Saint of tooday
Tell a Friend
Feedback / Queries
Add to Favorites
Set as Homepage
Join Us On Facebook
Home About Site About Photographer Photo Archive Thought Archive  





Listing June - 2022
A teacher affects eternity. A teacher can never tell where their influence stops’ ~Henry Brooks Adams

Many primary schools across Ireland are getting their summer holidays today. Secondary schools are alrady there. We sometimes categorise teachers with words such as: ‘haven’t they great holidays’ or ‘it’s a handy job’. Such phrases do no justice to the great work our teachers do each day in our schools. There are many challenges our teachers face on an ongoing basis. It is far from an easy job. It's fair to say we take for granted their influence, the example they give and the depth of their enthusiasm and energy. No words can sum up the vocation of being a teacher. It is more than just a job and much more about doing something in life that touches not just this generation but future generations as well. We ask God’s many blessings on all our teachers and God’s many blessings on the great work they do in educating our young. May everyone have a lovely summer break.
‘When today becomes exactly like yesterday, then I may have lost the plot’ ~Jack McArdle

It is only natural that we compare today with other days and with events in the past. We quietly hope that the weather this summer will continue to be better than what we got last year. We compare our plans for the summer to what we did last year. But there can never be close comparisons because today is so much different to yesterday, the day before and every day in the past. If today is exactly like yesterday in our own lives then it’s time to take a look at why this may be so. Today is God’s precious gift to us. It’s the only day we can do something that will make a real and lasting difference. While today will not be perfect, with challenges and distractions, it is up to us to make this day our own and leave our mark on it. God asks nothing more from any of us only to do our best. How am I going to leave my mark on this day?
'If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world.' ~Mercedes Lackey

It was the most talked about sporting moment yesterday, the goal that England got but was never given. The ball had crossed so far over the line it’s a wonder how it ever came back out! It was clearly a desperately embarrassing mistake by the linesman and desperate hard luck on a team trying to come back into the game. Clearly the better team won on the day but there will always be the question what if the goal had counted to bring it to 2-2, would England have seized the momentum and gone on to win? We will never know. The same goes for many things in life. There are so many what ifs. What if I had done something? What if I had been around? What if I had noticed something was wrong? What if I had been back earlier it wouldn’t have happened? The list of what ifs are endless. But nothing can ever change a what if. We can waste endless energy blaming ourselves and others. But we must move on for healing to begin. We ask God today to help us move on from all our what ifs and what might have been. We pray for healing to begin and the strength and courage to take those steps forward towards a new beginning.
The following reflection is by Fr.Tom Cahill

It used to be the terrible teens. Now it’s the terrible tots. Crèches in Britain are suspending up to fourteen young children a day, aged five and younger, for physical assault. Incidents where testy tots use violence against classmates and teachers rose six per cent in a year. I wonder what sort of tots the two disciples were in today’s Gospel reading (Luke 9:51-62). If they weren’t testy as tots they’re certainly testy as adults. Inflated with importance they assume a power to ‘command fire to come down from heaven’ (v. 54) and torch to death the inhabitants of a Samaritan village. Not very Christian that now, is it?

Though close to Jesus physically as his followers they aren’t yet close enough to him spiritually to recognise what sort of person and what sort of messiah he is. It seems there’s baggage blocking the way: religious baggage that inflates their sense of election, of being God’s own people to the exclusion of others; political baggage that expects a freedom-fighter messiah to liberate the Jews from Roman tyranny; and social baggage that cultivates an elitist mentality that seduces them into thinking they can ride rough-shod over people like the Samaritans whom they despise.

