Along the Track

8 September - Kindness

I have experienced only two bushfires and that was too many. They both came so quickly and without warning but they lingered for days. The second one was worse, perhaps because by then I was old enough to help fight it. The men of the district gathered with all sorts of primitive equipment. There were no fire trucks on hand then. It was terrifying. The smoke and the roar of the flames didn’t quite manage to drown the sounds of the frightened stock that were running all over the place in panic. It was my job to muster them, to gather them together in the middle of this chaos and get them out the gate. It was so difficult to see or breathe at times and they certainly didn’t want to follow the directions of a fourteen year old.

25 August - Friendship

A mirror reflects a person's face, but what they are really like is shown by the kind of friends they choose. Proverbs 27:19

I lost a close friend in recent times. We first met almost sixty years ago. I admired him greatly, his sense of fun, his endless energy and tireless commitment. He was an extraordinary character, no pretensions, no false airs but his defining characteristic was his love of the underdog.

11 August - The Prism

My brother lived in a retirement home interstate for four or five years until his death a couple of years ago. He celebrated Mass there every Sunday for the residents and the many neighbours who chose this as their place of worship. On one Sunday when I happened to be visiting, we all listened to the readings and he began his homily with this question:

What did you hear today? What words from these readings have stayed with you?

28 July - The Music Makers

Long ago the world was a silent place. The Book of Genesis describes it as ‘formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…’. There was no sound, no noise and there was no music, there were no songs. I wonder who was the first person to sing, the first person to make music. Music was one of our first inventions. Primitive flutes have been found among the relics of very, very ancient civilizations. Did the first singers listen and learn from the songs of the birds around them?

14 July 2020 - Social Distancing

Life is made up of the ordinary. Otherwise there wouldn’t be the extraordinary. The extraordinary, although usually very welcome, is not the stuff of life. Sometimes you read of people continually chasing the next adventure and you are left to wonder whether they miss out on the real joys of life in the meantime.

23 June 2020 - Spiders that Sail

Scientists in Britain have discovered that an ordinary little spider, one we have all seen hundreds of times, is actually a very adept sailor. Some species of spider form diving bells out of silk to enable them to breathe under water.

9 June 2020 - Winter

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater. Isaiah 55:10

26 May 2020 - This Quiet Time

And so we are being ‘let out’. Our weeks of isolation are gradually being eased and we can see that there may be an end to this stage of the dreadful virus. There is a sense of relief and growing optimism. But it has been a time of contrasts.

12 May 2020 - The Call of the Spirit

Our parish priest sometimes finishes Mass with the question: And what will the Spirit call you to do today? What will the Spirit ask of you? How will the Spirit inspire you today?

28 April 2020 - Staying at Home

And so we stay at home, if we are not required to go out. Kathleen O’Meara from Wisconsin described this time:

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

14 April 2020 - The Challenge

Don’t we love a challenge? We watch them on all sorts of programs on TV and other media platforms. The weekly footy is usually laced with the language of challenge, the survival of the fittest. Reality TV even makes a cooking show a challenge and pretending to survive in a jungle. Video games are designed to challenge the player at many levels. We humans like to think of ourselves as dominant in just about every aspect of life.

24 March 2020 - What is Happening?

The shelves are empty – no tinned food, no cleaning fluids, no toilet paper, then no meat, no bread, just shelves rapidly being stripped bare. And some very angry people, abusing fellow customers and checkout staff. Not a pretty picture. What does that say about us? Just a few short weeks ago we were congratulating ourselves on such a generous, compassionate response to the victims of the bushfires. And now this.

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