March 2021

Dance ... Dance ...


I must confess I’ve always wanted to be a professional dancer. Just like Fred Astaire or any other dancers you see in the movies and on TV.

The problem is I have big feet. Enormous feet!

When I get on the dance floor there is no room for anyone else because of my big feet. They take over the whole dance area.

And when I dance I tread on other peoples’ feet. If it’s a slow dance with the lights dimmed right down people trip on my feet and fall all over the place. I’ve had to put little flashing yellow lights on my shoes and a bleeping sound so that people can see my feet in the dark.

People say that the lights add to the atmosphere on the dance floor but the bleeping sound interferes with the music.

Someone suggested I take up line dancing. In line dancing people stand next to each other and mostly move sideways; so there’s no danger of stepping on anyone’s toes.

I tried line dancing. My big feet moved so slowly sideways that other dancers tripped over them as they moved left or right.

I tried ballet dancing. When I stood on tip-toe my head hit the ceiling and brought down a few tiles.

At a wedding once I danced the Hokey Cokey (Hokey Pokey). You know the one?

You put your left leg in, your left leg out,
In out in out, you shake it all about,
You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around
That’s what it’s all about.

It was quite a sight seeing everyone else fall all over the floor whenever I stuck my feet out. At one point my big foot came out so suddenly it hit Aunt Matilda in the face sending her spectacles flying in the air. Everyone stopped to search for her glasses and I inadvertently kicked a few of them to the floor as I continued dancing not realizing what had happened.

The birdie song wasn’t a success either … nor was the conga line dance when they all follow each other across the floor.

So regrettably, Fred Astaire and all other famous dancers will get no competition from me. I’ll just sit on the side lines tapping my feet to the music … and watch everyone else bounce about as I shake the floor boards with my big feet.

Friday 26 March 2021

Customer Reviews



I would not get operated there again. The anaesthetic did not work. I woke up during the operation and the doctors and nurses were playing poker round the operating table.

CINEMA REVIEW - * One star

I went in to see the Sound of Music, my favourite film. I hated it. The seats were too hard and the cinema was overcrowded. If the woman in-front of me did not have pierced ears I would not have been able to see the screen.


The music was good. The steak was very hard. When I told the waiter he got me a sharper knife.


It was hot every day, and the beach was too sandy. There was sand everywhere when I sat down in my bikini. My boy friend complained too. He was wearing baggy shorts.

PARIS VISIT REVIEW - *** Three stars

Paris is beautiful. We walked everywhere and visited all the tourist sites. One drawback though. The Eiffel Tower was not leaning to one side as it showed in the brochure. Maybe they fixed it.


Food excellent. Wine excellent. Service second to none. After the meal my girl-friend broke up with me. I shall never visit this place again!

RESTAURANT REVIEW - **** Four stars

I liked this restaurant a lot, and the food. But the waiter had big ears.

CHURCH REVIEW - * One star

Never been to that church before. I went for a colleague's funeral. Wi-Fi reception bad. Missed Downton Abbey on my laptop. Priest too serious.

IKEA REVIEW - ***** Five stars

Great shop. I'd read that 17% of babies are conceived in IKEA beds. My girl-friend and I tried the bed and we got thrown out of the shop.

Thursday 25 March 2021

Terrible Day At Work!!!


It was a terrible day at work today. My secretary was upset because her dog died.

I went out and bought her an identical dog.

She was even more upset because she now has two dead dogs!

Wednesday 24 March 2021

The Sorry Ass


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

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

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

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

He would shake it off and take a step up.

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

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

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

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


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

Tuesday 23 March 2021

At The Hospital

One time I got sick and landed in the hospital. There was this one nurse that just drove me crazy. Every time she came in, she would talk to me like I was a little child.
She would say in a patronizing tone of voice... "And how are we doing this morning?"
Or... "Are we ready for a bath?" Or... "Are we hungry?"

I had had enough of this particular nurse. One day at breakfast, I took the apple juice off the tray and put it in my bedside stand.

