JULY 2019

Anthony de Mello

Dear Friends

Sitting in my new office, I have become even more lazy.  I can sit for hours watching the sunlight playing on the river.  Unfortunately, it has not inspired me to write anything very original for the magazine.  Then my eyes fell on one of Anthony de Mellow's books.  I have often used stories in sermons, so I thought I would retell one of my favourites from 'The Prayer of the Frog': a book of story meditations by Anthony de Mello (and hope I don't cause trouble!)

"Of what use is it to have eyes if the heart is blind?

The urban friar finished his prayers and opened his eyes to find standing by him the priest of the local benefice.

'Can I help you?' asked the friar.

The priest recounted a tale of woe and frustration.  At one time his church had been the best in the city; full of life, families young and old, baptisms, confirmations, people flocking to give their life to the Lord.  Now though, there seemed only to be an older generation left.  No young people seemed to be coming along.  There were hardly enough people to share the work that needed doing and sometimes work was carried out with a heavy heart.  Now the priest wanted to know why this was so.  Was it because of some sin, he asked?

'Yes,' said the friar, 'a sin of ignorance.  One of your number is the Messiah in disguise and you are ignorant of this.'

Throughout the strenuous walk back to the vicarage, the priest's heart beat fast and loud at the thought that if the Messiah had returned and to his church.  How could he not have recognised him - or was it a him?  Who could it be?  The churchwarden, sacristan, treasurer, the assistant priest?  No, not him, he had too many defects.  The friar had said he was in disguise.  Could the defects be part of the disguise?  The more he thought about it, he realised of course that everyone in the church had some defects, even himself.

Next Sunday in the sermon, the priest told the congregation what he had discovered.  It had even been put in the Newsheet.  There was an audible gasp from the congregation as they looked at one another in disbelief.  The Messiah?  Here?  Unbelievable.  But he was supposed to be here in disguise.  So, what if it were so and so?  Or this one sitting next to me?  Or that one I refused to share the peace with?  Or.....

One thing was certain.  If the Messiah was there in disguise, it was not likely that they would recognise him.  So they took to treating everyone with respect and consideration.  'You never know,' they said to themselves when they dealt with one another, 'maybe this is the one.'  The result was that the atmosphere in the church became vibrant with joy.  Soon dozens of people old and young started coming to the church and once more, the church echoed with joyful singing of a congregation filled with the spirit of Love."

I hope you all have a good summer.


Brother Kevin


Pastoral letters:

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

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