Monday, 25 September 2023

Art Series - Titian - Paintings


SANDI - a reader of this Blog, suggested I research and write about Titian in this series about Art. You can visit Sandi HERE.

Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio, or Titian in English, was born somewhere between 1488 and 1490 (must have been a long pregnancy!) and died on 27 August 1576.

You can see above his self portray. Considering it is in profile, he must have had a cricked neck turning round every few minutes to look himself in the mirror. Although some art experts believe he got a friend to take a Polaroid photo and he painted from that. This theory is disputed by other camera manufacturers.

He was very versatile painting portraits, landscape backgrounds and mythological and religious subjects and was famous for his use of colour - no black and white monochromes from good old Titian. It is said that he preferred to paint in red. This is because the paint was cheaper than any other colour - 53 cents a can compared to 56 cents for other colours.

Another peculiarity of Titian is that he liked to paint round about 3 o'clock.

Here's a painting of his known as "The Man with a Quilted Sleeve" which he completed in 1509 - the painting that is, not the sleeve. Just after 3 o'clock.

And here's another Titian painted in 1515 (quarter past three) known as "Portrait d'une Femme à sa Toilette"; which does not mean a woman in the toilet, but in English has been translated as "Woman with a Mirror".

This next painting was completed a little later in 1550 (ten to four). It is entitled "Venus and Organist and Little Dog". 

A most intriguing scene indeed. Venus has just finished the housework and wants to relax after a long day of cleaning, cooking and doing the washing up. 

She wants to listen to some music, so she takes all her clothes off and lies on the bed and calls in one of her minions and asks him to play the piano.

As you can see, the pianist is somewhat distracted and, because he knows the tune to "how much is that doggie in the window" by heart, he decides to take a swift look round for further inspiration whilst the lady is occupied with the dog.

The dog yaps to warn the lady, whereupon she casually says to the man, "Keep your eyes on your organ please. And whilst you're at it, would you mind drawing the curtains. I don't want anyone outside to see my behind!"

Further suggestions from my readers for artists to be researched and posted here are welcome.

Friday, 22 September 2023

Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of God


By Victor S E Moubarak
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8859440399

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles strive after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. (Matthew 6:31-33)

It is understandable that in a busy and ever-changing world demanding so much of our time, our attention and our resources, that we tend to lose focus and concentrate so much on life in the here-and-now rather than reflect on our spiritual life and its future into eternity. With the waning of spirituality people turn their attention to materialistic things, possessions, instant gratification and pleasure; because their concentration and focus is on the present rather than a spiritual future which they might not believe in.

This book may not change your life. It is not meant to. Not by itself. But hopefully it will make you stop and think where your life is going. Where is it heading. What is your focus in life? 
It is right and prudent to be responsible and to use one’s talents to improve our lot and that of our loved ones. We all have personal responsibilities towards ourselves and others. But that should not be our only focus in life.

“Keep your mind set on the things that are in Heaven, not on things here on earth.” (Colossians 3).
 TOPICS DISCUSSED: Peace. Forgiveness. Fear of God. Need for Prayer. Who will be saved. A selfish God? Does your faith measure up?
These and other topics are discussed in a clear and easy to read style to make you think and ... make your own mind up.

Thursday, 21 September 2023

Art Series - Rodin - The Thinker

A lot has already been said and written about Rodin's statue The Thinker. So a little bit more will do no harm.

The work depicts a nude man sitting on a rock. I thought it was a toilet but I am assured it is a rock.

He is seen leaning over, his right elbow placed on his left thigh, holding the weight of his chin on the back of his right hand. The pose is one of deep thought and contemplation. I thought it was constipation. But I am assured it is not so.

Let's consider the pose. It must be uncomfortable leaning forwards with your right elbow on your left thigh. Try it.

I did and fell off my chair bringing down the computer keyboard and mouse too. 

Why not lean forwards naturally with your right elbow on your right thigh?

And why sit naked? It must be very cold on one's posterior sitting like that on a rock. And how about ants? Very uncomfortable, I should say, if they start hunting around about one's privacy.

But what intrigues me the most is, what is this man thinking about?

The cost of living? Global warming? Saving the planet? The rate of inflation? Interest rates? Or where the heck has he put his clothes?

Join the discussion art lovers. Tell us what you think.

And suggest more subjects to be studied and discussed in this Art Series.

Tuesday, 19 September 2023

Thank you, Martha


 I have a number of lovely and kind readers on this Blog who, over the years, have become good friends, even though we never met.

Every so often, one of you surprises me with your kindness and generosity of spirit. 

Today, it is Martha Orlando to whom I am very grateful for her loyal support  and encouragement of my writings. Not only does she post lovely reviews on AMAZON about my books but she has also featured one of them on her Blog.

Martha is herself and accomplished writer - author of A Trip, a Tryst and a Terror, Children in the Garden, The Moment of Truth, Revenge!, Redemption, and Revelation, all available on Amazon.
So to have such an expert mentioning my books is an honour indeed.
Thank you so much and God bless you and your family, Martha. I'm very grateful.
Please visit Martha's Blog, now and often. You will not regret it.
She can be reached if you CLICK HERE

Monday, 18 September 2023



I found a few photos of us when we were kids. This is me above. I did not have a beard then. We were a group of friends from school and church.

There was Bald Basilica Ben. We called him that because he had a head like the dome at the Vatican. I remember at school when the nun, Sister Crumply Face ... we called her that because she had a lot of wrinkles on her face ... like a bed in the morning when it has not been made up ...

Anyway ... when Sister Crumply Face finished the Religion class she said, "let us pray like Jesus taught us."

Bald Basilica Ben said, "I did not know Jesus had a tortoise!"

