During the past week, just like every other week, we had our
usual diet in the media of sport, happenings local, national
and international, farming, fashion, advice on diet etc. It's
great to have the various organs of media to keep us up-to-date
on all these things. All are important in their own way.
And yet, each item does not hold its place in the headlines
for long. They are pushed aside by the latest breaking story.
Life is like that - it passes quickly. Still we long for something
more lasting to cling to. Let's take two of the past week's
Our Holy Father's illness grabbed world headlines. The media
crowded round the hospital, trying to get the least snippet
of news to feed the interest of a waiting world. He has his
critics, as we all do. The response of people in many parts
of the world was extraordinary. They gathered in St. Peter's
Square just to catch a glimpse of the one that millions the
world over acknowledge as the Vicar of Christ on earth - the
one who unites the beliefs of people from practically every
nation on earth; physically frail from suffering, like the One
whom he represents.
His presence reminds us that God cares. He promised that He
would be with us always; in many ways invisible, but visible
in his Vicar. We thank God for him and we pray that God will
restore him to health.
The second item is one I see in this weekend's Irish Catholic.
It features the much-capped Niall Quinn, Tipperary's gift to
Irish and English soccer. In an interesting article he tells
us how important and central to his life, and to his family,
his Catholic faith is. The entire proceeds (One and a half million
sterling) of his testimonial match with Sunderland, Niall gave
to two charities. He was admired not only for his prowess on
the field but for the dignity with which he conducted himself
on and off the park. Ireland's tall centre-forward is never
taller than when on his knees before his Maker! Men like him
are a model for aspiring young sportspeople.
Lent - a time for New Beginnings!
Never too late to start. If you have already fallen get up,
dust yourself down and begin again. It may be Daily Mass, the
Visit to the Bl. Sacrament, the Stations of the Cross, or just
time given to quiet prayer. Give up something and give Trócaire
the money spared so that they can feed the hungry for you. Prayer,
Fasting and Almsdeeds are the guidelines Christ has given us.