Advent and the Blind Man

A blind man and I were standing in the middle of an airport.  ‘Just stand here’  I said taking him to a protected corner.  I wanted to protect him from all the jostling.  I then went off to buy my ticket and check departure times.

At one stage I looked back at him. He just stood there. People milled about him.  A child stared at him. A porter drove his baggage cart around him.  A newspaper boy couldn’t understand why he didn’t look at the paper he was waving under his nose.  He just stood there. The shuffling feet around him, unknown voices – he just stood and waited for me to come back.

He waited patiently, completely content that I would come back. There was no shadow of a doubt on his face – instead there was an air of expectation about him. I would return and take him by the hand and lead him to his destination.  As I marveled at him – looking carefully at his closed eyelids and calm demeanour – I though he is our model for Advent.

Story courtesy of Will Hoffsuemmer

Categories: Service | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Wisdom of Mercy

A young man stole several thousand dollars from the business where he was employed.  When the crime was discovered the senior partner called the man to his office. Immediately he knew he would be fired and possibly be sent to prison.  He was asked if he was guilty, and on admitting he was the executive suprised him.  ‘If I keep you in your present capacity, can I trust you in the future?’ he was asked. Suprised the young man said ‘Yes sir, surely you can – I’ve learned my lesson’ he replied.

His boss must have detected the repentant man’s sincerity. ‘I’m not going to press charges and you can continue as you are.’ he said – motioning for him to leave.  As the relieved young man got to the door of the office his boss added, ‘I think you ought to know  however, that you are the second person in this company, who succumbed to temptation and then was shown leniency.  I was the first. What you have done, I did. The mercy you are receiving I received.,

Those who have been forgiven, forgive best.

Story from Steve Goodier.

Categories: Awareness, Wisdom | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Community wake-up call

Fr John was excited when the Bishop told him hie was going to be given his own parish, his first one. It would be a challenge the Bishop warned him, the parish had been in decline for a long while and he had been given one last chance to turn it round. When he arrived at the small town, the locals told him he was wasting his time – the parish was dead.  So he placed an advert in the local newspaper declaring since the parish was dead a funeral would be held the following week.

The Church was crowded by the curious who were rewarded with the sight of a huge coffin covered in flowers.  After reading the obituary the young priest invited people up tp pay their last respects. As the long curious queue passed by each looked into the coffin and then glanced guiltily away.

At the bottom of the coffin lay a mirror solemnly reflecting the last remains of the church in the startled faces of the congregation.


Adapted version of a story by Ann Cooper.

Categories: Community, God | Tags: , , | Leave a comment


One night three horsemen were riding through the desert.  As they crossed the dry bed of a river, out of the darkness a voice called, Halt!  They obeyed. It is dangerous at night in the desert.  The voice told them  to dismount, pick up a handful of pebbles, put them in their pocket and remount.  They followed the orders. Then the voice said ‘You have done as I commanded. Tomorrow at sunrise you will both glad and sorry.’  The horsemen, mystified, rode on.

When the sun rose, they reached into their pockets and found a miracle had happened. The pebbles had been transformed into diamonds, rubies, and other precious stones. They remembered the warning. They were both glad and sorry – glad that they had taken some, and sorry that they had not taken more.

That is the story of education.

Story from Dr Adolfson via Frank Mihalic.

Categories: Teaching, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Killer Joke

Two years ago one of our social workers discovered six siblings living in a garbage dump outside of a village called Ciudad Vieja in Guatemala. This garbage dump was as close to hell on Earth as any place can be. Looming above it was an active volcano. A fine layer of ash fell like snow from its frequent eruptions.

In the garbage dump, the volcano was not the only thing that burned. Decades of garbage lay in enormous mountains. Trapped gasses ignited underground fires, which caused a thick, chemical smoke to hang heavy in the air.Amongst the waste, carcasses of household pets decayed and emitted putrid smells while flies swarmed and swarmed and swarmed. In the torrent of this oppressive environment, there were also people. Little boys and girls climbed the mountains of burning garbage looking for food. They spent twelve hours every day scouring these mounds of waste in search of a way to stay alive.

As is our mission, we worked to get six siblings out of that environment. After putting the right pieces in place, we managed to find them a place to live and enrolled them in classes at one of our schools. Each student was given new clothes to wear and school supplies. For two weeks, it seemed as though we had succeeded. But then, all six stopped showing up to school. We could not find them in their new homes. We went back to the garbage dump and sure enough, there they were.

It leads one to ask the question, “Why would any sane person choose a life in hell over a dignified house, and the chance for a good education?” We soon found out the answer.

A young boy living on an East Cipinang garbage...

Image via Wikipedia

In the hustle and bustle of getting these kids out of the dump and into new clothes, one of the girls slipped through the cracks and did not receive a new pair of shoes. Her name was Carmen. Carmen wore a pair of ragged shoes that she had found in the garbage dump. During her second week of school another girl noticed these shoes and made fun of her. She laughed at her for having such shabby shoes. Others joined in and made fun of her shoes.

Carmen had lived her whole life in a garbage dump. The social pressure of being made fun of for her shoes was new and completely dislodging for her. It was too much for her to take. She decided to leave school and return to the dump. At least in the dump no one made fun of her. She was the eldest sibling, and her brothers and sisters decided that if she was going to return to the garbage dump, then they were all going to return together.

This story does have a happy ending. In the end we were able to convince the children to return to school where they remain today. As I write this letter, they are studying in a classroom 100 feet away.

