Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas is here - is Christ in it?

I think that it is highly appropriate that as we come close to Christmas and the end of  another year, we consider the real meaning of this time of year.  What really is the birth of Christ in our lives?  Do we celebrate it in our churches without really understanding its meaning?  The Greek words "Efkaristo", "Eucaristia", "Eucaristew" and "Eucaristos" all mean the same thing - "to give thanks" - and every time we celebrate the Eucharist it is a personal and communal offering of thanksgiving to Our Lord.  This should be the real meaning of Christmas.  And it can continue to happen to us every day or every week if we receive the Eucharist at mass.  

The idea of attending mass - I prefer to call it the celebration of the Eucharist - is to raise our hearts to the Lord in thanksgiving for all He has done in us, with us and through us up to that moment. The sharing God's Word with others is a prime example of this thanksgiving as much as moments of prayer and fellowship are too.
In these last few days leading to Christmas my prayer is that we do not get totally and absolutely distracted to such an extent that the moment of intimacy that the Lord wants to share with us at this special time of the year is stifled and choked. But rather, that we consciously slow down and find distinct moments of reflection in which to allow Him to meet us and speak to us in the depths of our hearts. It would be such a pity if another Christmas had to go by with our focus being solely on the mince pies and the presents and nothing more than that.
The Lord really wants to meet us today and have communion with us. Let us make space for Him in the inn of our heart for Him to be born. Let us make a conscious effort to remove the clutter and panic and to vacate the inn where He wishes to be born.  Efkaristos! 
May He bring joy and peace to your life that only He can bring.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sometimes...more than words

Last week David Knopfler was giving a concert here. With his brother guitarist Mark, David was the now defunct Dire Straits, superstars of rock of the Eighties.  Their music was a mixture of upbeat rocking melodies and soft ballads, all sung in a Southern accent.  Now David is appearing solo worldwide and offers a completely different kind of music, often reminding me of early Bob Dylan complete with harmonica. 

But what impressed me was the quality of his lyrics, songs he self penned, often also writing the music...but with a deep feeling for the spirituality in his life.  The transition from Dire Straits to solo artist is amply reflected in "Easy Street", where he sings about the Devil coming to see him offering wealth and fame if he only signed on  then dotted line.  Everything will come for free. "Only ten commandments stand between you and the final call" he sings. "It's easier than you might think to break them one and all.  The devil spoke to me and said 'Ape that band you was in before Boy and you could be on Easy Street!'"

How true to form for the Devil. But it seems he realises this and sings "Looking back, back to front, front to back again...Hypnotised by your stunning lies, perhaps I'm better off without you in the end."  (from "America")   Nonetheless, it seems he resisted this temptation, for his music is anything but Dire Straits.  On another song ("Ship of dreams") he clearly underlines that now he sings because "some need a song of love when old friends feel like ghosts; for some the sweet redemption songs the thing they crave the most on then ship of dreams....Each pilgrim makes their journey, each must meet their fate."

With David's kind of music-cum-message, "sometimes there are no words to talk about what really hurts.  When everybody talks too loud no one listens anyhow...... Sometimes there are no words to talk about what really hurts.  You find the one you've hurt worst is the one you need to heal you.  Sure", he sings, "I know forgiveness may be mortal not divine but all them human frailties they'll stall me every time..... Sometimes there are no words to talk about what really hurts.  We both know something's wrong here like we know a sinner sins. But I'm so tired now, got to get some sleep somehow. Feels like the whole damn world is crying and I can't keep the beat."  (from"Sometimes there are no words")

Hope clearly abounds in his music.  "I'm mending my nets....theres been more thaqnn time enough for penance and regret.  She says "Bless me David for I'ver sinned" lest we should forget.  I said 'It's alright if you're crying, I don't mind getting wet.  I hate whoever made you cry but I don't mind getting wet. I beleive we can mend those nets. We'll bind your womb with herb-o-grace, nullify all debts. [Cos] When fishermen cant put to sea it's time we mend out nets."  (from "Mending my nets")

And clearly he puts his hope in the One Who Matters because "in the symmetry of the stars God plays to a higher purpose..... God paints on a giant canvas. Some see majestic clockwork, some see chaos as they would, for some the infinite reach of meaning and absolute good.  Someone's there to see you, to touch you with their smile.  The waters are wide across this Great Divide..."   (from "Symmetry of the stars")

Plenty food for thought from this prolific singer-songwriter.   And, to give credit where credit is due, all the above quotes are from songs composed and written by David Knopfler although, in some cases, with the help of others (Megan Slankard on "Ship of dreams", Harry Bogdanov on "Easy Street" and Mack Starks on "America").

 And to enjoy a bit of David's Ship of Dreams...

Sunday, November 28, 2010



Last week I started discussing some ideas by Ronald Rolheiser regarding one's search for spirituality.  Reverting back to his original text, I note how much he emphasises the need for a balance between the two forces in our lives that drive us on, the chaos that can kill you if you don't dominate its unhealthy side; and the order that can make you too rigid to be able to listen to your heart. 

In this I realise too a smilalrity between the action  of the shepherd boy in Coelho's book "The Alcenmist" and start to question my heart.  In reply it reminds me of a reflection I had read recently by Fr Raniero Cantalamessa in which he said that it is only God's presence in our lives which will bring order in the chaos we live in.  It reminds me too that St Augustine's autobiographical "The Confessions" are a classic account of the human struggle involved in channelling vital energies.

On further reflection I start noting that I am beginning to see that the concept of spirituality as Rolheiser seems to be hinting here is something not directly tied to a religious life (although it obviously helps).  Here the order that our beliefs put on us can make us possibly feel that we must comply to its regime or forever feel guilty for not complying.  Instead, Rolheiser seems to be advocating a freer approach in which God's presence is allowed to fill us and free us from these man-made ties (which can suffocate us).  

