When considering who was responsible for the death of Jesus it is easy to point at finger at them, and them, and them……………………….


So I start by pointing a finger at the Sadducees, Pharisees and Herodians.

It was, after all, to the advantage of the Sadducees, Pharisees and Herodians that Jesus should die. He was becoming so popular with the general public that he was threatening the fabric of society. Except for Jesus everything was going well. He was the thorn in the flesh.


I move on to point a finger at Annas and Caiaphas.

At a meeting of the Sanhedrin, which was the Jewish Council authoritative in both religious and secular matters, the High Priest, Caiaphas, had stated that it was to their “advantage that one man should die for the people, rather than that the whole nation should perish.” (John 11:50). Caiaphas was not saying that Jesus deserved death but that it would be convenient if he were to die. Such was Jesus’ hold on the people that the Sanhedrin had become frightened both of the people and of Jesus.  After his arrest Jesus had been taken first to Annas who was father-in-law to Caiaphas. Annas and had been High Priest before Caiaphas and was still a power to be reckoned with.


Now I point a finger at the Sanhedrin.

I can certainly point a finger at the Sanhedrin and those who made up their number…………………….but not all of them. The Sanhedrin numbered seventy members. We must remember that Nicodemus, who had come to Jesus by night (John 3:1), would have been a member but his would have been a lone voice drowned out by clamour for Jesus to die.


I must point a finger at Pilate.

Here was a man who could have said “No” and stopped Jesus being put to death. He was weak and more interested in keeping his job and not having stories of his ineptitude passed to Rome. “Suffered under Pontius Pilate” I say in the Creed. So that’s him blamed.


I must point a finger at the crowd who shouted “Crucify him!”

In the crowd surely there were some who had been cured by Jesus or who, at least, would have seen Jesus curing the physically sick and healing the spiritually sick. Yet they were shouting “Crucify him”. How easily they were being led. Like lambs to the slaughter they followed the Pharisees and Sadducees who kept up the shout “Crucify him”. Seeing Jesus bound and bleeding was sufficient to make them forget. Easier to follow their leaders – easier to keep out of trouble. Anyway if Jesus was the Christ he should be able to extricate himself from this predicament. Why should they risk their necks and get into trouble with the Sanhedrin?


I might try and point a finger at the Roman Soldiers.

But they haven’t a case to answer. Whether I am thinking of those who carried out the scourging or the nailing to the cross, they were only carrying out orders. Those who mocked Jesus and crowned him with thorns could be accused of more than normal cruelty. But those were cruel times and this man they were dealing with was a criminal or he wouldn’t have been handed over to them.


Finally I must point a finger at myself.

During his agony in the garden Jesus saw all my sins. Such was his terror at seeing all my misdemeanours, the many times I have broken his covenant, that he sweat blood. I must stop pointing at others and take full responsibility for my sins.

But I wasn’t present at the Sanhedrin, I wasn’t in the crowd which shouted “Crucify him”,

I am happy to pass my blame onto Pontius Pilate, I didn’t carry out the scourging, the crowning with thorns, the mockery, I didn’t hammer in the nails.


I didn’t. My sins did. I am as guilty as all those I have pointed at.


Father forgive me.    




I am sometimes asked to pray for couples who are childless and the success rate of those prayers is quite amazing. The good Lord listens and rewards the prayers though sometimes a great amount of patience is required!


It started when prayers were asked for a young couple who belonged to our Parish Prayer Group. They had been married for eight years with no sign of starting a family. They didn’t ask for prayers themselves but a relation of theirs asked if prayers could be offered, but privately.


So prayers commenced. The Prayer Group weren’t told who we were praying for. Daily personal prayers were also offered and continued for two years when we were told that a baby had been conceived. There was great rejoicing. An ‘only child’ isn’t what the couple wanted so after the birth of their daughter prayers continued and eighteen months later they had a son. In church they make a lovely family group and proof that God listens.


A young couple came to live opposite to us. Shortly after they arrived they had a baby daughter but I was told that they didn’t want any more children. That seemed sad but it was borne out by the fact that several years later they still had only the one child. Then I heard the truth. It wasn’t that they didn’t want any more children but that they were having problems. They were not church going people so, without telling them, I started to pray. I prayed for about three years and I can remember, one day, saying; “Dear Lord, you don’t seem to want them to have another baby so I’ll stop praying.” A month later I learnt that the mother was three months pregnant! Six months later they had a son. I then told the mother of my prayers and I’m certain that, despite their apparent lack of religion, they knew that the prayers had helped. Alleluia.         


My son and daughter-in-law had been married for seven years and, after many tests, were told that they would never have any children. Impossible! Our Prayer Group took the matter to heart and invaded heaven with prayers. More tests only seemed to prove that the medics diagnosis was correct. Then one evening the couple called, unexpectedly, to give us the joyful news that she was pregnant. They had been encouraged to try the many new and experimental methods to obtain a pregnancy. Their greatest joy was to be able to tell us that the pregnancy was perfectly natural had nothing to do with the experiments which they had found totally unnatural, uncomfortable and embarrassing. They now have a beautiful daughter and prayers continue for a brother or sister to follow.


At the time when our daughter-in-law was having problems in conceiving I was told of another couple with similar problems. I promised to add them to my prayers. Two years later I once again said “Dear Lord, it doesn’t seem to be your will that they should have a family,” and I took them off my prayer list! The Good Lord has a wonderful sense of humour! Two weeks later I was told that the girl is pregnant and expecting triplets! They had also gone through various experimental tests but the three little babies in the womb had been conceived perfectly naturally. Prayers continue for a safe delivery.


“Dear Lord, please excuse my impatience and continue to make fun of my lack of faith!”

Michael Blackburn February 2001


Unto Us a Child is Born - Continued. (Four months later.)


The last report mentioned prayers which were being offered for the safe delivery of triplets. For several weeks things did not go well and the mother-to-be was taken into hospital with every sign that the babies would be lost. The message from ‘up there’ seemed to be “if you want these three babies to be born then more prayers please!” So more and ever more fervent prayers were offered.  Urgent telephone calls indicated that things were ‘under control’ but ‘only just’. Eventually the date passed by which, if the babies were to be born, then there was ‘a chance’ that they would be big enough to survive. That wasn’t ‘save enough’ so prayers continued. On the 21st June, the longest day of the year, the news came that three healthy boys had been born each weighing over 4lbs.


The praying, far from being over, continues. Dare we pray one day less in saying “Thank You” than we prayed in saying “Please”?




How much do we as Christians owe to the Old Testament? How much should we be aware of it and all that it has to teach us?


 Why don’t we have a Saint Abraham, Saint Jacob (Saint Israel), Saint Joseph (Jacob’s son), Saint Moses, Saint Joshua, Saint Elijah and Saint Elisha?


Any argument that the church only has saints from New Testament characters is defeated by the fact that we have Saint Michael, Saint Raphael and Saint Gabriel. If the church is happy with Angels as Saints, who were created before God created the world, then why not make saints of the obvious saintly characters of the Old Testament?


One possible argument could be that due to the passage of time there is no way of carrying out the rigorous checks which all saint have to undergo before they are raised to the altars.


But surely such checks would not be necessary in respect of Moses and Elijah. They appeared with Jesus at the time of the Transfiguration. That occurrence should, by itself, be sufficient to qualify them as immediate saints.


I hope that no-one would attempt to argue that the occasion of the Transfiguration is only Biblical therefore there might be some uncertainty that it ever happened! The Bible is true and is continually proved to be true.


But even if the Church does have sound reasons for not raising Old Testament figures to the altars the Old Testament still holds a wealth of information which Christians should be excited to learn about and study.


Of all the known religions only Christianity has the wealth of prophesy to prove its existence. As early as Genesis there are prophecies which have since been proved in Christianity.


Let us examine some of these prophecies. Along with each prophesy is given the Old Testament reference and any corresponding New Testament references.


Genesis 3:15. ‘I shall put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; it will bruise your head and you will strike its heel.’

Revelation 12:17 and 12:2.


Psalm 2:7. ‘He said to me, “You are my son, today have I fathered you.’

Luke 3:22.


Psalm 22:1. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46.

Mark 15:34.


Psalm 22:7-8 ‘….all who see me jeer at me, they sneer and wag their heads..’ “He trusted himself to Yahweh, let Yahweh set him free! Let him deliver him, as he took such a delight in him.”’ Matthew 27:39-44. Mark 15:32. Luke 23:35.


Psalm 22:14-15. ‘My strength is trickling away my bones are all disjointed my heart has turned to wax, melting inside me. My mouth is dry as earthenware, my tongue sticks to my jaw.’ John 19:28.


Psalm 22:18. ‘….….they divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.’ Matthew 27:35. Mark 15:25. Luke 23:34. John 19:24.


Psalm 34:20. ‘Yahweh takes care of all their bones, not one of them will be broken.’ John 19:33 & 36.


Psalm 69:9. ‘…….for I am eaten up with zeal for your house….’ John 2:17.


Psalm 69:21. ‘To eat they gave me poison, to drink, vinegar when I was thirsty.’ Matthew 27:34. Mark 15:36. Luke 23:36. John 19:29. 


Psalm 78:2 ‘I will speak to you in poetry, unfold the mysteries of the past.’

Matthew 13:34-35.


Psalm 110:1. ‘Yahweh declared to my Lord. “Take your seat at my right hand, till I have made your enemies your footstool.”’ Matthew 22:44.


