Tuesday, March 27, 2012

An internet evangelist…

Why is it that inspiration strikes in the most inconvenient moments? I get visited by a host of ideas either when I’m stirring onions on the stove, visiting the loo or dropping off to sleep; in any event, there is no keyboard to hand. By the time I’m able to boot the comp, the thoughts have flown and it is almost impossible to recapture the freshness of the original idea.

Today, I was musing over a number of happenings, emails, communications, conversations and things to do – a very usual beginning to my day. My first task since Lent began is to post, to our parish blog, a discourse on the readings of the day together with a prayer and an action plan – the work of a dynamic, straight-to-the-heart-of-the-matter, no-holds-barred priest in our parish. This gives me the opportunity to read twice over and reflect and also feel that twinge of discomfort. And I return to that endless question – why am I here? I look at others around me as they stride confidently into the day – purposeful in all that they do. They know exactly where they are going and what they will achieve.

When goals are material ones, they are easy to identify, to work towards and to realise (particularly if you believe that the universe conspires to give you your heart’s desire!!). But, if you are lucky, life hands out a reality check. Suddenly, you realise that there are other goals. Ones that are not so clear; in fact, they are a little blurry. Now, I step out diffidently, one feeling step at a time and I have to ask for guidance – is this where I place my foot? What is it that I am really called to do?

There is no thunderclap from the clouds, or a voice from heaven (today’s environment is very noisy compared to that of the Old Testament – noisy enough to muffle the thunderclap!). Instead, there will be an email with a request or a phone call regarding something that needs to be done, a request for involvement in a ministry, a cry from someone who is lonely or misunderstood, a visit to share joy or bring one another upto date. A signposted path and small steps that take me through the day.

And there are bonus strides: all the opportunities to share on Facebook and blogs the happenings and events, the interactions, the ability to use the written word and know that others read. To forward the message of the Gospels and to urge others to share it too – in thought, word and deed. To know that somewhere a seed is sown that might bear fruit. To recount examples and experiences of how some are making a difference. To feel God’s direction in my life (even though God does not always sound or look like I expect Him to!)

Does this make me an internet evangelist? Is this my role? I’d love to think so!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Deed for the Day

For provoking insights and practical action, go here:


Saturday, March 10, 2012


I love the nonsense poetry of Ogden Nash (I love most things that border on the ridiculous!) and one of my favourites is the one on the ant:

The ant has made himself illustrious
Through constant industry industrious.
So what?
Would you be calm and placid
If you were full of formic acid?

What reminded me of this verse today of all days? The first reading at Sunday Mass!

The ant has been held up to us as an example of ‘constant industry’ and it is an example we seem to have overdosed on. Everyone today seems to be in a state of constant motion, always doing something: if we are not rushing between destinations and chores, we are networking through sms and Facebook. A casual encounter will invariably elicit the question, ‘So, what are you doing today?’ How many of us would be happy to say, ‘Absolutely nothing!’ ??

I do make it a point to check the reading that is assigned to me. Today’s reading was a cinch - no tricky words, no intricate sentences, no confusing punctuation or pronunciation. In fact, it was familiar – the good old ten commandments. Yet, when I read at the lectern, the words seemed to be imbued with the unfamiliar. It was as if someone else was speaking and I was the listener. And I was hearing the commandments for the first time, with resounding clarity. Nine commandments were simple one liners, but the third was a detailed exhortation to ‘keep holy the Sabbath’ – in effect, ‘ …rest with me as I rested after creation - be still and know that I am God.’

Orthodox Jewish practice observes the Sabbath rigorously, beginning on the Friday evening and ending twenty-four hours later on the Saturday. They have done this unbroken through the generations from the time of Moses. And in the Jewish State everything is shut. It is the law. Among Christians, the Sabbath is observed on the Sunday. It is a busy day. It is a day for catching up with all the undone chores of the week gone by. Or perhaps chilling out and unwinding with a different kind of activity, always aware that Monday is dogging Sunday’s heels!!

Be still? Be absolutely still? Physically and mentally? That seems impossible. Already I can hear the objections in my mind, ‘But, I have to….!!!’.

Could this be the reason why we find it difficult to ‘know God’?