Sunday, 15 June 2014


A tall slender body, far too fragile to carry the weight of such a large head! You may well be wondering whom I am talking about!  I would have you know I have in mind, and close to my heart, NOT A ‘WHO’ but ‘A WHAT!’  In fact, my beloved standard fan…which has keep me just short of melting-point during the hot weather  Barbados  has been experiencing recently. At the touch of a button it has played refreshing, cool air upon my heat-weary body.                                                                                                                                                                           Imagine my grief, then, when I learnt that in the process of having a thorough cleaning the long stem had snapped away from the hefty base. There were those around me who offered the consoling words that I should not mourn too much. It would not cost a great deal to purchase another, possibly stronger, fan.                     They simply could not understand my deep attachment to this particular fan that had served me so well.  Nor did they understand my deep instinct to throw away broken things only when they are totally beyond  repair.    My fan was a casualty...not a still worked perfectly!                                                                           First step in setting it on its feet again was to insert a length of broom-stick into the hollow of the base and into the shaft that supported the fan.  Then I applied fast-drying, extra-strong, glue to the surfaces of the breakage.   Around these I wrapped a collar of duct-tape.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Last of all I invoked my experience of many years of scouting. Guy-lines pegged into the ground will keep a flag-pole firmly upright.  Strong nylon twine passing under the base then way up to, and round the stem, served the same purpose. My only concern was how to stop the fan swaying.                                                                   It was an all-purpose store that held the answer to my problem.  There before my eyes were stretchable luggage- straps with hooks at each end! These would provide the tension that would keep my fan rigid. All I had to do was hook the straps under the base and then attach them firmly around the stem. (Easier said than done!)                                                                                                                                                                                Though my restored fan does carry the scars of wounds endured in the reality of a harsh, rough world, never would I apologize for it appearing somewhat scruffy…just like me!  Lovingly had I spent many hours   contriving to spare it from the rubbish skip.                                                                                                                         This brings me to sharing with you that I will have no part in the throw-away mentality that regards anything that is damaged as being disposable. Nor do I identify with those of the view that if the cash is available then what is damaged can be replaced by what is brand-new.  For me there has never been money for me to splash around carelessly and irresponsibly.                                                                                                                                      Dare I say that I gain my inspiration from this passage of  Sacred Scripture, Jer. 18.The word that came to Jeremiah from  the Lord as follows, 2 'Get up and make your way down to the potter's house, and there I shall tell you what I have to say.' 3 So I went down to the potter's house; and there he was, working at the wheel. 4 But the vessel he was making came out wrong, as may happen with clay when a potter is at work. So he began again and shaped it into another vessel, as he thought fit.                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Then the word of the Lord came to me as follows, 6 'House of Israel, can I not do to you what this potter does? The Lord demands. Yes, like clay in the potter's hand, so you are in mine, House of  Israel.                                                                                                                                                                                      I like to think that God must feel very pleased with Himself when He’s managed to restore wholesomeness to someone who’s made a wreck of his life. What a joy it can be for any one of us if we have helped someone to put his life together again!                                                                                                                                             If my broken fan had a voice I’m certain it would have given me ­­­­a heart-felt cheer! 

Peter Clarke, OP


Thursday, 5 June 2014


The schooner –for me that sturdy sailing ship summed up the island life of the W. Indies, where I had worked as a Dominican priest. For generations their people had used the schooner to travel and transport goods between the islands. Whenever I returned to visit my brother, Peter, in Grenada I told him about my longing to sail on a schooner. That, I was convinced, would help me to enter the spirit of the W. Indies.

Imagine my joy, my excitement when Peter told me he had arranged for us to sail by schooner from the West Indian island of Grenada to Carriacou. With the wind in our hair, and the sail noisily flapping we glided, sometimes bounced, raced across and through the rising, falling waves. A force we could feel on our cheeks, but not see, was carrying us across the waves!

The driving force of the wind in our sails …what a powerful, exciting image of the wonder of Pentecost! There the rushing wind suggests the Spirit’s hidden energy, giving the disciples the courage and strength to start preaching the Good News in a hostile world. Empowered by the Spirit, the ship of the Church could weather any storm and carry us to the heavenly harbour of the Kingdom of God. And far from being mere passengers, we are all members of the crew. The Spirit has given each of us a special job to do. "All hands on deck!" That’s the call to us Christians.

The title ‘Holy Spirit’ not only suggests wind power, but also the breath of God’s life. Through baptism we are born from above, of water and the Holy Spirit. We become alive in Christ, and share in the saving power of His death and resurrection. As God’s children we receive a God-given vitality, a dynamism drawing us freely ever more intimately into the life and happiness of the Blessed Trinity.

At Pentecost the Holy Spirit gave the apostles the eloquece and courage to proclaim the Good News in a way that was understood by people speaking a variey of foreign languages. The way the Holy Spirit continues to assist us both in receiving and handing on the Good News can be dramatically expressed in the simple act of breathing in and out. Through the Spirit we breath in the Good News. Then the Spirit assists us in breathing out the Good News as we share it with others. In other words, the Holy Spirit is at work at every stage of breathing in and then breathing out the Good News. Obviously, if we don’t breath in the Good News we will have nothing to breath out!

On the feast of Pentecost we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit as the great communicator. Through the gift of the Spirit God shares His life with us. Through the Spirit of Truth the Good News preached by Christ is handed on to the Church, and through her to the world. The Vatican Council has allowed the refreshing breath of the Holy Spirit to blow through the Church and renew her. Now we have no excuse for allowing the Holy Spirit to become the ‘forgotten person’ of the Blessed Trinity!

With the wind in our sails, and the breath of the Spirit in our lungs let us head for the heavenly harbour, and as we do so proclaim the Good News with the invitation, "All Aboard!"
Isidore O.P.