She sent him to the Headmaster for a good talking to. He was called, Mr Limp ... on account that this was his real name and unfortunately he walked with a limp on account of a motorbike accident when he was young. 

Apparently, he searched the Bible and could not find any reference to Jesus having a tortoise. So he told Bald Basilica Ben that Sister Crumply Face was perhaps mistaken when she said "let us pray like Jesus' tortoise!"

Another school friend in the photos was Pest Control Pete. We called him that because once in class he broke wind and the smell was so strong the teacher had to open the window. He said there's a smell here that would obliterate rats for miles around. I had to look up the word obliterate in the dictionary. From that day we called Peter "Pest Control Pete".

The teacher did not know who broke wind in class. We called him Mr Car Doors. He was called Mr Cartwright, but we called him Car Doors on account that he had sticking out ears like a car with its doors open. On a windy day he would revolve round like a ballerina doing a pirouette ... or a revolving hotel door.

Then there was another kid called Fungus Face. We called him that because once we dared him to eat an onion. He took a bite and made a funny face holding back the tears trying to be brave. He kept the onion bits in his mouth for a while and then spat them out on Steve. It was so funny. Steve was covered in onion bits and saliva. So from then we called him Spat-On Steve.

There was also Harry; we called him Grass Eater because he liked boiled cabbage when we had school lunches. In those days, the teacher said grace before we started eating. I doubt it happens now in schools. I used to hate tapioca. We used to call it frogs spawn because it looked like little balls of jelly. We used to like spotted dick though ... do you know what that is?  

Did you have a funny name when you were young? Or now?

I was called Professor, because when I got my glasses the priest said I looked like a Professor.

Saturday, 16 September 2023



Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?”

“No, not seven times,” answered Jesus, “but seventy times seven ..." Matthew 18:21 onwards.

By my calculations this makes 490 times. I've forgiven someone 489 times; so they're getting very close to a thump on the head!  

Seriously though, Jesus is teaching us here to forgive any wrongdoings against us time and again. But what is forgiveness?

It is to accept the wrongdoing done to us and not to seek any revenge, retribution, punishment, pay-back of any ill-will against the one who hurt us. To just let him go freely. Whether he has asked for forgiveness or not. Whether he cares for our forgiveness or not. Just let him go and in your heart truly forgive him.

This does not necessarily mean reconciliation. There are times when reconciliation is not possible, nor advisable. Just let the person go freely in peace.

Also, this does not mean that the hurt will go away. Often the hurt will remain with you. The slightest memory, and the pain and the hurt of the wrongdoing done to you will return. Use this as a trigger to forgive once again. Whenever Jesus sees the wounds in His hands, feet and side He forgives once again. Be like Jesus.

When the bad memories come back pray for the one who hurt you. You cannot possible hate anyone you pray for.

And should you hear news or gossip that something bad has happened to the one who has hurt you, do not rejoice at his misfortune. This nullifies all your forgiveness.    

If the person who has hurt you has passed away, He is now in the sight of God and has seen the event in all its facets and his role, and yours, in it. The matter is between him and God now.

If you were in any way guilty in the event, ask God for forgiveness and earnestly repent for your part in it. 

And accept God's forgiveness. Don't keep going back on the events and wonder if you've been forgiven, and feel guilty all over again. By doing so you're insulting God by suggesting He hasn't truly forgiven you.

Now ... have you got a calculator?

Thursday, 14 September 2023

Be Thou My Vision



Tuesday, 12 September 2023

I have sinned


It was another Saturday morning and Father Ignatius made his way into the confessional and sat there praying silently.

It was one of those old fashioned wooden confessionals consisting of a large cubicle into which he sat and at either side of him there was a little window covered by a thick curtain. On the other side of the window his parishioners would kneel to confess their sins; alternating one on the left and one on the right.

He was half-way through reciting the Hail Mary when he heard two people kneeling at either side of him. He leant to his right and said quietly “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

This was his signal for the person at the other side of the curtain to start his confession.

At first he had two or three young children confessing their usual “I have been naughty … I disobeyed my parents … I forgot to say my evening prayers …” type of sins.

These were then followed by a few adults with more mature sins to confess. Nothing too serious though like murder or robbing a bank; but the usual sins he had heard times before perfectly symbolizing the frailty of human nature and the tendency to fail again and again at the same stumbling block.

It got to the point that, over the years, he got to recognize his parishioners by their voices and he could foretell their litany of sins before they even started speaking.

“Ah … it’s Mrs Salter once again …” he would think, “and here comes that same old sin once more … it’s like going to the doctor for a repeat prescription for the same old ailments!”

He would yet again, gently and with love and sympathy, dispense his words of wisdom before absolving her and mete out a penance.

And Mrs Salter would be followed by Mrs James … and Mr Collins … and so on and so forth … all religiously kneeling beside him confessing, more out of habit rather than determination, the same old sins week in and week out.

He’d fantasized that one day he’d stop one of his parishioners before they started and he’d say, “Now let me guess … you’ve done this and that once again this week … and you’ve also done this …”

Of course, Father Ignatius would never sully the sanctity of the Confession by doing such a thing, but the thought had crossed his mind many a time. Besides, if he did such a thing they’d probably think he was a mind-reader … and that would be worse for his reputation!

One Sunday morning he resolved to address the problem head on; but he had to do it with kindness and diplomacy.

He approached the lectern and said:

“I love ginger marmalade!”

Well … that certainly focused his parishioners’ attention.

“I have ginger marmalade on toast for breakfast every morning,” he continued, “sometimes Mrs Davenport, our kind and very helpful housekeeper, only serves me two slices of toast for breakfast …

“So I wait when she's not looking and sneak into the kitchen for two more slices!”

