THE BOAT RACE

There was a great race between a team of the wise and a team of the foolish. The wise people won by a mile. So the foolish people hired a expert to figure out what went wrong. He reported that the wise people had one person steering and eight people rowing, while they had eight people steering and only one person rowing.

“Aha,” said the foolish people who immediately restructured their team: Now they had one senior manager, seven management consultants, and  one rower. In the rematch, the wise people won by two miles!

After further intensive consultations, the foolish people fired their rower!

Source: unknown origin

CONSIDER THIS

In the above story reality was staring the  team of the foolish in the face, but they just couldn’t see it. The fully lived life is all about seeing, seeing differently, seeing things as they really are.  It has been said that “We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”

“The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

DANGEROUS PENTECOST

Lorenzo de’Medici, the great Florentine patron of the arts was very proud of the spectacles he staged for the citizenry. Among his many productions were several amazingly realistic religious pageants performed in church. But one Pentecost, Lorenzo went a little bit too far: he used actual fire to depict the descent of the tongues of flames on the apostles. The fragile stage set caught fire and, before horrified onlookers, the entire church burned to the ground

Source: Halford E. Luccock, Marching Off the Map
(Harper, 1952).

CONSIDER THIS

Is your heart burning within you? Is it a heartburn or a passionate heart on fire?

Pray for the gifts of fire, zeal and passion. Pray for the gift of pentecostal fire but never ever try to manufacture it. The fire of pentecost is a gift to be received. The other kind of fire is a false fire and may spell disaster.

DON’T FORGET THE BEST

Once upon a time there was  a shepherd boy tending a few straggling sheep on the side of a mountain. One day as he cared for his sheep he saw at his feet a beautiful flower – one that was more beautiful than any he had ever seen in his life. He knelt down upon his knees and scooped the flower in his hands and held it close to his eyes, drinking in its beauty. As he held the flower close to his face, suddenly he heard a noise and looked up before him. There he saw a great stone mountain opening up right before his eyes. And as the sun began to shine on the inside of the mountain, he saw the sprinkling of the beautiful gems and precious metals that it contained.

With the flower in his hands, he walked inside. Laying the flower down, he began to gather all the gold and silver and precious gems in his arms. Finally with all that his arms could carry, he turned and began to walk out of that great cavern, and suddenly a voice said to him, “Don’t forget the best.”

Thinking that perhaps he had overlooked some choice piece of treasure, he turned around again and picked up additional pieces of priceless treasure. And with his arms literally overflowing with wealth, he turned to walk back out of the great mountainous vault. And again the voice said, “Don’t forget the best.”

But by this time his arms were filled and he walked on outside, and all of a sudden, the precious metals and stones turned to dust. And he looked around in time to see the great stone mountain closing its doors again. A third time he heard the voice, and this time the voice said, “You forgot the best. For the beautiful flower is the key to the vault of the mountain.”

Unsourced

CONSIDER THIS

The boy forgot the best, and lost a treasure. We too can lose a treasure. We get so busy, that in our haste we miss things in life that are just waiting to be enjoyed. As William Feather (1889-1981) said, “Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.”

Remember: “Nothing should be done in haste except catching fleas.”

WHAT HAPPENED ON EASTER?

“Can anyone tell me what happened on Easter?” the pastor in an affluent inner city parish asked. There was total and utter silence.

The pastor, persisting, asked again politely, “Now I know that someone here knows what happened on Easter a long, long time ago.” Again, total silence.

Finally, visibly frustrated, the pastor asked more forcefully, “Will somebody, anybody,  please tell me what happened on Easter Sunday!”

Finally, little Freddie (never at a loss for words) tentatively raised his hand and said, “They killed Jesus!”

“That’s right,” said the pastor, “And then what?”

“They put him in the ground!” (Freddie spoke with more confidence).

“Right! Right! Very good!” the proud pastor affirmed, “and then what?”

“And he was there for three days!” continued Freddie, now fully trusting his voice.

“And then what?” the pastor continued.

“And on Easter morning, Jesus comes out of the ground!” continued Freddie, now fully confident he had it all right.

“Wonderful! Amazing! Perfect!” the pastor joyfully agreed.

And then Freddie continued, ”And if Jesus sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of bad weather, six more weeks of winter!”

Source | As heard and remembered
during a recent conference I happened to be part of.