I remember that Christ often spoke on these terms too, especially when he spoke of the rules of the Sabbath that controlled the faithful rather than helped them to see God in the Sabbath. In Matthew 12, Jesus says
"...have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the Sabbath and are innocent? I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.  If you knew what this meant, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice', you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

And, in his own way, Coelho seems to agree with this trend of thought: 
"When  someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first make the decision."  ("The Alchemist")


The day before I had just read about this old man in "The Alchemist" called Melchizedek. He referred to himself as a king and a priest. But he also told the shepherd boy that he could be other persons or things as well.  "Sometimes I appear in the form of a solution or a good idea as well" he said. "At other times I make it easier for things to happen.  There are other things I do too but most of the time people don't realise I've done them."

After giving the boy all the wisdom he could cope with, Melchizedek stood back and looked at the result of his work with some satisfaction.  As the ship carrying the boy left the port he thought to himself: It's too bad that he's quickly going to forget my name ... then when he spoke about me he would say that I am Melchizedek, the king of Salem. He looked to the skies, feeling a bit abashed, and said: "I know it's vanities of vanities, as you said, my Lord. But an old king sometimes has to take some pride in himself."

This amused me no amount since, coincidence of coincidences, while Rolheiser talks about the life force that is often experienced as a desire or longing  ("We long for many things, we feel restless, we seem compelled out of ourselves toward something more") the First Readings of these last days - all taken from Ecclesiastes, the Book of Qohelet - read (Chapters 1-12):

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!  There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. What advantage has the worker from his toil? I have considered the task which God has appointed for men to be busied about. He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without men's ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done. Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, all things are vanity! -------
I will continue to consider the implications of Rolheiser's ideas as they effect our search for this God we believe in.   There will be more nuts to crack next week! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I have been pleasantly surprised with reading up on a personal journey as recommended by Fr Ronald Rolheiser, a Canadian Oblate of Mary Immaculate, on what spirituality is and what prevents us from living a deeper spiritual life.  His book - prepared on the lines of reflective chapters that take you deep into thinking on the subject - suggests that each of us has this deep, driving desire, this longing for more. That there is an energy, a life force that is most often experienced as desire or longing.  We feel restless, we seem compelled out of ourselves toward something more.

He quotes St Augustine of Hippo (4th-5th Centuries) in support of this: "Our hearts are restless until they rest in you" adding that Augustine was to discover - and become aware - that he desperately needed some deeper direction and so the spiritual quest became the driving motivation of his life.   He also discovered that at the root of his restlessness was a longing for God. 

Rolheiser talks about this healthy spirituality that keeps us energised and that keeps us glued together. In other words, a healthy spirituality gives us zest and hope; it allows us to experience life as beautiful and worth living. It works against cynicism, despair and bitterness that can paralyse us.  A healthy spirituality is also integrative; it gives us a sense of coherence and order, a sense of who we are, where we are going and how life is full of meaning.

Rolheiser recommends that the task is to balance these two sometimes-conflicting dynamics: the creative, chaotic dynamic that energises us that must be balanced with the ordered, disciplined dynamic of our life.  Too much chaos and you die of dissipation; too much order and you die of suffocation.  A healthy spirituality therefore is the balance between the two, the way we channel that deep, raging fire that is at the core of our lives.


In reflecting on Rolheiser's provided text, I am coincidentally introduced by a close friend to the works of Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian best selling author whom I had not heard of yet.  Looking him up on the internet I discover an excerpt from his most famous bestseller, "The Alchemist", which seems to follow on the lines of the Rolheiser text. I am intrigued by this kind of fable approach to inspiring people.  This extract - from a conversation between a shepherd boy and the alchemist on the way to the pyramids - is typical of his style: 

"....the fear of suffering is worse that the suffering itself" said the alchemist.  "And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second encounter with God and with eternity."

"Every second of the search is an encounter with God," the boy told his heart.

"Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him" his heart said. "We, people's hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them.  We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, toward its own fate. But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them - the path of their destinies, and to happiness.  Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out indeed to be a threatening place.  So, we, their hearts, speak more and more softly.  We never stop speaking out but we begin to hope that our words won't heard:  we don't want people to suffer because they don't follow their hearts."

Still milling over the interesting and stimulating  concepts in Rolheiser's thoughts, I am now seeing more and more that they are running on a parallel track with Coelho's mixture of spirituality and storytelling. Such as key passages such as these:

"When each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognise the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises."
"I'm like everyone else  - I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen , and not what actually does."
"Every search begins with beginner's luck.  And every search ends with the victor being severely tested."

And the one which really tied it all up for me: "There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure."

Monday, November 15, 2010


A friend sent me a really lovely e-mail the other day which I would like to share with you.  It ties up with my current Facebook wall status - "Age is mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. I now feel so much younger with that thought in mind!"  Anyway, the e-mail went like this........

Someone asked him 'What was your favourite fast food when you were growing up?'

'We didn't have fast food when I was growing up,' I informed him.   'All the food was slow.'

'C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?'

'We ate at a place called 'at home,'' I explained!  'Mum cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn't like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.'

By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.

But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it :

Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot on a golf course, travelled out of the country or had a credit card. My parents never drove me to school. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow).

We didn't have a television in our house until I was 19. It was, of course, black and white, and the station went off the air at midnight, after playing the national anthem and a poem about God; it came back on the air at about 6 a.m. and there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people...

I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the line.

Pizzas were not delivered to our home... But milk was.

There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or most anything offensive.

Growing up isn't what it used to be, is it?  And that was barely Sixty years ago.


My friend said that while cleaning out his grandmother's house (she died recently) his dad found an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it. He knew immediately what it was, but his daughter had no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. He said: "I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to 'sprinkle' clothes with because we didn't have steam irons."

How many of you reading this actually do remember any of the following?

Car head lights dimmer switches on the floor....and  ignition switches on the dashboard.....?
Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.......?
Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner......?
Using hand signals for cars without turn signals......?

And there's more.....
Candy cigarettes....Coffee shops with tableside juke boxes..... Home milk delivery in glass bottles............ Newsreels before the movie....... TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning. (there were only 1 or 2 channels  [if you were fortunate])..... Peashooters from straws.........45 RPM records.......... Hi-fi's......... Metal ice trays with lever......... Blue flashbulb....... Cork popguns........... Wash tub wringers........!

I was told to share this especially with all my really OLD friends....  Luv Yah!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wow! - Happy anniversary

What would you think if I were to dare to wish myself a happy anniversary today?

