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Thought For The Week

“Love is more important than what we can take in life. Love, Love, Love.” ~Pelé

Two world figures went to their eternal reward during the past week, Pope Benedict and Pelé.

I will start with Pelé and there have been wonderful and glowing tributes given to him.  He was a man who simply loved the game of football.  His real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento but of course he is known around the world as simply Pelé. But where did the name come from? There are no obvious explanations as the word has no translation in the Portuguese language. But the late RTE commentator Jimmy Magee had his own theory and shared it with Pele in one of their interviews.

The story relates to an Irish speaking missionary priest who was working in one of the poorer parts of Brazil where Pele was born and raised. Of course, back then Pele was simply known as Edson, the name everyone called him.  Watching the young boy play on the street with a ball made of paper, the priest talked in Irish about the “buachaill ag imirt peile” (boy playing football) and on hearing the Irish phrase, the local women began calling the boy “Pelé”. Nobody has been able to prove the exact origins, but Jimmy Magee was always convinced this is where it came from.

There are many quotations from Pele himself, but the one on love is most appropriate as we journey through the season of Christmas and as we begin the New Year. Love is at the heart of the Christmas Story. Take away love and there is no story. We celebrate the difference love makes in our lives every single day. We so often talk about God using the language of love.  A new year’s resolution is to be open to the blessings of love in our life today. Love so often comes to us in small moments and often quietly and without fuss. We can allow these moments to touch us and allow us to share a loving moment with someone else. 

Pope Benedict was a man who also believed in love and believed totally in the difference it can make in our lives. Yes he may have come across as stern and serious, but those who knew him up close said he always was very gentle with a relaxed style. Like Pele he believed that our world is such a better place when we receive love and when we share it. The late Pope Benedict was known as a ‘Pilgrim of Peace’ and he brought the Gospel message of peace to so many parts of the world including Northern Ireland. We pray that this message of peace will be heard in the troubled parts of our world especially in Ukraine.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and a blessed 2023

The Thought For The Week is updated each Monday