Mandarins-are-us

 

I have to admit whenever I see advertising such as “Toys-R-Us” or “Windows-R-Us” I cringe a little at the way the language is being misused to promote specific products.

By using the product in a general sense the reader then tends to relate everything about that product to the “Us” who own the business.  And so it is with me and “Mandarins”.

When I look at a mandarin it offers me a glossy brilliant outer skin.  Its body is curved, often with some flat patches showing how the rigors of life have played a part in its general appearance since it first left the tree.  This is the view the outer world sees, but what do we find when we explore the inner world beyond the surface skin?

The fruit is further protected by little web-like strands that need to be peeled away, because their flavour taints the sweetness of what lies beyond.

Concentrate on the strands as you slowly remove them as if they are the ties that bind you and protect your innermost self from being exposed for who you really are.  Let these strands represent your thoughts and actions.  They tend to stick and have to be removed carefully to ensure the whole strand comes away.  There are many strands but to get to your inner self you must remove them all.

The time comes when the complete fruit is laid bare.  The segments of your being are still clinging together.  Can you be brave enough to expose your soul by opening the chambers of your innermost self?

Your thumbs slowly split the fruit in half (This is my body broken for you).  You take each segment one at a time.  There are still some ties clinging to the sides after each segment is released.  They also need to be removed. You thank The Father for the fruit and for giving you the opportunity to use this mandarin as a way of recalling the events of the Last Supper and your life.

You take the first segment and place it in your mouth as you would a communion wafer.  (This is my body). You allow the sweet juice to tantalise your taste buds (This is my blood poured out for you).  You swallow.  You enjoy.  You celebrate.

But wait!  As you are devouring the fruit you realise there are pips which are not to be swallowed.  These you remove one at a time.  Here is your new life.  Here are the ways to bring about change to yourself and to your world.  Think about what you need to do to improve the fruit that you are.  (Peter, if you really love me then feed my lambs, feed my sheep).

I just love it when mandarins are in season.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.

More stories

Guardian Angels

As a young bloke I remember my grandmother gave me a holy picture depicting a white robed person with large wings who appeared to be protecting two small children as they crossed a rickety looking bridge. On the reverse side was a small prayer to ‘My Angel Guardian’.

While there is nothing to substantiate my claim, I have often thought that while God has given us a free will, our Guardian Angel might well be our conscience. We have often heard the saying, ‘let your conscience be your guide’. Certainly, in decisions in which we are confronted affecting integrity and morality, maybe that prick we feel to our conscience might well be a prompting from our Guardian Angel. 

The belief that angels can be guides and protectors for us is evident throughout the Bible In both the Old and New Testaments. In Psalm 91 we read, “He will put you in his angels’ charge to guard you wherever you go”.

In 1997, Pope John Paul ll mentioned that we can be supported by our guardian angels, to be authentic witnesses to the Lord’s paschal mystery. It has been said Pope John XXX III attributed the idea of the Second Vatican Council to an inspiration from his guardian angel.  In his 2014 homily for the Feast of Holy Guardian Angels, Pope Francis said, “No one journeys alone, and no one should think they are alone”. He also told us that according to Church tradition we have an angel with us who guards us.

Today the word ‘Angel’ is generally only used in a supporting role. ‘Shaymin’ is the guardian angel in the Pokemon series. ‘Teen Angel’ was Frenchy’s guardian angel in the film ‘Grease’. We have charities such as ‘Angel Flight Australia’ whose role is to support rural and remote communities and ‘Drought Angels’ support Aussie farmers and their communities.  

While during our lifetime we all might have led our individual guardian angel through some rough patches, it seems it is their job to stick by us and to guard and guide us. Perhaps we can all look back on times in our lives when we have been protected during certain situations which might well have been as a result of some ‘divine inspiration’. While there is no scriptural foundation to the suggestion, some people think that the finding of a feather on their pathway can be their angel making them aware of their presence.

So, is it possible that the guardian angel God has allocated us might be known to us? Perhaps we will find that out when that angel takes our soul up to meet our maker after our death.  Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thought if God were to give us the nod and we might be allocated a guardian angel role for one of our own future family members.

May we never drive faster than our guardian angel can fly!

I’m Peter mack and that’s how I feel.

More stories

My support, my strength, my love…

In looking back over the past 60 plus years since I first met you, the love of my life, I can’t help but be eternally grateful to our God for bringing us together.  You have always been the strength and the joy that has enabled me to live a happy life.

We have been married now for over 50 years during which we have had many wonderful shared adventures. We have raised our three kids, whom we love dearly. Sure, like most marriages, we have had to endure the tough times but there have also been so many fun times and through it all our marriage and our love for each other has not only survived but got stronger.