Some ancient authorities add, ‘as Elijah did’ to v. 54 about commanding fire from heaven. In response to this hankering for former ways and attitudes Jesus rebukes them. I wonder does he have any such rebuke for us today as we carry our baggage, whether it be personal, social or institutional in these testy and testing times?
The following reflection was read at Fr.Paddy O’Byrne’s Golden Jubilee celebrations (50 years a priest) last evening in St.Patrick’s Church, Millstreet. It was written by StTeresa and is called ‘Do Good Anyway’

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centred; forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives; be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies; succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people may forget tomorrow; do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.
‘No one’s around when the work needs to be done, but everyone shows up when the bread is ready.’ ~Author Unknown

Not everyone can appreciate the work and effort that we personally put into different aspects of our daily lives. There is no barometer in measuring the amount of love, care, dedication, sacrifice, courage and determination that many people give each day. There are plenty who will try and take the credit. Carers at home do some tremendous work, often hard, repetitive and challenging. Many have to work 24/7 without a break. Sometimes it seems that no one cares and that must be so tough. God always recognises the great effort we make each day. All any of us can do is our best and many do just that each day. Perhaps there is someone in our lives too who is doing tremendous work but whom we may be taking very much for granted. It is easy to turn this one around but only if we decide to do something about it.
‘You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes rise to the stars. Enthusiasm is the spark in your eye, the swing in your gait, the irresistible surge of your will and the energy to execute your ideas.’ ~Henry Ford

We all need a boost in our lives from time to time. Good news in our community, our family or in our own personal life is always welcome. It’s hard to be enthusiastic every single day but without it we are lost. Some people seem to have a deep reserve of enthusiasm and hope. A closer look and inspection will show that they often have a deep faith which brings meaning to their lives. Their faith is connected to their everyday lives and not just the externals. We have just crossed mid summers day. The countryside is bursting with growth, energy and life. We pray to God today for enthusiasm, hope and energy in all we do.
‘There is genuine pride in South Africa that it has successfully organised the World Cup. It is another indicator that it is coming of age as a country and that the confidence which comes from organising such an event will spill over into other areas of life, not just in South Africa but in other African nations also’ ~Seán McDonagh

The World Cup has really failed to ignite so far. Most of the games have been dull and boring with much talk about hard pitches, a French team in disarray, an impossible ball and the incredibly noisy vuvuzelas. Did you know that the metre long plastic trumpet called a vuvuzela emits more than 127 decibels which is louder than a chainsaw! Can you imagine trying to watch a game with a few of those behind you? The argument that it is a tradition is rather shallow considering the vuvuzela is a relatively new invention. But whether it’s a vuvuzela or something else we live in a noisy world. We have grown accustomed to noise everywhere and anywhere. Silence is something that we have grown uncomfortable with and yet we all have a deep yearning for silence and quiet time. We meet God best in our lives during quieter moments. Silence is a precious gift. It’s all about seeking those quieter moments that work best for us.
The following reflection is by Fr.Tom Cahill

It’s official: women cry more than men do. Researchers in Germany have discovered that while men shed tears six to 17 times a year women do so 30 to 64 times. And, whereas men go with the flow for two to four minutes, women’s tear ducts, once activated, stay in hyperdrive for up to six minutes. Furthermore, if a woman starts weeping she accelerates to full-blown sobbing in 65 percent of cases. For men, it’s six percent. Now to end this mini-deluge of drippy data: women cry when they feel inadequate, face dicey situations, or when remembering past events; men cry from empathy, or because of a failed relationship.

That last bit makes me wonder how Peter feels in today’s Gospel reading (Luke 9:18-24) when Jesus practically rebukes him for giving an honest answer to his question. Jesus is praying; stops for a moment, and as if still in prayer asks a worried question: ‘Who do people say I am?’ He doesn’t react when his disciples say John the Baptist, or Elijah, or a prophet, but he comes down heavily on them when Peter nails him as the Messiah.

