Thursday, 30 September 2021

Hello ... Hello ...

 

Hello ... Hello ... God?

God ... are you there?

Please pick up ... pick up ... don't put me on the answering machine!

Hello ... is that God? 

Hi ... I have called to say ... thank you!

MORAL: Be patient. Be thankful.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Just a thought towards God

 

There are many people who go throughout life without giving a thought towards God. It's simple really. Especially if they don't believe in God anyway. 

They get up each morning and get on with their daily life, however busy it may be, and God does not feature on their radar of existence. 

This often happens to so-called believers too. Life gets so busy that God is slowly, often unintentionally, relegated to the back of their minds until Sunday when they attend church for an hour or so.

If we start from the premise that God is a loving, caring, Father; then we realise that like any loving Father He likes to hear from His children every now and then. To tell Him how we are getting on in life. The difficult bits as well as the good days.

Every glance towards God, every thought, however fleeting and short in time, even as a cry for help, for us or on behalf of someone else, is a Divine connection with God. 

At that very instant when we turn to God, whatever the reason, we and God are united as one. Godly Father and child united in thought and in eternal love.

We cannot possibly imagine how much that means to God. To have one of His children turn to Him and devote even the shortest time available to be united in thanksgiving and genuine trust.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

The writing on the board

 

Once again Father Ignatius was teaching Catechism to the 5th Form at the local Catholic School. They were discussing the Commandment about respecting one’s parents and as one would expect the youngsters had plenty to say about that.

“It’s alright to have to respect our parents,” said a young girl, “but surely they should respect us too?”

“I suppose I understand,” replied the priest reassuringly, “can you elaborate on this?”

“Well …” she hesitated, “I am fifteen years old and I don’t think I should be told what time I have to be home by …”

“What does anyone else think?” asked Father Ignatius.

“I agree …” replied another young girl, “my parents are just the same. They insist I’m at home by 9.30; can you imagine that? 9.30!!!”

“It’s their way of exerting power” said one of the boys, “my parents always think they know better …”

“That’s right …” added another lad, “my father has banned me from visiting the disco in town. It’s not fair!”

The priest let the youngsters vent their frustrations for a few minutes, and then he got up from his desk and moved towards the blackboard.

This had the desired effect of shutting them up for a while. He then picked up a piece of chalk and wrote on the board in big letters:

“IT’S NOT FAIR”

And proceeded to sit down once again.

After a few seconds silence he said in a soft voice, “I’ve heard many of you say it’s not fair just now … do you agree?”

“Yeah !!!” said one or two of them.

“I can understand that …” continued Father Ignatius, “from your perspective it may seem not fair that your parents impose certain restrictions on you. Perhaps it’s because the reasons for the restrictions have not been explained to you … but no matter for now.

“I would like if I may to explore the statement ‘It’s not fair.’ Can we do that do you think?”

They nodded in agreement. They had a lot of respect for his kind approach and the way he sympathized with their situation.

“No one has ever said that life is fair” continued the priest, “or meant to be fair even.

“What we perceive as fairness in our eyes may not be so to someone else.

“I visited a few of our parishioners in hospital yesterday. There was a young boy of twelve with an incurable illness. That’s not fair … the chances are he will not make it to his next birthday and his parents were totally distraught.

“I also met the family of a man in a coma. He had been injured in a road accident and has been unconscious ever since. No one knows when or if he will recover. The family is now short of cash and they may well lose their home. That’s not fair.

“Every other day or so, I hear of someone in our Parish being made redundant, and losing their job because of the current economic situation. They’ve done nothing wrong and they’re now on the street. That’s not fair.”

He stopped as he noticed one of the girls upfront getting a little tearful.

“What I’m trying to say …” he said gently after a short pause, “is that I sympathize entirely with you. You see your parents actions as unfair, yet perhaps you miss the point that they do what they do out of love for you. It is because they care.

“I had similar problems with my parents when I was young. My father was a farmer and as you’d expect he brought vegetables fresh from the land home for dinner. And like many a young child, I hated vegetables. Especially spinach … it looked like boiled grass!”

They laughed in unison.

“But they made me eat my vegetables … it’s not fair!”

They laughed again.

“And talking of fairness …” went on Father Ignatius, “I read that an innocent man has been falsely arrested, beaten up and tortured, and nailed to a Cross to die.

“Now that’s really not fair.

“You can read all about it in the Bible.”

He paused again to gauge the situation before continuing.

“So whilst I understand how you feel about your parents and the way they restrict you sometimes, I urge you please to accept it in obedience for the sake of Jesus who did so much for you. And still does.

“Is that a deal?” he asked with a smile.

And as always, his gentle loving empathy gained him their respect and sincere appreciation.

Monday, 27 September 2021

Conversation between God and St Francis

 

GOD to ST. FRANCIS:

 Frank, you know all about gardens and nature.  What in the world is going on down there on the planet?  What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago?  I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan.  Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon.  The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds.  I expected to see a vast garden of colours by now.  But, all I see are these green rectangles.

ST. FRANCIS:

 It's the tribes that settled there, Lord.  The Suburbanites.  They started calling your flowers 'weeds' and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD:

 Grass?  But, it's so boring.  It's not colourful.  It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms.  It's sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there? 