Ursula I am forever conscious of the depth and sincerity of your love and honour you for presenting me with this everlasting gift.

Years ago we might have been young and very inexperienced in the ways of love but we were old enough to kindle the flame of commitment.  We have enjoyed life together, we have enjoyed travel adventures together, we have just enjoyed being together. We have prayed together, we have cried together and through it all we have never stopped loving each other.

During the tough times you have held on to me and fused me with the strength of your love.  Without you I know my life could never have been so richly blessed.  You have put up with many of my infantile issues and you have encouraged me to follow my dreams. You have always believed in me and without your constant help and support, the realisation of my dreams could never have been achieved.

While I have often gone off on tangents following my ideas, you have always had your feet firmly planted on the ground.  You have allowed me to fly into the clouds in pursuit of some of my more ambitious schemes and you have always been there to patiently ease me back to earth and reality.

Thank you for being the mother of our children and for always being there for them and for me. You have embraced your role as grandma and shared your deep love with our grandchildren. Like you have done over the years with our children and myself, you have considered everyone else’s needs ahead of your own. You have taught me many things about love, patience, perseverance and humility and this has deeply enhanced my personality and my approach to other people and to life itself.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Urs-Pete-1024x760.jpg

I love being with you and sharing our adventures together.  I love running my fingers through the softness of your hair and lying beside you as you sleep.  I thank you for your wisdom and your caring nature and look forward with great joy to sharing the rest of my life with you whom I love so much.

Happy Birthday my love.

Pete XXX

More stories

They know not what they do!

They hide behind ‘the cloth’ or positions of authority,
Their foul deeds going unseen by most of society.
They choose their victims who are vulnerable and young,
They threaten serious consequences, so their acts go unsung.
They care not for their victims lives or what might ensue,
Oh my God, they know not what they do.

The victims are told they are the ones to blame,
They then must live with the pain and the shame.
This horrible secret gradually festers within them deep,
It affects them daily and severely disturbs their sleep.
It pervades their thinking and floods every sinew,
Oh my God, they know not what they do.

As each victim becomes a survivor, who do thy trust,
Their living becomes difficult, their dreams turn to dust.
Their self-worth disappears as the shame gnaws at their soul,
They seek solace in drugs and self-medicated alcohol.
Self-harm transfers the pain, but always returns anew.
Oh my God, they know not what they do.

Laws are broken and employment comes and goes,
The deep underlying cause nobody knows.
Marriages split asunder and relationships barely start,
Families fail to understand what is tearing them apart.
Parents question their worth and siblings are affected too,
Oh my God, they know not what they do.

So often we have seen a cruel perpetrator revealed,
But their bosses arrange a transfer, their lips forever sealed.
For fear that the organisation might fall into disrepute,
The compromising evidence files all go down the shute.
Lost in the archives forever, it’s a fact, it’s true,
Oh my God, they know not what they do.

Those in the know who wash their hands in this situation,
And leave the crime undisclosed are part of the equation.
They should be sentenced together for the lives they have wrecked,
In jail, their so-called ‘loss-of-memory’ they can reflect.
Today’s so-called open transparency is good, if it were true,
Oh my God, they know not what they do.

Meanwhile, many of the survivors give up ever finding hope,
Sadly, they rid themselves of the pain at the end of a rope.
Others become wildly aggressive with hostility towards authority,
Bouts of serious depression are constant in the lives of the majority.
In their minds their tormenting demons line up in a queue,
Oh my God, they know not what they do.

When Jesus Christ got bashed and nailed to a cross,
He looked up to the heavens and called to the boss.
Perhaps he could see the future vile deeds done to victims,
Or the foul perpetrators and their supporting systems.
Whatever he saw caused him to cry out anew,
Oh my God, they know not what they do.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.

More stories

spirit with a capital ‘S’

It is easy to recall the James Bond movies where at the beginning, 007 flicks his hat across the office to see it delicately lob on the empty spike at the top of the hat stand, as he walks past the smiling Miss Moneypenny and enters M’s office.

After being given his task to save the world from some imminent danger, M accompanies 007 to the basement where the Secret Service have developed a collection of devices James will require to help him fulfill his mission to save mankind.

Years earlier Jesus arrived at the River Jordan where John was baptising and sought also to be baptised by him. John was reticent at first, saying it was he who should be the one being baptised by Jesus. But, at Jesus’ insistence he relented so he could be seen by the onlookers as doing ‘all that righteousness demands’. (Matt. 3:15).

“As soon as Jesus was Baptised he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descendied like a dove and came down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the beloved; my favour rests on him’”. (Matt 3:16-17).

