All God’s creatures have a place in the choir

I recently came across this inspirational story…..

A shop owner placed a sign above his door that said: “Puppies for Sale.” Signs like this always have a way of attracting young children, and to no surprise, a boy saw the sign and approached the owner; “How much are you going to sell the puppies for?” he asked. The store owner replied, “Anywhere from €30 to €50.” The little boy pulled out some change from his pocket. “I have €2.37,” he said. “Can I please look at them?” The shop owner smiled and whistled. Out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his shop followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?” The shop owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had    discovered it didn’t have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. The little boy became excited. “That is the puppy that I want to buy.” The shop owner said, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.” The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said; “I don’t want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.” The shop owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this  little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.” To his surprise, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the shop owner and softly replied, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who  understands!”

I believe that all “God’s creatures have a place in the choir”. Too often we may well find ourselves  overwhelmed in our pursuit for perfection and success. Acceptance comes with life. The more we are at home within ourselves the more we can be at home and loving to those we encounter on our daily journey. We are much greater than what we can do or give, rather we are gift by the very nature of our being. This     insight and gift is in stark contrast to many attitudes in our secular world.

Continued thoughts and prayers for students. Exam time brings with it many mixed emotions and feelings. Exams can be stressful occasions when young people can feel pressure and anxiety. The Leaving Certificate is an important milestone in the lives of our young people, the vast majority sit this state exam, which in many ways itself, is a rite of passage, into a more adult and responsible life. These days candle shrines burn brightly in many of our churches, representing the prayers  offered by parents and students at this time.

St Paul once said: “With God on our side who can be against us?” Essentially being open to the love of God in all our lives is surely a great gift. The life that this young generation now enter more fully is a vibrant one, full of energy and yet very challenging. I don’t think it is easy to be a young person in the present culture we find ourselves in. All of these young students will now experience the competitive environment that is the point’s race, finding the right college course and career path in a global economy where so often only the fittest and leanest survive. The ‘burden of youth’ at times can be tragic, manifesting in addiction, anxiety and mental health issues. However, the enthusiasm, resilience and sense of hopeful optimism that is so real for young people will carry them through difficult weeks ahead.

I believe faith in the living God is a great source of strength and love for our young friends. Yes, there will always be difficulty and disappointment in life, but faith gives us a confidence and inner peace, that allows us all to live life to the full. God invites us to manifest our hopes and dreams into the realities of our day to day lives. Faith is grounded, in the knowledge that our God abundantly loves us for who we are, not for who we may like to present ourselves as. Faith allows us to hope even in the face of adversity and human struggle. Essentially faith informs us that we are not alone. Our God resides in depth of our human experience, even in the stress of getting ready for the state exams. Over the coming weeks pray for young people that the good Lord will bless them with strength, happiness and peace. A prayer I always prayed as I faced exam time and never let me down was, ‘Holy Spirit, send your power, help me to remember all that I have learnt,                  inspire me with the gift of Knowledge’.

“O great St. Joseph of Cupertino who, by your prayers, obtained from God to be asked at your examination only the propositions which you know, pray that I, like you, may succeed in the examination which lies before me”.



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