Well this week this blog has recorded the start of its second year.  I published the first Cappuccino post on November 2nd, 2009.  Since then I have penned a weekly post as I looked around at the things that effect our life.  And as I searched for further meaning to it. 

Reaching back into the archive of posts available here below you can still read all the many and varied topics we have discussed and I am thankful for the feedback from readers and followers for their comments (even if these were sometimes not sent directly to the blog but to me personally by e-mail.

I have been asked two questions repeatedly this last year....

Why Cappuccino? 
Because it is a way of meeting friends and chatting over a coffee. 

Why the url 
Because it refers to three verses (6 to 9) from the first chapter of the Gospel of John. I believe that these verses inspired me by offering the initial vision that set me on my present course.  Look them up for yourself and let them inspire you too.

So.....What is in store in the coming months?  Do I intend to continue writing it?  My reply would be a resounding yes, since this blog has - to my surprise - somehow reached across the globe and has been read by so many persons in so many different countries.  Over this past year I have learnt a lot and this should surface in more interesting and better quality posts.  For one thing it sports a new design which I hope you like. You deserve it.

Thank you for the encouragement you give me by simply logging on.  No other comment is needed (though if it comes it is appreciated; it tells me that I am not only writing for myself!).

I thank my God for caring for me and my readers with His immense love.  May your God bless you too.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Hagar mistake

Ever heard the expression "A Hagar mistake"? Well it means a grievous error, a misjudgement of God's work in our lives. I first came across it some years ago when I read the story of Abram and Sarai in the Old Testament book of Genesis.  Basically, after choosing Abram from whom He was to create His people, God told Abram that he would have more descendents than the stars in the sky.  His wife Sarai was hiding behind a curtain and on hearing this laughed at the impossibility of it all. Both she and Abram were old people and she was more than sterile from old age. How could she give birth to a nation?

The story goes that God heard her laugh and told Abram that he would have a son .  But on being convinced that God had really spoken and made a pact, Sarai decided to take the situation into her own hands, believing that God had ignored an important fact of this situation....she was unable to concieve. So she directed Abram to her own Egyptian maid servant Hagar, basically pushing her husband into another woman's arms so that she would conceive the promised child that Sarai couldn't.  The resultant child was Ishmael but with him were equally born doses of jealously and contempt between the two women for years. Sarai did not realise how God works and that the impossible was not impossible for Him.  In fact she did eventuallybecome pregnant from Abram and gave birth to a son whom God said should be called Isaac, that is, the laugh (in fact he did end up being a laughing stock in the social circles of his time). From that line eventually came Jesus.  It is claimed by the Muslims that they descend from Ishmael, Abram's son through Hagar.  And the rest of the "battle of the brothers" is history, as they say.  

But the point of this post is to highlight how easily we too can commit a Hagar mistake ourselves, by taking the law into our own hands and pushing God into the back seat of our car.  We tell Him that in reality we are driving and that we are in control.  He can be our consultant and give advice on how or where to go....but He is not allowed to interfere in  how we get there.  Our own GPS is far better that Him. We want to do it our way,  as Frank Sinatra sang for us so many years back.

Next time you're out and around in the world, faced by the worldly opinions from friends and colleagues abouthow to look at things, and think about who is in control.  Because when you are in control, the pressure and the stress are directly on you and there is no one else by yourself who has to somehow find the solution/s to cope.  But when you allow someone else with more experience to take over then we can really taste the sweeter side of life.  So it is with us when we manage to allow our Great God to take over and run our lives. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Making the most of the rest of your life

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrightousness.  

This is a quote from the First letter of John (ch1:v8-9) and makes a lot of sense when you stp to think about it  The basic conclusion is that I am no saint, can never be one even in my wildest dreams, so therefore I am a sinner....and God loves me for that!  Sounds crazy and human terms but not by His. 

It may be hard to believe that such complete and gracious unforgiveness is possible: it certainly goes beyond any forgiveness we may experience with other people.  But God’s word reassures us that His forgiveness is complete and trustworthy. The new promised world that awaits us will be peopled by forgiven sinners, just like us. 

In Luke (12:13-21), Jesus tells the story of a man who made detailed preparations for this life. He said: “I will tear down my barns and build larger ones to store all my grain and goods”. But he neglected to make plans for the life after this one. God’s view of this man is less than favourable and He said: “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you and the things you prepared, whose will they be?”  Jesus concluded the parable: “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God”.

I have just finished reading a book called “Making the most of the rest of your life” by Australian John Chapman.  I found it very inspiring especially in the light of the foregoing. The book is really all about death and what happens after we die. But it isn’t morbid.  Far from it. It is all about the Good News and what is awaiting us on the other side. 

The author explains his idea this way:  I am 76 years old.  I live in a retirement home. Life here has been a new experience for me. The paper man comes at 4.30 a.m. and the ambulance at 9.15 a.m. Sometimes it brings people home, but not always. Your mortality presses in.  You may think it’s strange then that I am writing about making the most of the rest of our lives. Humanly speaking, I don’t have all that much left. The average male lives for 79 years. That doesn’t leave me much time.  On the other hand, if there is life after death, if eternity is really eternity and I have the greater bulk of my life to look forward to, then that makes all the difference… Sometimes people think that there is no real urgency to take action to prepare for this eternity.  They think that there is plenty of time and that they will deal with God’s invitation later. Jesus’ parable from Luke is more than the answer not to delay because we do not know the hour nor the day. But we can rely on His love and forgiveness. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Are we in an Eternal Present?

I just read an interesting interview with British psychiatrist Dr Kajetan Kasinski in which he discussed his Catholic faith and its bearing on his profession (September issue: "The Messanger of St Anthony", the international Franciscan monthly -

Naturally, being a scientist who specialises in how the brain works, he clearly has his feet firmly planted on the ground especially where things supernatural are concerned. "At home, I often spend time in a quiet place - a shed in my garden.  I go there to try and pray or to be silent. At times I say to myself that this is superstitious, that no one is listening to me, that it's all nonsense.  At other times I am furious and angry, but I don't know who with. On other occasions, and without knowing why, I just end up crying. I don't have those experiences in which you feel you are being held or embraced  (though I  feel envious of those who do); what I experience is something I don't really understand. I don't think God is understandable".