The comparison between the two above events is similar. Jesus had come to live among us to save mankind. His Baptism was the beginning of his public mission. But before he was to commence, the Father gave him the means to assist him with the fulfillment of his role. God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power (2 Timothy 1:7). It is easy to recognise the gifts of the Spirit Jesus possesses and uses as he fulfills his public ministry. These gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8 are prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, and mercy.

James Bond always seems to be able to escape as the baddy’s world domination empire explodes on the screen. 007 lives to fight another day. Jesus on the other hand accepted the pain, suffering and death metered out to Him in order that we might be saved have eternal life.

The Father’s gift of the Spirit to the disciples at Pentecost was evidenced, not only by what appeared to be tongues of fire resting on their heads, but by the affect it had on their behaviour(Acts 2:3).  Because of our Baptism, the Spirit has an intimate internal contact with our lives, for it is the Spirit that helps us in our weakness and assists us when we pray (Romans 8:26).

There is no doubt in my mind it was the Spirit assisting Jesus in the garden as he desperately prayed to the Father. Some Bible translations refer to the Spirit as “interceding for us with groans too deep for words”.

Jesus on the cross, aware that his life was about to come to an end, was determined his final words would be heard by all those in the vicinity as he summoned all his strength to call out in a loud voice. We read in Luke 23:46 that Jesus’ final words were those from the Psalm of David (31:5), “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”.  Matthew 27:50 refers to Jesus as “Yielding up his spirit”.

While most scholars say this was Jesus surrendering his human life (His spirit), It is my understanding that it was Jesus offering the Spirit back to The Father who had gifted it to him at Baptism to complete His mission. Therefore, I feel the Gospels should show the last word Jesus uttered as being ‘Spirit’ with a capital ‘S’.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.

More stories.

The lost thorn

It was hot and humid the day Jesus was made to drag his cross up the hill of Calvery.  The sweat on his forehead mingled with the blood oozing from the puncture marks made by the sharp thorns of the man-made crown he was forced to wear.  The mixture of blood, dust and sweat had matted his hair and left jagged streaks across his pain contorted facial features.

The spiked branches, hurriedly intertwined and twisted into a circular form of crown, had been rammed into position by the soldiers.  They used a flat piece of timber for this task for fear of spiking their own fingers and to ensure their creative activity would be seen by those who witnessed their prisoner’s walk to the Hill of the Skull.  It was all part of the effort to mock the so called ‘King of the Jews’.

As Jesus slowly made his way along the crowd lined streets of the city, he stumbled and fell.  The huge wooden cross he was made to carry fell across his body, slamming into the crown of thorns on his head.  The pain of the spikes moving in their entrenched position was considerable and he groaned as he was dragged upright to continue his journey. 

With all the activity surrounding this happening, no one noticed that one of the blood smeared thorns in Jesus’ crown had become dislodged from its cranial bed.  The action of the cross falling on the intermeshed spiked branches that made up the crown had resulted in a thorn snapping from the branch and falling from the head of Jesus.

A PRAYER   

Jesus, we know you suffered and died for us.  Today we follow your pathway on our own journey.  We know, as your Father knew while you staggered up the hill of Calvery, you had to endure your suffering for us.

Jesus, the thorn that fell from your head never fell to the ground to be trampled on by us.  It was picked up by the wind and has been blown among us as we trudge along behind you. 

Today we have found the thorn embedded in the heads of many among us who suffer from mental illness.  It pains them as it pained you.  They seek a way out of their pain as they endure much suffering along their individual life’s pathways.

Jesus, just as you reached out to Mary and the daughters of Jerusalem while on your journey, we ask that you reach out to those with a mental illness.  Just as you plucked the cloth offered to you from the hands of your friends and left them a lasting image of yourself, so we ask you to pluck out the thorn that is causing pain to those with a mental illness.  Allow them to see your hand in their healing so they might tell others of your love.

Help us Jesus to recognize The Lost Thorn whenever we see it affecting those around us, so we might do whatever we can to assist them.

Help those affected Lord to reach out to you in their pain and know that by placing their trust in you, The Lost Thorn might once again be blown away by the wind of your Spirit.

I’m Peter mack and that’s how I feel.

More stories

What an amazing God we have!

The Bible’s Old Testament is full of stories that lead up to the coming of Jesus. There are many references to ‘the coming of the Messiah’. However, the long-persecuted Jews could only see the ‘Messiah’ as a mighty king who would free them from the persecution they had suffered down through the ages.

What the Jews didn’t realise was that their ‘mighty king’ would be a male infant who was the ‘Word made flesh’ who came to dwell among them. Hence Jesus was difficult for them to accept because he didn’t fit their expectations.