Psalm 118:22:23. ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone,’ Matthew 21:42.


Isaiah 7:14. ‘It is this: the young woman is with child and will give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel.’ Matthew 1:23. Luke 2:7.


Isaiah 11:2. ‘A shoot will spring up from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from its roots.’  Matthew 1:6.


Isaiah 28:16. “Now I shall lay a stone in Zion, a granite stone, a precious corner-stone, a firm foundation stone, no one who relies on this will stumble.”

Matthew 16:18. & 21:42.


Isaiah 40:3. ‘A voice cries, “Prepare in the desert a way for Yahweh. Make a straight highway for our God.”’ Matthew 3:3. Luke 3:4. John 1:23.


Isaiah 40:11. ‘He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast……’ Matthew 18:12-14. Luke 15:4-7.


Isaiah 50:6. ‘I have offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard. I have not turned my face away from insult and spitting.’ Matthew 26:67. Mark 10:34. Luke 22:63-65.


Isaiah 52:14. ‘As many people were aghast at him – he was so inhumanly disfigured that he no longer looked like a man…..’


Isaiah 53:3. ‘….he was despised, the lowest of men, a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering. Yet ours were the sufferings he was bearing.’

Matthew 18:17.   


Isaiah 53:7. ‘Ill-treated and afflicted, he never opened his mouth, like a lamb to the slaughter-house, like a sheep dumb before the shearers he never opened his mouth.’ Matthew 26:63. & 27:12-14.


Isaiah 53:12. ‘Hence I shall give him a portion with the many, and he will share the body with the mighty………………….’ Matthew 26:26-28.

Mark 14:22-25. Luke 22:9-20.


Isaiah 61:1. ‘The spirit of the Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has anointed me.’ ‘He has sent me to bring the news to the afflicted, to soothe the broken-hearted.’ Matthew 11:4-5. Luke 4:18. & 7:22.


Hosea 11:1 ‘….and I called my son out of Egypt.’ Matthew 2:15.


Micah 5:1. ‘But you (Bethlehem) Ephrathah, the least of the clans of Judah, from you will come for me a future ruler of Israel.’ Matthew 2:6. Luke 2:4.

John 7:42.


Zechariah 9:9. ‘Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout for joy, daughter of Jerusalem! Look, your king is approaching, he is vindicated and riding a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ Matthew 21:1-5.

Mark 11:1-11. Luke 19:28-38. John 12:12-15.


Zechariah 11:12. ‘So they weighed out my wages: thirty shekels of silver.’

Matthew 26:15. Mark 14:10. Luke 22:3-6.


Zechariah 11:13. ‘Yahweh said to me, “Throw it to the smelter, this princely sum at which they have valued me!” Taking the thirty shekels of silver, threw them into the Temple of Yahweh for the smelter.’ Matthew 27:3-10.  


Zechariah 13:7. ‘Strike the shepherd, scatter the sheep!’ Matthew 26:31.

Mark 14:26.


Many more prophesies can be found but the above are an example of the firm foundation on which the Christian Church is built.


We should spend time investigating the Old Testament. Such time spent will be rewarding.

156. The Virgin Mary in Waiting.


 A story told to me by Stella Lilley. A four year old little girl (possibly one of Stella’s granddaughters) is emphatic that she wants ‘to be a mummy.’ So much so that puts her dolls inside her dress and when she gets to play-school brings them out as having given birth.


When it came round to the school Nativity play the little girl asked whether she could be the Virgin Mary. “I’m sorry no you can’t” said the headmistress “You’ve already had three babies this week!”.


      157 MEETING.


       I met a man upon the road                                   But as I ran to overtake

Surrounded by a fearsome crowd,                       The crowd, by now well up the hill, 

And loaded down by planks of wood                  I saw them take the man and lay

And goaded on by men in arms                           Him down upon the cross of wood;

Who leered and jeered and lashed him on;         And suddenly I understood

He did not murmur, even when                           They’d crucify him as I heard

He fell because they motioned him                      They did with murderers of old,

Too fast for his frail fame to take                         In times less civilised than ours.

The weight of all that he must bear.


I shouted to the soldiers there                               I fought my way through all the crowd;

And turned to them that watched him pass.          I did not care what they would do,

I cried to them to help me take                              There was still time for me to stop

The cross from that poor feeble man,                    This fearful murder – I alone

I pleaded with them “Let him go”                          Would dare to face these Romans now,

and struggled to get past the guard,                       And curse and swear them to desist.

But no-one heard, and no-one moved,

And I was lost in jeering crowds.

                                                                               I panted to the front, and there

I thought I saw a woman who                                His mother stood; she turned and looked,

might well have been his mother there,                 and suddenly I could not move,

Too mute with grief to raise a voice                      Her glance had turned my soul to stone;

and join my feeble protest shout.                           Two soldiers held a bucket full

Some friends walked by her, wrapped in grief.     of rusted nails as long as knives,

They followed up the winding path                       and as they drew each hideous nail

Like puppets drawn on strings of pain                   and held it poised to pierce the flesh

They stumbled, numbed, and dare not speak.

                                                                               I saw with horror each thick nail

But I was angry past belief                                    Was marked and clearly numbered there

And full of righteous indignation,                         With all my hateful heinous sins,

I would not stand and watch this sight                  And then I knew with rank despair

This hunted man with no-one by him.                  That it was I who crucified

I’d stir these people up to rise                               This innocent, enfeebled man;

And take the law into their hands                          My soul was seared with grief again

And force the soldiers, now outnumbered,            And all the world was black with pain.

To free the man and bind his wounds.                       


Written by Stella Lilly.







We all have family who will probably openly admit that they never pray. Apart from praying for them what else can we do to help the souls of these our loved ones? There will be very few of them who will refuse to pray a daily five second prayer, even if initially they do it for the love of us rather than for the love of God. Sons, daughters, son-in-laws, daughter-in-laws, grandchildren and even our friends will benefit. We only need the courage to ask them.

Whether they are Housewives, Company Directors, Office Cleaners, work in Industry or Commerce they all have their daily work to offer as a prayer. So at the start of the day all they have to say is “Dear God I offer you all my work this day”, which can be said in under five seconds, and the rest of the day is their prayer. We are told to ‘pray continuously’ which is exactly what they will be doing.

What we are doing is lighting a very long fuse which will splutter and at times almost die. From time to time, but not too often to become a nuisance, we may need to give a reminder “How’s the five seconds going?” Eventually, in God’s own time, the fuse will reach the end of its journey and, hopefully, will result in an explosion of spirituality, fired by the Holy Spirit.

So, always privately, we mustn’t be afraid to ask. “Please will you do something which will only take five seconds a day?”

If we get a refusal then we mustn’t worry. It may be a due to embarrassment. Unbeknown to us they may accept the idea and start using it. We can only do so much and eventually we have to leave everything in the safety and love of the Holy Spirit.




Abortion is total selfishness. Having had ‘a fling’ the consequences are considered a nuisance ‘to be got rid of.’ No thought is given to the rights of the embryo which was conceived in a moment of love. The embryo is a proof of that love but one for which the recipients, both the man and the woman, are not prepared to accept responsibility. ‘Rights’ and ‘Responsibilities’ should go hand in hand. Where they do not; selfishness reigns supreme.


There is another equally worrying aspect to abortion. World-wide millions of abortions are taking place. It is certain that some of these ‘disposable babies’ would have developed into much needed experts. The medical world needs all the help it can get. The same goes for the scientific world. And it is also certain that among the conveniently disposed embryos would have been some which would have delighted our art galleries, our musical world, both classical and popular. The acting profession will also have lost many excellent performers. We will never know the total loss but already it is beginning to show.


Examine the political world. Where are the great statesmen who we knew in the past? Names such as Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi; search the world and there is no-one to match these great men – men who had foresight and were true leaders. The more abortion continues to take place the more we will be left with second-rate politicians and we will deserve the second-rate decisions and leadership which is all they have to offer.


In the world of entertainment there is nothing to match Laurel & Hardy or Morecambe & Wise. Today’s comedians offer satire and often filth but the humour which enables one to laugh with a happy and clear conscience is almost gone. Where has it gone? There is little doubt that some of it will have been torn out of the womb and probably not even given a loving burial but deposited in the hospital incinerator. And that in the name of love.    


Now are told that there are insufficient people working to pay for those who are retired. Future workers will have to work longer; up to aged 69 had been mentioned, or retire on a low pension with a correspondingly low standard of living. If the Abortion Act hadn’t lead to the deaths of millions of lives then those who were aborted would now be working and helping to balance the books.


Mother Nature will not be permanently disfigured in this way but will eventually fight back. There will be a high price to pay for the genocide which is happening. The fact that it is approved by Parliament will be no excuse. We must accept that the present laws regarding abortion, not only in the UK but world-wide, are in need of drastic change.


Michael Blackburn.


(In this report I have purposely kept away from any religious connection. There are sufficient non-religious aspects which make Abortion unacceptable.)


160. Why?


A few days ago our daughter-in-law’s brother, Dominic, died. He was twenty-nine years old and died of a heart attack. He leaves a young wife, Jane, a two year old son, Ben, and in two month’s time Jane is expecting another baby.


Because family and friends see me as someone who ‘is religious’ I am trying to find the answer: Why? Why did God allow it to happen? How can a loving God allow this widow to be left looking after two young children? Where is God in this situation?


I am sitting here at my Computer/Word Processor struggling to find an answer.