Mrs Davenport frowned in the front pew as the congregation laughed.

“Mrs Davenport says that I am putting on weight …” said Father Ignatius, “and it’s true that when I stand on the weighing machine it confirms what she says …

“So I have resolved to do something about it …

“From now on, I promise to stop weighing myself!”

The congregation laughed again. The priest waited until they’d settled down before going on.

“You see … ginger marmalade is my weakness. You may call it my sin.

“No matter how much I try … I always weaken and have some more. Sometimes I serve a little bit more marmalade than I need on my plate; and then, having finished the toast, all four slices, I enjoy the extra marmalade by itself …

“But this is not my only sin of course. I confess many others to Father Donald and Monsignor Thomas when he visits here …

“Now I don’t know about you … but I find that I frequently seem to confess the same sins I committed before …

“Just like ginger marmalade … the wily old devil seems to know my weakness and he tricks me yet again into the same sins.

“Do you remember I wonder when the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught committing adultery?

“Now that was a whopper of a sin! Not just an extra spoon of ginger marmalade … was it?”

The congregation laughed.

“And according to Jewish law she had to be stoned to death for that sin,” continued Father Ignatius gently.

“Now we’re told in the Gospel of John that Jesus wrote in the sand with His finger.

“We’re not told what He wrote … I guess He wrote ‘Dear God … will they never learn?’

“But that’s not important … what is important is that after He said let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone … and when they all left one by one … Jesus turned to the woman and asked ‘Is there no one left to condemn you?’

“She said ‘No one …’

“And Jesus replied ‘I do not condemn you either. Go, but do not sin again.’ ”

Father Ignatius paused for a few moments.

“Go, but do not sin again,” he repeated.

“Now Jesus did not mean do not sin any sin whatsoever ever again for the rest of your life …

“He knew that that would be impossible. The woman was human, and it is natural that she would sin again.

“Jesus knows our human nature and He knows that we are liable to sin again and again …

“What Jesus said to the woman is, do not commit that particular sin again … it is serious enough to get you into a lot of trouble with the Pharisees as well as with God Himself.

“And that’s what Jesus is saying to us today …

“He knows we are weak … He knows that we will sin … which is why we have the Holy Sacrament of Confession.

“By saying ‘do not sin again’ Jesus is warning us to beware of those particular sins which are serious enough to lead us into damnation, and into an eternity of exclusion from our Father in Heaven.

“As we prepare for our weekly confession we need to consider carefully the seriousness of our sins. Which ones are ginger marmalade sins; and which ones are grave enough to exclude us from God’s ever lasting love.

“In our propensity to sin, God is loving and caring enough to forgive us again and again.

“But with our confession there should also be remorse and guilt for what we have done. Confession should not be just a laborious recitation of the same old sins; and a futile exercise which serves no one and certainly does not fool God Himself.

“Without true remorse, and a genuine resolve not to repeat our sins; then confession means nothing. And it would be better not to come to confession at all. At least that is honest in the eyes of God." 

Excerpt from


Sunday, 10 September 2023

Wherever you go ... I will be with you


Wherever you go I shall go.
Wherever you live so shall I live.
Your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God too.
Wherever you die, I shall die,
and there shall I be buried beside you.
We will be together forever,
and our love will be the gift of our life.

I want to say something to all of you
who have become a part
of the fabric of my life.
The color and texture
which you have brought into my being
have become a song,
and I want to sing it forever.
There is an energy in us
which makes things happen
when the paths of other persons
touch ours
and we have to be there
and let it happen.
When the time
of our particular sunset comes
our thing, our accomplishment,
won’t really matter a great deal.
But the clarity and care
with which we have loved others
will speak with vitality
of the great gift of life
we have been for each other.
Wherever you go I shall go.
Wherever you live so shall I live.
Your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God too.

Wherever you die, I shall die,
and there shall I be buried beside you.
We will be together forever,
and our love will be the gift of our life.


Friday, 8 September 2023

At the vet ...


I went to see the vet. My pet mosquito was not well. I took it in a jar. The vet told me to sit on the couch. I told her I'm not allowed on the couch. She asked me what was the problem. I told her I keep thinking I'm a dog. She asked when did this start. I told her since I was a puppy.

She asked about the mosquito. I told her it's not feeling well. I let it out in the garden at night to go fend for itself and feed. It comes back in the morning exhausted and gasping for breath. It's losing weight.

She asked me how do I know. I said I weigh her on the bathroom scales. First me and the mosquito on my finger. Then me alone. And I subtract the two weights and the difference is the mosquito.

I said I think the mosquito is not eating any more. She said it's probably become vegetarian. It happens sometimes. People decide not to eat meat any more. And mosquitoes are people, aren't they? This one has probably gone vegetarian and will not take blood.

How can this be possible, I asked her. Seems strange, she said, but the other day she had a lion here who would only eat lettuce. I asked her what she did. She replied "lettuce prey!" 

Then she explained that she also had a claustrophobic tortoise. It was too afraid to go into its shell. She operated and gave the tortoise a new shell made of glass. Now it goes in and thinks it is out.

Also a goldfish which would not swim because water got in its eyes. So she designed special goggles for it and now it swims happily.

And an eagle with a fear of heights. He would just hop along and not fly. So she taught him to eat worms.

How about my mosquito, I asked. She said she wanted to take its blood pressure but did not know which arm or leg to use. Besides, does a vegetarian mosquito have blood?

I suggested a blood transfusion. She said her assistant Rocky had a compatible blood type; but try taking blood out of a stone!

I left totally dejected, although I did not know what it meant. So I bought a dictionary on the way home. It was a French dictionary so I can now always find the mot juste. 

