Archive for September, 2018


The power of a good community

Does anybody remember the story of Noah’s ark? If you have forgotten it then go to Genesis chapter 6 and read it!

Why do we start with this story? Well, some of our readers have been following this blog for quite a long time. I wish to say a big thank you. I’m really happy about it. It’s never an easy job to start a new community let alone an online one. Online-community has more challenges. We only meet through writing! It’s obvious that writing does not tell the whole story yet it is very crucial to communicate with each other. The fact that some people stayed here through writing is another hidden miracle!

A community is compared to Noah’s ark because we have several types of characters which is easily represented by the different types of species mentioned in the Bible. Some of them could be: there is the bee (busy person); elephant (somebody who thinks that he/she is the most powerful); the eagle (the one who sees far away); the horse (one who runs fast); the snail (the one who walks very slowly); the cow (a very generous person); skunk (a person who stinks – literally); chameleon (one who changes opinion in front of others!); monkey (one who takes advantage of others by climbing on their ‘backs’); the mouse (the one who works in the dark when others are not suspecting anything at all); the donkey (one who works a lot but most probably never gets a simple thank you) and many other animals.

Familiarity breeds contempt. It means that if one knows someone or something very well, one can easily become bored with them and stop treating them with respect. In other words, instead of respecting another person, knowing his/her week points, makes one treat others with disrespect! This is our phase at the moment where some readers are playing the part of God by judging others and using words to judge others. One can refuse to accept homosexuals but one cannot call them names or treat them with disrespect (just to mention one example).

I can mention an infinite number of private emails where some readers actually wanted to impose their opinion or values on our blog. They have called me names, judged me, tried to persuade me to delete some of the articles written. A few others tried to threaten me! Well I can write a whole book about adults behaving worse than children. Well, as I have experience with education, I know from first hand experience, that not all people would like to be taught notwithstanding all the buzz about the importance of education!!

One has to value one’s experience. It is one’s practical bible. God is telling something to somebody through his/her own experience. Therefore one has to value his/her own experience. Yet, it doesn’t mean that everybody has to come to the same conclusion! We cannot conclude that all priests are simply pulling women’s legs (although a large number do exactly that). There could be a unique story where love takes the right path and they get married! Why do we paint reality with a black colour? Or is it because we are still bitter about our own experience and we don’t like the idea that others could be more successful? In other words, are we jealous?

Others, surprisingly, think that whatever is being written on the blog, it’s done simply to tease them or to make them angry!! They are truly suspicious! A word of advice is never to mention names of other readers so there won’t be a direct reference – at least! If they are too sensitive, they should never write on a public forum!

I know as well that some people are still suffering from a past love experience with a priest. One can easily become bitter and tries to ‘bite’ other people! Maybe it’s time for such people to admit of having a problem and calling a professional counsellor who helps them to externalise what’s troubling them in a safe and positive way!

In the meantime, the ‘old’ readers can nurture or take care of new followers. The new ones will follow if what they read is ‘spiritually fit’ and helps them see God’s call in their private own lives. Please remember that the written word unlike the word which is spoken, remains there forever…even after your death! So please think before your write. If you’re angry, don’t write. Wait for sometime or a day or two.

In this case, as an editor of the blog, I would like to give the example of a captain on a ship. A captain should listen to what the sailors are saying, but finally it’s only him who has to decide. In a community too, somebody should serve the community by taking tough decisions. Now taking decisions means (sometimes) that some people are lost. This could be for various reasons but one of the most common one is that not everybody is trained to come to one conclusion whether one likes it or not. I do remember when I was in the friary, that trying to give voice to the people at first created more problems. Parishioners were invited to select the best time for mass. Well everybody gave a different time. There was no agreement. So we had to decide. Obviously those disagreeing with our decision said all sorts of words, but a community needs a decisive line of management after all. It’s like parents versus teens. Somebody has to decide whether you like it or not.

In any case, in Noah’s ark, all sorts of animals lived together! I’m not asking anybody to change his/her character, but to see everything from a different perspective – that of Noah’s ark. I will never ask somebody to leave (unless something really bad happens), but I would ask everybody to put on God’s glasses. Together we can make it. Yes all animals can live together if they have a strong community awareness. Let’s show and be that kind of community.