Later I was given a urine sample bottle to fill for testing.

So you know where the apple juice went! The nurse came in a while later, picked up the urine sample bottle, looked at it and said... ‘My, my, it seems we are a little cloudy today.”

At this, I snatched the bottle out of her hand, popped off the top, and gulped it down, saying... "Well, I'll run it through again. Maybe I can filter it better this time!"

The nurse fainted... I just smiled!

Monday 22 March 2021

Dog Tunes!

Just bought a CD for my dog. It's a special recording in ultrasonic sound. Only dogs can hear it. You put the CD in the player and you hear nothing, but the dog can enjoy music and songs. 

The CD has songs such as "How much is that doggie in the window?", "Puppy love", "Shep", "You're nothing but a hound dog" and my dog's favorite "Who let the dogs out". 

There's a cat version with "I thought I saw a pussy cat", "Top Cat", "What's new pussycat?" and all the songs from the musical Cats as well as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. 

The CDs make a great gift for your pets birthday. You can play them as loud as you want and the neighbors will never complain - but their pets might if you have not invited them to the party !!!

Sunday 21 March 2021

The Good (Modern) Samaritan



Luke 10:25-37

An expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” He replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”

You probably know the story. Jesus relates that a man on the way to Jericho was attacked by thieves and left injured and dying. A priest and a Levite saw him and ignored him. But a Samaritan took pity on him, helped him as best he could and took him to an inn to be looked after.

So, how does this relate to modern times? Let’s roll the years forwards to the 21st Century.

Here is something that happened to me some years ago.

I used to work in London and travelled there by train every day. One evening I was returning home at about 6.00pm and went to Victoria Underground Tube station to travel on to my railway station and home.

There on the ground, sitting by the wall, was a man in a dark suit holding a briefcase and with his head hunched down forward on his chest. He was motionless. People were passing him by and ignoring him.

I approached him to see if I could help. He raised his head revealing a white clerical collar round his neck. You can imagine my surprise to find our elderly priest from back home. What are the chances of that happening in busy London?

He mumbled that he had been to a meeting nearby and on his way home he felt faint and fell to the ground.

My first instincts were to phone an ambulance. He refused point blank. He said he had to go home because he was officiating at a funeral the next day.

I got him to stand up. We slowly made our way out of the tube station and we took a taxi to the railway station; and from there we took a train home.

A couple of hours or so later I delivered him to his church where the other priest and the housekeeper were very worried because they had not heard from him for hours. They were about to report him missing to the police.

Whenever I think back to that event I feel upset that no one bothered to stop and help him. He wasn't dressed in poor dirty clothing and likely to be mistaken for a beggar or a homeless drunk. He was in a business suit and yet no one cared enough to stop. What chances have beggars of any help from the rest of society?




Saturday 20 March 2021

The Dubliners


Dirty Old Town
Ronnie Drew - vocals & guitar
Luke Kelly - vocals five string banjo
Barney McKenna - tenor banjo, mandolin, melodion & vocals
Ciaran Bourke - vocals, guitar, tin whistle & harmonica
John Sheahan - fiddle, tin whistle, mandolin, concertina, guitar & vocals
Don't Give Up 'Til It's Over


Friday 19 March 2021

More Questions???


Have you ever seen the TV program "Naked and Afraid"?

It airs on the Discovery Channel. Each episode features two people (1 man; 1 woman) who meet for the first time and are given the task of surviving a stay in the wilderness naked for 21 days.

They are usually left in the jungle to fend for themselves with no one there to help them except the TV crew with their cameras, sound recording equipment, lights engineer and I wonder who else. All you see on your screen is two naked people trying to light a fire, or catch something to eat, or find a place where to survive the elements; be they rain, wind, thunder, or scorching sun.

My first question is WHY?