Last night I let my mosquito go as usual. This morning it returned with another mosquito. It was in love all along. So I composed a love song for them ...

Knock knock
Who's there?
Amos who?
A mosquito

Knock knock
Who's there?
Anna who?
Another mosquito

Knock knock
Who's there?
Wherzee who?
Where zee blazes are all zeese mosquitoes eez coming from?
(French accent from French dictionary)

Wednesday, 6 September 2023

This and that ...


Not much to report today. I thought I might as well touch base and say hello to my (few) readers. Did you know ... if each reader here invites another reader we'd have more readers here. It's simple mathematics.

I'm good at mathematics. I rang our radio station recently. They ran a competition to attract new listeners; just like me trying to attract new readers. They said "on air" - Congratulations. You are our first caller today. Just answer a simple question and you win our grand prize!

I was overwhelmed and beside myself at the same time. I asked, "What's the prize?"

They said, "It's a simple mathematics question. Get it right and you win two VIP tickets to a Justin Bieber concert and you get to meet him backstage afterwards. What is 2+2?"

I replied, "7".

Anyway, back to more mundane matters. We went to the zoo last week. We had visitors from overseas and as a treat we went to an open-air zoo. The animals are not in cages but they are left to roam free in large enclosures and the public gets to see them as if they're in the wild.

I don't particularly like zoos. I think zoos should only contain a few animals - the lion, tiger, monkey, elephant and giraffe. No need for any more. That's all that people are interested in. Who cares about the horned toad or the lesser spotted butterfly? Just put the few animals I mentioned in a zoo and that's all you need.

As I was saying, we went to the zoo. Whilst there my mother-in-law got bitten by a snake. What a tragedy that was. We all panicked. We called the zoo keepers, they called the medics, who called an ambulance ... sadly, after a couple of hours of horrible writhing agony the snake died.

On the way out we called at the gift shop. They had the usual selection of toys. Cuddly bears, lions, tigers and all sorts of animals which you can cuddle and take with you to bed if you are that way inclined. I asked the shop assistant, "Have you got a toy mosquito?"

She looked puzzled. I explained, "I'm not interested in a toy lion or tiger ... I want a mosquito, or perhaps a fly ... they are animals too you know. I saw one on a rotting apple in the monkey's enclosure. Why do you have toy monkeys but not toy flies?"

She called security so we left hurriedly.

Ironically, as we were leaving I got bitten by an insect at the back of the neck. It got inflamed and very sore. We drove to the nearest medical centre. As a precaution they gave me several injections in my bottom ... just in case ... not Justin Bieber.

Which goes to prove: Always wear clean underwear because you never know when you'll show your backside to perfect strangers.

Monday, 4 September 2023

Missing me missing you


If you have never tried something, or known that something exists, then you will not miss it in your life. If I said to you have you tried VIC M drinks or foods, and you have never heard of such products then you will not miss them in your life if you never knew about them.

I believe we have now reached a situation in world history where a large number of people do not know anything about the existence of God. They may have heard about Him, but never got to know Him or experience His existence and love. So how can they possibly miss Him in their lives?

Modern lives are busy and full of distractions, concerns, worries, ambitions, goals and many other things good as well as bad on which to focus our attention.

We just do not have time for God. To search for Him, to learn about Him, and to get to know Him.

If He is not in our lives we can hardly miss Him.

Until one day when we get to meet Him face to face. And then it will be too late.

Because then we will get to really know Who God is, we would experience and witness His infinite love for His creations and yet we would have willingly excluded ourselves from this eternal love.

All because we did not take the time to find Him in this life. 


Saturday, 2 September 2023

The age of distraction


We are at the age of distraction. Never has there been so many temptations and diversions to take our attentions away from ... ... ... whatever we really want to do.

It's as if the devil is in full production to keep our mind occupied in any thing else than what is important for us and our leading a good life.

Take for example the choices we have when shopping. Have you considered how many types and brands of ice creams there are available? The other day in the supermarket I discovered Gin and Tonic ice cream. There were other drinks too. I don't mean G and T flavour but actual gin in it. It even had a warning not to be sold to under 18s and it stated on the packet the amount of alcohol in it.

Why would someone want to have an ice cream at home with alcohol in it? And if this is your particular weakness, why not buy ordinary ice cream and pour whatever drink you wish on it?

Think of other products too; like toothpaste, soap, clothing, shoes and so on. So many different kinds and types and brands to choose from.

Same with entertainment. So many TV channels, plus those you subscribe to, and those you download on your cell phones etc ... etc ...

The other day on the bus almost everyone was distracted on their cell-phones. Who are they texting to, and what did they do before cell-phones were invented?

I have a cell-phone, almost always switched off. When I'm at home, if people want to contact me they can ring the land-line. If I'm busy in the garden, or cooking, or writing this Blog I put the answering machine on. I don't want to rush out of the shower to answer the phone and scandalise the dog.

You know something? In all these years I have not had one world leader, religious person like the Pope, eminent doctor or scientist or whatever else, ring me urgently to ask for my views or opinion on anything. Anyone who phoned me needing something left a message on the answering machine.

Same with the cell-phone. Always off. I take it with me when out in case I have to contact someone. The other day I switched it on and discovered a message that's been left there years ago. It was Julius Caesar asking me to lend him my ear. I told him to go buy his own.

The point I'm trying to make here is that the devil enjoys distractions. It keeps us away from God. We look the other way and get interested in something else. Be it entertainment, food, self-importance, fashion, music or whatever.

Any distraction is a good distraction if it stops us from praying. If it stops us from thinking of God. If it stops us contacting Him, loving Him, serving Him, or spreading His Word amongst others. 