I am certain that God didn’t want this tragedy to happen. So why didn’t he stop it? I seems that the young man had a heart condition which was only discovered at the autopsy. So for all his life he has been living with this potential tragedy just waiting to happen. Yes, God could have intervened, but if he did that for one person then he would have to do it for everyone. We would not be living in the real world. It would be a world of no challenges, no way of showing God our love. And that is why we are here – to accept the challenges which the world throws at us and, despite the challenges, maintain and increase our love for God.


Difficult to understand, but important in answering the question, is the fact that the sadness of the parting which death brings is the continuation of the love which existed during life. We mourn and are sad because of the love which has been taken from us. But that love doesn’t finish but continues. There would be no tears or sorrow if there had never been any love.


Life is very short and even though this man was only twenty-nine it is infinitesimal when compared to eternity. It is little consolation for the widow to be told that she and her husband will eventually be together in heaven. But when that time comes, will also come the realization of the brief span of our life on earth when compared to everlasting eternity.


Pain, which includes the pain of mourning, can be used as an offering to God. It can be used as a gift to God or as an expiation of our sins. Telling this to the bereaved at the time of the tragedy is unlikely to help. But if this is explained at a later date then all the pain suffered from the death until that moment can be offered. None of it is ever wasted by the passage of time.


Death brings out our Trust in God. The problems of being alone means that we need to have an even greater Trust in God. Previously we had someone to share in life’s daily problems. Yes, we will have family and friends who will rally round but they cannot replace the person who was always there to discuss those problems – to help make decisions.

Does the tragedy of sudden death, which happened in this case, differ greatly from someone who has a terminal illness and dies slowly? Each must have its specific difficulties and I dare not make a comment on whichever may be the more traumatic.


God is love and death does not decrease his love. If it were possible it would increase it as he sees the changing needs which death has brought upon us.


Michael Blackburn  9th April 2001


161.  Where did Jesus go?        A priest told the following story:- 


                  At a First Holy Communion class he was asking the

                  children questions. He asked “Where did Jesus go after he

                  had died and was put in the tomb?”


                  After a long silence a little boy put his hand up “I think he went

                  into the deepest part of Hell to see his friend Judas.”


                  That has to be the most beautiful thing I have heard this Lent.

                  It has made this Easter very special.                  



162 With no Eucharist, God becomes a monologue.


There’s a story told of a young Jewish boy named Mortakai who refused to go to school. When he was six years old, his mother took his to school but he cried and protested all the way and, immediately after she left ran back home. She brought him back to school and this scenario played itself out for several days. His parents tried to reason with him, arguing that he, like all children, must now go to school. To no avail. His parents then tried the old-age trick of applying bribes and threats. This too had no effect.


Finally in desperation the went to their Rabbi and explained the situation to him. For his part, the Rabbi simply said: “If the boy won’t listen to words, bring him to me.” The brought him to the Rabbi’s study. The Rabbi said not a word. He simply picked up the boy and held him to his heart for a long time. Then, still without a word, he set him down. What words couldn’t accomplish, a silent embrace did. Mortakai not only began willingly to go to school, he went on to became a great scholar an a Rabbi.


What the parable wonderfully expresses is how he Eucharist works. In it, God physically embraces us. Indeed that is what all sacraments are, God’s physical embrace. Words, as we know, have a relative power. In critical situations they often fail us. When his happens, we have still another language, the language of ritual. The most ancient and primal ritual of physical embrace. It can say and do what words cannot.


Jesus acted on this. For most of his ministry, he used words. Through words, he tried to bring us Gods consolation, challenge, and strength. His words, like all words, had a certain power. Indeed, his words stirred hearts, healed people, ands affected conversions. But at a time, powerful though they were, they too became inadequate. So on the night before he died, having exhausted what he could do with words Jesus went beyond them. He gave us the Eucharist, his physical embrace, his kiss, a ritual within which he holds us to his heart.


To my mind, that is the best understanding there is of the Eucharist. Within both my undergraduate and graduate theological training, I took long courses on the Eucharist. In the end, these didn’t explain the Eucharist to me, not because they weren’t good, but because the Eucharist like a kiss, needs no explanation and has no explanation. If anyone were to write a 400-page book entitled, ‘The Metaphysics of a Kiss’, it would not deserve a readership. Kisses just work, their inner dynamics need no metaphysical elaboration.


The Eucharist is God’s kiss. The Cajun novelist Andre Dubos, used to say “Without he Eucharist, God becomes a monologue.” He’s right. A couple of years ago, Brenda Peterson, in a remarkable little essay entitled ‘In Praise of Skin’, describes how she once was inflicted by a skin rash that no medicine could effectively soothe. She tried every kind of doctor and medicine. To no avail. Finally she turned to her grandmother remembering how, as a little girl her grandmother used to massage her skin whenever she had rashes, bruises, or was otherwise ill. The ancient remedy worked again. Her grandmother massaged the skin, over and over again, and the rash that seemingly couldn’t be eradicated disappeared. Skin needs to be touched. This is what happened in the Eucharist and that is why the Eucharist, and every other Christian sacrament, always has some very tangible physical element to it – laying on of hands, a consuming of bread and wine, and immersion into water, an anointing with oil. An embrace needs to be physical not only something imagined.


G K Chesterton once wrote: “There comes a time, usually late in the afternoon, when the little child tires of playing policemen an robbers. It’s then that he begins to torment the cat!” Mothers, with young children, are only too familiar with this late-afternoon hour and its particular dynamic. There comes an hour, usually just before supper, when a child’s energy is low, when it is tired an whining, and when the mother has exhausted both her patience and her repertoire of warnings: “Leave that alone” Don’t do that!” The child, tense and miserable, is clinging to her leg. At that point, she knows what to do. She picks up the child. Touch, not word, is what’s needed. in her arms, the child grows calm and tension leave the body.


That’s an image for the Eucharist. We are that tense, overwrought child, perennially tormenting the cat. There comes a point, even with God, when words aren’t enough. God has to pick us up, like a mother her child. Physical embrace is what’s needed. Skin needs to be touched. God knows that. It’s why Jesus gave us the Eucharist.


Extract from Ronald Rolheiser. Catholic Herald.




Wouldn’t it be nice if we could always fill our churches when we have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. And what about the night time when the church is empty? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be assured that someone is there and that Jesus, under the form of the Eucharist, is not alone in the tabernacle.  Well we can!


When we attend for Adoration then, if the church is sparsely filled, call on the deceased parishioners whose souls are benefiting in the joy and peace of Heaven to come and fill the empty places. You may not hear their shouts of joy as they take their places but they will want to thank you for having invited them and their time in church will be a continuation of their everlasting adoration in heaven.

During the night, when we are asleep, we can ask our Guardian Angels to go to the church and keep Jesus company. They will know when it is time to return but, in the meantime, they will have maintained a heavenly conversation and, who knows, they may, to our benefit, whisper some of it to us during the day.

So it is only a matter of asking “Souls of the Parish now in heaven, please come and fill these empty places so that we can give due honour and love to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.”


“Guardian Angel, I’m about to go to sleep. Please go to Church and spend the night, on my behalf, honouring, adoring and loving Jesus.” “Come back in the morning. I’ll need you as soon as I awake.”


Don’t take my word for it – try it yourself.




Our youngest daughter and son-in-law have two children, Sarah aged 9 and Eleanor aged 7. Sarah was invited to a children’s party. At the end of the party everyone was given the traditional ‘goody-bag’.


The mother who was in charge of the party found that she had one ‘goody- bag’ left over so she said “Who wants an extra good-bag”. Shouts me of “Me, me, me” were heard, but the mother noticed that Sarah wasn’t taking part in the shouts. She was otherwise absorbed and when the mother realised what she was doing her heart went out to her and she gave her the extra ‘goody-bag’.


What was Sarah doing? She was picking the things out of her ‘goody-bag’ and saying “One for me – one for my sister – one for me – one for my sister – one for me – one for my sister………………..”


As we sow so shall we reap.    May 2001.


165.The Rosary’s Perennial Problem.


May and October are Our Lady’s months when the Rosary is prayed every weekday in Church either after Mass or after evening devotions. The holy Rosary is also frequently prayed at other times. In our church it is prayed every Tuesday and Wednesday during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  These should be times of peaceful prayer with nothing to interfere with our meditations on the fifteen mysteries. But it doesn’t always work out that way. Why? Because some prefer to pray the words slower than others!


The problem is that, provided the words are not purposely babbled in an attempt to save time, then there really is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Some find it easier to ‘meditate’ at a faster speed, others at a slower speed. What are we to do to try and overcome this problem? The fact that the word ‘problem’ is being used with regard to praying, and especially praying the Rosary, surely tells us that something is wrong. But is it the ‘fast’ or the ‘slow’ people who are wrong? If only there were easy answer to such questions! We must repeatedly remind ourselves that we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world.


Perhaps we should ask ourselves where these thoughts come from. Who is telling us that the prayers are too fast or too slow? Who can accurately determine what is ‘fast’ and what is ‘slow’? Are these thoughts selfish? Is some ‘little demon’ whispering in our ear to try and disturb our prayers? Should we attempt to slow everyone down? If we do, then might it not disturb the prayers of others who find it easier to meditate at a faster speed?


When the priest leads the Rosary then he sets the pace. Don’t be afraid to discuss the problem with him. If you would rather not do so face to face then mention it in confession.     