This is too close to the bone. Jesus’ hour for self-acceptance has not yet come. But it will. He journeys to self-knowledge and self-acceptance as we do: gradually. On that same journey our personal question is not about what others think of me but about what I think of myself. Has my ‘hour’ come for my discovery and acceptance of self as God’s son or daughter? If not, what a crying shame!
‘Thanks to everyone here today for all the small things you have done which have made a big difference’ ~Timmy O’Mahony student of Scoil Oilibheir Ballyvolane

Yesterday was a day of celebration for Scoil Oilibheir on getting a green flag for their achievements in recycling school waste. They got the whole school to focus on how to reduce and manage its waste better. For example students within the school were shown that they did not need plastic bags or tin foil when it came to lunches. Everything is recycled in the school and it just shows how small efforts all contribute to make a big difference. The planet we live in has been entrusted into our care to mind, nurture and protect. Its resources are limited and will run out unless we manage and work together to reduce, reuse and recycle. It is heartening to see our younger generation taking ownership and leading the way by example. What something small could you do this weekend in the whole area of recycling? Every small gesture we make means we are leading by example. Others will be sure to follow.
‘Priorities are not written in granite. They need to be flexible and change as we do. I find it helpful to think of priorities as the wooden frame upon which we stretch the canvas of our days.’ ~Sarah Breathnach

A priority is something that is important to each of us. Our health is an important priority as is the welfare of our family, financial security, employment and so on. There are many other priorities that are unique to each of us. For some the main priority is simply to get through this day. We are indeed pulled in all directions and it’s sometimes hard to know what’s important and what takes priority. The image of the wooden frame is helpful and particularly when we apply it to God. Each day is God’s precious gift to us and like a canvas it is blank waiting for us to add our colour. If we don’t prioritise certain things we end up trying to do everything and in the end have little to show for it. What one thing is important to me today? Can I do something to make it happen?
‘Turn to the Lord and pray because your God is near.’ ~Isaiah 55:6

There is a story about a disciple who went to visit a holy man. When the disciple arrived the holy man was sitting like a statue, completely silent and absorbed in prayer. Not an eye blinked, not a finger moved, not a muscle twitched. When the holy man finished praying the disciple spoke to him in awe and asked, “Where did you learn such stillness and such total concentration?” He replied, “From my cat. She was watching a mouse hole with even greater concentration!” Very few of us have the patience of a cat to sit perfectly still and quiet. Maybe the thought of sitting quiet and still to pray is a step too far. No one is asking us for perfection when it comes to prayer but to choose time throughout any part of the day for peace or quiet is always beneficial. We are reminded that whenever we do so, God is always very near.
The following reflection is by Fr.Tom Cahill

A gribble is a sea worm, 1-4 mm long, and a pest. The scourge of seafarers, gribbles bore into ships’ planks and wreck them. Digesting their cellulose, they cause much destruction to marine timber structures such as jetties and piers. But, they’re peerless when it comes to recycling driftwood. Researchers have found that the enzymes gribbles use to break down woody cellulose and turn it into energy-rich sugars could convert wood and straw to liquid biofuel. So today’s pest may become tomorrow’s pet. By doing a-what-comes-naturally they help the environment.

The woman in today’s Gospel reading is also doing-a-what-comes-naturally (Luke 7:36-8:3). While it seems outrageous to the Pharisee that Jesus should be at ease with a woman of her type touching him, it really is a case of both her and Jesus doing a-what-comes-naturally: she, a sinner approaching him for forgiveness, and he, the Saviour, accepting the sinner graciously. The only one feeling discomfort is the Pharisee on the sideline. Despite any appearance to the contrary that can prove an uncomfortable place to be, at least for Christians, the self-righteous and hypocrites.

Jesus is open to all people, particularly those to whom society is closed. But he’s more than open. He doesn’t wait in the wings for them to approach him. He seeks them out and brings them centre stage. Just as researchers have discovered that the grubby little gribble has something worthwhile to offer society, so too do we discover that those whom society considers grubby have much to offer when we regard them as Jesus does.
'At the end of the day it is only a game of football.' ~England midfielder Joe Cole.