ST. FRANCIS:

Apparently so, Lord.  They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green.  They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn

GOD:

The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS:

Apparently not, Lord.  As soon as it grows a little, they cut it, sometimes twice a week.

GOD:

They cut it?  Do they then bale it like hay? 

ST. FRANCIS:

Not exactly, Lord.  Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD:

They bag it?  Why?  Is it a cash crop?  Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS:

No, Sir, just the opposite.  They pay to throw it away.

GOD:

Now, let me get this straight.  They fertilize grass so it will grow.  And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away? 

ST. FRANCIS:

Yes, Sir. 

GOD:

These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat.  That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS:

You aren't going to believe this, Lord.  When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD:

What nonsense.  At least they kept some of the trees.  That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself.  The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer.  In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes.  It's a natural cycle of life.

ST. FRANCIS:

You better sit down, Lord.  The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle.  As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD:

No!?  What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose? 

ST. FRANCIS:

After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch.  They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves. 

GOD:

And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS:

They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch. 

GOD:

Enough!  I don't want to think about this anymore.  St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts.  What movie have you scheduled for us tonight? 

ST. CATHERINE:

'Dumb and Dumber', Lord.  It's a story about.... 

GOD:

Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Not one of us

 


John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us."

Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward". Mark 9:38-41.

I suppose it is in our human nature to say that someone does not belong to us because he does not believe what we believe.

What Jesus is teaching us here is that if we truly believe in Him, the Son of God, then we can’t possibly be against Him.

Yet, two thousand years later we still differentiate between our denomination and that of others. We say that we believe in this, and they believe in that. We know we are right, and they must be wrong because …

Instead of rejoicing in what unites us, we waste time arguing and debating on what divides us.

Jesus also said: “In my Father’s house are many rooms …” John 14:2.

I’ve just realized why. It is to put each denomination in a separate room so He can have some peace and quiet without our incessant arguing.

Saturday, 25 September 2021

The Sword

 

 

The sword

May have aged and rusted

But it’s still

As sharp as ever.

Honed in bitterness and bile

As perilous as ever

It was.

And for ever

Will be.

Do not let

Your anger

Spill into your life.

This poem came to mind out of the blue. I guess it has some meaning to someone somewhere.

Friday, 24 September 2021

Gregory Pantyhose the Third

 

I remember the first time I met Gregory Pantyhose the Third. He was Scottish by descent on his mother’s side, and either Greek or Scandinavian by descent on his father’s side, depending on the lucidity of his mother’s memory. 

I don't know why they called him Pantyhose the Third. Maybe it was a miss-pronounciation of his real name; which I never knew anyway. He never corrected anyone calling him Pantyhose.

He always had a yesterday face. That is, he looked like he would have looked yesterday. A semi-unshaven face, like he did not shave this morning, greyish face. He obviously did shave, otherwise he would have a beard, but even though he shaved he always had a grey face as if he was about to grow a beard.

I told him I was studying the mating habits of the silverfish.

“How interesting,” he said feigning sincerity.

“Did you know,” I continued, “that the silverfish eat sugar and starch?"

He smiled and said nothing. It was difficult trying to get him interested in anything. Not to be discouraged I went on to explain, "Also, did you know that silverfish can be taught to walk in a single file if you play military music to them?"

That seemed to spark an interest because I saw his eyebrow raise for a split second.

"They live for two to eight years unless you hit them hard with a book," I remarked. 

He smiled.

So I said, "before silverfish reproduce, they carry out a complicated ritual which may last over half an hour without the need of a relaxing drink beforehand or soft music and lights in the background. 

"First the male and female stand face to face, then repeatedly back off and return to this position.

"In the second phase, the male runs away and the female chases him. Well that makes a change, I suppose.

"In the third phase, the silverfish have some privacy together."

"How interesting," he said again, this time with a little more sincerity, "reminds me of my Mom!"

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Jigsaw puzzles

In my spare time I like to do jigsaw puzzles. It's a great pastime trying to figure out where all the pieces go to complete the picture on the box cover.

As an additional challenge, I like to do jigsaw puzzles in total darkness. I just feel the shape of the pieces and put them together to make up the picture. When I switch the lights on I have there a masterpiece Picasso or Salvador DalĂ­ would be proud of.

I do hate it though when I leave a puzzle half-done and someone else comes in and puts some pieces in their proper place. Why can't they do their own puzzles? It's like people finishing your own sentences for you when you speak.

I remember the very first puzzle I bought. It was a one-piece puzzle. You opened the box and there was a one-piece that looked exactly like the picture on the cover. Basically, it was a picture in a box. Not much skill needed but it was a start. I bought a couple of dozens of such puzzles until I got the hang of it.

Then I progressed to a two-pieces puzzle. I opened the box, took out a piece and put it on the table. I was distracted by the phone ringing. When I got back someone had taken the second piece out and completed the puzzle for me. I was really disappointed. I put both pieces back in the box. Shuffled them a few times and then started the puzzle again by taking one piece out and placing it on the table. 

I was distracted by the phone again. This time I took the box with the other piece with me to stop anyone completing the puzzle for me.

I have now progressed to many pieces puzzles. One hundred and even five hundred pieces.

Life can be a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, you know. 

Full of doubts, fears, frustrations and confusions … as well as good times too. 

If we were to put God right in the middle of our life our jigsaw puzzle would be complete. And what a wonderful picture it would make!