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Thoughts of Fr. John – October 2018

Life is never static. We all grow. The question is do we grow up or do we just grow old!

Attributed to Alexander the Great “I’m not afraid of an army of lions led by sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” In light of the above this thought appears apposite. [editor note: see the October 1 newsletter to see what the above is]

Quietude is a virtue to be aspired to. Silence is an absence of sound and it is in that absence that we can hear the still, small voice of God. Yet for most silence is equated to loneliness and loneliness is the worst possible companion. Yet, to a lucky few that loneliness and silence is the wind beneath their wings as they fly to the Divine. To them, silence is golden.

There is an old Cherokee story that talks of each person having two wolves inside of them fighting: one evil full of anger, envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment and self-importance and the other good full of joy, peace, hope, humility, kindness, compassion and faith. The question is posed: which wolf will win?… And the wise answer: the one you feed. How do we as Christians feed the good one? – the answer to that is through following in faith our Saviour.

This week I am moved to print below the poem “Poverty” by DH Lawrence. I first heard it over 50 years ago and it made and continues to make a deep impression. Please take the time to read it:

The only people I ever heard talk about my Lady Poverty
Were rich people, or people who imagined themselves rich.
Saint Francis himself was a rich and spoiled young man.

Being born among the working people
I know poverty is a hard old hag,
and a monster, when you’re pinched for actual necessities.
And whoever says she isn’t is a liar.

I don’t want to be poor, it means I’m pinched.
But neither do I want to be rich.
When I look at this pine-tree near the sea,
That grows out of rock, and it plumes forth, plumes forth,
I see it has a natural abundance.

With its roots it has a natural grip on its daily bread,
And its plumes look like a green cup held up to the sun and air
And full of wine.

I want to be like that, to have a natural abundance
And plume forth, and be splendid.