Why are they naked? Surely the dangers would be the same whether they were clothed or not? The only additional danger I can think of by being naked is having sunburn on one's delicate parts. Or perhaps being bitten by a mosquito, wasp, snake or scorpion in a place you would rather not be bitten at? Not that it matters where a snake or scorpion would bite you.

As the program progresses we see the couple getting hungrier, more tired, desperate and getting on each others nerves or other parts of their anatomy.

It would be ironic, I think, if after the 21 days' ordeal the couple get out of the jungle alive and relatively well, whereas the film crew have been bitten by snakes and scorpions.

But then, that's my sense of humour!

Thursday 18 March 2021

Stupid ... Stupid Questions


Now I consider myself as capable at asking stupid questions as the next man, or woman. What I require is some sensible answers to my stupid questions.

I watched a TV detective type program the other day. This private eye had to spend the night in the same apartment as a pretty woman to protect her from the baddies who wanted to do her harm. It was an impromptu unplanned decision.

Now the questions running through my mind:

Did he have a change of underpants for the next day?

Did he brush his teeth in the morning?

Did he wear the same shirt on both days? He certainly looked nice and neat the next morning.

Why did he not need a shave the next morning? He looked well groomed to me.

And whilst we're at it ...

Why is it in these action type films where the hero often fights, runs and jumps from tall buildings, drives fast cars, and does all sorts of heroic things ... why does he never stops to go to the toilet? How come he can do all this fighting and running and shooting and everything without needing a pee? He must have a great bladder.

And one more thing ...

Why is it when I want to make lobster thermidor I can never find the thermidor? Can one buy thermidor at the supermarket?

Over to you for the answers.

Wednesday 17 March 2021

Zoo Appeal


Why does the doorbell ring at the most inopportune time; when I'm busy doing something from which I do not want to be interrupted.  Like yesterday, whilst I was counting the dust bunnies. I had reached 137 when ...

Doorbell: Ding Dong Ding Dong.

Man at door: Hello Sir, sorry to disturb you. I am from the local zoo about three miles from here. Do you know it?

Yes ... yes ... I do ...

Well Sir, I am here in your area to ask people to support our Zoo Appeal.

Oh ... ehm ... yes OK ... let me get my wallet.

No Sir, that would not be necessary. Welcome as it is, thank you. The thing is, with the economic situation being what it is the zoo can no longer survive as a business entity. I regret that it will be closed down over the next few months.

Oh ... I'm sorry to hear that. We enjoyed visiting the zoo every now and then.

That's good to hear Sir. This is perhaps where you'd be able to help us. Would you be interested in buying one of our animals? They will be sold at the lowest price possible. Would you like a hippopotamus maybe? Or a rhino. We offer a reduction if you buy both.


A combined purchase of two or more animals will attract great price reductions. Almost 50% in some cases. 

You can't be serious! What would I do with a hippo? And where would I put him?

We can assist you with the building of a swimming pool large enough to accommodate the animal Sir.

I can't believe what I am hearing. Are you suggesting that I buy a fully grown beast from you?

You may prefer a smaller animal perhaps. A goat, or an iguana? A penguin or two maybe. We'll help build their pool too. Your neighbours down the road have already agreed to buy an elephant and a tiger.

A tiger? In a built up area? Is it safe to have wild animals in a built up area like here?

A colony of ants perhaps? They'll come in their own glass cages. Or Madagascar cockroaches, or a swarm or two of bees. You can make and sell your own honey.

No thank you! I do not want to buy any animals.

How about an orthopaedic bed then? We used it when the gorilla injured its hip. Would that be of interest? 

Tuesday 16 March 2021

Knowledge is useful ... sometimes


There is really no limit to the amount of research I do to bring interesting facts to my readers. My job is to inform and entertain.

Did you know, for instance, that the universe is for ever expanding. The universe is the term we use to encompass all that there is. All that exists. For example, all the planets, moons, stars, galaxies, solar systems and so on. Everything, put together in a big shopping bag, is the universe.

