One of my memories of early school days is of a teacher who constantly tried to control talkative students by quoting the proverb: “Empty vessels make the most sound.”
It is relatively easy to write about an attitude to life that people have but it is much more difficult to live what you write. Anyone who attempts it could easily be accused of being the “empty vessel”, the “theorist”, the “arm-chair theologian.” It is foolish to write about something you don’t know or have not lived or experienced.
For this reason, these thoughts are offered to others as a way of sharing some insights gained through my own life, my years as a priest, and years as a husband and father, and grandfather. In none of the topics discussed have I achieved any mastery. Like anyone else, I am still struggling to make sense of life, and there are times when it all seems a mystery to tantalise us.
My faith exists beside my doubts; my trust beside my depression; my love beside my intolerance.
What gives me courage is to hear other people open up and assure me they have the same tensions, uncertainty and confusion as they search for the truth.
Only the honest will admit their humanity.
The insights come also from knowing some of the wisdom in both the East and the West, the common threads in many religious traditions since I taught Study of Religion in secondary school, as well as the Catholic tradition in which I grew up.
Having had eight years studying to be a Franciscan Friar I had a great education in philosophy, theology, church history and Bible studies. This was followed by 11 years as a priest in several parishes, working with youth groups, radio and TV appearances, seeing 12 booklets published and albums of hymns recorded and published.
It has been an interesting life and many people have lived even more interesting lives and had more challenges that came their way. Each of us has a story and we learn so much from others.
My reflections are offered, not as infallible pronouncements, but simple thoughts that might just help someone in their life. They represent me, not necessarily any church or organization They are an attempt to light up the darkness in the world, to make a difference, to give a bit of encouragement and inspiration.
The reader’s reactions are very welcome.
Have the reflections been helpful? Is it just a load of crap?
Have you been challenged? Do you agree or disagree? What can you offer as further suggestions or comment?