Thursday, 25 April 2013


One car after another, after the other - three brand new cars, highly polished, squeaky clean, brought to me to be blessed. They were truly works of art, wonderfully made. The proud owners were obviously delighted, and so were the passengers – excited young children.

In prayer and song we asked God to bless those who had used their creative skills to design these vehicles, as well as those who had manufactured and assembled their many parts. Everything was wonderfully made! We prayed that these cars would not suffer from mechanical failures, or be the victims of mindless, dangerous, users of the roads.

And then, most importantly, I turned to the owners, the drivers and asked each one of them to make a pledge that they would drive their cars carefully and responsibly so as not to be a hazard to themselves, their passengers and other users of the road.

I pointed out to them that what WAS WONDERFULLY MADE WAS MADE FOR A PURPOSE…to be useful in taking people to work and the children to school and to be sources of delight when travelling to see friends or going on an outing - just for the fun of it!

Sadly, I felt the need to remind them that what was delicately fine-tuned could also be lethally powerful – a source of exceeding joy could also be the cause of inconsolable regret. I advised them, "Don’t drive your car faster than your Guardian Angel can fly."

I’ve described these brand new cars as "Wonderfully Made" and "Made for a Purpose." In truth and in fact these are the titles of the two volumes of "A Syllabus for Family Life Education in Catholic Schools in Grenada." What a marvelous thing to give to young children, right from their earliest days, the idea that they themselves and everyone around them were ‘wonderfully made’ by a clever Creator God who is their loving Heavenly Father. They would do well to admire themselves, their ability to walk and to talk, and to thank and to praise God, perhaps in the words of Psalm 139,

For it was you who created my being,
knit me together in my mother's womb.
I thank you for the wonder of my being,
for the wonders of all your creation.

Beautiful cars were not made to remain idle, to be admired, in the sales’ room of a car dealer. They were made for a purpose…as we have already seen. You and I, all of us, were not made for idle, foolish, meaningless lives. Creator God made us for a purpose. For starters, we were made for love…to love and to be loved…to love God, other people, and even to love our own selves...and to be loved by God and by other people.

More important than anything else is the conviction, perhaps the discovery, that we are lovable and that we are cable of loving others…good to other people, good for other people. Not one of us is worthless, not one us is useless…God did not make us so. We must not think it so…about ourselves or anyone else.

As I ponder the very thought of being made for a purpose first of all these words of St. Paul crowd in upon me.

Though I command languages both human and angelic -- if I speak without love, I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. 2 And though I have the power of prophecy, to penetrate all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all the faith

necessary to move mountains -- if I am without love, I am nothing. 3 Though I should give away to the poor all that I possess, and even give up my body to be burned -- if I am without love, it will do me no good whatever.(1 Cor. 13).

The love I’m thinking of is not cozily comfortable. It is unendingly demanding…and yet rewarding, as in the song,

If I can help somebody as I pass along, If I can cheer somebody with a word or song, If I can show somebody he is trav’ling wrong, Then my living shall not be in vain.

Wonderfully made! Made for a purpose!

How better can we thank our Creator than by following this exhortation of St. Paul. "Whatever you eat, then, or drink, and whatever else you do, do it all for the glory of God," (1 Cor. 10.31)?

Peter Clarle, OP
Look out for the next Blog 10th May 2013

Thursday, 11 April 2013


What was the most interesting time of your long life?  That was the question one of my young Dominican brethren recently asked me. Well, I could look back over 80 years and recall different periods in my life, which held a whole variety of experiences, some of them pleasant, others not so enjoyable.  As with most people, the interesting times punctuated long periods of boring monotony.

I could think back to my childhood and the time when my brothers and I were evacuated during World War II.   That period held experiences which would be alien to people growing up in peacetime.  Certainly there was the horror of war, the personal sadness of our family being scattered, with dad in the army, mother and our two youngest brothers in a 16th century cottage with no electricity or water. Peter, David and I were in ‘digs’ in the beautiful town of Ludlow.  Many were our adventures as we scaled the castle walls, ventured on the U.S. army assault course and swam in the freezing river.  I still have vivid memories of our celebrating VE Day on the Whitcliffe, with some inebriated idiot letting off rockets parallel to the ground. It’s a wonder he didn’t hit somebody.

Then there was our pre-Vatican II Dominican training –so very different from that of the present generation.  There’s the great danger of us oldies boring the youngsters with repeated anecdotes about the good or bad old days. One of my contempories has the catch phrase, ‘stop me if I’ve said this before.’ Repeatedly we’ve tried, but always failed, as he lumbers inexorably forward like a determined rhinoceros!

My brief work in the W. Indies opened up a whole new world, with people of a culture very different from mine, and living in an exotic tropical island. I was unbelievably happy and fulfilled as a country parish priest up in the mountains.  This was brought to an abrupt end by serious illness, which forced me to return to England.

After a lengthy convalescence I worked in Spode Conference Centre.  Immediately after the Vatican Council that was an exciting place to be!  There we heard experts explaining the Conciliar Documents. There was a ferment, a buzz, a clash of ideas, and many an animated discussion.  Our special vocation was to experience the Church’s growing pains; our mission was to explain the Council’s insights and give the reassurance that development was a sign of a healthy life, not a betrayal of the past or a loss of identity.  That was a good time to be alive and active!  Perceptively, someone recently remarked that for those of us of that generation the Vatican Council was an experience, but for the modern generation it is history!

And perhaps that’s how they look upon old fogeys like me –as part of history.  But not a bit of it!   Certainly the aged body does creek and protest with attempted exertion, and loss of memory is made up with creative recounting.  But in our antiquity Peter and I have found a new lease of life, full of fascinating possibilities.  These have been provided by spin-offs from computer technology.   Though separated by the Atlantic, Skype has enabled us to bounce ideas off each other and work closer than ever before.  Together we’ve been able to produce a blog with regular postings, to make recordings in our respective rooms and have them broadcast worldwide through the internet.  There’s nothing special about us in all this.  The technology is easy to master and available to all.

But our interests don’t end there.   As we approach the end of our lives here on earth we look forward to eternal happiness with God.  That is beyond our wildest dreams; the best is yet to come. That’s why St. Paul tells us, But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,’ ( I Cor. 2. 9).  Instead of living in the past Paul urges us, 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  4When Christ who is your* life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory,”  (Col.3. 2-4).

Incidentally, agility is said to be one of the qualities of the glorified, risen body.  I’m looking forward to that!  
That’s what’s next...PLEASE GOD!

Isidore O.P.