Three essential ‘f’ words for today’s world

Three essential ‘f’ words for today’s world

‘F’ words are high on my agenda at the moment. With an opening like that I suppose there is a chance you will read further. In recent weeks I have been stopped in my tracks by two heart-breaking personal situations.

Firstly, a young couple whose wedding I participated in last year had the joy of welcoming their first child, a little girl, just three months ago. Two weeks ago they received the devastating news that their little daughter has leukaemia. The news was all the more painful because this young couple live in the southern hemisphere far from the circle of care and support which is their extended family. Amy is being treated in the local hospital and at the moment is responding well.

Then there is one of my closest friends, Michael who in the last few weeks has been struck down by a mysterious illness of his brain. After a few frightening episodes characterised by confusion and frustration Michael too has ended up in hospital but we await a diagnosis. Like Amy, Michael too lives in another country far from his immediate and extended family.

In both scenarios family members here at home have dropped everything and without a thought to cost and other sacrifices have organised to fly out to be present to their loved ones and offer whatever practical support they can. In Amy’s case a group of friends got together and launched an appeal for funds simply to enable the young parents to be with their little daughter at all times. The response to this appeal has been extraordinary. Amy and Michael are also both surrounded and supported by a tsunami of prayer from many corners of the world.

As I reflected on these two ‘life altering’ and ‘stop you in your tracks’ situations a number of things struck me. The scripture readings for Mass on the 17th Sunday of the year focused me further when we were asked to reflect on the real ‘treasure’ in our lives and the ‘pearl of great price’. The most obvious thing is something we take for granted and that is ‘our health is our wealth’.


When a health-related crisis occurs as it did for Amy and Michael in recent weeks, what are the treasures we can most rely on? This is where my ‘f’ words come to the fore: family, friends and faith. While all three of these pearls are invaluable in a crisis we cannot presume they will automatically be available to us.

These are treasures which must be cared for and attended to in the good days and the calm days. Above all, family, friends and faith need our quality time. They need us to be present, to remember important moments. Creating memories with family, friends and faith in the good times will insure that we can call on them when the storms come.

A Prayer for Unity

Lord Jesus Christ, We pray you for unity.

Unity among all who profess your name.

Unity among people from every nation and every colour.

Unity within the families; let not the winds of alienation extinguish their fires of love.

Unity within our hearts; let us not turn divided or rejected enemies to ourselves.

Envelop us in your seamless robe, the one and whole garment of unity in which you suffered for us.

– E. Laridon. Text found in Bruges Cathedral.

One Wife -Two Funerals

A funeral service is being held in a church for a woman who has just passed away. At the end of the service, the pallbearers carrying the coffin accidentally bump into a wall jarring the coffin. They hear a faint moan. They open the coffin and find that the women is actually alive. She lives for ten more years and then dies. A ceremony is again held at the same church and at the end the pallbearers are again carrying the coffin out. As they are walking, the husband calls out “watch out for the wall!”