Better for the seeds from the sower to go to waste rather than fall on good ground. 

The age of distraction is here. And the devil is having a good time.

Thursday, 31 August 2023

Sistine Chapel

 You may or you may not have seen this before. A tour of the Sistine Chapel from the comfort of you home. Just follow the instructions at the bottom of your screen HERE.

Wednesday, 30 August 2023

I'll never understand women ...


I may have mentioned it before, I'll never understand women.

As we were going out yesterday my wife pointed at the neighbours and said, "Just look at that couple down the road, how lovely they are. He keeps holding her hand, kissing her, holding the door for her, why can’t you do the same?"
I replied, "Are you mad? I barely know that woman!"

I got the silent treatment all the way into town. It was a good drive and helped me concentrate.

It has long been held as a theory that women can multi-task better than men. Now I am not sure whether this is true, but I have often been in situations where my wife is sitting beside me reading the road map and at the same time telling me that I am driving too fast, too close to the car in front and to watch out for that cyclist. Sometimes she tells me to turn left and the GPS navigation system lady tells me to turn right. I obey the GPS lady and get the silent treatment - from both of them!

Some women worry about their figure and putting on weight. A recent study discovered that women who carry a little extra weight, live longer than the men who mention it.

When wearing a bikini, women reveal 90% of their body. Men are so polite they only look at the covered parts.

Do any men reading this find women sometimes strange? Tell us of your experiences. Ladies too ... tell us why you are strange ... (ooops ... joke ... sorry)

My wife is strange. Her behaviour was very strange the other day. 

It was about 11:30 at night when suddenly my wife shouted, "Golf ... Golf ... Golf ... That's all you speak about. That's all you do. Golf ... Always golf!"

I tell you. It was out of the blue, and I was startled out of my life. I never expected to see her on the golf course at that time of night. I was practising quietly and there she was. Shouting at the top of her voice.

I'll never understand women.

Tuesday, 29 August 2023

John's Legacy


A man wandering in the desert, dressed in clothes made of camel hair, and eating locusts and wild honey. (Mark 1:4-8).

Not exactly sartorial elegance. More of an eccentric if you ask me.

Yet this was a man with a mission.

His mission – to tell everyone about Jesus. To prepare them for His arrival.

His name – John, the Baptist. In case you confuse him with another John.

An outspoken man who feared no one in his quest to do what God had asked him. He even dared to criticize the king, and paid dearly with his life for doing so. (Mark 6:14-29).

His legacy to us?

Courage and Obedience.

Despite living in dangerous times, this man had courage to speak out and tell the world about Jesus; and dared tell the King that he was wrong.

How often are we presented with the opportunity to speak about God, about our religion and our Christianity. Do we shy away and miss a good opportunity to witness for our Lord? Or have we got a tiny fraction of John’s courage? And obedience?

Monday, 28 August 2023

What Peter said is important


When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then He ordered His disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah. Matthew 16:13-20

What Peter said here is very important. Or, to be precise, what Jesus replied is very important.

"... this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven."

This is affirmation, by God, through the Holy Spirit, that Jesus is His Son. Jesus is the Son of God.

When Peter uttered these words, it was not Peter the man talking, but the Holy Spirit talking through him. The Holy Spirit inspired Peter to say what he did say. It was not just a man babbling or repeating what he'd heard Jesus say. It was the Holy Spirit declaring through Peter who Jesus is.

Let us understand this and not misquote it many years later.  

Today, many people believe Jesus was a good teacher, a healer, a prophet, a kind man; but how many openly declare that He is the Son of God?

It is not the first time the Holy Spirit inspired people to say what they say. At Pentecost, the Apostles and others were gathered together in a house in fear of the authorities. Suddenly there was a mighty sound and flames of fire on their heads. The Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity, descended on them and became one with their very souls.

Their soul and the Holy Spirit were one. And this union of the human and the Divine manifested itself in many ways. For a start they all had the courage to speak up. They were no longer afraid. These very people who days before had ran away when Jesus was arrested, suddenly gained new courage given them by the Holy Spirit.
They knew the truth about Jesus and His Resurrection and they were no longer afraid to keep the secret to themselves. They had the courage to stand up and shout their truth to all willing to hear. They were not afraid of the consequences. They spoke out in many languages to the crowds gathered there.

The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Old Testament to write what they did and to predict the coming of Christ. Did you know there are more than 300 predictions about Jesus in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in His life? Some He had no control over; like where He would be born, and the manner of His death and Resurrection.

Today, the Holy Spirit speaks to and inspires people like you and me. Have you ever had a thought in your head, or said something, or written something, and sometimes later you wondered where such thoughts came from? Could the Holy Spirit be talking to you?

There's a big difference between you having your own thoughts, and God speaking to you through the Holy Spirit.

When God speaks to you, He makes sure you know it is Him speaking.

Saturday, 26 August 2023

Confrontation for Father Ignatius


Father Ignatius sat down in his compartment and prepared for the long journey ahead. It was one of those old fashioned trains with separate compartments seating eight people per cubicle facing each other. Luckily, this compartment was empty so the priest took out his book and started reading. It was dark outside and it had begun to snow.

Just as the train started pulling out of the station a man in his thirties entered the compartment and sat opposite the priest.

“It’s cold outside …” he said blowing in his hands to keep them warm.

“Isn’t it just!” smiled the priest.

The man sat down, crossed his arms to keep warm and started to tap his feet gently. Father Ignatius ignored him and continued reading.

A few moments later the man got up and started fiddling with the heating control in the compartment. He turned it to the left, then again to the right, and then he put his hand against the air vents.