The New Testament gives us the words Jesus left for us so we might lead a good life so we might come to love and understand the God of our creation. It also gives us the letters his followers wrote based on their experiences and understanding of Jesus’ words.

So, who was this ‘Word made flesh’ before taking on a human form? We can find the answer at the very beginning of John’s Gospel. “The Word was with God and the Word was God”.

Whatever we see as the beginning of our world as we know it. Albeit a big bang or a series of creation activities, our God already existed.

It certainly is easier for us humans to recognise specifics that have a beginning and an end, but it is not so easy to understand something that has been in existence forever and will never have an end. Such is our ‘Amazing God’.

Ah, but wait! There are other amazing things about our God.

I know it is hard to come to grips with, but we need to realise that our God is available to all of us 24/7. Here am I, just a speck of dust in God’s universe, yet I am treated like royalty. Jesus said he ‘would not leave us orphans’, he would send us his Spirit to be with us for as long as we live. So, what does this mean?

There are not many sceptics around who do not believe in the ‘spirit world’ in some form or another. Christians who follow the New Testament must believe in the spirit world.

So, it is through the ‘Spirit of Jesus’ that we have a constant companion. It seems so much easier to relate to the humanity of Jesus than to Jesus as God. For it is in the human form that we can envisage the man. Hence, our Amazing God gives us this wonderful avenue of communication.

It would be easy to think that God has so much to do that a plaintive cry from little ol’ me wouldn’t see the light of day.  As for requesting a personal chat! Would this be too much to ask, considering what must be our God’s busy heavenly schedule?

Now this is the ‘amazing’ part of our God…… Constant availability.

When things in our life go wrong, we can get anxious, we can worry, we can lose our temper, punch holes in walls and even cry. However, none of these actions will fix the problem.

Talking through our concerns with a friend can often help us understand the problem better. That friend can be the human kind or the spiritual kind. Our Amazing God so wants to be that spiritual friend.

With faith comes trust and so the handing over of our problems to what appears to be an empty seat beside us requires us to believe in the words of Jesus in the New Testament. Firstly, we must believe and secondly, we must trust that our Amazing God will take our concern on board and help resolve the problem.

Often, we already have, what we consider the answer to our problem and wonder why this course of action was not that taken when the situation is resolved. This is often the reason why we question whether this so-called Amazing God even exists. Our busy little human brain cannot always see the broader picture that God sees, so we must trust that whatever action we might (or might not) be led to take will be the right one.

Prior to Christmas, as we prepare to once again celebrate the coming of Jesus into our world, let us find the time for a little one-on-one chat with the bloke who has already suffered and died for us and who will come back again in glory at some time in the future. Our God is waiting and longs for us to say, “g’day, Lord, we need to talk”.

I’m Peter mack and that’s how I feel.

More stories

My journey to the centre of my soul

You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. (John 14:11)

Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you.

(John 17:21)

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed to bring you to full knowledge of him.  (Ephesians 1:17)

I am at peace within myself as I stand wanting with some uncertainty to accept, what in my mind, was an outstretched hand of the unknown friend who was offering to guide me on the pathway down to Murchison Falls.

While I am a little apprehensive, I am also a little excited, for I know in my heart I want to experience the journey I am being offered.  But being typically human, I am a little uncertain about the unknown.  However, I am encouraged by my friend and reach out and take the proffered hand.

We descend some steps together until we come to a landing platform.  I stop, and looking back I can still see the top of the stairs.  I have the choice of continuing or returning.

I decide to continue and soon realise I can no longer see where the steps are leading as in the distance the stairs get darker.  It is not long before we come to a pool of water.  My friend invites me to look into the water and asks me what I see there.  My response is that I see my own image.

 My friend then explains that there is no other image like me in the whole world.  The creator has made us all individually different.  That’s nice I thought, the significance of the statement not really having a deep effect on me at that stage because on looking back

I could still just make out the outline of my starting point and I was uncertain whether to turn back or trust in my friends guidance to take me forward safely.

I thought so far, so good.  I was still keen to explore the unknown but was still a little anxious about the journey.  I kept going but found I was holding my friend’s hand a little stronger than before.  More steps and it was getting even darker. 

A quick look back and I could not see from whence I had begun.  It was then I could hear the distant noise.  A rumbling sound which as I progressed further down the steps seemed as if it might be water.  We stopped. 

My friend never let go of my hand and I boldly decided I would continue if only to discover the source of the noise I could still only faintly hear in the distance.

More steps and always downward.  It was strange, I at no time thought about the effort it would take to come back!  Still onward and the noise became much more distinct.  It was definitely the sound of rushing water.  I was not scared. 