At one point Kasinski was asked does he believe in the power of prayer.  He replied: "I do but I do not think that God necessarily answers our prayers on our terms. My father spent most of the Second World War in a prisoners-of-war camp.  He told me that he was hungry most of the time and wished that I would never experience hunger in my life, as it was a terrible thing.  He has since passed away, but funnily enough, sometimes, when I am eating, I can feel it is as if I am feeding him, that I am helping sustain a person 65 years ago who couldn't have even conceived of my existence then".

To explain this time-warp concept a bit better he said that "In the British Journal of Psychiatry there was a article describing a really interesting experiment on prayer.  The names of people hospitalised for TB some 100 years ago were randomly divided into two lists. One list was given to a prayer group which read the names on it aloud in their weekly meetings for about 10 weeks. The other list was kept in an office. After this they looked at the results and found to their astonishment that the people who had been prayed for, had, a hundred years earlier, had better medical outcomes than the ones who hadn't been prayed for.

"Now this doesn't make any sense at all in terms of cause and effect in daily life because it's asking for something that has already happened. It does, however, bring to mind the idea that when you pray you are in a dimension that is outside of time and space, as well as the belief that when we pray or are celebrating mass we are all in Holy Communion with God and all the faithful, past, present and future - we are all in an Eternal Present".  

This is a very interesting  concept which I have often thought about.  I have called it "The Present Continuous." I feel that, while we know that God is not effected by time such that for Him everything is the present, then if someone asked me to pray for them, say because they were going to undergo an operation, and I accidentally forgot to do so on the appointed time of the operation, I could still pray for a good outcome for my friend even days later.  Because God, in His infinite greatness, would have known in advance that I was going to forget to pray then but that I would do so some days later, and He would take my prayer from the future to the moment when it was needed.  A bit mind bogling but pretty logical if you stopped to think about it....and very true too.  
Perhaps we really are in an Eternal Present after all!   

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What can I do with myself?

I am sure many of us think of what we can do with ourselves to be of a greater impact to life around us and, possibly, also to the whole world.  Great aspirations but which, because of our shortsightedness, we rarely achieve.  And the problem may be our starting point: OURSELVES!!  We may have the wrong approach after all.

Look at the following words that are written on the tomb of an Anglican bishop in the crypts of Westminster Abbey:

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.

But it too seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lay on my deathbed, I suddenly realize if I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family.

From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.   ( Author Unknown)

This logic is so succinctly put that I suppose no further comment from me is needed....!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The question of I

I don't know if you're one of those persons who their real underestimate to those around them thinking that we are of little or no value to those around us.  Many seem to think that their input is not necessary for something to happen....meaning "they can do it without my help" or "I'm not that important for the implementation of the project".

This is especially so in an organisation where we sometimes tend to sit back and allow others (with seemingly more drive than us) to do all the work.  It can also happen that we would then criticise their initiative as not being enough or incorrectly executed. The reason for this is that we tend to centre far too much on ourselves. We often can be prima donnas in every respect.  Our ego commands us rather than we command it. 

The problem is that we are too preoccupied with ourselves.  The question is "I"!  But think about it this way. 

My keyboard sometimes malfunctions and "I" doesn't always come out at all and it replaces it with "x".  So, xf X think X am not xmportant and decxde to drop out or wxthdraw my support of somethxng, then thxngs mxght seem so dxfferent.  X could, of course, explaxn that sxnce X am extremely txed up wxth my job or other thxngs, responsxbxlxtxes etc, X can always say that my txme xs not as avaxlable as X wxshed.  So, though X have fulfxlled my general oblxgatxons on thxs occasxon X cannot possxbly help out. And, surely, no one would notxce the absence of one man, rxght!

But as you mxght have already notxced, xf one key xsn't workxng well on my keyboard - although the other 46 stxll work OK - xt makes all the difference. Sometxmes xt seems to me that our organxsatxons are lxke my keyboard. But, you see, to be effectxve the group needs the active partxcxpatxon of every person.   

So the next txme you thxnk you are only one person and your effort is not important or needed, remember my keyboard and say to yourself, "X am a key person and X am needed very much. X am a VXP, a very xmportant person!"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What if you were one of them?

Have you ever stopped to think what would have happened to you if your mother would have decided not to give birth to you and she aborrted you?

Where would you be today?

What would you have lost from life had she taken this step?

It is, in fact, a situation we rarely think about because our psyche seems to think that once we're alive and kicking then that isn't really our problem...because we made it!!   But do think about it for a while as I tell you about one of the world's greatest - and much loved - singers, Andrea Bocelli. He nearly didn't make it as he himself admits that his mother was recommended by her doctors to have an abortion to terminate her pregnancy since it would have been better for the child since he/she would probably be born with a severe disability.  

Luckily for him, his courageous mum and dad, Alessandro and Edi, refused that advice and he was born in 1958. He was brought up with a lot of love and was not blind from birth but lost his sight aged 12. Yet he was also brought up to love music and with great efforts he reached the highest levels we know him for today. In 1994  he returned back to his Catholic faith o his birth.  

Yet Bocelli says that what his mother did should be an example for other mothers. So that they would not abort their child even if the pregnancy was not trouble-free or if the child was going to be born with some disability or other, even if severe.  If this was to have been his case then we would have lost a great singer of calibre who can often be heard also singing praise to God and to His Blessed Mother. 

But back to my question: What would have happened to you if your mother aborted you?

I suppose that God only really knows the answer to that question.  What I know for sure is that you would have made a bee-line to God's arms right away and are, in all probability, now singing His priases.  "Let the little children come to me" said Jesus.  God wants them to be with Him too and He loves them with an especial love.....though I don't think He meant to have them around Him through an abortion!! 

May we all look at the gift of life that God breathes into us as the greatest gift He can give us because through it we are given the opportunity of taking our life in our two hands and making something out it which He hopes will be on the lines of what He has planned for us. But if we don't, then He will definitely be doing His utmost to bring us back to the fold. 

What a wonderful God we believe in. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Are you Jesus?