When the Rosary is being led without a priest, then, if you take your turn to lead a decade, do so at the speed which you prefer.


But if, after all your efforts, the speed remains too fast then what can you do? The whole idea of the praying the Rosary is ‘Meditation’. So as others say the words keep your silence and use the time to meditate. In doing that you may well gain more from the Rosary than those who are speaking the words.


166 Simeon’s Words


The most misinterpreted words in the whole Bible are those spoken by Simeon to Our Lady at the time of the Presentation in the Temple. He is reputed to have said, “A sword will pierce your heart.” But St Luke tells us that Simeon said “A sword will pierce your soul.” The pain of a mortal heart being pierced must be extremely painful but that pain will cease at death. The piercing of an immortal soul must be much more painful than that of a heart, excruciatingly so, and will continue after death. So Our Lady has never been free of that potential pain, though we can be assured that Jesus will be ever watchful of his Mother and only allow the pain when it is for the benefit of souls. Is the pain of the sword piercing her soul the reason why, when she appears to visionaries, she is sometimes sad and sometimes crying? We must comfort her by offering to share her suffering. If we do then Jesus will surely reward us.


‘Dearest Mother, please allow us to share the pain of your pierced soul, for the good of all souls on earth who cause you sadness and tears.  Amen.’


167 Just for a Minute


I remember when I was only four,

Mother would bring me ‘round to the store,

And just outside church she’d stand,

And “Come in”, she’d say, reaching down for my hand,

“Just for a minute.”


And then when I started going to school,

She’d bring me down every day as a rule,

But first the steps to the church we’d climb,

And she’d say “Well go in – you’ve always go time,

Just for a minute”.


Then I got really big, I mean seven years old,

And went by myself but was always told,

“When you’re passing the church don’t forget to call

And tell Our Lord about lessons and all,

Just for a minute”.


But sometimes I see the other fellows standing around

And I just go yellow,

I pass by the door, but a Voice from within

Seems to say. real sad, ”So you wouldn’t come in

Just for a minute”.


There are things inside be bad and good,

That nobody knows and nobody could,

Expecting Our Lord and I like Him to know,

And he helps when in for a visit I go,

“Just for a Minute”.


He finds it lonesome when nobody comes

(There are hours upon hours when nobody comes)

And he’s ;pleased when a anyone passing by Stops in

(though it’s only a little boy) “Just for as minute”.


I know what happens when people die,

but I won’t be sacred, and I’ll tell you why:

When Our Lord is judging my soul, I feel

He’ll remember the times I went in to kneel

“Just for a minute”.


                          168. My Get Up and Go Has Got Up and Went!


                          How do I know my youth is all spent?

                          Well my get up and go has got up and went.

                          But in spite of it all, I am able to grin

                          When I think of where my get up has been.

                          Old age is golden, so I’ve heard it said,

                          But sometimes I wonder as I get into bed.

                          With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup,

                          My eyes on the table until I wake up.

                          Ere sleep dims my eyes I say to myself

                          Is there anything else I should put on the shelf?

                          And I am happy to say, as I close the door,

                          My friends are the same, perhaps even more.

                          When I was young, and my slippers were red,

                          I could kick my heels right over my head.

     When I grew older my slippers were blue,

                          But I still could dance the whole night through.

                          Now I am old my slippers are black,

                          I walk to the store, and puff coming back.

                          The reason I know is my youth is all spent

                          My get up and go has got up and went.

                          But I really don’t mind, when I think with a grin

                          Of all the grand places my get up has been.

                          Since I have retired from the life’s competition

                          I busy myself with complete repetition.

                          I get up each morning, dust off my wits,

                          Pick up the paper and read the Obits.

                          If my name is missing I know I’m not dead,

                         So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed.


169. From a Benedictine  Web Site.


Fast from judging others:  feast on Christ dwelling in them.

Fast from emphasis of differences:  feast on unity of life.

Fast from apparent darkness:  feast on the reality of light.

Fast from thoughts of illness:  feast on God’s healing power.

Fast from words that pollute:  feast on phrases that purify.

Fast from discontent:  feast on gratitude.

Fast from anger:  feast on patience.


Fast from pessimism:  feast on optimism.

Fast from worry:  feast on divine order.

Fast from complaining: feast on appreciation.

Fast from negatives:  feast on affirmatives.

Fast from unrelenting pressure:  feast on increasing prayer.

Fast from hostility:  feast on non-resistance.

Fast from bitterness:  feast on forgiveness.


Fast from self concern:  feast on compassion for others.

Fast from personal anxiety:  feast on eternal truth.

Fast from discouragement:  feast on hope.

Fast from facts that depress:  feast on truths that uplift.

Fast from lethargy:  feast on enthusiasm.

Fast from weakening thoughts:  feast on promises that inspire.

Fast from shadows of sorrow:  feast on the sunlight of serenity.

Fast from idle gossip:  feast on purposeful silence.



170 Jesus’ command “Love one another….just as I have loved you.”


Jesus left it until the Last Supper to give his apostles a new commandment ‘I give you a new commandment; love one another.’ (But surely there is nothing new about that. The aim of the ten commandments is to show love one to another commencing with love of God and then proceeding to love of one another – not to steal from one another– not to kill each other – not to bear false witness etc.) But Jesus adds to his words which makes them new. ‘I give you a new commandment; love one another….just as I have loved you.’ John 13:34. That is a tremendous challenge. Are we capable of loving as much as Jesus loves? The answer is that we must try. We will continually fail and fall. We must pick ourselves up and start again. There is no doubt that if we are persistent in our desire to love as Jesus loves then, in time, and with his help, we will achieve a level of love which, although it will never equal his, will nevertheless raise our love to a level which we previously thought impossible. ‘With God all things are possible.’ Mark 10:27. 


171 The Real Presence.


How many Roman Catholic believe in the Real Presence? On page 411 of The Message of Merciful Love, which contain Jesus’ words to Carmela Carabelli, the strong impression is given that few really believe. Instead the Eucharist has become ‘a souvenir, a simple memorial’ and from these erroneous thoughts come unconcern and sacrilege.


Sadly, in the Church today, the fashion is to regard Our Lord’s presence in the Eucharist as something that is not completely real, something that has only a symbolic meaning and this level of belief varies from person to person. But this is not the traditional teaching of the Church. Pope Paul VI in his encyclical ‘Mysterium Fiei’ wrote “In the course of the day, the faithful should not omit to visit the Blessed


Sacrament, which, according to the liturgical laws, must be kept in the churches with great reverence. Such visits are a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, an acknowledgement of the Lord’s presence. Christ is truly the Emmanuel that is, GOD WITH US. Day and night He is in our midst, He dwells with us, full of grace and truth.”


What do we mean by the Real Presence? We mean that at the moment of Consecration, through the words of the priest, by the power of the Holy Spirit the Bread and Wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus. This miraculous change is made whilst still maintaining the appearance of bread and wine.


What proof do we have for this Miracle of the Eucharist?


Firstly we have the words of Jesus from St John’s Gospel:


                               “In all truth I tell you,

                               it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven,

                               it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven,

                               the true bread; for the bread of God

                               is the bread which comes down from heaven

                               and gives life to the world.”


 “Sir”, they said, “give us that bread always.” Jesus answered them:


                               “I am the bread of life.

                               No one who comes to me will ever hunger;

                               no one who believes in me will ever thirst.”  John 6:32-35.                                


Meanwhile the Jews were complaining to each other about him, because he had said,

“ am the bread that has come down from heaven.” They were saying, “Surely this is Jesus son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know. How can he now say, ‘I have come down from Heaven?’” John 6:41-43.


                                “I am the bread of life.

                                Your fathers ate manna in the desert and they are dead;

                                 but this is the bread which comes down from heaven,

                                 so that a person may eat it and not die.

                                 Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;

                                 and the bread that I shall give

                                 is my flesh, for the life of the world.”


Then the Jews started arguing among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus replied to them:


                                 “In all truth I tell you,

                                 if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man

                                 and drink his blood,

                                 you have no life in you.

                                 Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood

                                 has eternal life,

                                 and I shall raise that person up on the last day.


                                 For my flesh is real food

                                 and my blood is real drink.

                                 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood

                                 lives in me

                                 and I live in that person.

                                 As the living Father sent me

                                 and I draw life from the Father,

                                 so whoever eats me will also draw life from me.

                                 This is the bread which has come down from heaven;

                                 it is not like the bread our ancestors ate:

                                 they are dead,

                                 but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.”   

John 6:48-58.


Now we refer to St Matthew’s Gospel:


Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to the disciples. “Take it and eat,” he said, “this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he handed it to them saying, “Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:26-29.

Now from St Mark’s Gospel:


And as they were eating he took bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. “Take it,” he said, “this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he handed it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them, “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for many.” Mark 14:22-24.


Finally from St Luke’s Gospel:


Then he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” He did the same with the cup after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for you.”

Luke 22:19-21.


Those, then, are the references from the New Testament and the words Jesus uses are very definite. Jesus was not a man to play with words. When he said “Take up thy pallet and walk” he wasn’t talking imaginatively but he meant what he said and many cripples did exactly that. 


Why then can there be any doubts that he meant exactly what he said by the words “This is my body - this is my blood?” The only reason is that Satan, who despises Jesus and doesn’t want us to believe, puts the doubts into our heads.




One of the objections regarding the Real Presence is that it appears to be cannibalistic.

