Archive for June, 2012


My cousin has sent me an excellent joke related to the recent fishing trip –

2 priests and a Rabbi go fishing and haul in 13 mackerel. At the end of the day they start to argue about how much fish they should keep, and how much they should give to charity.
The first priest says, “Look we draw a circle on the ground, climb this ladder and throw the fish down. However many fish land inside the circle, that is clearly what God wants us to give away. ”
The second priest says, “No no no!!! Look we draw a circle on the ground, climb this ladder and throw the fish down. However many fish land outside the circle, that is clearly what God wants us to give away. ”
The Rabbi says, “No no no no!!! Look we draw a circle on the ground, climb this ladder and throw the fish way up in the air, and what ever God wants he will keep. ”

Thanks to @MightyErk

Using Time Wisely


We are making the most of the beautiful long mid-summer evening light here in Edinburgh. Yesterday at the end of our days duties I went for a spot of evening fishing with one of the other priests – we were fishing till 11pm and pulled in 13 mackerel.  It was a wonderful evening and will live long in the memory. With so many of us leading busy lives it is important to use free time well.  The psychologist Claudia Hammond has written a fascinating book, ‘Time Warped’,  about how we perceive time .  What I was struck about was her observations about the ‘Holiday Paradox’.  The phenomenon seems to be that you go on holiday for two weeks, packed full of new experiences, new places,  the days rush by.  However when you get back it feels as though you have been away for ages. This has an interesting impact on how we use our spare time wisely.  If you want your weekend to go slowly, pack it with new events and different activities but you will sacrifice rest.  If you use the weekend to rest then paradoxically it will feel as though it has gone fast. How we spend our weekend is important for many of us – particularly if we feel stretched by our jobs….

We often forget that time is man made, what Kant referred to as ‘Epistemological Spectacles’.  Time is the way we measure change, but instead of managing time, we often let time rule us. Reading Claudia Hammonds book is helped me to reflect on time perception. There is a very interesting passage about whether or not anxiety makes time pass more slowly or an incredible experiment by a young French man who chose to maroon himself in total darkness in an ice cave for two months.  Telescoping is another interesting phenomenon in her book, referring to the curious way that we often think that  significant historical events happened more recently that they did. For example  – if I ask when did Princess Diana die? Most of us would give the wrong answer – because we would say a more recent year………. (it was 1997).  This phenomenon is because of the illusion that the more clear a memory is then we think that it happened more recently.

As a result of this I hope to use my free time more wisely!

Worrying and Wonder


Hope you like the slightly redesigned blog. I had a two week break from blogging as I was coming back from India, seeing family and friends, now I am temporarily based in Edinburgh for the summer before my next appointment.

Fridays Gospel (below) for me speaks to the heart – about the importance of wonder and awe is that it takes us out of ourselves, it is the antidote of self-absorption.  I remember hearing a the story of a psychotherapist who was treating a patient for depression. Many different therapies were suggested and nothing seemed to work. As a last resort the psychotherapist suggested that the patient tried counting chimneys. It worked! Just the simple act of looking up increases the light to our brains and lifts our moods. For me this is why I love looking at the stars in a dark sky. People have been lying on their backs staring at the stars and creating patterns and stories about them since ancient times.


Worried! (Photo credit: photoloni)

The opposite of this is the curse of worrying – or as we use to pray in the mass – ‘useless anxiety’. When we worry it makes us self-absorbed and we stop looking up and lose that renewing energy of awe and wonder. I remember a wise women, a teacher at school, asking me ‘Tim what was the last thing that you worried about’ and I couldn’t remember…. and she just nodded at me… the point being if you’ve forgotten already it wasn’t really worth it in the first place.   She would often ask me why I looked worried, and so one day I could remember what I had been worried about. Aha! I thought, now I’ve got her! So when she asked me, I told her with a big grin on my face, I was worried about embarrassing myself at a district-level football game that I had been selected for.  ‘Did you embarrass yourself?’ she replied – no I sheepishly admitted – and she shrugged, she got me again!

Excerpt from  Fridays Gospel – Matt 6

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
   what you will eat or drink,
   or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
   they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
   yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
   was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
   which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
   will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
   or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness,
   and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.