A group of travelling salesmen were attending a conference somewhere in America. They had all had promised their families to be home for supper. But as conferences go, this got prolonged and finished miuch later than expected. They all arrived late at the airport in one big hurry. They ran up to the check in with their tickets and baggage and ran through their corridors of the airport to their flight’s Gate.
At one point, unwanting to, one of them stumbled into a fruit selling stall and knocked down a basket full of apples that, obviously, ran all over the place. But being late he continued to run to the plane, without even looking back at what he had caused. They all arrived at the gate and managed to board it….all except ONE.

This one had noticed what had happened at the fruit stall and suddenly felt a pang of compassion for the girl at the stall. He told his friends to continue to their flight but to tell his wife that he would be on the next flight since he wasn’t sure he would now make it in time.

He returned to the terminal and found the apples spread all over the place. He was more surprised to find that the stall girl was blind. And she was crying. She was on her knees trying to find the apples, invainly searching for them. Many people were passing her by but no one stopped tohelp. No one cared or had time for her.

The businessman knelt down near her and started to put the apples in her basked and helped heer to reorganise her stall again. As he did this he realised that his friend’s accident had actually spoilt quite a few apples so he pulled out his wallet and told ths girl “Here’s a hundred Euro for the dame we caused you. Are you alright now?”

The girl smiled and nodded in the affirmative. He added: “I hope that didn’t spoil your day”. He bid farewell and started walking to the flight gate. But the girl called out to him: “Sir…” she cried out. He stopped and turned to look at her blind eyes. “Are you Jesus…?”

He stopped. Immobile. After a while he managed to continue walking to his flight with this burning question in his heart.

“Are you Jesus…?

And You? Do people you meet confuse you with Jesus? After all, isn’t this our destiny? The world would be so much better if we all became a bit more like Jesus to the point where we would not be able to tell the difference. Let us therefore make the effort to become more like Him who matters and ask ourselves in every situation: “What would Jesus do?”

Let us not remain blind in the face of his great love for us. If wish to get to know Him then we must act and live with His words. He left everything and carried us - you and me – up Calvary and paid for our salvation with His blood.

Let us try to live our lives as if we honestly believe that we are really worth the price He paid for us. Let’s start now……read on if you feel you wish Him to bless you…..

Friday, September 3, 2010


He remembered her well.  A short frail woman in her late Sixties, always  with  a  slight smile on her  face.   Never  complaining.   Never giving him the impression that she had a hidden secret.

It now shocked him to read her obituary in the newspaper.  He had barely  realised who it was that he was reading about.   Then  it came  together in his mind.   Yes, he remembered her well.   Even though  he had barely met her for long a year before.   Yet  that brief  encounter, or rather, those brief encounters, had  somehow left an indelible mark on him.

He  had  met her quite by chance, on the flight to  the  mountain town  of Lourdes, in the French Pyrenees.   She was  going  there with  her  husband for the first time to  visit  this  miraculous place  where  the Madonna had appeared so many times  during  the late days of the last century.

He  was  going  there too.  Yet while hers was  probably  more  a  visit of the religious kind, his was mixed with more of a dose of curiosity   than  the expected, inbred Catholic  feeling  of  his upbringing.

His  stance in life had never been too religious yet there was  a place  for religion in his heart.  He had been fascinated by  the stories of Lourdes, of the prophesies that had already come true, of  the miraculous waters that flowed there, of the  inexplicable cures  that many medically incurable sick people  had  witnessed.

If  you were of the religious kind you could say that  there  was still  hope  for  him.  His curiosity was the  result  of  strict education under the priests.  And this probably had also been the reason for his cooling off in the face of religion.   Now in  his middle  age  he had decided to go to Lourdes to see  for  himself what this was really all about.

Perhaps  religion  had, after all, been getting back at  him  for ignoring  her all these years.   As he read the paper  today,  he began  realising  that perhaps his too had been a  pilgrimage  of sorts, a search for something beyond his immediate comprehension.

The woman in the wheelchair had also gone there for a reason,  an opportunity to be conjoined with the Blessed Virgin she loved  so much in prayer.   She had put her faith in Her long before.

Her husband though had a different idea altogether.  He knew  her secret, a secret she herself didn't even know.  Her time was fast running  out.    He knew the real reason why she was  feeling  so tired,  why she at times had slight faints or dizzy spells.   She put  these down to the wear and tear of old age.  Instead it  had been clearly diagnosed as the modern scourge, cancer.

Her husband never told her.

Now they were together in Lourdes and if he had perhaps  secretly  hoped for a miracle, in reality he prayed that the last remaining time she had with him would be peaceful and, yes, why not, sweet.  He  had  been  really spoiling her these years, and  if  she  had caught on to what could be really wrong with her she never showed it, keeping up the impression.

The others in the group travelling with her had immediately taken to her friendly ways.  She quickly became their darling too, more so  once  they'd been let in on her secret.

That was how the younger man had met her and her husband.

Every  evening  as  they participated in  the  lengthy  religious activities, the flambe procession and the praying at the Virgin's shrine, she had had to be wheeled around.  The walking and standing was just too much for her.  She was not chairbound though for the rest of the day, as long as she took things easy.

Most  people  in the group had somehow allowed themselves  to  be roped in to help wheel her around. It gave them a sense of importance,  of doing something worthwhile.  The right thing to do  in Lourdes.  Yet it also opened the door for the younger man to join in  and to get a feel of also doing something  worthwhile.

This  simple  act had even got him in among the  privileged  few, right  up  in the front of the celebrations.  And  he  liked  the resulting feelings and thoughts of what he was doing.  

Yes  this place was somehow getting to him albeit in a very  fine and sophisticated way.  True, the tranquility of the ambience and the  religiosity that fell thickly all around, like a thick  fog, couldn't help but envelope him and leave some sort of effect.  Yet he was worried because he did not feel exceptionally  prayerful  as  he  thought a good pilgrim should.   Was  the  curiosity element  winning through, blocking any chance for the message of Lourdes to sink in?

But, in contrast, the little help he was giving the woman in  the wheelchair seemed to really leave a stronger mark.  It was such a simple,  automatic  act. Not one of compassion, nor one  of  deep caring for thy neighbour.   It was just a simple friendly act.

