To live in a permanent state of surrender totally dependent on God


My great-grandmother was abandoned by her husband in 1902. 

He left the house one morning, and boarded a ship that was going to Australia.

He had said nothing, he just left, and his wife was left with 3 small children, 

of which my grandfather was the youngest; he was 1 year of age. 

She never heard a word from him, she did not know where he was.

This took place in Norway, and like in most other countries at the time, state

assisted social financial support did not exist. 

She literally had to go and beg for money, she went to her brother-in-laws, who 

were running a successful timber business, then she got work in a herring factory,

while her 2 eldest; both girls, helped out in a house where they found lodging.

While I know that life was tough for many people at the time, it must have been

very hard for her, also because of the social stigma of having children but no husband

while not being a widow either.


Anyway, after 35 years absence, he came back, in much the same manner as he 

had disappeared; he just turned up some day at her doorstep.

And she was overjoyed to see him! She wanted him to move right back in with her!

Not an ounce of anger or bitterness, nothing, just happiness.

This might sound strange to many people, almost unnatural, but it wasn't.

She was a deeply religious woman, I do not know if she had been religious before

her husband had left her, but her faith in the Almighty was solid by the time 

he came back.

The level of fear and difficulties of the situation she had found herself in, had caused an 

internal surrender to God for everything, for the very survival of her children and herself.

In this internal state, there can be no anger, bitterness, revenge, etc, only the light of love 

that comes from God remains. That is why she reacted as she did when he came back.

But this was not the case with her daughters, they, on the contrary, were angry and 

refused to allow him access to their mother, so they actually prevented her from possibly 

having a second chance of some happiness with the man that she still loved, at this later 

stage in her life.


I only met her once that I can remember, but in spite of being at that time 

very old and in a nursing home, I remember that she was jolly, happy, 

smiling. I'm proud to have her as an ancestor.




The reality of death


Lent is a time to retreat as much as is possible, it is a time for a heightened focus 

and concentration on Christ. To improve our life with Him.

The spiritual practice of renouncing things for the benefit of our soul heightens 

our awareness about ourselves, it reduces the illusions we have about ourselves.

Because it is when we are less comfortable, less satisfied in regard to hunger

or entertainment and distractions, when we practice dying to ourselves, that we are in a better place to see what we are

really like, to see our faults and failings. This is however not a depressing time,

on the contrary; it is a time of immense hope and deep joy, because we know that

in confessing our sins, and with the firm resolution to change and to do penance, 

we are forgiven, we are on the way to complete healing.

Because on Easter Sunday we take part in Our Lord's Resurrection from the grave,

and our hope is that our souls will also resurrect from the grave of sin, confusion 

and darkness, and we can start living the life that God intended for us.

An efficient way to live a good life, is to have the reality of our physical death

always in our awareness. To remember it every day. This is not morbid nor depressing,

on the contrary,  it is necessary. We should try to have a constant inner alertness to the 

reality that this very moment and this very day, might be the last one we have. 

Because nobody knows the day nor the hour.

Am I ready? 

What is waiting me when I draw my last breath and my soul leaves 

my body? 

We need to prepare for this big encounter, at least that is what I want to do.

I want to be prepared, I want to die without fear, ready to meet my maker.

I want to go to heaven.

Evil is real, and so is hell


I knew an old woman, recently deceased, who as a small child had seen 

immense evil. It was during the German occupation of France, German 

soldiers had broken into the house of her little friend, they

raped her several times,  in front of everybody, then 

they killed her in front of the parents, afterwards they took the few months 

old baby, stabbed her to death on the table, and then cut her up into

several pieces. 

This happened 79 years ago, but every time she related this, she cried. 

It took place in a village not far from mine.

She was deeply religious, a kind, caring, patient and good humored woman 

who spent her life teaching and loving children.

Some people say that they don't believe in God, because if an all powerful 

loving God existed he would never allow such evil. But it is paradoxically their 

refusal to believe in the existence of evil, that blinds them to see that both God 

and evil exists.

Many people, and many Catholics too, say that they don't believe in hell.

Even looking at it from their point of view; as hell already exist on earth for 

many people, there is no obvious logical reason that it would not exist afterwards.

When people say that they want to end their life, because they can't cope with it,

they sometimes reason that ending it will put an end to the pain and suffering, 

the question arises: how do you know?

It is an assumption, that's all. Wishful thinking. 

The truth is that it is people who are most in touch with the realities of the world,

who don't have blinkers, who do not live in denial about the absolute horrors that 

man is capable of carrying out, and even justifying it, who understands what it 

means to have free will, and that this free will is absolute and it comes from God, 

who created us and everything in the world. 

This awareness makes a person naturally slow to trust any man, he becomes vigilant. 

Man is corrupt, and capable of falling to an unlimited 

level of sickness and depravity. 

Man is also capable of becoming holy, united with God, on earth. 

The Church's catechesis  today is often lacking in clarity, it can be varied from 

parish to parish, depending on the priest.

But God is absolute. He is not someone we can negotiate or make compromises 

with, there are no concessions.  It is a case of "take it or leave it".


Because everybody knows the sayings: 

"give the little finger and they take the whole hand"

and  "there is no gain if there is no pain".