The answer to that is Jesus’ unbelievable and perfect humility. How else can we explain his desire to offer his real body and real blood for us to eat and drink? If the choice to eat and drink had been ours then the objection would be proved. But the choice was that of Jesus and we cannot disobey.


A book with many stories of the Eucharist is ‘Eucharistic Miracles and Eucharistic Phenomena in the Lives of the Saints.’ By Joan Carroll Cruz. Published by Tan Book Publishers Inc. Rockford, Illinois. USA 61105. This book is stocked by The Catholic Bookshop and Repository, Leeds. Telephone 0113 2450850 @ £11.95 and is probably available at many Catholic Bookshops It contains forty-two stories regarding the Eucharist, and will make excellent reading for those who wish to make a further study of the often dramatic, true stories of the Eucharist. The miracles in the book date from the 8th century to the 20th century.


Below are an edited version of six stories from the book:


Miracle of the Eucharist. Lanciano  8th Century.

‘A monk, wise in the ways of the world, but not in the faith, was having a

trying time with his belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus in the

Eucharist. He prayed constantly for relief from his doubts, and from the fear

that he was losing his vocation. He suffered through the routine of his

priesthood day after day, with these doubts gnawing at him.


The situation in the world did not help his faith. There were many heresies

cropping up all the time, which kept chipping away at his faith. They were

not all from outside the church either. Brother priests and bishops were

victims of these heresies, and were being spread throughout the Church.



One morning, while he was having a strong attack of doubt, he began the

Consecration of the Mass for the people of the town. He used the same

size host which is used in the Latin Rite Mass today. After the consecration

of the Host and Wine, what he beheld caused his hands to shake, indeed

his whole body. He stood for a long time with his back to the people, and

then slowly turned around to them.


He said “O fortunate witnesses to whom the Blessed God, to confound my

disbelief, has wished to reveal Himself in this Most Blessed Sacrament and

to render Himself visible to our eyes! Come, brethren, and marvel at our

God so close to us. Behold the Flesh and Blood of our most beloved Christ.”


The host had turned into Flesh.      The wine had turned into Blood.


All that happened one thousand three hundred years ago. Had that miracle taken place, and then the flesh and blood disintegrated, as would have been normal, the miracle would have been none the less a miracle. The priest’s faith had been renewed. The entire town, the whole country for that matter, became aware of the miracle. Pilgrims flocked to Lanciano to venerate the host turned into Flesh and the wine turned into blood. Belief in the Eucharist had been reborn.


But that is not all. The miracle is ongoing. The Flesh and the Blood, without the use of any form of preservative is still present in a reliquary at the Church were the miracle happened. Scientific tests carried out in 1970-71 show that the Flesh is real Flesh and the Blood is real Blood. The Flesh and Blood are of the same blood group which is also the same as the blood on the Holy Shroud of Turin.  


It is impossible to truly appreciate the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano without seeing the impact it has on those who witness it. All questions and doubts about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist are defeated. After seeing the miracle one priest said “I can never raise the host or wine at the consecration again, without seeing my Lord’s very Heart between my fingers, His Blood alive in the chalice before me.”


On another occasion, after a priest had shown the Miracle to pilgrims he came to the foot of the altar and made the following observation: “Remember that this miracle that you have witnessed happens every day in every church in the world at the consecration of the Mass.


         Miracle of the Sacred Hosts. Siena 1730

         In Siena on the eve of the Feast of Assumption thieves stole a ciborium  containing 351 hosts. Three days late they were found in the ‘poor box’ of a nearby church. Every one was accounted for. They were dusty and dirty and it was decided not to use them for Holy Communion but to  put them in a tabernacle and let them decay naturally.


         Now, 271 years later, the hosts are as fresh as the day they were consecrated. They have not been protected from the elements and should have decayed as long ago as 1730!


         In 1922 the church proclaimed the hosts to be a miracle of the Eucharist and they are kept in a reliquary to be venerated.


        Miracle of Bolsena-Orvieto. Italy 1263

        In the Middle Ages, in Bolsena, which is seventy miles north of Rome, a priest named Peter of Prague, who was on a pilgrimage to Rome, stopped off and asked to offer Mass in the Church of St Prestina.


       He had doubts about the real presence and before Mass prayed about his doubts. At the moment of Consecration as he held the host up blood started to drip from the host onto the marble floor. In confusion, and not knowing what to do, he wrapped the bleeding host in the corporal and left the altar.


        Pope Urban IV was staying at nearby Orvieto so Peter went to tell the Pope what had happened. The Pope sent a bishop to fetch the Corporal and Host from Bolsena. As the bishop approached Orvieto the Pope went out to meet him and when he saw the Blood Stained Corporal he knelt in adoration.


        The Pope had the relic placed in the Cathedral of Orvieto and later instituted the feast of Corpus Christi  ‘The Body of Christ’. The Blood Stained Linen remains in a special chapel of the cathedral in a gold reliquary.


         In the church at Bolsena can be seen the pieces of marble floor which the blood stained when it fell from the host.             


            The Miracle of Santarem. Portugal 13th Century.

            There lived in the village of Santarem, 35 miles south of Fatima, a poor woman who was made miserable by the activities of her unfaithful husband. In her extreme unhappiness she consulted a sorceress, who promised deliverance from her trials for the price of a consecrated Host. After many hesitations the woman finally consented and visited the Church of St. Stephen. After receiving Holy Communion, she removed the Host from her mouth and wrapped it in her veil, intending to take it to the sorceress.


            But, within a few minutes blood began to issue from the Host. The amount of blood increased so much that it dripped from the cloth and attracted the attention of  bystanders. Seeing blood on the woman’s hand and arm and thinking her injured, several witnesses rushed forward to help. The woman avoided them and ran to her home, leaving a trail of blood behind her.


            Hoping to hide the bloody veil and its contents, she placed them in a chest; but during the night she was forced to reveal them to her husband when mystery of light issued from the trunk, penetrating the wood and illuminating the whole house. Both knelt in adoration for the remaining hours until dawn, when the parish priest was summoned.


           News of the mysterious event spread quickly and attracted countless people who wanted to contemplate the miracle. Because of the furore, an episcopal investigation was promptly organised. The Host was taken in procession to the Church of St. Stephen, where it was encased in wax and secured in the tabernacle. Some time later, when the tabernacle was opened, another miracle was discovered. The wax that had encased the Host was found broken into pieces, and the Host was found miraculously enclosed in a crystal pyx. This was later placed in a gold and silver pear-shaped monstrance with a ‘sunburst of 33 rays, in which it is still contained.



After the approval of the ecclesiastical authorities, who saw no reason to condemn or suppress reports of the miracle, the Church of St. Stephen was renamed ’The Church of the Holy Miracle.’ It is here that the Host is still preserved and displayed for the admiration and veneration of pilgrims. In the nave of the church, high up on both sides, are ancient paintings depicting the miracle.


           The Host is somewhat irregularly shaped. with delicate veins running from top to bottom where a quantity of blood is collected in the crystal. In the opinion of  Dr Arthur Hoagland, a New Jersey physician who has observed the miraculous Host many times over a period of years, the coagulated blood at the bottom of  the crystal sometimes had the colour of fresh blood, and at other times dried blood.


           The miracle has endured for over 700 years.


           The Miracle of Hasselt. Belgium 1317.                                

           Constant Vab der  Straeten, a renowned historian who was for many years an officer of the cathedral of Hasselt, gives us a brief history of this miracle. A priest from Viversel, helping the priests in the city of Lummen, was asked to bring the Holy Eucharist to a man of the village who was ill. Taking with him a Host in a ciborium, the priest entered the man’s house and placed the ciborium on a table while he went to speak with the family in another room.


While the priest was absent, a man in mortal sin wandered into the room, removed the cover of the ciborium, touched the Host then picked it up. At once the Host began to bleed. Frightened, the man dropped the Host into the ciborium and quickly departed. When the priest returned for the ciborium he found the cover removed, and he was astonished to see the Host spotted with blood.


            At first undecided about what to do, the priest finally brought the ciborium and  the Host to the pastor and related what had taken place. The pastor advised him to carry the miraculous Host to the church of the Cistercian nuns at Herkenrode, approximately 30 miles away.


 This convent, founded near Leige in the 12th century, was the first foundation of the Cistercian nuns in Belgium. Even during a time of decline in the Cistercian Order, this foundation continued to grow in size until it ranked among the most important convents in the Low Countries. Because of this venerable community’s reputation for holiness, the pastor apparently felt that the miraculous Host would be more appropriately enshrined in the convent’s church.


            The priest journeyed to the Cistercian church, and as soon as he approached the altar and placed the Host upon it, a vision of Christ, crowned with thorns, was seen by everyone present. Our Lord seems to have thereby given a special sign of His willingness to be enshrined there. Because of this vision and the miraculous Host, Herkenrode quickly became one of the most famous places of pilgrimage in Belgium.


           The Host was securely kept in the church at Herkenrode until 1796, during the French Revolution, when the nuns were expelled from their convent. During this dreadful time the Host was entrusted to the care of a succession o different families. It is said that it was once placed in a tin box and walled into the kitchen of a house.


           In 1804 the Host was removed from hiding and taken during solemn services to the Church of St. Quentin in Hasselt. The picturesque church of Gothic architecture, dating from the 14th century, contains impressive paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries which recall events in the history of the miracle. But much more  important, the Church of St. Quentin still guards the miraculous Eucharistic Host of 1317, which still remains in splendid condition.


