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15 October 2017
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Roses don’t grow in the desert……..


One of the finest priests I ever had the privilege to minister with who is long gone to his reward had that saying ‘Roses don’t grow in the desert’. He was referring to the fact that faith can’t begin to take root and flourish in the life of a child unless the environment is right. I first heard him use that phrase as we left the school hall after a meeting with the parents of children for first communion. At that meeting there was a great turn out but few enough faces we could recognise from Sunday Masses.

He was in a sense stating the obvious, if there is no atmosphere of faith within the family there can be little chance of children growing up as people of faith.

I have repeated that phrase many times at such meetings with parents and at the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism in the hope that parents might fully appreciate the irreplaceable importance of their witness of faith to their children.

The Sacraments are those precious moments in our lives when the Lord is acting in a marvellous way, but taken out of the context of an ongoing relationship with the Lord Jesus they can be reduced to little more than social rituals or rites of passage. A worrying element of the Sacraments as we mark them in modern times is the materialism that has come to surround them. Christenings are often marked with lavish ‘celebrations’ in hotels and pubs and First Communions and Confirmations are commonly marked by bouncy castles and crazy amounts of money lavished on the children. The sad reality is that so many of those who celebrate the Sacraments are seen no more in church in the weeks months and years that follow, something has clearly gone seriously wrong.

Our faith can enrich and enliven our human experience and help us to be the best people we can possibly be, but we do have to commit to it. Example is the greatest of teachers.

“I came that you might have life and have it to the full.”
John 10:10

Fr. Philip Curran