The World Cup began in earnest yesterday and fittingly South Africa set the standard high with a superb first goal of the tournament. While it may only be a game of football the world cup is huge and is one of the greatest sporting events in the world. Over 200 countries wanted to play in the tournament and this was narrowed down to 32. Nearly 1 billion people will watch the final in a months time. The world cup is deeply symbolic too. It brings together and unites people from every corner of the world. Despite different languages, cultures and traditions the world cup is all about unity. Differences are put aside and sport is allowed to unite and celebrate the gifts that each team can bring. Samuel Eto who plays for Cameroon, hopes that this world cup can change attitudes particularly in the whole area of racism. Spiritually the world cup reminds us in a lovely way how we are all part of God's family. We are always called to respect and honour our differences and yet we all follow the same journey, looking for deeper meaning and fulfillment in life. There may be as many religions as there are teams in the world cup, yet at the end of the day we all follow the same God but we just do it in different ways.
‘I fear waking up one morning and finding out my life was all for nothing. We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark. When you are kind to someone in trouble, you hope they remember and are kind to someone else and so on. Soon it’ll be like a wildfire.’ ~Whoopie Goldberg

What a pity if it dawned on us, that our life was all for nothing and a waste of time. That must surely be the one of the saddest moments in life that we could face. But life can slip us by so quickly. The pace of life is hectic, full and competitive. We are at times almost forced to keep up with it. Then one day we look in the mirror so to speak, we see uncertainty in our lives, we begin to question what we have achieved and we feel that everything has slipped us by. But that day can be firmly kept at a distance if we treasure each day as a gift from God to us. It can be kept at a distance if we treasure the small moments that always add up to something significant. It can be kept at a distance if we share some of our light with others whose light is dim or struggling. Our day will come too when we will need someone else to help ours. What can I do today that will add to my sense of purpose in life? Whatever small good I may do today will have an impact way beyond my limited horizons.
'The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.’ ~Robert Hutchins

The Leaving and Junior Cert exams begin across Ireland today. For those doing the exams it is always an anxious time. It's also an anxious time for parents, teachers and everyone involved in school life. They are a bit like the dreaded penalty shoot out in sport. Everyone says it’s cruel and yet no one has come up with a better solution. The same goes with exams. So much seems to depend on these exams and yet they are only a means to an end. There is always life after exams. Education is life long and many opportunities will unfold no matter what happens with the exams taking place over the next week or so. They say exams are not there to catch anyone out but to find out how much a student knows. So lets hope and pray that each exam will give every student an opportunity to show how much they know. Saint Joseph of Cupertino is the patron saint for those doing exams. So we might say a prayer to him on behalf of all those starting the exams today.
Tomorrow is the start of the Junior and Leaving Cert Exams. It’s an anxious time for everyone involved. Here is a short prayer to help us through the coming days and weeks……

Loving God, I turn to you today. As the exam approaches I am nervous and so I ask you to help me. You know how important these exams are to me. Set me free from worry, give me your peace and help me to think clearly. Help me to remember what I have learned, to use my time well, not to panic, to do my best and not to worry about the outcome. Help me to realise that the exams are not there to catch me out but to find out how much I know. Lord, keep me calm so that I can write down all I know! Keep my friends calm too, we’re all in this together. Let me sleep each night so that I am refreshed and renewed for the next exam. Even if I struggle I must always remember that there is a bigger picture of which these exams are only a small part of. Most important of all calm me down, keep me focussed, guide me along, get me through the scary moments and make sure I attempt every question. Thank you for being my friend today and always. Amen
A prayer for this Bank Holiday Monday………

Lord, just as a flower can radiate its precious beauty and cast its fragrance everywhere. So I ask you to cast the sweet fragrance of your presence over me. Surround me with your love. Fill me with your healing balm. Enfold me with your peace. Comfort me with your presence. May your fragrance linger in the stillness of my soul. May your healing love renew my very being. Help me to make the most of this day. Be with those nearest and dearest to me. Be with anyone who needs a special prayer today. Amen.
The fact that there is only one loaf means that though there are many of us, we form a single body because we all have a share in this one loaf.’ 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