            Dubna, Poland 1876. A very remarkable event is recorded to have happened on the fifth February 1876, in a small town in Poland called Dubna, during the celebration of the Forty Hours Devotion in the Church of The Blessed Virgin  Mary.


            Amid the terrors of the revolution, the church at Dubna had been fortunate  enough to escape molestation, and that reason, added to the religious motives, contributed to make the number of religious worshippers thronging the edifice particularly large. As the Blessed Sacrament was exposed to the view of the multitude, soft brilliant rays of light began emanating from the monstrance, in plain sight of the people kneeling close the sanctuary. Then a wonderful apparition took place. The figure of the Saviour appeared distinctly in the place of the Host, and remained there throughout the entire forty hours. Catholics and heretics, some from motives of strong faith, others out of mere curiosity, went to the church to witness the miracle, until persons in every walk of life and of every form of belief offered their solemn testimony to the fact of the manifestation. This wide acknowledgement brought the affair to the  ears of the city officials and as a result the parish priest was called to give testimony before the director of police. The Governor of Schitomar being informed,  was forbidden under pain of imprisonment to speak of the apparition. But the witnesses were anxious to parade God’s work before the  incredulous, and consequently they were content that God saw fit to exhibit His marvellous power on their behalf. A written statement of the miracle having been  submitted by the priest to the bishop of the diocese, the latter requested that the event should be kept secret, lest the church should be closed by the civil authorities.


Another miracle was told to me by a priest who was also having doubts. He old me that soon after his ordination he had doubts and asked Jesus for a sign. Some time later he was offering Mass in a convent and had to take the Eucharist to a nun who was poorly in bed. The ciborium was full which makes it very easy to spill Hosts. (As a Eucharistic Minister I know this to be the case. Hosts are very light and one has to be very careful not to spill them.) Everything went well till he was coming down the stairs when he tripped over the chasuble which was too long for him, and he fell down the stairs. When he got to the bottom his one concern was for the Sacred Hosts. He discovered that he was holding the ciborium high above his head in his right hand. The cover had come off the ciborium and was lying on the floor. The cirboium was bent…….it must have had a heavy knock. But where were the Sacred Hosts? The priest looked around he floor expecting to find it covered in Hosts. But none were to be found. They were all safely in the damaged ciborium. A miracle! The priest took that as the sign he has asked for. From that time h has never doubted.


So, when we talk of the ‘Real Presence’, we mean what we say. If we allow the ‘tempter’ to take over our minds and hearts and feed us with doubts then think for a moment of how those doubt must hurt Jesus. He has given us ‘His All’ and yet we are throwing it back in his face and saying “We don’t believe.” Is it any wonder that in various apparitions Our Lady is sometimes seen to be sad? She, above everyone, knows how much her Son gives of Himself and she grieves out of sadness for her Son and for us.


We must help to dispel Our Lady’s grief and BELIEVE. Our BELIEF will show Jesus how much we love Him and will make up for years of misbelief and neglect.


172 When you have a minute, this is a nice lift to your day. Have a good one!


Carl was a quiet man. He didn’t talk much. He would always greet you with a big smile and a firm handshake. Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him very well.


Before his retirement he took a bus to work each morning. The lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us. He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WWII. Watching him we worried that although he had survived WWII, he may not make it through our changing uptown neighborhood with its ever-increasing random violence, gangs and drug activity.


When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring for the gardens behind the minister’s residence, he responded In his characteristically unassuming manner. Without a fanfare, he just signed up.


He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared finally happened. He was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply asked, ”Would you like a drink from the hose?”


The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, “Yeah, sure,” with a malevolent little smile. As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl’s arm, throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground dousing everything in its way, Carl’s assailants stole his retirement watch and his wallet, and then fled. Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg. He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running to help him. Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, he couldn’t get there fast enough to stop it. “Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?” the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet. Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed; shaking his head. “Just some punk kids. I hope they’ll wise up someday.” His wet clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted the nozzle again and started to water.


Confused and a little concerned the minister asked, “Carl, what are you doing?” “I’ve got to finish my watering. It’s been very dry lately”, came the calm reply. Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place.


A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from the hose. This time the didn’t rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched him head to foot in the icy water. When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off down the street throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another laughing at the hilarity of what they had just done. Carl just watched them. Then he turned towards the warmth of the sun, picked up his hose, and went on with his watering.


The summer was fading into fall. Carl was doing some tilling when he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches. As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack.


“Don’t worry old man, I’m not gonna hurt you this time.” The young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl.


As he helped Carl; get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed it to Carl. “What’s this?” Carl asked. “It’s your stuff,” the man explained. “It’s your stuff back. Even the money in  your wallet.” “I don’t understand,” Carl; said. “Why would you help me now?” The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. “I learned something from you,” he said. “I ran with that gang and hurt people like you. We picked you because you were old and we knew could do it. But every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting back you tried to give us a drink. You didn’t hate us for hating you. You kept showing love against our hate.” He stopped for a moment. “I couldn’t sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back.” He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say. “That bag’s my way for saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess.” And with that, he walked off down the street. Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet, he checked for is wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.


He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people attended his funeral in spite of the weather. In particular the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn’t know sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church. The minister spoke of Carl’s garden as a lesson in life. In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, “Do your best and make your garden as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden.”


The following spring another flyer went up. It read: ”Person needed to care for Carl’s garden.” The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister’s office door. Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands holding the flyer. “I believe this is my job, if you’ll have me,” the young man said. The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the stolen watch and wallet to Carl. He knew that Carl’s kindness had turned this man’s life around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, “Yes, go take care of Carl’s garden and honor him.”


The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done. In that time he went to college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community. But he never forget his promise to Carl’s memory and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it.


One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn’t care for the garden any longer. He explained which a shy happy smile, “My wife just had a baby boy last night, she’s bringing him home on Saturday.” “Well, congratulations!” said the minister, as he was handed the keys of the garden shed. “That’s wonderful! What’s the baby’s name?” “Carl,” he replied.


173. How is it Possible?


“How is it possible,” an educated Mohammedan asked a missionary bishop, “that bread and wine should become the Flesh and Blood of Christ?


The bishop answered, “You were small when you were born. You grew big because your body changed the food you took into flesh and blood. If a man’s body is able to transform food into flesh and blood, then God can do it far more easily.


The Mohammedan then asked, “How is it possible for Jesus to be wholly and entirely present in a little host.”


The bishop answered, “Look at the landscape before you and consider how much smaller your eye is in comparison to it. Now, within your little eye there is an image of this vast countryside. Can God not do in reality, in His Person, what is done in us by the way of a likeness or image?”


Then the Mohammedan said “How it is possible for the same Body to be present at the same time in all your churches and in all consecrated Hosts?”


The bishop said, “Nothing is impossible with God, and that answer ought to be enough. But nature also answers this question. Let us take a mirror, thrown it down on the floor. and let it break into pieces. Every piece can carry the same image that the whole mirror formerly reproduced. Likewise the self-same Jesus reproduces Himself, not as a mere likeness, but as a reality, in every consecrated Host. He is truly present in each One of them.


Found by Dorina Emanuelli in an old magazine.

174. I’ve learned


I’ve learned….

That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.


I’ve learned….

That when you’re in love, it shows.


I’ve learned….

That just one person saying to me, “You’ve made my day!?” makes my day.


I’ve learned….


That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings

 in the world.


I’ve learned….

That being kind is more important than being right.


I’ve learned….

That you should never say no to a gift from a child.


I’ve learned….

That I can always pray for someone when don’t have the strength to help them

in some other way.


I’ve learned….

That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart

to understand.


I’ve learned….

That simple walks with my father around the block on summer night when I

was a child did wonders for me as an adult.


I’ve learned….

That life s like roll of toile paper. The closer is gets to the end, the faster it goes.


I’ve learned….

That we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.


I’ve learned….

That money doesn’t but class.


I’ve learned….

That it’s those daily happenings that make life so spectacular.


I’ve learned….

That under everyone’s hard shell; is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.


I’ve learned….

That the Lord didn’t do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?

I’ve learned….

That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.


I’ve learned….

That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that

person continue to hurt you.


I’ve learned….

That love, not time, heals all wounds.


I’ve learned….

That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.


I’ve learned….

That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.


I’ve learned….

That there’s nothing sweeter than sleeping with your babies and feeling their

breath on your cheeks.


I’ve learned….

That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.


I’ve learned….

That life is tough, but I’m tougher.


I’ve learned….

That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.


I’ve learned….

That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.


I’ve leaned….

That I wish I could have told my Mom I love her one more time before

she passed away.


I’ve learned….

That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow

he may have to eat them.


I’ve learned….

That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.


I’ve learned….

That I can’t choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.


I’ve learned….

That when your newly born grandchild hold your little finger in his little fist,

that you’re hooked for life.


I’ve learned….

That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.


I’ve learned….

That it is best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested

and when it is a lie threatening situation.


I’ve learned….

That the less time I have to work, the ,more things I get done.


I’ve learned that with every ‘right’ there is a ‘responsibility.’


From Antonia Moffat via Stella Lilley.


175. Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


O divine Jesus who has said “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you,” behold me prostrate at thy feet, animated with a lively faith and confidence in these promises dictated by thy Sacred Heart and pronounced by thy adorable lips, I come to ask. From who shall I ask, oh sweet Jesus, if not from thee whose heart is an inexhaustible source of grace and merit? Where shall I knock if it be not at the door of thy Sacred Heart through which God comes to us and through which we go to God? To thee then oh heart of Jesus I have recourse, in thee I find consolation when afflicted, protection when persecuted, strength when overwhelmed with trials and light in doubt and darkness. I own I am most unworthy of thy favours oh Jesus, but this is not a reason for me to be discouraged, thou art the God of mercy and thou will not refuse a contrite and humble heart. Cast upon me a look of pity I beseech thee, and thy compassionate heart will find in my misery and weakness a pressing motive for granting my petition; but oh Sacred Heart whatever the decision may be regarding my request, I will never cease to adore, love, praise and serve thee. Deign my Jesus to accept this, my act of perfect submission to the decrees of they adorable heart, which I sincerely desire may be fulfilled in and by me and by all thy creatures for ever and ever, Amen.



176. Prayer to the Holy Spirit


                                                            O Holy Spirit.

                                                          Soul of my soul

                                                             I adore you.



                                                  strengthen and console me.

                                                  Tell me what I ought to do

                                                   and command me to do it.

                                             I promise to submit to everything

                                                        That you ask of me

                                                          And to accept all

                                              That you allow to happen to me.

                                               Just show me what is your will.



177. Saint Makhlouf Charbel.


He was a monk and hermit. Born at Beka-Kafra in the Lebanon, 1828. Died at Annaya in 1898. Canonised in 1977. Feast Day 24th December.


Joseph Zaroun Makhlouf was the son of a Catholic Lebanese mule driver, and was brought up by his uncle, who was not pleased at the boy’s early devotion to prayer and solitude. At the age of twenty-three, the young man went secretly to the monastery of St Maron at Annaya, a house of the Maronite Baladite Order. On eventually being admitted to the novitiate, he took the name Charbel – a martyr of the second-century church of


Antioch. In due course he made his solemn vows, and in 1859 he was ordained to the priesthood, thus becoming what is known as a ‘hieromonk’. This practice is more common in Catholic than in Eastern traditions. Father Charbel’s relating to East and West is seen, also, in the fact that one of his favourite books was the Imitation of Christ. He lived the life of a model monk, singing the office in choir and working in the monastic vineyards and olive orchards with strict obedience and personal self-denial. He wished, however, to closely imitate the Desert Fathers, and in 1875 he became a hermit at the nearby hermitage of St Peter and St Paul. Here his life was very austere, office being recited at midnight, one meal of vegetables a day and four periods of fasting in the year, and the barest of necessities in his small cell. He was careful to put himself under obedience to any other men who came to inhabit the three other cells by the little chapel. He refused to touch money. Thus he lived for twenty-three years, during which time more and more people came to ask his counsel, prayers and blessing.


After his death, which took place, following a brief paralysis, on Christmas Eve, many favours  and miracles were claimed through his intercession in Heaven. It was necessary also, for the Roman authorities to carefully investigate the phenomenon of a kind of ‘bloody sweat’ which flowed from his body during the period up to 1927 and again in 1950. Somewhat similar phenomenon are not unknown – St Januarius has similar issues of blood sweat. Today St Charbel’s tomb is visited  by large numbers of people, not only Lebanese and not only Christians.


The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 1995 Edition.



178. ‘All wars are started in the name of religion.                   30th September 2001


At a time of world strife the above statement is often heard. But is it true?


To ‘be religious’ means following God’s Commandments and living the way God wants us to live. But wars are started and maintained by people who are very certainly not living as God wants us to live.


‘God is love’. That being the case then it follows that Catholic and Protestant Christians in Northern Ireland who hate their opposite numbers are not Christians at all. They are charlatans operating under the name of Christianity but they have no right to use the name ‘Christian’ because they abuse it and bring it into disrespect.


Jews, Christians and Muslims in Israel/Palestine bring religion into appalling disrespect. They have no shame but are prepared to have their hate broadcast over all the Media. It is as if they take a delight in showing their ‘hate’. Their actions have nothing to do with God and they falsely call themselves Jews, Christians or Muslims.


It also follows that Bin Laden and his followers are not Muslims. The recent atrocities in the USA clearly show that Bin Laden is not a Muslim. The extent of the atrocity indicates a level of hate which is appalling to contemplate.

The same goes for all throughout the world who, in the name of religion, cause mayhem in the name of their religion. They are not religious people. In fact, by their bad example, they are helping to destroy the religion they pretend to follow.


There is much persecution in the world wrought by people of one religion wanting to convert others to their beliefs. There is nothing wrong in persuading someone to your way of belief except where extremists use it to stop any but themselves being allowed to have a belief. That is happening in many Muslim countries and goes against the Koran which states ‘There shall be no compulsion in religion. 2:256.’ Such persecutors are guilty of the anomaly of not practising their faith at a time when they are pretending to share it with others.


If Christians and Muslims and Jews would return to their faith and join together to pray for an answer to the world’s problems then it is certain that God would shower down his love and we would all feel the benefit of it.


The only thing which is stopping that happening is Satan’s sin - ‘Pride’.


                                179. PRAYER TO THE QUEEN OF ANGELS.


(Dictated by Our Lady to Father Louis Eduard Cestac

          the saintly founder of the ‘Servants of Mary.’)


“Sublime Queen of Heaven, exalted Lady of the Angels,

Thou hast the power and the commission given by God

to crush the head of Satan. Therefore we humbly be-

seech thee, send to our aid thy heavenly legions, so

that, under thy command and by thy power, they may

pursue the hellish spirits, fight them everywhere, ward

off their impudent attacks, and fling them back into

the abyss.


Who is like God? You holy Angels and archangels, de-

fend and protect us!


Good, kind Mother, thou remainest always our love and

our hope! Mother of God, send us the holy angels to

defend us and keep the evil one from us.            Amen.”

                                Mary then made this request.



N.B. When this prayer was first printed, the printing

machine exploded three times.


In 1908 Pope St Pius X granted an indulgence to

this prayer.


180. A Challenge to Catholics to Revive the Church. 6th September 2001.


Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor’s speech to Priest in Leeds reported in today’s newspapers highlights the appalling state of the Christianity in England and Wales. In fact, following the Late Cardinal Winnings many comments in Scotland, and a recent holiday in Eire where condom machines were found in the toilets, we can probably say ‘The state of the Christian Church in the United Kingdom.’


It is easy for us to ‘tut-tut’, sit back, and say “Someone should do something about it.” and consider that we have fulfilled our responsibility. Surely with only a minimum of effort we can do much more.


Let us examine how we live our lives as Catholics. Is it obvious to those who meet us that we are Catholics? Without being contrived, without covering ourselves with large crosses or crucifix’s our whole demeanour should mark us out as ‘different’ and that difference should be one which will make others question “Why?


We certainly don’t want to be killjoys but we must mark out clearly that there are limits which make being a Catholic ‘special’. That means limits on humour, never getting get involved in dirty jokes or unseemly discussion on sexual matters. Sex is beautiful, It is part of God’s creation but it is completely private between a man and a woman. The aim of those who attempt to make it a topic of general conversation are only wanting to cheapen it to bring it down to the level of the gutter. Avoid it. Let it be known that you will not take part in such conversations. Don’t be afraid. You will gain respect.


Equally we must have no racism either in our hearts or in our deeds. Racism is an anathema to any Christian. When we hear racist jokes we must respond by making it clear that we do not agree with such humour which is an offence to our faith. It is the white man who has brought about the divisions of race. With God all are equal.


Television seems to be aiming at ever lower and lower levels of depravity. Do we need to watch it? Isn’t there something better that we can be doing? If we do happen to watch a programme which shocks us are we going to repeat our “Someone should do something about it?”, or are we going to put pen to paper, or fingers to computer keys, and let the TV authorities know of our condemnation? The addresses to write to are given at the end of this report.


We Catholics are very poor at greeting each other. In that respect we can learn from our Muslim brothers and sisters who are effusive in greeting each other. When we meet we are so busy talking about the weather or yesterday’s football match that we forget to greet each other as Catholics. How much better it would be, and what an example to non-Catholics, if our greeting were to be “Peace be with you!” Surely, ‘peace’ is what we really want to share with everyone, Catholics and non-Catholics. There are many other ways in which we can and should be happily prepared to show our faith. Living in the Western world which is very much like living in ‘the horn of plenty’ we have more reasons than ever for needing to say “thank you” for all that we have. Sadly, many of us have we have neglected to maintain our ‘Grace before Meals.’ Now is a chance to revive that necessary prayer. But not only around or table at home, but in restaurants, quietly and unobtrusively. Someone may notice and seeing that small prayerful Christian act can make people think.


That is what we must be trying to do. ‘Get people to think.’ Our Catholic lives should make us ‘different’. If not then we are not living our Christianity to the full. It should make others wonder at our faith and question why we seem to be so full of Joy and Peace.


Let us remember to pray ‘The Angelus’ even if we only pray it once a day. It should be prayed at 12.00noon. If we forget, then somewhere in the world it is 12.00noon, so pray it anytime! These small prayerful acts and many others which you will think of yourself will make the difference. We are not attempting to be ‘holier than thou’. We don’t need to be. Our faith as Catholics is sufficient and should mark us out as people whose way of life will make others want to follow.


We should do something positive about the media in the UK. There is a movement started by Mary Whitehouse. It publishes reports and a magazine three times a year.


National Viewers and Listeners Association.