My friend was not forcing me forward; I was proceeding at my own pace. There was now more light available and it seemed we had come to the end of the steps for ahead was a small timber bridge over a creek. 

We stopped to admire the beauty of the area.

My friend let go of my hand and asked me to look at my fingers.  I wasn’t sure why but did as was suggested.  I couldn’t see anything strange about them and asked the reason for this request.  I was informed that my finger prints were different from any others in the world. 

While I had known this fact since a small child, the significance had never really had a great impact on me.  It now dawned on me.  First there was the image in the water now the fingerprints.  I am truly unique I thought.  For all my faults and imperfections I am still special in the eyes of my maker.  It is a daunting thought, but I took time out to thank my God for this opportunity of understanding the wonder of creation.

There was no point in trying to talk with my friend as the noise ahead was deafening.  But still I took the hand offered to me and we continued along a flat pathway until we rounded a corner and there was the source of the sound. 

The Nile River, the longest river in the world was being compressed and forced to pour through a gap in the rocks which was only 7 metres wide before falling to the plain below.

We sat on a bench seat to just watch and listen.

I could not help but liken the raw strength and energy that pervaded this site to the power of our God.  My friend turned to me and said that the sound you hear is but a whisper when compared to the love our God has for each one of us. 

The deafening sound of the mighty river had drowned out any of the worldly sounds that may have wanted to pervade this precious time.

My friend was beckoning me to come and I was no longer afraid.  We walked upwards along a narrow track that followed the chasm down which the water flowed at great speed smashing on the surrounding rocks so as to form a constant spray in the atmosphere.  A natural rainbow formed where the suns rays hit the spray.  I could feel the dampness all around and my face was refreshingly wet.

To my left through the luxuriant growth I could see I was being led into what appeared to be a cave.  The further we walked inside, the darker it got and the sound from the falls we had left gradually dissipated.  Then there was nothing, just blackness.  My friend still held my hand.  I was not alone.

As we walked along what appeared to be a flat floor surface it was strange not knowing where I was going yet now not afraid to proceed.  Then I thought I could see a distant pin prick of light.  My friend assured me my mind wasn’t playing tricks with me.  A few more paces and the light became a definite reality even though it was yet far away. 

For some reason I was feeling light headed and yet excited.  The light held no fear for me.  I walked with confidence towards it and as it grew brighter I realised my friend was no longer with me.  This also didn’t deter me from going forward and I moved as if drawn hypnotically towards it, like a moth to a candle.

The light grew stronger and I felt as if I was floating towards it.  I was enveloped in what felt like an atmosphere of love.  It seemed to penetrate my every pore.  I wanted to stay here forever. 

I believe this experience had brought me as close as I had ever been to my God.

I’m Peter mack and that’s how I feel.

More stories

Who am I?

So often you hear that individuals are not sure of who they really are.  “I’m looking for my true self”; “I’m not sure who I really am”, are phrases often heard by people searching for answers.

You hear of people journeying to other countries in order to find themselves on the slopes of the Himalayas or among the gurus of India.  Most times they return supposedly better for the experience, probably somewhat poorer financially, but still asking themselves the same questions.

So let’s take a journey, firstly through a form of meditation and secondly through a form of action to make the profound discovery about our true self.  Who I really am!

Have you ever defragmented your hard drive on your PC?  It is an interesting process and one over which you have no control other than to stop the process at any time.  At the beginning you see vertical coloured lines spread out across a panel representing your files and folders sitting on your computer hard drive.  At the completion of the process all the wayward lines have been gathered up like a dog rounding up the sheep in a paddock.  Like files have been married together in a neat arrangement that enables a more efficient operation.  It also allows you more effective space on your hard drive with which you can work.

If you have a retail or wholesale business it is easy for your stock control processes to develop errors and each year, or in some instances more regularly, you perform a stocktake.  During this process you often find lost or misplaced items or even items supposedly held but missing completely.

After the stocktake is completed, the found items are returned to their proper location and the lost items are written off the records.  It is then you will call in an independent auditor to look at the business and prepare you a list of recommendations that, if implemented, will assist you to run your business more efficiently.

So what has all this talk about a computer’s defrag. system and a company’s stocktake and audit processes got to do with our search for ‘who I really am’?

Our life’s experiences are like a collection of poetry.  Some flow along in a simple rhyming format with a regular pattern like the wheels of a train rolling over the joins in a railway line.  While we all know that verse doesn’t have to have a regular rhyming pattern to still be classified as poetry, then so it often is with our life’s experiences.