CONSIDER THIS

A lot of people are like little Freddie –  they know bits and pieces about the Easter story, but the details are not all that clear. In the midst of easter bunnies and colourfully painted eggs, it’s easy to forget the real meaning of greatest festival of faith: Easter!

Today, and in the coming days, consider this: what is Easter for you” What does it mean? And what difference does it make in your life?

ATTITUDES TOWARD THE LIGHT

The Simon Community run night-shelters for down-and-outs. Each night volunteers bring soup and sandwiches to those who, for one reason or another, do not want to come to the shelters. They go looking for them in derelict buildings and such places. The most important aid they take with them is a torch, because often there is no light where the down-and-outs live. Most of the down-and-outs receive the volunteers as friends. But some refuse to have anything to do with them. The volunteers can tell at once which group they are dealing with by their reaction to the light.

Some welcome the light. Others fear it. You could say that the light judges them, in the sense that it shows up the darkness in their lives – the darkness of alcoholism, misery, hopelessness, crime. But it doesn’t come to judge them. It comes as a friend, to brighten up their lives, to comfort them.

Source | Flor McCarthy, New Sunday and Holyday Liturgies
(Dominican Publications; Revised edition, 2011)

CONSIDER THIS

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” | Martin Luther King Jr

  • What is your response to the light?
  • What is it that is revealed when light is shone on you?

SHOOTING THE WRONG TARGET

There was a man who’d spent his whole life in the desert and had never seen a train or even a train track. When at last he made his first visit to civilization, he found himself walking down the very middle of some tracks. He heard a whistle, woo-woo, woo-woo. He wondered what it was, and he was still wondering when the train hit him and threw him 40 feet in the air.

Six months later, he left the hospital and before long went to visit a friend’s house. While he was in the kitchen, he heard the tea kettle whistling, woo-woo, woo-woo.  Without a word, he dashed to his car, grabbed his shotgun, and shot that poor tea kettle dead.

“Why’d you do that?” asked his wide-eyed host.

“Brother,” said the desert man, “you gotta kill them critters while they’re still small.”

Source | Dennis R. Clark, SUNDAY MORNING: Reflections on the Word
(Sheed and Ward, 1996) Cycle A
Second Sunday of Advent

CONSIDER THIS

Shooting tea kettles accomplishes absolutely nothing, yet in many ways we do that sort of thing all the time. If you doubt that, listen to our conversations on the phone, on the golf course, in the car, or just about anywhere. From all the tut-tutting, deploring and lamenting, one could easily conclude that the world is populated almost entirely by idiots, knaves and incompetents, and that the only exceptions are you and me … and sometimes I wonder about you!

Remember what that cartoon character, Pogo, said? “We have seen the enemy, and it is us.” He was right. But unfortunately, too often we see the enemy as outside us, and that’s what we take aim at … and the poor tea kettles of this world get shot dead.

USE YOUR GOLD

A miser hid his gold at the foot of a tree in his garden. Every week he would dig it up and look at it for hours. One day a thief dug up the gold and made off with it. When the miser next came to gaze upon his treasure, all he found was an empty hole.

The man began to howl with grief so his neighbors came running to find out what the trouble was. When they found out, one of them asked, “Did you use any of the gold?”

“No,” said the miser. “I only looked at it every week.”

“Well, then.” said the neighbor, “for all the good the gold did you, you might just as well come her every week and gaze upon the hole.”

Source |  Anthony De Mello, SJ | The Heart of the Enlightened,
Doubleday,1989) page 20

CONSIDER THIS

It is not by our money but by our capacity for enjoyment that we are rich or poor. To strive for wealth and have no capacity for enjoyment is to be like the bald man who struggles to collect combs.

___________________________________

Here’s a slightly different version

Once upon a time there was a wealthy miser who melted down his hoard of gold into a single lump which he then secretly buried in his garden. every day he went to look at it, and would spend hours gloating over it.

Then one of his servants discovered his secret, and came by night and stole the gold. when the miser discovered that his treasure had been stolen, he was heart-broken.

But a friend said to him. “Don’t take it so badly. Just put a brick on the hole, and take a look at it every day. You won’t be any worse off than before, for even when you had the gold you never used it.”

All of us bury some talent which we refuse to use either for our own benefit of for the benefit of others. And what us buried is of no earthly use to anyone.

Source | Flor McCarthy SDB, New Sunday & Holy Day Liturgies
(Dominican Publications, 1998) pages 346-347