                        All Saints House, High Street, Colchester, Essex. CO1 1UG



181. Seeking Defeat in a Struggle with God.


In his autobiography, Kazantzakis, shares a wonderful anecdote: as a young man, he used to visit various monasteries an Mount Athos, interviewing the monks who lived there. In one rather memorable interview he engaged an old monk who had a great reputation for holiness: he asked this monk: “Do you still struggle with the devil?” “Oh no,” the old man replied, “I used to struggle with him when I was young, but now I’ve grown old and tired and the devil has grown old and tired with me. We leave each other alone!” “So it’s easy for you now?” asked the young Kazantzakis. “Oh no,” replied the old man “it’s worse! Now I wrestle with God!” “You wrestle with God,” said the surprised Kazantzakis, “and hope to win?” “No,” replied the old monk, “I wrestle with God and I hope to lose!”


For a believer, struggling with his or her complexities at a certain stage of the spiritual life, there are few definitions of prayer that are more helpful.


The Last Word.  Fr Ronald Rolheiser. Catholic Herald. 23d November 2001



182  Our Destiny.


God is love; 1 John 4:8.


God created man in the image of himself; Genesis 1:27.


Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited; it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, I does not take offence or store up grievances. .Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. 1 Corinthians  13:4-7.


We can but try.



183. SUFFERING.                                                                


Is suffering essential? Does God expect us to suffer or are we put on earth to be happy? I doubt if there is one definitive answer to those questions. Surely God doesn’t deal with all of us in one specific way. We must remember that we have ‘free will’ and it will only be when our ‘free will’ conforms to what God wants for us that we will feel the benefit of his grace and love. Other times, when we go off at a tangent, God, the good shepherd, will always be there to pick up the pieces and sort us out again – but only when we, realising our failings, call out to him, ask his forgiveness and rejoin the fold.


On those occasions suffering will be due entirely to our own fault. But there may be other times when God, in his great goodness, sees that suffering can be good for our souls, can help to strengthen our souls. This will be the case when we offer our suffering to God – which will enable us, in some small way, to share with Jesus in his passion. Such suffering will bring us untold graces.


Thinking back over our lives we see that suffering has taken place throughout our whole lives. As a young teenager I can recall having ‘growing pains’ as my young body stretched me upwards into becoming from a boy into a young man. I recall suffering the pain of toothache and the dreaded visit to the dentist! Over the years I have suffered the pain of tonsillitis, appendicitis, meningitis and the most painful of all, a kidney stone, and


most recently arthritic knees and a prostate operation which was painful and not entirely successful. Apart from the last two I didn’t at the time think of ‘offering them’ up. But knowing that Padre Pio often prayed for things after the event (he used to pray for a happy death for his parents long after they had died) I have since offered them up in retrospect!


We tend to think of ‘suffering’ only in the physical sense. But there are many others ways by which we may suffer. All through our lives we experience different ways of suffering. We may suffer the loss of a friend through an argument and, even if it is only for a short period, it will still hurt. Young love suffers the loss by being rejected and then at some time we are bound to suffer the loss of a loved one who dies. The mental suffering which these occasions cause can be equally as distressing as physical suffering. How often have we laid in bed trying to sleep but kept awake by the cruel words which someone said to us which made us suffer? Did they really mean it? Had I really merited such words? How can I win back their friendship? The night goes on and on apparently endlessly.


Even the loss of material things can cause us suffering. To lose something which has sentimental value can cause considerable mental suffering. To suffer over material things might seem pointless and, at the time, we even might realise that, but it doesn’t stop the suffering.



184. More thoughts on The Real Presence.


The text which you gave me to read is less than certain of the actual Real Presence. It gives the impression that the word ‘Symbolic’ can be used, or partially used, to explain the consecrated Host. My way of understanding the difference between ‘Symbolic’ and ‘Real’ is the difference between seeing someone in real life or seeing their shadow. The shadow is only symbolic. One can’t be sure who or what the shadow represents. To see the real person one needs to have the real person present. No substitutes can be accepted.


In order to look deeper into the question of The Real Presence I have gone to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. That book, which was updated as recently as 1994, should contain ‘Chapter and Verse’. about this important matter which is a fundamental anchor of our faith as Roman Catholics.


Chapter 1374. The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist ‘the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of Our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.’


Chapter 1375. It is by the conversion of the Bread and Wine into Christ’s body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. The Church Fathers

strongly affirmed the faith of the Church in the efficacy of the Word of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit to bring about this conversion. Thus St John Chrysostom declares:


            It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body

            and Blood of Christ but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself.

            The priest, in the role of Christ pronounces these words, but their      


            power and grace are God’s. ‘This is my body,’ he says. These

            words transforms the things offered.


Chapter 1376. The Council of Trent summarises the Catholic Faith by declaring: ‘Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this whole Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and the whole substance of wine into the substance of his blood. This change of the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.


Chapter 1377. The Eucharist presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsists. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.


Chapter 1382. ‘…………………..To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us.


These words from the Catechism of The Catholic Church are very clear and

the word ‘symbol’ is not mentioned in any of the chapters which refer to the Real Presence.


It is surely important that the word ‘Real’ is used. It leaves no room for doubt. If the words had been ‘Symbolic Presence’ then the argument for the Presence not being ‘Real’ would clearly exist. But it is not so.


I believe that if we accept any understanding other than the ‘Real Presence’ then we may be at the top of a slippery slope which will lead us down and down until out belief becomes less and less and we finish up joining those who do not believe.


So where do the thoughts come from which make us doubt? From him who is ever prepared to gain even the slightest access to our understanding. If, by his devious means, he can make us think that by querying the meaning of ‘Real Presence’ we are actually trying to gain a better understanding of the Eucharist then he will keep nudging us towards an understanding of ‘Symbolism’ and when we have finally accepted it he will be delighted to have robbed us of the wonder and beauty of Jesus’ Real Presence.


It is he who will put into our heads the word ‘cannibalism’. Jesus, in his total humility, wants to come to us in the beautiful way he instituted at the Last Supper and which he had predicted many times during his three years’ ministry. We must listen to the words of Jesus.


                                  ”In all truth l tell you,

                                    if you do not eat of the flesh of the son of man

                                    and drink of his blood,

                                    you have no life in you.

                                    Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood

                                    has eternal life,

                                    and I shall raise that person up on the last day.

                                    For my flesh is real food

                                    and my blood is real drink.”


Apart from the actual words which mention his Body and Blood we must look carefully at some of the words which Jesus uses. “In all truth…..”

    has eternal life,”…….”I shall raise that person up on the last day.”


We are given no option than to believe. We must not ‘water-down’ that option by thoughts of ‘symbolism’ or any thoughts which preclude that the Eucharistic Host which we receive being the Real Body of Jesus and the Chalice being the Real Blood.


There is no shame in doubting. In fact there is much credit to be had from such doubts. It means that we have worked our way through the doubts and brought ourselves to a clear understanding. Jesus will love us for our perseverance.


In the meantime we must pray about our doubts. Pray that the word ‘Symbolism’ or ‘Symbolic’ will be taken away and replaced by ‘Real Presence.’




Finally – the TRUTH on US National TV. Billy Graham’s daughter was being interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her “How could God let something like this happen (11th Sept terrorist attack)? Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said “I believe that God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being a gentleman that He is, I believe that He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”


I know there have been a lot of e-mails going around in regard to 11th September but this really makes you think. If you don’t have time, at least skim through it, but the bottom line is something to think about in the light of recent events, terrorists attacks, school shootings etc


Let’s see, I think it started when Madeline Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body was found recently) complained she didn’t want any prayer in our schools and we said OK.


The, someone said you better not read the Bible in school, the Bible that says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.


Then, Dr Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities  might be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. (Dr Spock’s son committed suicide.) And we said, an expert should know what he’s talking about so we said OK.


Then, someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don’t want any bad publicity, and we surely don’t want to be sued (There’s big differences between disciplining and touching, smacking humiliating, kicking etc.) And we said OK.


Then someone said, let’s let our daughter’s have abortions if they want, and they won’t even have to tell their parents. And we said OK.


The some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they’re going to do it anyway, let’s give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won’t have to tell their parents they got them at school. And we said OK.


Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn’t matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And agreeing with them, we said it doesn’t matter to me what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as I have a job and the economy is good.


And then someone said let’s print magazines of nude women and call is wholesome, down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body. And we said OK.


And then someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the internet. And we said OK., they’re entitled to their free speech.


And then the entertainment industry said, let’s make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence and illicit sex. And let’s record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And we said it’s just entertainment., it has no adverse effect, and nobody take it seriously anyway so go right ahead.


Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.


Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think is has a great deal to do with “WE REAP WHAT WE SOW”.


Letter to God.


Dear God, Why didn’t you save the little girl killed in her classroom?”

Sincerely, Concerned Student.


And the reply.


“Dear Concerned Student. I am not allowed in schools.” Sincerely, God.


Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell.


Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.


Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven provided they do not have to believe, think, say or do anything the Bible says. Funny how someone can say “I believe in God” but still follow Satan who, by the way, also “believes” in God.


Funny how we are quick to judge but not to be judged.


Funny how you can send a thousand ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.


Funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but the public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.


Funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on Sunday, but be an invisible Christian the rest of the week.


Are you laughing?


Funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them.


Funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me. Are you thinking? Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not discard it. No-one will know that you did. But, if you discard this thought process, then don’t sit back and complain about what a bad shape the world is in.


Daily Telegraph Friday 21st December 2001.