While ever we are alive we can be said to be a survivor.  During our life we have experienced highs and lows.  We have achieved and we have failed.  Throughout it all we have gained knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

 So often we say, if we only had our time over again, we wouldn’t have taken a particular course of action.  However, we must accept that at the time that action was the one we took and it seemed to fit the circumstances that prevailed then.

  It is often easier, with hindsight, to discover errors of judgement we have made in the past, but that is the past.  It is never good to dwell on the mistakes of the past, rather we should concentrate on the present where we can learn from the past. 

  It is said this is where we gain in wisdom.

  So, the canvas of our life contains our own poetry collection of experiences, both good and bad, both positive and negative, our achievements and our failures.  This then is ‘what we are’.

  Our brain is a wonderful piece of bodily equipment.  It is constantly being fed information to process and as long as we are alive it offers us the capacity to learn new things.  It doesn’t need to be stopped and defragmented.  It is constantly in stocktake mode allowing us the space to add new items and relate these to those already in our mental warehouse.

So how do we get to review our own personal life business?  How do we send in an independent auditor to offer us recommendations as to how we can improve or even maintain what we are?  Do we really want to spend the time on what might initially seem like a waste of energy?

Many of us don’t feel it is necessary to give ourselves this type of review as we seem content to just keep floating along, allowing our brain to do its job and just letting our individual life take its course.  ‘Going with the flow’, might be an appropriate phrase. 

But this can be where the confusion arises.  If we become uncertain about our life and the path we are following, it is then we tend to question who we are and what our purpose is for being here.

Because life goes on around us and we are part of that living process, we have a tendency to leave these type of questions unanswered.  We keep adding our life experiences to what we are and our personal collection of inner poetry broadens and expands. 

Sadly, for some of us, the questions still hover in the background and regularly prompt us to respond to their urgings.

This is why we often find people choosing to take time out from their normal daily activities to search for the answer to who they really are.  It is my belief this answer can be sought from within each one of us in our existing environment. 

We need to find a way to send in the independent auditor to access the way we are living our live. The verses that make up our life’s book of poetry need to be thoroughly examined and we need to be given the recommendations that will allow us to find an answer to our unanswered questions.

 So who, or what, is our individual independent auditor?  How can someone, other than ourselves, know enough about us to be capable of giving us the information we need to determine what guidance we should seek?  If such a being exists then maybe we could ask ourselves why we haven’t been in touch before? 

The answer could well be that we have never given our inner  auditor the opportunity.  We have felt we can control our own destiny and we don’t want anyone or anything meddling in our personal affairs.  To us our life is private and no one else’s business.

Yet throughout all this wondering we tend to overlook the fact that the auditor doesn’t make decisions for us.  The auditor can only make recommendations. 

So perhaps we could still use the auditor’s service and yet still retain personal control.  Under these circumstances maybe we could say to ourselves, ‘what have I got to lose’?

At this point, it would be good for us to consider our existence.  No matter how we feel about ourselves, be it good, bad or indifferent, we are survivors. 

We might feel our life has been a complete disaster, that in everything we have attempted we have failed.  We may only see negativity which causes us to be unhappy most of the time.  Hopefully, we will also see some of the positive aspects of our life.

While this might be seen as an extreme, it serves to indicate why we might question who we are and why we are here on this earth.  Yet we wake up each morning and among all the negativity there is still a will to live, even though in some this feeling may be somewhat weak.

So, what makes us keep living throughout all the pain and the trials and tribulations of life?  It seems that deep within each one of us there exists some form of life force, an essence of our existence, a desire to cling to life, to survive.  Call it what you like, but I refer to it as our own personal spirit.  We often see this ‘spirit’ title used in different ways, particularly as an emotional force.  Proud Australians refer to ‘The Spirit of our Nation’.  The word is used to describe an attitude when someone is said to be in ‘high spirits’ they are happy and effervescent.  Whereas in contrast, those said to be in low spirits can be sad and even miserable.

Could it be then that our spirit sits within each one of us fully aware of what we are and just waiting for an opportunity to be released from its incarceration?  Is it just waiting for us to stop long enough to be provided with the opportunity of offering help and understanding? 

Could it be that our spirit is our independent internal auditor?  So how could we find out?  How do we access this ‘thing’ which doesn’t show up on x-rays, yet seems to have the capacity to help us decide our emotions and feelings towards ourselves and others?

I wonder how deep within us we tend to corral our individual spirit.  If we allowed it free reign would we lose the control we have over our own decisions?  Perhaps we might be frightened of the consequences of what we might find if we asked our spirit to perform an audit of our lives.  But then on the other hand, how can we have our questions answered about who we are if we don’t at least review the recommendations of our spirit’s audit?

