The priest's tale  


               They knew all about Jesus Christ but had never met Him

The young priest was a familiar sight on the streets of Camden Town.  With his shock of russet hair, magnificent athletic build, winning smile and golden singing voice, his was an imperative figure.

  Possessing the virtues of timeless initiative and boundless enthusiasm, he worked a 15 hour day in his bid to capture souls for God.  His zeal was as inordinate as it was resolute in his relentless quest "to sweep all night until he had found the lost coin".  Such was this man's sincerity and dedication.  While the 'Lesson' was being read at his early morning Mass, his eyes wandered towards a bench, where a young, singularly beautiful woman was sobbing uncontrollably.

  Immediately after Mass he sought her out.  Farah was a dancer from the near East.  She was pregnant with an unwanted child, the putative father of whom had vanished and abandoned her . To avoid severe retribution at home, she had luckily escaped to London to seek support from a relative but had been spurned at this address and now was on her way to an abortionist whose card she clutched in her hand.

  The priest led her to his office and produced a pot of coffee, urging her to tell her story.  Again and again he sought to deflect her from her plans, and in the most concrete of ways, tried to help her have her baby.

  He begged her to hand over the card which held the dreaded address, but to this she clung like a limpet to a rock.  He resorted to a graphic description of the gruesome results of an abortionist's knife.

  The sliced-up perfectly formed beautiful baby and the agonizing pain endured by this little person.  The brutal crushing of the perfect head, the severing of the limbs and worst of all, the actual killing of this treasure should he/she ever have been born alive.  But more than ever, the feelings of guilt and utter despair which were to haunt the unfortunite mother for the rest of her waking moments.  He then launched into the telling of the following story:

  Gabriella had two children who both had been born deformed.  She and her husband Mario, though not saints, had eventually ceased to grumble and had coped well with the cross.  They knew all about Jesus Christ but had never met Him.

  When Gabriella found she was again pregnant, she was determined to have an abortion and, dispite the protests of Mario, consternation and desperation were abroad in that household.  She was referred to a back street practitioner who miraculously failed to procure the abortion for which she had readily paid.

  Months later, she was delivered of a perfectly normal and outstandingly beautiful baby boy.  Their joy knew no bounds and Mario, who was an opera singer, decided to call him after the legendary Italian tenor.

  Farah was beginning to show signs of interest at last.  "What became of this boy?" she ventured.  "He had a wonderful childhood and became a priest" he answered.  "And his name ?" she continued.  "Caruso" he told her - "Enrico Caruso"

  Just at that very moment there was a rap at the door and in a booming Irish brogue Fr. Mike Dalton yelled: "Long distance call for Fr.Caruso!" 

  Farah's eyes expanded in amazement as she saw the knowing expression on the priest's smiling face, and as her gaze followed his powerful , arresting figure, he turned around, nodded, and gave her the widest smile in Camden Town.

  When Fr. Caruso returned, Farah had gone, but on his desk lay a torn-up, crumpled and twisted card.

  " A thing of beauty is a joy forever : Its loveliness increases ; it will never pass into nothingness." 

  John Keats.


"How cruel is the tenderness that consigns others to their sins."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer.


"On the cross Jesus endured insults and mockery.

Yet, his heart remained open, even to his enemies.

He absorbed all the violence, transformed it, and returned

it as love and forgiveness.

One's pain can easily turn into rage,

so that one wants only to lash out blindly at whoever

happens to be within range.

From the depths of His own pain, Jesus reached out to comfort the thief.

Some people are like sugar cane:

even when crushed in the mill, what they yield is sweetness.

Jesus stretches our capacity for compassion.

He challanges our idea of love.

Each of us has a great capacity for love.

The pity is that it often goes unused.

By our love people will know that we are followers of

Christ the King". 

"All work is empty save when done with love/ And what is it to work with love/ It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart/ even if your beloved were to wear that cloth/ it is to build a house with affection/ even as if your beloved were to live in that house/

If you cannot work with love but only with distaste/ it is better that you should leave your work/ and sit at the gate of the temple/ and take alms from those who work with joy/ for if you bake bread with indifference/ you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half of man's hunger/ and if you grudge the crushing of the grapes/ your grudge distils a poison in the wine.

Work is love made visible".


Anita Kilbride - Jones,

St Paul's Bay, Malta.  


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