Priests and prayer 


          "How does Christianity begin?" ..... "It begins with a smile!"

                                Mother Theresa

Fr Pat Kelly, a dynamic, Irish missionary priest who is well known in Malta has this to say : " If a priest can't spend one hour each day in front of the Blessed Sacrament, he needs to spend two".

  One leaves the presence of Fr. Pat , with a song in one's heart.  He's a natural healer, an encourager, a builder, and he spreads love, joy and peace wherever he goes , leaving a trail of blessings behind him, and why not!  Aren't priests supposed to be other Christs?  Wasn't that the reason why they became priests in the first place.

  How does one radiate Christ?  Well, Mother Teresa, when asked by an agnostic the searching question ,"How does Christianity begin?" answered him succinctly, "It begins with a smile!"

  If you meet someone without a smile, just give him one of your own.   Give away to everyone what Jesus gave to you, and begin with that smile.  Jesus looked on every person he met with loving eyes.  He could see through that mask to the reality beneath.  To the saint buried in each of us.

  There are a million ways in which a priest can pray on his feet.  Let's begin for starters at the church doors before the weekend Masses.  Why not a big welcome to everyone coming  through with an expansive smile?  I was reading lately in The Calvary Road by Roy Hession that being shy, self-conscious and reserved are far from being virtues and prevent one from being productive in the Lord's vineyard.

  Let's walk up and down the aisles before the start of these Masses saying:  "Welcome to Malta and you know where to find me if you need help" to all the tourists.  You'll be radiating Christ in a huge way and doing what St. Francis himself suggested:  Preaching the Gospel and if necessary using words.

   Never overlook the tourists: Christ sent them to Malta to meet you.  He needs your voice, your hands and your feet.  You hardly have to leave the island to evangelise when the people are coming to you.  Invite them in for a cup of tea and a cheesecake.  You'll end up hearing their confession.  




  People are pining for the want of love, recognition and encouragement and also, they should be allowed and invited to use their God-given talents for His glory. This does not often happen.

  My late husband Howard, found the Lord as his personal saviour in 1972 in the island of Rhodes, when an expansive Franciscan bishop called Peter,who was saying Mass, walked down the body of the church and shook the hands of those nearest to him in every one of the benches.  Howard happened to be one of the lucky recipients of this display of God's love.

  To my amazement, he followed everyone up to Holy Communion and insisted on getting up every morning at 6.30 am for the remaining days of his holiday so as "not to disappoint Peter" who showered love on him.  When asked by the band of Irish tourists "How come Howard?", his answer was, "It was his love which drew me up!" He, Howard, died while reading his Bible on August 15,1995.

  Carlo Carretto in his book, In Search Of The Beyond,  tells us: "One must transform one's own life into an act of self -giving.  From then on, it becomes  "Prayer" and I suddenly achieve the synthesis, the unity of my being and I break through into the real.  He who becomes a gift is in a state of perfection, he becomes invulnerable, he is light.  To be a gift to God, a gift to one's fellowman.  The union of these two elements is what makes the Christian the authentic human being, the Saint."

  I met Sheila six weeks ago just before the Mass in English was about to begin on a Sunday morning.  She had come to settle here about six months ago and was in need of friendship.  Last night, sitting on my terrace, she told me a lovely story which I would like to share with you since it pertains to this subject.

  She is a retired midwife, born in Dublin and having spent her life delivering babies in England and Jordan.  One of these deliveries in which she was involved was that of a premature baby who had stopped breathing.  The doctor pronounced the child dead, as she had no pulse, but Stella decided to keep on trying to revive her and she and her companions continued to massage and pray and whisper endearments in her little ears.  They were about to give up, when suddenly, the baby gave a tiny gasp and then started to breathe.  The doctor was gobsmacked.  "It was the love, Anita" she assured me, "love is the healer".

  When I was a child in my native country Ireland, it proudly bore the title The Emerald Isle of Saints and Scholars, in honour of the Irish monks, who, retaining the memory of learning during the Dark Ages, bravely went forth and re-evangelised Europe.

  My dream today, as an old woman in my beloved, adopted country Malta, is that, one day, it will bear the title: Sun-splashed Isle of the Mid-Med where all the priests are social healers.

  A very poor, dignified and generous old woman called Bridge, in the west of Ireland, was wont to remark, when in the early 1940s during the war, one presented her with the precious gift of tea or bacon:  "Wisha glory be to God alanna , isn't life just filled with grand surprises for those who hope".


Anita Kilbride - Jones,

St. Paul's Bay, Malta.


Make a Free Website with Yola.