Meditation is one of the processes that can be used to find and release the spirit within us.  Many experts have given advice on the correct method to be used in order to meditate.  Without any prior experience in this ancient exercise many can find it difficult but, like most things in life, we can succeed if we put in some practice.  Meditation is a very personal exercise and its effectiveness will vary with each of us.

Be at peace within yourself and for a few minutes if it is possible, determine to shut out all the distractions happening in your life at present.  A quiet place is always beneficial.  What you are attempting to achieve is to mentally remove all the sights, sounds, feelings and thoughts from your body and mind so you can allow your spirit the freedom to be at one with who you are.

Now, not everyone can expect to, or even want to, achieve a meditative state. Even so, this shouldn’t hamper us from attempting to access the lingering questions concerning our identity.

Meditation is a helpful process.  Fine, if you like or can adapt to that sort of exercise, but not essential in your search for answers.  However, if we were to meditate and allow our spirit to advise us as to how  we could better understand our self what do you think we might learn?

Like all good TV cooking presenters – ‘here’s one I prepared earlier’.  The spirits reaction to the quest for me to discover ‘who I am’ may come as a surprise because the suggestion will invariably be that the answer can only come from ‘outside’ rather than ‘inside ourselves’. 

This must seem an odd response after having gone through the so-called internal audit process.  Another odd reaction might well be that my spirit may want me to identify the gifts I have been given that I could use to help others. Why should this be so, I wonder?

At this point you could rightly feel a little frustrated, for haven’t we all got enough problems in our lives without having to get involved in others as well? 

“Not so”, says our spirit, because this can be part of the reason we cannot have our questions answered.  It seems that we might be concentrating our energies just on our self and our mind will remain closed to the broader picture of  who we really are unless we can lesson the influence of the “I” in our lives.

 So, what are these so-called gifts I have supposedly been given?  Irrespective of how many times we might have failed in trying to achieve, there will always be aspects of what we can do that we do well. 

Let’s face it, none of us are perfect and while many may claim to be an expert in a particular field there is always more we can learn.  So, all this can easily leave us wondering what can I do that might be a help to somebody else?

It doesn’t matter really.  You might enjoy sewing or you might be a good listener.  You might have administrative skills or be good at fixing things.  Somewhere in amongst the ‘what we are’ collection will be something we are capable of sharing with, or for, others.  Mother Theresa of Calcutta got it right with her popular saying “Each day we should do something for somebody else”.

We might wonder to ourselves how does this address my questions and my search?  Well the interesting thing about what is being asked of us here is that in doing something for somebody else we must do it without expecting any reward. 

Now that has to be the hard part because in many cases it could have cost me serious money to attain the qualifications and skills I possess so my expectations are that I deserve to be paid.  Why should I not increase my wealth by using the ‘gifts’ I possess?

 Ah, yes! But there we go again bringing in the “I” factor.  When we offer ourselves, our skills or our gifts to help others in need we only provide the best we can offer, irrespective of how much or how little we give.  We certainly don’t deliberately give out bad advice or incorrect information if we are offering to help.

We have all heard of the phrase from the Good Book that says we should love one another. Yet the word ‘love’ seems to have been given some broad interpretations and it is easy for some to get confused when using the word. 

While some might disagree, I believe ‘love’ is a decision we make and not just a feeling we experience.  We have to consciously make a decision to love someone whereas, if love was just a feeling we could find we vary in our feelings just as we might feel hot one day and cold the next.

If we were to make a conscious decision to help someone without expecting a return, then this is, in reality, a form of offering them love.  The more help we are prepared to give away, the more love we give away. 

In this way our love becomes an unconditional love.  So it then seems right for us to question ourselves about from where this so-called love is emanating and what is driving us to act on  our decision to help others. 

It can only be coming from within us.

 In dispensing our help (love) we are using our skills or our gifts that have developed from that part of us labelled ‘what we are’ so it stands to reason the ‘love’ component can only be coming from our individual spirit.  Our spirit is our light shining in someone else’s darkness.  It is that part of us that allows us to feel alive and happy that we are freely giving it away.  Truly then our spirit is ‘love’.

As we deliberately choose to give away more of ourselves and our love to help others, we will find the need to seek out the answers to ‘who I am’ will become blatantly obvious. 

Not only will the need to have the questions answered fade, but we will come to the realisation that we all carry around with us a spirit of love regardless of how good or bad we might think we are be seen to be. 

Because we become less self-centered, our spirit will start to recognise the spirit in others and then we will know ‘who I am’ because the penny will drop……‘I am love’!

Love isn’t an ego trip through life – it is an unconditional conscious journey.  