I tell you this story and ask you to share it with your students for this reason. Six people’s lives were almost destroyed because of one unkind comment. All the girl who made the comment did was make fun of another girl’s shoes. Surely all of us have done worse. I know I have. If asked why she did it, I’m sure she would say something we hear all too often: “It was just a joke.” The girl likely could never have imagined how far the negative consequences of that “joke” could have reached. But that joke almost destroyed the life of six children. Children in garbage dumps don’t survive long. If their health does not give out by the time they reach adolescents, exploiters or human traffickers prey on them.

Story courtesy of Luke Armstrong

Categories: Communication, Love, Service, Teaching | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The power of light


Image by magnuscanis via Flickr

A wealthy Chinese businessman was now old and wanted to retire. He called his three sons too him and said to them, ‘ I have decided not to divide the business into three, but will give it to the one of you who proves himself to be the best businessman. You can prove this to me by passing a simple test.’  Each son was given $10 and instructed to use the money to purchase something that would fill a big empty room.

The first son went and bought a big tree, after cutting it down, he dragged it to the room, it filled up about half the room with its leaves and branches. The second son went and bought the kunai grass that some of the farmers were cutting in their fields, this filled up most of the room.

The third son went and bought a small candle for 25 cents, and in the evening after dark, he called his father over to the large empty room. He put the small candle down in the middle of the floor and lit it. After a minute he turned to his father and said, ‘Dad can you see any corner of this little room which is not filled by the light of the candle?’.  He won the business.

Story courtesy of Herb Trueblood via Frank Mihalic

Categories: Awareness, Wisdom | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

God and Celebrity Culture

Imagine the following scenario. We are in a large gathering at a local park, and there are folks of all social strata and condition present. Perhaps drinks and hors d’oeuvres are being served by waiters and waitresses. In one particular area are gathered Hollywood stars, big wig political leaders, and other cultural glitterati. As most of us scan the crowd our eye is drawn immediately to the famous and we lift up our cell phone cameras and try to get pictures.

But if God were to walk into this crowd, where would his eye be drawn? Where would God “run with his cell phone” and start snapping pictures? Most likely his eye would be drawn to those serving the hors d’oeuvres. Perhaps too his eye would be drawn to the edge of the park where some of the poor are gathered and wondering what all the excitement is about. Some of them are begging. Yet again, there are some in the crowd who have come from the local group home. They are mentally handicapped, many of them wheelchair bound, others not able to talk but making wild gestures and groans. God’s eye is drawn there too. “But God, but God! Look at all those famous people over there! (we say), pointing to the glitterati. And God, looking puzzled, says, “Where? Who are they??”

Story courtesy of Msgr Charles Pope

Categories: God, Love | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Message in a bottle

Living on a remote island, on the edge of an ocean you can feel quite isolated. One day Harold Hackett threw a glass Pepsi bottle overboard while fishing. That first bottle simply included a name and address and requested a response. After receiving his first letter in reply, his hobby was off and running. Over the last two decades, he has sent out over 4,800 messages in a bottle from Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province along the Atlantic coastline. He waits for a westerly or south westerly wind – and then goes down to the beach and lets them sail away. Every message asks for the finder to send a response back to Hackett, and since 1996 he has received over 3,100 responses from all over the world. Some responses come 11years later!

But written responses aren’t the only thing that Hackett receives in return. In many cases, he strikes up friendships with the people he hears back from,  typically he receives 150 Christmas cards from the people he’s contacted by bottle each year. Hackett has no plans of stopping, either; he plans to continue sending out letters and building his social network until he is no longer able to do it. “I’m gonna go as long as I can”.  The worlds first social network – the Atlantic Ocean!



Categories: Communication, Friendship | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

True Friendship

In Hebei, China, a teenager named Lui Shi Ching, 16 years old, has carried his friend to school daily for the last 8 years. His friend Lu Shao has a congenital disorder which makes it difficult for him to walk. Eight years ago on a rainy day, Lu shao was stuck at school when his mom didn’t come to pick him up. Lui Shi Ching, who was smaller than Lu Shao, decided to help and carried him home. Since then, he has carried Lu shao to and from school and even to restrooms.  Lui shi ching said in an interview: “How did I carry him when he’s so heavy? I was happy helping him out and it’s been 8 years already.” Lui Shi Ching didn’t brag about his good deeds too much; his parents didn’t even find out until 4 years after he first helped out his friend. Lu Shao mentioned in his diary that Lui Shi Ching’s help has lifted a dark cloud in his life and let sunshine into it.

Categories: Friendship, Service | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Super Dad

Utah father Dale Price is also known as the “Wave at the Bus” dad. Price dressed up in a costume every morning of the school year—all 170 days—and then headed outside to wave goodbye to his son’s school bus. Price says it started out at a joke on the first day of school to embarrass Rain and things just snowballed from there. Rain was initially embarrassed by his father’s antics, but soon, he and his bus riding classmates, grew to love the costumes and looked forward to seeing what creative outfit his dad would wear next.  Price didn’t repeat a costume all year—he’s dressed up as a Anakin Skywalker, a pirate, Michael Jackson, and yes, as a blushing bride—and he only spent around $50 total. He mostly borrowed his get-ups from friends and neighbors. Although Dave doesn’t plan to do it again next year, Rain can still relive the memories.

Story courtesy of

Categories: Love | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at