A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law and four year old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table, but the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. “We must do something about grandfather,” said the son. “I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.” So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in grandfather’s direction, he sometimes had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four year old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?” Just as sweetly the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and mummy to eat your food from when I grow up.” The four year old smiled and went back to work. The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no words were spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days, he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.
I heard you were considering a new manager for your life. I would like to apply for the job. I believe I am the most qualified candidate applying. I am the only one that has ever done this job successfully. I was the first manager of life. In fact, I made all lives, so naturally I know how humanity works, and what is best to get people back into proper working condition. Hiring me will be exactly like having the manufacturer as your personal mechanic. If this is your first time considering me, I would just like to point out that my salary has already been paid by my Son, Jesus on the cross of Calvary. This salary covers the time prior to my hiring as well as my present and future employment. If you decide to hire me I will need to receive from you an acknowledg-ment that you erred in not hiring me sooner. I understand this is a strange requirement, but since you violated the manufacturer’s warrantee by placing your being under inferior management, this is a necessary prerequisite to my engagement. Lastly, I will require a carte blanche (a blank check) to reorganizing and managing your life. I intend to make some major changes and revisions. They are not for you to worry about. I need your permission to execute these changes, My way and in My time. I will establish new goals and objectives and restructure your life to meet these requirements. Please keep your hands out of the way. Don’t try to help me and don’t resist me and we will get along fine. I really do need your full commitment and cooperation in this. If you give me those, the process of getting your life back to manufacturer’s intentions can go smoothly, without delays. I assure you: you will be pleased with the outcome. I will require a verbal contract to all these stipulations in the presence of witnesses.
Yours Sincerely, GOD
As I faced my Maker at the last Judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives, like the squares of a quilt, in many piles. An Angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that was our life. But as my Angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares were. They were filled with giant holes! Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I had endured, (which were the largest holes of all). I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Others had a tiny hole here and there, other tapestries were filled with rich colour and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My Angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air. Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light and the scrutiny of truth. The others rose each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My Angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn’t had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, death, and false accusations that took from me my world as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I had spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully; each time offering it up to the Father, in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me. And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it had been. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with eyes wide. Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded through the many holes, creating an image: The face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, “Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you… Welcome Home My Child, welcome Home!”
We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, or who don’t “speaky da English”. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds. We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our Parish Priest who is loud, but can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if think you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in Church since little Joseph’s Baptism. We extend a special welcome to those who are over sixty but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome “football parents”, “working parents”, starving artists, tree-huggers, cappuccino-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion”. If you blew all your Church offering money at the betting shop, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is paying a visit and wanted to go to Church. We welcome those who are tattooed, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, felt forced to go to Mass as a child or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, broken hearts … and you! We try to meet people where they are… and lead them where God calls them to be!
From 5th -10th August some of our families went on a treasure hunt in Castlerigg. The treasure was the treasure within. “Give me your heart and I will give you your heart’s desire” (Ps). We were not short on this kind of wealth – we had glorious weather, each person found a bed and we were well looked after by the staff at the Lancaster Diocesan Youth Centre. Below there is a report if you like to read more: Continue reading “Family Week at Castlerigg”
One more true story: Two men, unacquainted with each other, were seated recently together on a train and began a casual conversation. The older man, Charlie, was a caring and enthusiastic Catholic. When the younger man sensed that his fellow traveller was interested, he told his story. He had never completed college and had been unemployed for years. He was now heading home to Sheffield to donate a kidney to his father, who was seriously ill. He didn’t know what he was going to do after that. Charlie later described the young man as a person who had not found his niche or purpose in life. For Charlie, it seemed like the right moment to tell this young man about the love of God and how God had a purpose and a Plan of Love for him. Charlie spent maybe six or eight minutes telling this wanderer how to submit himself to God and how to start the journey of faith. He later told a friend that he had seldom seen a more appreciative response from someone. The young man said that he’d always felt that there had to be some meaning and purpose to his life. Charlie added that when the man finished thanking him, Charlie felt as if he had just told a hungry person where to find food. For most of us, being a faithful witness to our faith doesn’t mean accosting strangers or holding prayer meetings at work. It does mean that when those moments come where another person has opened up his or her life and invited us in, we be willing to tell about the Lord who means so much to us.
Our Family Week will be in Castlerigg in Keswick from Monday 5th – Saturday 10th August 2013. We have a planning Meeting on Saturday 27th April stating a 1.00pm. Please complete the registration form and return it to Fr. Bryan or Gary Russell by April 15th. (To download the registration form and information click here)We are looking forward to a wonderful time in the Lake District. Continue reading “Family Week in Castlerigg Keswick”