Padre’s Corner – Just Passing Through…

The story is told of a tourist from the States who visited the famous Polish rabbi, Hofetz Chaim, in the last century. He was astonished to see that the rabbi’s home was only a simple room filled with books. The only furniture was a table and a bench.

“Rabbi, where is your furniture?” asked the tourist.
“Where is yours?” said Hofetz.
“Mine? But I’m passing through. I’m only a visitor here.” “So am I.”

Here in my room surrounded by my things – iPhone, computer, TV, DVD player, sound system – I am gently reminded by this story of the need to constantly focus on what is truly important in life. Too often we see people who measure their life by the quantity or quality of their possessions – the size of house, the badge on the car or the expensive overseas holidays. Increasingly these possessions are being squeezed by the financial difficulties that surround us. Perhaps we could take advantage of the tightening of belts that all of us have had to face to evaluate our priorities.

The Church has used the time before Easter, a season called Lent (40 days starting this year on March 9), to help its members do just that. Food is often the first to go with individuals fasting for a period of time. It may be, however, that food is not something that tempts you but that a fast from the Xbox, TV, chocolate or alcohol may be more appropriate. What would you miss the most if you had to give it up for a month? The time (and money!) saved could be used in redirecting attention to something important that has become neglected – family, friends, community or God.

May we all discover, in hard times, the joy to be found through our relationships with each other and with God.

Blessings, Padre Michael Chatfield


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