In the months that followed his visit to the holy French town  he had  completely forgotten all about the woman in the  wheelchair.   He  had even come to the point of practically doubting  if  there was  any real religious accomplishment from the visit,  although, admittedly,  as  a relaxing holiday it was just what  the  doctor ordered.  A total, different break from the stresses of work.

Now  her obituary brought these memories flooding back  into  his mind.   They  fell on him suddenly, heavily.  A  thunderstorm  of thoughts and nagging doubts.  Even though the impressions of this woman were fading in their detail he suddenly started to  realise their real impact.

He  remembered  some  words he had read in  Lourdes.   "Stop  the machines  and become quiet.  Let God be God in us, through  love. Sometimes we feel good, other times we remain dry:  the  essential is to remain faithful and open our heart".

Digging  out some leaflets he had brought back with him, he  read further words of comforting wisdom.  "There are pilgrims who come to Lourdes and while their intention in approaching the sacrament of reconciliation is good, nevertheless they need to be aware  of what they are going in order not to triviliase the sacrament.  It is  not  a thing to do but rather a very personal  moment  to  be lived in a relationship of love with God".

And  elsewhere, "Many come in search of hope, to  recharge  their batteries,  to experience  a deep communion  of  fraternity  and prayer  with others.  Despite their fatigue resulting from  their  stay they return home full of light..."

Then he knew.  The trip was not in vain after all.  The seemingly dormant  seed had suddenly burst out of its musk.   The  obituary notice was the final spurt.

(Originally written: 1997)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Symphony of life

I came across an Italian song called “Sinfonia” (Symphony) this morning which really struck me for its message and its simple manner of transmitting a complex message about life. In a few words it reflected  on the quality of our lives and what really matters. In its few words it touches on the doubts we often face and the  seemingly lack of response from Him who matters to our troubles.

It went something like this:

Sinfonia e’ dove parli Tu
Armonia e’ l’universo inter,
Nel Silenzio ami,
Nel Rumore ami,
Sei l’eterno Amor.

Guardo la natura e penso,
Come non crederti!
Passa per la mente un dubbio,
Ma vinci Tu, perche:

Sinfonia e’ dove parli Tu,
Armonia e’ l’universo inter,
Nel Silenzio ami,
Nel Rumore ami,
Tu esisti Signore.

A free translation would be something like this

A symphony – that’s where You speak. 
And Harmony is the entire universe. 
In the Silence (of life) You love,
and in its noisy side, You love too. 
You are the eternal Love. 

I look at nature and think,
how can I not believe in You.
A thought, a doubt, passes my mind,
but You win because
You are the symphony through which you speak,
the harmony of the entire universe. 
In the silence of my life, you speak to me,
as you do in the noisy, hectic life I lead….
You exist, my Lord.

I concluded that no matter how much we struggle in this life, it is only our faith and trust in the One Who Matters that will pull us through.  Because we are really not worthy for His love for us and all we can do is continue to struggle with ourselves and the busy unrelenting life we often find ourselves in - with His love as our only support.  Yes, Lord, you are our only hope.  Because You  really exist. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Walking on water?

One of the things I’ve never really mastered is floating on my back while swimming at the beach. Floating on my stomach is something I’ve learned to do from a youngish age through snorkelling but floating on my back…well that was a different story. Though I’ve tried to float many times, I never rally mastered it since it basically comes to letting go of logic, to relax and allow myself to…float! In other words, to be supported by the water. Since I’ve always wanted to be in control of my swimming (and my life, for that matter),  the concept of floating seemed to go against that completely.

But not yesterday. I was enjoying a leisurely afternoon swim at the beach and got this urge to again try and float on my back.  I have always enjoyed swimming on my back but I have to be moving, not lying still. So yesterday I pushed all my fears aside and lay on my back, opened my arms out wide, stretched my feet and ….relaxed. At first I felt my feet start to fall down as muscle power left them through relaxation. Then, to my surprise, I felt the water pushing them up again effortlessly….and I was floating freely, being totally supported and moved by the calm sea (as the woman in the photo here, because, to my knowoedge no one was taking my photo of this great moment in history!!).

I lay there on my back for a few moments enjoying the quietness and the peace it brought me.  The sky was a beautiful blue and completely cloudless. Then I suddenly got spiritual. I was reminded of the time when I had floated like this so effortlessly before, in the Dead Sea.  It also reminded me of how much I really needed to let myself go into God's arms and allow him to support me in my life, as the sea was now doing.  If the simple combination of salt and water could support me if I allowed it to, how much more would God support me if I allowed Him to. 

Then, I suddenly understood what it must have felt like for Peter to utter those famous words (as quoted in Matthew 14):  "Lord, if it is really you, order me to come out on the water to you."
"Come!" answered Jesus. Matthew tells us that Peter then got out of the boat and started doing what to him - and the others - was the impossible..... walking on the water to Jesus.  Like Peter, at times we too must get out of our boat, leaving what is comfortable in order to do God's work. Taking that first step is scary, but it leads to many blessings.  Once he stepped out in faith, Peter had an opportunity to walk on water, to be lifted up, to be taught, to be touched by the Master. Until he doubted.  And when I too started doubting during my swim, I also stated sinking.

Like Peter, when we step out in faith, when we let ourselves go to God's support, we open a door for Him to work in us. We may perform tasks we were not capable of doing before or that we don't understand. We are being offered opportunities to step out and walk toward Jesus all the time. Do we take them? Yet, once we take that first step, we will never be the same.

Happy swimming...on your backs!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

How full (or empty) is your bottle?

Last week we discussed the concept of uselessness.  This is something work looking into deeper, especially from the spiritual point of view.  If we think positively then our life problems are perceived as being the training we need to be able to achieve God’s plan for us.  If we think negatively then we see them as being the problems that are really the shortcomings that keep us anchored to the ground and unable to achieve anything worthwhile.

Partly to combat this, the Church daily puts before us different saints who have proved that through their example we can aspire to a higher level of relationship with God.  Often enough we look at them though as very special people who have managed to achieve much, not like us poor, ordinary humans, destined to achieve little. And therefore, imitating them is perceived as a difficult – if not impossible – task. 