“I’m sure these controls are only here for show,” he said, “they don’t work at all. They put them here to make you think you’re in control. But you’re in control of nothing on these trains I tell you!”

At this precise moment the train must have crossed a point as it tilted slightly off-balancing the man who fell back into his seat.

Father Ignatius bit his lip to stop him from laughing.

“Eternal damnation …” cursed the man … followed by “oops … sorry … I shouldn’t have sworn … you’re a priest aren’t you?”

“Yes I am,” replied Father Ignatius.

The man sat down peevishly for a few moments, rubbing his hands against each other to the sound of the train moving slowly on the rails. Clackety clack … clackety clack … clackety clack.

“So you’re a priest …” declared the man after a few minutes silence. It was obvious that Father Ignatius was not meant to read his book right now. He looked up and smiled.

“So what would you say to an atheist like me?” continued the man.

“I would say nothing and continue reading,” said Father Ignatius.

“Would you not try to convince me that I am wrong?”

“No … I wouldn’t.”

The man frowned. “Why is that? I thought you priests are meant to preach to people like me … and try to save us … that’s your job.”

Father Ignatius closed his book and put it away. He took off his glasses and started cleaning them.

“In my experience,” he said “people like you don’t need convincing. You already know you are right.”

“How’s that?”

“Do you believe in God?”

“No. Of course not. I’ve already said so.”

“And that’s precisely what I meant … you are so sure that there is no God that there is no point in convincing you otherwise. Somehow, you have proved to yourself a negative. There is no God. And no amount of discussion or debate will change your mind.”

“I’m certain of it,” declared the young man, “there is no such thing as God.”

“I admire your Faith,” smiled the priest, “ironically, you have more Faith in your belief than many Christians I know have in their belief that God exists. You’d be surprised how many live in doubt and confusion about their Christian beliefs.”

“There you are then … at least we un-believers have no doubts …”

“Doubts aren’t such a bad thing … it is possible to believe in God and have doubts too … doubts help you question your beliefs and in certain circumstances can even strengthen your Faith … God has given us the luxury to doubt. To question, to analyse, and to think. And then to come to the conclusion that He truly exists.”

“So you’ve proved to yourself that God exists?” asked the man.

“No … God proved it to me. He found me willing to take a chance … keep an open mind and dare to believe without any proof at all. And my first faltering steps into believing were rewarded … in time … by enough evidence for me to be certain of God’s existence and His love for us.”

“Wow …”

“Wow indeed,” continued Father Ignatius, “all it takes is your courage and willingness to step out in blind Faith and want to believe … He’ll provide the proof you need in due course. You must dare to believe. Dare to lose control.”

“What do you mean?” asked the man sitting opposite the priest.

“A few minutes ago you tried to make that heating system work. You turned the knob one way and another and you felt totally out of control. You said as much … you’re in control of nothing on these trains … those were your exact words.”

“That’s right … I’ve never known any of these systems to work …”

“When you think about it,” continued the priest, “there’s very little in life you are really in control of.

“You’re on this train, but you don’t control what time it leaves the station, what time it arrives and what speed it travels.

“You don’t control the state of your health. Anything could happen to alter it; an accident for instance could totally change your lifestyle.

“You don’t control whether you’ll remain in your present job permanently, or if you’re self-employed whether you’ll continue to be successful.

“You don’t control your marriage, if you’re married that is. Anything could happen to you, your wife and children …

“You may try to influence these things by your behaviour but you do not really control the outcomes.”

“But …” hesitated the man, “someone is ultimately in control. The Government for instance …”

“No … not even Governments or authorities … there are always things that happen which are beyond their control. They may plan for them, try to influence events, prepare for all circumstances … but they’re not in control.

“Only God is in ultimate control of everything which happens in this world and in the whole universe.

“Whether you believe in Him or not does not alter the fact that He controls everything and everyone. He controls with ultimate, unconditional and total love.”

“This is my stop approaching … I have to get off now … I’m sorry I was so rude earlier on … I promise I’ll look further into this … you’ve certainly given me something to think about …

“I like what you said … Dare to believe without any proof … Dare to lose control … I might give it a try …”

The man excused himself and left the compartment.

Father Ignatius smiled and then started praying for him.

Friday, 25 August 2023

Now you've gone too far ...


Someone said to me that my articles here sometimes go too far.

"Too far?" I thought, "what does that mean?" 

Apparently, sometimes my articles can upset my readers, and they are likely not to respond in the comments box, or not to return to this Blog again.

I asked for an example, and I was told that my last post, "Have you been hurt?" is a good example. It gives the reader two choices. Either put up with the hurt or do something about it.

So I went back and read the article again. Yes, it is a little abrupt. But then, sometimes it is perhaps necessary to grab some people by the lapels and shake them a bit to get the point across.

There's a lot of hurting people out there. A lot of old baggage being carried and slowing people down from fulfilling a full wholesome life. A lot of bitterness and anger. It's as if people are sleep-walking themselves into hell; not just after their death but right now in this life.

The world is in a terrible place right now. Just look around you for plenty of examples.

And I believe this world will never know peace until it learns to forgive. 

At every level of society. On a personal one-to-one basis. As part of a family, a community, a nation or internationally as a humanity. At every level we need forgiveness and more forgiveness.

It is only by forgiving each other as humans that we can hope to ascend to a higher level and seek and receive forgiveness from God.

And if my style of writing is too abrupt ... well ... on reflection ... I'd rather ruffle a few feathers and save someone out there from hell in the here-and-now as well as in the thereafter.

Often, a direct approach is more memorable and likely to grab peoples' attention. I don't mean to upset anyone. I already have too few readers to afford to lose any of them. 

Anyway ... there you have it. Let us now pray for all the hurting people out there in the world.