And it is for ever expanding. Don't ask me into what; because I don't know. If everything that exists is the universe then there is nothing outside it, so how can it expand into nothing that exists? Try that on your friends at your next party and they'll avoid you like a fart in a space suit.

Coming back to earth. Did you know that pigeons recognise you if you've been unkind to them? They recognise vivid colours that you wear. Say you are in a park wearing a yellow coat and you've shooed away a pigeon. The next day, if you're in the same park in the same coat and the same pigeon is there he'll recognise you and drop a deposit on you.

Have you ever dropped a wallet or purse? Did you get it back I wonder? A study was carried out and apparently a wallet with a lot of money in it is more likely to be handed in to the police than one with a little money, or no money at all. Also, there is a better, or lesser, chance of your wallet being handed in depending on which photos it contains. A wallet with a photo of a baby is more likely to be handed in than a wallet with photos of old people, or one's spouse, or a pet, or no photo at all. There seems to be a pecking order as to which photo is more likely to result in the wallet being returned to you. Mine contains a photo of a boomerang!

Did you know when a centipede is chased by a predator it cuts one of its legs and throws it at the predator? Whilst the predator is eating the leg the centipede runs away. Unfortunately, most centipedes eventually die when they return to look for their shoe.

Also, did you know that there is a species of dragonfly where the female pretends to be dead to avoid having sex with its partner? I bet a number of men can testify to similar experiences.

Also, somewhere in Europe there's a library with many ancient and very valuable books. So valuable that you are not allowed to touch them in case you ruin these very ancient documents. So they've decided to put all these documents on one Kindle type tablet; or better still on one USB stick. When they finish the transfer, there will be this huge ornate building totally empty with just one USB stick which you can borrow.

Are you aware that you must never go swimming after you've had a meal. My grandfather once went swimming straight after eating a burger and fries and was attacked by a shark. Luckily he survived because the shark was vegetarian.

You are more likely to be attacked by a hippopotamus than being bitten by a shark. That's because there are no sharks in the jungle. Unless you took one in your suitcase.

House flies have compound eyes made up of thousands of individual visual receptors, called ommatidia. When a fly lands on a mirror it says, "That's another way of looking at it!"

Also, did you know that silverfish can live for two to eight years unless you hit them hard with your shoe.

Did you know that you should not sleep with your head under the pillow otherwise the tooth fairy will take all your teeth away?

Finally, Marriage Guidance Counsellors report that generally husbands do not remember their mistakes. There is no point in both couple remembering the same thing. Also, husbands are best at keeping secrets because they never listen anyway. And archaeologists make the best marriage partners; the older you get the more interested they are in you.

I am very good at keeping secrets. Years ago friends of mine got married in secret in a far away town. They only invited very few well trusted friends like me. On the morning of the wedding I called a taxi at my hotel. The taxi driver asked me where I wanted to go and I did not tell him. He asked several times and I kept the secret safe with me. 

Monday 15 March 2021

The Graceful Lady


For the last three Sundays Father Ignatius noticed a new member of his congregation attending Mass and always sitting in the same place on the left of the Altar.

She was an elegantly dressed lady in her mid to late fifties. She took part in silent prayer throughout Mass and never came forward for Communion. At the end of Mass she got out of church without speaking with anyone and drove away in a nice new car. Not the sort of car you see often in St Vincent Church whose parishioners are mostly either out of work or earning a pittance in a job in the poorest town in the country.

Father Ignatius liked to wait in the car park after Mass and greet his parishioners as they came out of church. Yet he never managed to speak to this mysterious lady who always left just before the final hymn ended, and so avoided contact with him or any other parishioner.

This week however the repetitive saga would have a different outturn because Father Donald was offering Mass; so our resourceful priest decided to wait in the car park a few minutes before Mass ended and so have the opportunity to greet his mysterious new visitor.

As the elegant woman came out of church early Father Ignatius greeted her with a smile.

“Hello, I’m Father Ignatius … I don’t think we’ve met …” he said.