This viewpoint emphasises the fact that we can feel inferior, useless, inappropriate before God.  We look at our smallness before Him and allow that to control us.  Rather we should be looking at it all from the other viewpoint…with how much we have been graced with being able to achieve.

Talking of saints and uselessness must obviously bring us into contact with St. John Vianney, a Frenchman (1786-1859), he is more popularly known as the Cure d’Ars, i.e. the parish priest of Ars.   Born near Lyon practically on the outbreak of the French revolution, his early life was lived in the shadow of the reign of terror in Paris which was exiling or murdering the Catholic clergy and religious.  Yet in all this turmoil he found his calling to become a priest and though not a bright student (to say the least!) he managed to be ordained in 1815 aged 29. 

Vianney (left)  is unfortunately generally considered to have been a really stupid person academically and no one really expected him to complete his studies successfully to the priesthood.   The story goes that after somehow passing his exams he had to face an oral interview with his bishop and senior Church officials.  He was the last student of a long day of interviews and the board was tired.  Realising it was Vianney they decided to overlook him knowing well that he could offer very little.  You can say that he got in through the back door…because God will make a way when there seems to be no way, as the popular song goes!

Anyway, after Vianney was ordained the bishops decided to send him to Ars, a rather rebellious town where he would be of no use and do no damage either because of their strong anti-religious/clerical feelings.  Vianney’s first approach was to try and frighten the people (unsuccessfully) with his preaching, but later in life he overcame his preoccupation with damnation  and was able to manifest the sweetness of mercy and a simplicity that was nurtured by his constant practice of prayer.  He remained in the town for over 42 years because the people eventually loved him so much they wouldn’t let him go.  He literally wore himself out in serving the faithful and especially in being constantly available for confessions, sometimes up to 12 hours a day. 

This dedicated parish priest successfully overcame the religious indifference of the people of Ars.  He was also constantly occupied with the religious education of his parishioners, instructing them in plain language that they could understand.  They often commented that no other priest had ever preached as he did.  In 1843 he even received the medal of France’s distinguished Legion of Honour but he sold it to give the money to the poor.  In the end he died peacefully, of exhaustion, at the age of 74!  This was the guy who everyone thought was a hopeless case. Everyone believed it….except Vianney himself and God. 

Uselessness therefore is a state of the mind. If we believe it then it will rule our life.  If we don’t, then it is merely a moment we are passing through and tomorrow it will remain a shadow of a memory…because we’ll be applying ourselves to something positive. 

And then our bottle is more than half full!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Does God make rubbish?

When I started working in the newspaper business so many years ago, one of my first jobs was to look after the syndicated daily cartoon and make sure that it was always available for publication and in the right sequence. We might all take newspaper cartoons for granted and don’t look at the work that goes on behind the scenes…and for one thing, someone has to coordinate the work for publication!  That simple job gave me, the budding kid journalist, a sense responsibility that has remained with me.  Ironically, the cartoon was called “Useless Eustace”, a funny man with a big round head who has now long been put out to pasture by the newspaper I worked for. Perhaps he was a left over from British wartime influence on my country.  But Eustace (here seen in a wartime clipping) was always up to some stupidity or other and to some extent he was a reflection of ourselves.

How many times do we fall into humorous conversation with friends about the stupid things we get up to, which in themselves reflect how we may poorly perceive ourselves. A friend recently told me that after her first visit to her psychologist she came back with the comment that all she was suffering from was a sickness called “You don’t love herself enough!”  And if we stop to think about it I think we’ll find that we generally do under-rate ourselves tremendously. Especially in the way we go through life.

In marketing terms, we are all classified into two groups – leaders and followers. The vast majority of us are followers who are so easily influenced by those who are the first to do/try all the new things that come out on the market.  We tend to think of ourselves as unique yet we really aren’t all that different from each other. Because we continue to insist on seeing our faults and shortcomings rather than how good we really are.

So is your bottle half full or half empty?

This is what Eustace was all about. He was the harbinger of uselessness, and believed it. Hence the result of his daily mess ups.  So, believe you are useless and you will become one! This also applies to our spiritual life.  If we are seeing things from the Useless Eustace viewpoint, then God is too busy to bother with us, poor, stupid, ordinary humans.  And that is definitely incorrect. We should remember that we were created in His image and likeness. The fact that God is so great means that he cannot be in us completely in His image, since we were not made to contain Him completely. There are ample references in Scripture to the fact that we  are too finite to be able to even look Him in the face.  Yet in His creation of humanity God has willed it to give each and every one of us a drop of Himself which is enough to fill us completely ….for the moment, this lifetime.

If we agree to that concept, then we can never – should never – believe that we can possibly be useless, no matter the circumstances in our life.  God told Paul that “My grace is enough”  for him, and so it is for us too.  We are all made to achieve so if we think otherwise then we are probably going against God’s plan for us. Opening ourselves to be under-achievers, continuing the saga of Useless Eustace’s! 

I recently heard an Australian Christian song by Rev. Robert Galea called “God does not make Rubbish” in which even his diocese head participated, Bishop Joe Grech. This song was actually co-written by the Bishop who has made the phrase in the title of the song famous through his enthusiastic repetition of the theme and the actual words.  This song was written for the youth of Sandhurst,  Melbourne, Australia, and got over 1,000 downloads on the first week of release.  And the message was clear. We are all special.  Because God does not make mistakes in anything He does.  And creation is a direct reflection of His work.  As much as you and I are reflections of Him too.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's all a question of baggage

In psychological terms,we are what we are today because of what we were yesterday.  In other words, our lives are to some extent controlled by the experiences and incidents that happen to us in our life.  We therefore respond to life in the way these have shaped us to respond to situations.  It is said that the formation we had in our young and youth years are what control our reactions in adult life.  In other words if we have not been allowed independence of ideas or of actions in those formative years then we will find that in later years, when we have to stand on our two feet, alone, in society, then we will reason in the same way as the child in us would have.  To many this is now generally referred to as our baggage. And baggage is what we carry around with us throughout our life.
Often enough this is inherited from our parents too and the way they have brought us up.  It is the unconscious manner in which parents do this, while doing their utmost to give their children a good experience of life, is what makes or mars them forever.  Often enough too, parents are not even aware of the effect of their action on their children and this is, to some extent the tragedy of it all.  What was good for oure upbringing, of the times of our upbringing, may not be the right thing to emulate in the more modern times of what we call the present!