Thursday, 24 August 2023

Have you been hurt?

Have you been hurt? Of course you have. Every one has been hurt one way or another in life. Hurt by someone else doing them harm, lying, cheating, stealing, broken relationships, broken marriages, disputes and so on.

Everybody hurts. 

Were you angry at the time?

Of course you were. It would not be natural not to be angry and wanting to kick back, seek revenge, retribution, justice ... ah ... justice. That's a good one to mean retaliation.

We've all been hurt, and some of us are still hurting now. Probably still angry too.

Probably the person who has caused the hurt has gone away, or passed away, or even does not care that they have hurt you. 

So what now?

Two choices:

1    Continue to hurt and get angry.

2    Do something about it.

You've guessed what I'm going to say ... here comes the sermon ... forgive and forget ... love one another ... and all that. Typical Christian blah blah blah ... Not easy is it?

Of course it is not easy to forgive and forget. How can you forget when often you have a reminder every day of the hurt done to you all that long ago? 

And how can you forgive if the one who hurt you is no longer in your life? Or is possibly dead? Or has never sought forgiveness nor wants it anyway?

OK ... let's look at the scenario that the person is dead. That person has now met God face to face and has seen the situation in all its facets. It is no longer your problem. Hand the situation to God; and ask Him to forgive on your behalf. You'll probably still hurt; but let the hurt be an opportunity to hand that person and that situation back to God again.

In the other scenario the person has gone away and has not sought forgiveness. So ask yourself. If that person was here right now, and genuinely asked for forgiveness; would you forgive and seek no retribution, recompense or revenge?

If yes ... then why not forgive now anyway? Even if the person is not here and does not know. At least God knows and is pleased by your decision.

The hurt may not go away. But let it be an opportunity to pray for that person again. You can't possibly hate a person you're praying for.

So there you have it ... two choices ... continue to hurt and get angry, or do something about it.

It won't be easy. But I never said it is ... ... ... I know from experience.

And one more thing ...

When Jesus sees the scars in His hands and feet and side; He remembers ... and forgives once more.

Wednesday, 23 August 2023

Diary entries to remind me


It's been a hectic week so far. Why does the phone ring when I'm up a ladder pruning a tree? By the time I get down the ladder, rush indoors, get to the phone, the answering machine has taken over. I listen to the message and it is one of those advertising salesmen wondering if I would be interested in buying a portable answering machine I can take with me anywhere? 

Whilst indoors, I switched on the TV to listen to the News.


Little Red Riding Hood found in a critical condition. Paramedics have stabilised her condition, but she's not out of the woods yet.

The phone rang again. Mom-in-law is coming to visit. I tolerate her. She's like a fine wine. Gets more expensive with age.

It's our wedding anniversary soon. We've been happily married for two years ... 1999 and 2009.

When we got married, she insisted on decluttering the house. I put an advert on eBay: "FOR SALE BY OWNER. Complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Forty-five volumes. Excellent condition, £200 or best offer. No longer needed, got married, wife knows everything."

We're preparing a large cake with icing for our anniversary. Years ago  I used to get heartburn when I ate birthday cake until a doctor advised me to take the candles off first.

We went to a restaurant as a pre-celebration celebration. We had pelican soup. Tasted OK but you should have seen the size of the bill.

We didn't feel like cooking today. I rang a restaurant and asked, "Do you do take-aways?"

They said, "Yes!"

So I asked, "What is 23452 take away 345?"

I have a picture with a saying, "A day without laughter is a day wasted!" So for a laugh I put on YouTube a video of me sneezing. Now the whole street is doing the same. It went viral.

Anyway, enough for now. I have to go up the ladder again. The cell-phone I left up the tree is ringing.

Now, why would anyone leave a cell-phone up a tree?

Monday, 21 August 2023


Nostalgia these days isn't what it used to be.

Time was, back in the day, when nostalgia was people getting together and reminiscing about old times perhaps fondly or maybe not. These days, however, nostalgia is sharing the latest text or selfie-photo you've just received on your cell phone. Everything is so instant, even memories.

You take a photo and you got it on your screen in seconds. No need to send the film for development and printing, and waiting in anticipation as to how many photos you took badly or are over or under exposed. Today, the only thing they expose in the photos is their bodies.

How many people I wonder remember those far off days when life was in black and white and sound was in mono?

Back then everything was in black and white, or in sepia color, depending on how old you really were. I recall a story that on a snowy day a man wearing a white coat went out for a walk and was knocked down by a snow plough.

This wouldn't happen today with all the vibrant colours we wear which need a special washing powder to make them even more brilliant and soft to the touch. Back then there was no clothes' softener; and people washed their hair shirts by hand, not in a contraption invented to lose your socks; or turn all your clothes pink if you put a red item in it.

Another thing I've noticed in today's non-nostalgia world is that people seem to have a fondness, addiction in some cases, of telling each other about themselves every few minutes. They go on social media websites and tell each other inane information like the fact they've just woken up, had breakfast, washed their armpits, and all other things which back in the day we kept privately to ourselves. What's all that about? What is the point of telling a whole load of people personal stuff that is of no interest to man or beast?

I'm not a member of any social media site. In order to appear trendy I walk in the streets, or when on the bus or train, and every so often I say something out loud about myself for no apparent reason.

I make short statements of no more than 180 letters, like "My shoes hurt!" "I need a haircut." "My trousers itch in unusual places." 

At first it astounded those around me. But now I have three followers - all wearing white coats.

In olden times, if you needed something you got to the shop and bought it. Now you can buy almost anything online. Which is a convenient and a good thing I suppose. But here's the catch. Having bought something you are then bombarded by e-mails asking you to review what you've just bought.

