Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy Saint Joseph's!

I have always been a fan of celebrating saints days and would always find it amusing when my Irish friends would tell me I'm an honorary Irishman on Saint Patrick's Day. I would often reply, whilst imbibing Guinness that like Saint Patrick I'm British and Catholic. 

Today we celebrate Saint Joseph's day - a powerful intercessor for all men but especially fathers, husbands, those struggling to be pure, those seeking work and those looking for a new home. 

It is also my son's feast day - we shall find a way of celebrating his baptism and saints day as he grows older but please spare a prayer for him - on the eve of his 5th month that he may, like Saint Joseph love Our Lord and Our Lady and grow into a man of strength, gentleness, kindness and manly virtue. 

Friday, March 07, 2014

IF - for Catholics

The poem "IF" penned by Rudyard Kipling is my favourite secular piece of writing in the English language. Every father should teach this to their sons if they want them to become real men. The poem reinforces true manly virtues of strength, forgiveness, humility in times of triumph and resilience when disaster strikes. 

With apologies to Kipling, I have attempted to rewrite this poem for my fellow Catholics, to remind myself and anyone who might read this, that in this life we make choices - and they have eternal consequences:

If you can keen the faith when all about you,
Are losing theirs and sometimes mocking you;
If you can trust Our Lord when others doubt Him,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can love those who treat you with derision, 
In person, or on a blog, online
Say a rosary, don't cause more division
Pray to bless them especially at that time. 

If you can pray, giving glory to Our Father
If you can think of Him with salvation as your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
But glorify Him throughout all the same 
If you can bear to hear the Faith be spoken
Of, derided by the ignorant and the fool
Or the Church, Christ gave His life for, body broken,
Mocked, but calmly defend her, keeping cool. 

If you can genuflect when He's before you,
If you bow your head at the Holy Name;
While others disrespect Him and laugh at you,
Although no one else will do the same;
If you can't bear to know the grace you're given
Was lost, by just one mortal sin,
Then respond, quickly seek to be forgiven,
Be absolved, a life of grace again begin;

If you can surf the web yet keep your virtue, 
Or write a blog, yet not lose the common touch;
If the plight of the unborn and those in poverty moves you,
If you help them out, but no one knows too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With prayer 'til anger's at an end;
Yours is true life - and graces without limit,
And what is more, you'll get to heaven my friend.    

(With apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Fast, Pray, Love

The book, and later, film called, "Eat, Pray, Love" never appealed to me but many have said that it was pretty self indulgent. 

Lent could be described as a time to "Fast, Pray and Love."  I'm not very good at Lent. I have great intentions on Ash Wednesday then on Friday night as I'm having a pint or Saturday afternoon when I'm halfway through a chocolate bar I tend to remember what I'm giving up. 
This Lent I aim to be more purposeful - not only chose to fast from something each day but to pray more, especially when I particularly desire that chocolate bar or beer. 

Love is perhaps a key message in Lent - we give to the poor but we also joyfully look forward to remembering what Christ did for us - and celebrate Easter three days later. 

May we deny ourselves, pray and seek to love more whilst, remembering today's Gospel, being joyful.