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A priest-in-love writes to us!

Finally we have a priest who is speaking about his heart adventures!! Well, I’m not promising anyone that he is going to answer all questions or any questions at all. At least we can have a glimpse about how he seas this new person in his life. Maybe some day in the future he will continue to reveal more about his life in the parish. Obviously we are hiding his identity for practical purposes.

I’m Gabriel, a Catholic priest in my late 50s. 

I was ordained when I was in my mid-20s.

I’m 5 foot 10 inches (1.8 metres) tall. I’m fit and lean: a testament to the control I use when choosing only clean living and what goes into my body.

I’m a busy Pastor where I spend 8-12 hours a week driving between my rural parishes and diocese offices. On my “day off” I enjoy swimming and video chatting with friends and family. 

I’m a happy priest and I feel loved and admired by my parishioners: especially the seniors many of whom I have formed a close bond with.  In fact, they love me so much that they petitioned the diocese to keep me in their parishes instead of moving the Pastor every 2 years as is the norm in my diocese.  I’ve been there for nearly 7 years now.  

I thrive on the predictability of my daily life as a Pastor. I like to be in control of my world and refers to myself as “somewhat of a control freak”, though I’m very careful to never try to exert control over others.

I would like to share with you about something which happened today that shook my inner self.

Today I saw a woman. She is new, but somehow seems familiar.  There is something about her.  Something that draws me in and is enticingly frightening,  Like I’m playing with fire and want to get burned.

Something.  I can’t put my finger on it.

She has this sadness in her eyes.  Those eyes, big, beautiful and brooding. Sad, but sparkling – How does that work??  She looks healthy enough but yet seems frail and fragile.
 She is wearing makeup.  Why? to cover something up?  Not some physical imperfection, but something else that she doesn’t want the world to see?   I imagine her with no makeup.  Freshly showered, clean, hair wet.  Oh no, don’t go there!.  I’m immediately trying to guess her age.  Young, too young.  I guess about 15 years younger than me.  My brain starts arguing with itself – Too young for what exactly?  Stop it you fool!

I introduce myself.  I don’t even know what I said, in all probability something absurd, because for some reason, I’m not thinking clearly.  I wonder if she thinks I’m examining her a little too closely so I avert my gaze towards the other parishioners, only to look back to find that she is still looking at me.  Now I’m embarrassed.  Do I look okay?  Is my hair messed up?  Can she see into my soul?  Okay, gain your composure.  Act professional.  You’re not a teenager!  What is wrong with me?  I’m sure she thought I’m an idiot.  Oh no, I feel like I’m staring.  What in the world is happening here?  I shake her hand and somehow my other hand comes up and I have her hand in both of mine now.  I think probably that’s a little too friendly too soon but I’m committed now and  I blurt out “I hope to see you again – WE hope to see you again”.  She thanks me and leaves and I have to consciously remind myself not to watch her walk all the way through the welcoming area and out the door.
You’re acting like a fool Father.  Don’t feel much like a “Father” right now.

I go back to the elder I was speaking to before who immediately says “She’s lovely isn’t she?”  Oh my Lord.  What an imbecile I am.  Now I’ve embarrassed myself twice already in a span of about 2 minutes.  I don’t answer and try to resume the conversation we were having before my brain and my heart decided to go their separate ways.  But I can’t focus and feel the need to find quiet and solitude. Nevertheless, I carry on with all the necessaries and all the niceties I’m on cruise control, robotic.  All the while I want to bolt to the parking lot in case I can catch another glimpse of her.

I should have asked the elder who she is.  She seemed to know her.  No, that would be a huge mistake.  Oh well, it’s too late now. 
Why am I so out of control?  Why do I not feel like a priest right now?  I’m feeling guilty already.  Why?  Have I done something wrong?  Maybe I should talk to someone.  No, I don’t want to do that either.  I’m probably reading way too much into this.

I find myself praying that she comes back again but I feel thrown off.  Maybe I don’t want her to come back.  God help me.  What is happening?  I feel unsettled. 
A missed opportunity, or perhaps I dodged a bullet. 

I spend the rest of the day trying to get her out of my mind and trying to determine whether I am happy that I met her or not.  And to regain my confidence which is inexplicably shaken.