"We note you've bought a shirt. Tell us about your enjoyable experience. Did it live up to your expectations? Did you like the item you bought? How did you use it?"

I'll tell you how I used it. I put it in a bucket of soapy water and washed the car with it, that's how.

The other day I bought on-line a small radio/alarm clock. Now I keep getting e-mails from the trader inviting me to buy other clock/radios of every size, colour, and uselessness. How many clock/radio should a man need?

I tell you. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

Saturday, 19 August 2023

Theodore's Death Focus


Father Ignatius was met at the door of Parish House by an ashen faced Mrs Davenport, the housekeeper, who said in a trembling voice.

“Father, I think Mr Luxton-Joyce is dead!”

“What do you mean … you think?” asked the priest.

“Well, Mr Luxton-Joyce’s butler rang about an hour ago and said that he had felt very faint and lost consciousness and has been taken to hospital. I haven’t heard any more since …”

Father Ignatius got back into his car and drove straight to the hospital.

He made his way to the main reception where he was well known as a regular visitor and asked which Ward his friend and church benefactor was in.

“Oh … he’s not in any Ward,” said the receptionist, “Mr Luxton-Joyce is in a private suite on the third floor, and he has brought with him a personal nurse to look after his needs. You’ll need to announce yourself to her …”

The priest hurried up to the third floor and was met by a stern faced nurse who wanted to know the purpose of the priest’s visit before letting him in. She insisted that, in her professional opinion, the eccentric millionaire was not to be disturbed by anybody and that the only visitor with him now is his wife.

The priest tried to explain in vain to the epitome of bureaucracy blocking his entrance to the private suite when God must have lost patience with her and intervened by making a distant phone ring.

“Wait here … and do not move!” she said harshly as she went to answer the phone.

Father Ignatius must have suffered another bout of deafness because he didn’t hear her properly and entered the large room to be met by a tearful Rose, Theodore’s wife.

He was lying in bed asleep with an oxygen mask on his face and tubes and bleeping equipment all around him.

“He’s resting at the moment …” Rose said as the priest sat down on a nearby chair. “He fainted last night after exercising on the treadmill and we phoned for an ambulance. The doctors have checked him out and they said it’s extreme exhaustion. He should take it easy in future …” she smiled feebly.

The priest smiled back and said a thankful silent prayer. He then brought out his Rosary and they started praying quietly. At the third decade Theodore stirred a little and opened his eyes. He tried unsuccessfully to remove the oxygen mask on his face.

“Take this off me …” he mumbled, “I’m not a dog to be muzzled like that …”

Rose carefully removed the oxygen mask and Theodore blinked once or twice and then seeing Father Ignatius he said, “Hello Padre … are you here as a friend or in an official capacity?”

“How are you feeling?” asked the priest gently.

“Oh … I’m fine … not dead yet! At least I don’t think so … although that nurse out there makes me wish I was … what?”

Father Ignatius smiled.

“I don’t know what the fuss is all about …” continued Theodore, “can’t a man faint a little without being rushed into hospital?”

“I understand you’ve been overdoing things,” replied Father Ignatius trying to reassure Rose as well as the stubborn eccentric.

“Nonsense … in business you can’t overdo things … For years I’ve worked hard to be successful and I’ve never slowed down or taken my eye off the ball … what?”

“At least don’t use that treadmill as often … and so vigorously …” pleaded Rose.

“I won’t switch it on …” he smiled with a wink, “and I’ll take it easy by walking on the treadmill width-wise side to side rather than along its whole length!”

Father Ignatius continued the Rosary prayer and after hearing the man’s Confession he gave him and Rose Communion.

They then discussed the fragility of life and how vulnerable we all are as we walk the tight rope balancing life from death.

In a rare serious moment Theodore admitted that in his pursuit of success, more often than not spurred by an up-bringing where failure was not an option, he had neglected the spiritual more important focus of his life.

“That’s really taking your eye off the ball … what? Padre!” he chortled.

“Keep your mind set on the things that are in Heaven, not on things here on earth!” replied Father Ignatius with a smile.

(Colossians 3).

Friday, 18 August 2023

St Paul's second litter to the maddern wold


Deer Fiends,

It is a while now since I rote to you last. I have my previous massage to you before me HERE.

You will notice that I have now lernt how to use these elctriconic tablets. I kno how to do links in words like I have dun above ; and also I can now control the predictive sex facility in my tablet. There is nothing more annoy ing than predictive sex. Sexing should be well thought out and planned as you use each word care fully, not spoontanious as with these madern tablets. 

I now have a better tablet than be four. I bet Moses is jealous. His tablets wear made of stone.

My previous tablet broke wen I tried to swat a fly on my milk and honey. Best to use papyrous for that. It also absorbs the spilled milk and honey when the fly has flown away!

Well ... a lot has been happening in the wold since my last massage to you. I notice that as a people you have become more selfish. Also more greedy. And violent. Can you honest lee say that this is a better world since I last rote to you? Check the dates on my last litter to you.

You are also spoilt for choice. Too many things to choose from. too many toothpastes, clothes, shoos, foods and so on. In my time all I had was milk and honey and bread. John ate locusts in the desert, also honey. you have many brands of the same product to choose from. How fortunate you are and do not know it.

Pleeze bee gentile with each other. Love and care four each other. Compassionate too. There is a big difference between caring and compassionate. Caring means you are sorry for an other person's problem. Compassionate is doing something about it. Jesus was compassionate. He always helped other people. On an individual basis too. He took each person aside and healed them.

I want you to remember and retain what you have read here. Not in one eye and out the other.

Love one an other. I have great hope for you and I pray for you.

yOurs since early

Saint PauL