It is good to remember the words of Oscar Hammerstein IV:

“Love wasn’t placed in our hearts to stay.

Love isn’t love ‘till you give it away”.

I’m Peter mack and that’s how I feel.

More stories

The Eucharist and us

Jesus chose the last supper as the opportunity to instigate ‘The Eucharist’. He knew the next day was going to be tough and while the apostles were arguing about who it was who would betray him, he quietly went about giving them a means by which to remember him.

Christian astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, only recently revealed he enjoyed receiving the Eucharist in Apollo 11 just prior to walking on the moon. His pastor had given him a wafer and a small vial of wine before he left on the moon mission.  Being one with his God was his way to fully enjoy this history making moment.

I believe every meal could be a Eucharist and that it is possible we too can enjoy the experience of receiving the Eucharist without having to wait for a priest to perform a consecration ceremony.

At the Last Supper when Jesus wanted to leave his friends a souvenir of himself, he firstly gave thanks to his Father and sought his Father’s blessing on the meal he was about to share with his friends. He then took some bread and wine and shared it with his friends, while telling them that whenever they followed the same procedure it was to be in his memory.

It should be noted Jesus made no stipulation that you had to be a priest or pastor to perform this form of remembrance. The Counsel of Trent in 1551 decided differently (see addendum for further clarification)

I believe that the ‘miracle’ of the Eucharist is not performed by the priest or pastor as part of a ritualistic ceremony but by OURSELVES as recipients.  The celebrant, on our behalf, asks the Father’s blessing during the Eucharistic Prayer and recalls the events of the Last Supper to help us fully prepare to receive the blessed bread and wine.

By our Baptism we become Christians and we maintain our faith by learning and following the teachings of Jesus. In reliving the events of the Last Supper and receiving the bread and wine, symbols of what Jesus gave his friends, we enable this Eucharistic food to mingle with the Holy Spirit, present within each one of us. I believe it is THEN the miracle of the Eucharist occurs. We become one with our God.

As Christians, I feel we could individually, mindfully, and with reverence, recall the events that occurred the night before Jesus died and in thanking the Father for his goodness, ask the Father’s blessing on the food and drink we are about to share together. This food and drink would be symbols of the bread and wine Jesus shared with his apostles.

Upon devouring these symbols and with our belief in the words and presence of Jesus, why then could this not be an occasion when we receive the Eucharist? Do we really need a priest or pastor to consecrate the bread and wine so we can receive the Eucharist?

Addendum

The Greek-based term ‘Eucharist’ means ‘Thanksgiving’. Hence the focus of the Eucharist is to give thanks to the Father. In sharing the Eucharist today we link this with the teaching Jesus gave us the night before he died.

The Roman Catholic Church teaching tells us that the bread and wine of the Holy Eucharist become the actual body and blood of Jesus. They support this with passages such as John 6:32-58; Matthew 26:26; Luke 22:17-23; and 1 Corinthians 11:24-25.

 It was not until A.D. 1551, the Counsel of Trent officially stated, “By the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the Church has called transubstantiation” (Session XIII, chapter IV; cf. canon II). By sharing in the Eucharistic meal, the Church teaches that Catholics are fulfilling John 6:53: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”

What does that really mean? Jesus goes on to say that “it is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63-64).

Christ’s sacrifice is to be received by faith (John 1:12; 3:16). Eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood are symbols of fully receiving His sacrifice on our behalf, by grace through faith.

One of the Cannons of the Council of Trent is “If anyone shall say that by the words: ‘Do this in commemoration of Me’ Christ did not institute the Apostles priests, or did not ordain that they and other priests should offer His Body and Blood: let him be anathema”. (something or someone that one vehemently dislikes)

A year later, on July 15, 1563, the same Council promulgated its text of the Catholic doctrine of order [the priesthood]:

The true and Catholic doctrine . . . to condemn the errors of our time . . . Sacrifice and priesthood are by ordinance of God so united that both have existed in every law. Since, therefore, in the New Testament the Catholic Church has received from Christ the holy, visible sacrifice of the Eucharist, it must also be confessed that there is in that Church a new, visible and external priesthood into which the old has been translated. That this was instituted by the same Lord our Saviour, and that to the Apostles and their successors in the priesthood was given the power of consecrating, offering, and administering His Body and Blood, as also of forgiving and retaining sins, is shown by the Sacred Scriptures and has always been taught by the Tradition of the Catholic Church . . .

In examining the history associated with the events that occurred on that first Holy Thursday evening I can recommend Thomas O’Loughlin’s book ‘The Eucharist – Origins and Contemporary Understandings’.

I’m Peter mack and that’s how I feel.

More stories