Today is the feast of Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ). Bread comes in many forms and is the stable diet of millions of people all over the world. Bread doesn’t just happen. It is a combination of many things together, the soil, the sun and rain. It passes through many hands from the farmer, the miller, the baker, the shopkeeper and then to us. It is people who bring forth the bread but it is to God whom we give thanks to. In the above quotation Paul is referring to the fact that we are all in some way connected with God. We are not isolated individuals on our own but all very much part of a team or family. The gift of the Eucharist doesn’t celebrate individualism but celebrates the fact that we are all a part of God’s family. In sharing the one loaf, we are connected and united, not just with each other but to God, our universe, our community, our family and so on.
The following reflection was read at the Junior Cert Mass in Coláiste Choilm yesterday called ‘God doesn’t ask’………

God doesn’t ask if you are an honours or pass candidate but asks how you treat the people you meet each day.
God doesn’t ask who designed your clothes but asks how many people we care for each day.
God doesn’t ask how much money you have but asks if you earned it honestly and spent it wisely.
God doesn’t ask what result you got in your last exam but asks if you performed to the best of your ability.
God doesn’t ask how many friends you have but asks how many you have been a friend to.
God doesn’t ask what your address is but asks how you treat your neighbours.
God doesn’t ask about the colour of your skin but asks about the content of your character.
God doesn’t ask how many awards you have won but asks how many people you helped.
God doesn’t ask how many hours you prayed but asks how genuine your prayers are.
God doesn’t ask what you do in life but asks how you live your life.
A short story called ‘Start with what you’ve got’……

After World War 11 the desert in Tunisia was covered with what was left of burned out tanks, lorries, jeeps and aircraft. Among this burned out litter were millions of cans of all shapes and sizes, oil cans, coke cans, beef tins, baked bean cans, to mention just a few. There were poor farmers living in the desert who had land which had become covered in sand during the war. The United Nations Food Organisation tried to reclaim this land from the desert, for the farmers, but they had no success. Then, a young UN officer had a great idea. He offered one penny to the locals who came in with 100 cans. Soon Arabs were streaming in with camels and donkeys laden with tin cans of every shape and size. The agricultural experts then planted one blade of tough grass in each tin, hundreds of thousands were placed in the desert about 1.5 miles from the town of Tobruk. Every can was watered and a film of oil spread over it to protect it. Slowly one or two of the blades of grass grew and took root. As the tin corroded, the roots spread out into the desert sand. Today the desert sand has been driven back about 5 miles allowing the local farmers to grow crops and graze cattle once more.
‘Few happineses equal the joy of finding a heart that understands.’ ~Victor Robinsoll

A king wished to learn which of his three sons was the most understanding, the wisest and in the best position to succeed him. He took his eldest son on a daylong hike. At noon after eating lunch the king said: “My son I feel a bit tired. How can we shorten our journey home?” The son said: “Father we came by the shortest route possible. We can’t shorten it.” A week later he took his second son on the same trip, posed the same question and he got the same answer as the first son. A week later the king took his third son and he asked him the same question yet again. The son said: “Father, let me think about that for a minute. Meanwhile let’s start for home.” On the way home the son asked his father to recall stories about times when he walked the same road. The father was delighted to recall memories and stories to the point where time flew and the trip was over. It was then that the king realised what his son had done. “My son your loving concern for me not only shortened our trip but it gave me the strength I needed to make it.” There are days when we think we’ve nothing to offer and yet with a little understanding, openness, listening and talking we can make the world of a difference to someone’s life.
The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that and live that way, you are a really wise person.’~Euripides

There are always different ways of seeing things in life. We are either optimistic or pessimistic or somewhere in between. The constant message from our Gospels is that there is always a bigger picture. If we take one event in isolation it can give a distorted view. Our world has been around for millions of years and we are a tiny part of the whole story. If we can see the bigger picture, if we can see life from experience, if we can look at it from a faith point of view, if we can look at it from the foundation of good sound values, then life can be viewed with balance. Our prayer today can be a simple one asking God for more balance in every aspect of our lives.


Copyright © Today is My Gift to You