As a result we often carry repressed, guilt or insecurity feelings all our lives without really knowing why. And we would respond or react to the trigger situations in the same way we did as kids.  Feeling insecure often leads us to depend on no one but ourselves, so we store for the rainy days or generate financial strength for ourselves to retire on a good leg, so to speak.  Is this wrong?  Of course not but we may be overdoing it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Body language

Evidence shows that when it comes to persuasion, influence and any form of communication that involves emotional impact, over 90% of our impact on others comes from our non-verbal communication. Over 50% of our impact comes from our body language - that is, every movement that we make with our bodies as we communicate from the top of our head to the tips of our toes!

Psychologists have long been studying the way we communicate with our bodies and have concluded that body language is a fundamental extension of verbal communication and is absolutely essential for humans to communicate effectively with other humans.  Yet most people, when they communicate, focus their energy on what words they say rather than on how they are saying them. Because body language happens at an unconscious level, few people are actively aware of the signals they are picking up and transmitting through body language. As a result, we often send the wrong messages without realising it.  Or we transmit messages about ourselves that give away more than we think about our innermost thoughts. 

I suppose the same can be said about the body language of our prayer life.  To give an example - the fact that so many people like to keep themselves to themselves in life these days also means that when we give peace to those next to us in Church we may not be transmitting peace at all but our bodies indicate indifference to them. In fact we may be telling them bluntly "I don't really care about you, but I'll go through the action anyway". 

Psychologists have found that when words and body language contradict each other, it is our body language that gives the stronger message. This is why it is so important for us to be aware and in control of the messages we give out through our body. We also tend to fail to pick up important messages that are transmitted through other people's body language. 

Unfortunately today communication between people has been turned into a technological thing more than a personal one.  True, technology - like mobile phones, internet and what have you - are good things that bring us together over great distances but they are also the cause for an increase in lack of family contact, when we rely more and more on the "system" to convey our words than on our own effort to do so.  The total loss of body language therefore can cause one's message to be totally misunderstood.  Tell that to anyone who has got into any form of argument in an e-mail exchange which was misread.  The vocal nuances are not there.  So the vocal is as equally important to the communication as the actual words said.

This works out in prayer in the same way. Look at how you sit, stand or kneel during prayer. Does your  posture give you away and indicate that you are not taking the situation seriously enough? If you also do not feel, believe in, what you are saying, if you are praying mechanically, then the prayer has little value. And then we wonder why we may not be answered!!  Yet compare that situation to when we put our whole selves into our prayer, then the difference is so obvious. Our body language gives us the good and in the bad!  

I came across the following in a blog by Andy McKee which says a lot about how we react to feelings in our life, especially the spiritual: "I believe music is delivered from the soul of the artist. The soul and music that comes from an artist are not easily separable, in fact, it may be impossible. So this comes with a question: What is in your soul? ....You can often sense the anger in some of the postings (on blogs) that can be a sign of trouble to come for those poor souls. Yet the music that we are listening to was created by the artist to help us in our pain. If you are into the pain part of life and don't need the relief, it usually shows in your treatment of others. But the lessons usually do their job of knocking the haughtiness out and someday you too will seek the medicine of great music." 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Opening the door...

The doorbell rings….it is morning and you are alone at home. You peep through the curtains or the spyhole on the door to see who it is. Oh no, it’s that busy-body of a neighbour or so-and-so. You say to yourself "I’m not going to open the door." So you decide to stay in the house, quietly trying not to make the person outside realise that you’re in and not answering the doorbell.

Then you realise that your car is parked outside the door and the caller will certainly recognise it. And sure enough, the door bell rings again. Oh heck. You think to yourself: Shall I open the door and find an excuse or feign that I am not in anyway, hoping they’d finally go away? You opt for the second option, and sit it out quietly inside.

Tension is growing inside you now as you have to be certain that you can’t really be seen from outside through the curtains or other windows, even the garden ones. You can’t make any noise either. Nor continue with your chores either…..because the vacuum cleaner is too noisy! 
Does it sound familiar?  
I hope not. 
We are all called to be hospitable people and to welcome everyone, even the most inhospitable ones. We are called to love our neighbour as ourselves. But it isn't easy, especially if the one who really gets to you is the one you share your life with, your parents, your siblings, your partner. Then the going really gets tough to be able to show love. And somehow it seems easier to love someone else but your own family. Yet we are called to overcome this. 

Being a good person of whatever belief means that we make no distinctions or judgements about others. Perhaps doing it Abraham's way is a bit tough....welcoming three strangers in the mid-day heat in the middle of a desert with a drink, washing their feet, a little bread and then cooking a meal for them as well (Genesis 18: 1-10)...especially when they did not even really come "knocking" on the tent door! Yet his reasoning - well spruced with more than a tinge of humility -  interested me because it showed me how categorically hospitable I am expected to be: He bowed to the ground and called these strangers "his Lord" saying "if I find favour with you kindly do not pass your servant by".
It dare say that it would be a much better world if we all reasoned in this way!  

And St Paul adds a bit more of his strong sense of reasoning: "The mystery is Christ among you,  your hope of glory; this is the Christ we proclaim, this is the wisdom in which we thoroughly train everyone and instruct everyone, to make them all perfect in Christ"! (Colossians 1: 24-28)

Photo on right - neighbourly love in action
Elaine Kelly presenting flowers to 
 John Creedon from Carrickmines 
at the launch of "Love Your Neighbour", 
a year-long community action 
campaign encouraging individuals
 and communities to carry 
out special acts of kindness in 2009. 
(Photograph: Andres Poveda)

The Last Word?

Make yourself at home here, come back and read some of the older cappuccino posts too, relax, reflect.... and comment if you wish....there's a comment button at the end of each post!
I hope to see you again in a few days time. Enjoy.