“Yes Father … how remiss of me …” she replied in a refined English accent, “perhaps we can meet somewhere and I’ll introduce myself …”

Father Ignatius was taken aback. He certainly did not expect such a response.

“Ehm … we can go in the Parish House” he mumbled.

“Excellent … lead on and I’ll follow” she smiled.

Minutes later they were both in the large lounge room downstairs in the Parish House. She sat on the armchair near the warm fireplace; the very chair the priest often used when watching TV or listening to his beloved classical music. He sat on the settee opposite her.

“I haven’t been attending your church for long," she started.

“You’re very welcome here …” he encouraged her.

“The truth is … I haven’t been to church for almost thirty years,” she continued, “but my husband died a month ago and I thought I’d come back …”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear it …” the priest sympathized.

“Sorry that I’ve come back to church or that my husband died?” she asked teasingly, and before the priest had time to reply she smiled and went on “oh … don’t worry Father, actually I’m glad he’s dead … I’ve cursed him often enough …”

Father Ignatius knew to say nothing and let her continue.

“We married some thirty two years ago to be precise and he left me for another woman after two years of marriage. We had a young son aged one year at the time. My husband moved to another part of the country to start a new life with his new lover and I haven’t seen him since.

“He provided generously for the up-bringing of our son. He was fairly wealthy and made arrangements for moneys to be regularly credited to my bank, yet he never made contact nor visited our son since the day he left.

“My son is grown-up now and married with two children of his own. And my husband and I never divorced.

“He went to live with his girl friend, and had two other children with her although he never married her. And last month he died in a car accident.

“I heard from his solicitors that he left money for our son and for me.

“And I cursed him once again … I never forgave him for the pain he’s caused me and that’s why I’ve not been to church ever since the day our marriage broke down!”

“Well, as I said, you’re very welcome here …” Father Ignatius replied encouragingly once again.

“I know it’s wrong not to forgive Father …” she continued as calmly as before, “but I just can’t. And that’s why I haven’t been to church for a long while.

“I don’t even know why I’m back in church now … for the past three weeks at least. Perhaps I’m hoping that God will give me a ‘get out of jail free’ card,” she smiled. “You know what I mean … He’d forgive my hatred for my husband yet let me continue to hate him.”

“I doesn’t work like that …” Father Ignatius said gently.

“Yes I know Father. You’d have thought that after all these years I would have moved on … but I haven’t …” she continued lighting a cigarette.

“That’s because the hurt caused to you all those years ago has not healed. For various reasons the pain has not been given time to subside and fade away. Memories perhaps remained too vividly alive and so fuelled your anger and made the pain worse,” he explained as quietly and gently as before.

“Anyway … that’s my story,” she smiled stubbing out her just lit cigarette in the ashtray, “I may or may not continue to come to church … but it’s been nice meeting you Father. You’re a very gentle and caring person, and I appreciate your kindness.”

“Let me ask you something …” Father Ignatius asked just as she was about to get up, “if your husband was alive today, and he was here right now, full of genuine remorse for the hurt he has caused you all these years. If he asked you to forgive him, knowing full well that there’s nothing he can do to turn back the clock and put things right. If he genuinely and truly asked you for forgiveness; would you find it in your heart to forgive him?”

“What an interesting question …” she replied, “yes … on reflection I think I would forgive him.”

“It’s too late for him to ask your forgiveness,” said the priest, “but it’s not too late for you to forgive him.

“For your own peace of mind … and for your own sake and salvation, you must forgive him once and for all. The memories and hurt may well linger on, but with true forgiveness will come healing and in time reconciliation with Our Lord.”

“I’ll try …” she said showing emotion for the first time.

“That’s all God is asking of you. And I’ll be here to help you if you need me …” he replied.

And that’s how a wounded soul finally managed to find peace and healing. She continued to attend Mass on Sundays and had several discussions with Father Ignatius and Father Donald over a period of time to make her way back to God.

Yesterday, she went to Confession and had Communion for the first time in over thirty years.