Friday Thought with Father Chris Ferguson
I’m a great believer in the second chance club. I would have to be with the mistakes, failures and blunders, I have made, and without doubt will continue to make.
I still cringe at the recall of many memories; things I’ve said, done or failed to do. When it comes to saying inappropriate things, voicing the wrong comment, at the wrong time, I’m in a league of my own. I don’t know if you have made similar mistakes when meeting friends for the first time in months. I can remember several occasions when I have met women, and because they looked bigger, I asked when the baby was due. Awkward isn’t the word when the person explains, they’re not expecting; trying to recover that situation can be difficult.
Suddenly, the weather becomes a very interesting subject and for once, you hope your phone will ring. Another nightmare can be, trying to remember names, especially when you're put on the spot. Developing a rescue strategy for uncovering a name is vital.
Nothing worse, than meeting someone unexpectedly, and right from the off, they greet you with your name. Although, there are parishioners, who call me Gerard. I’ll like to clarify two things, firstly, Fr Gerard is older than me. Secondly, and more significantly, Fr Gerard is from Tyrone. There might only be a hair’s breadth between the pair of us, but it matters, especially as Fr Gerard, knows nothing about football. However, as I was saying, remembering names, can be extremely difficult. You feel, even worse, when the other person is making a point of using your name. Thankfully, in some conversations, a person will drop in their name, as they describe being addressed by someone else. On the other hand, you have the person, who deliberately doesn’t use their name, and they seemingly enjoy your discomfort. On these occasions, you rack your brain, trying to remember, how you know this person. You go around the world in conversation, looking for a clue. You ask questions concerning, how long has it been since you met? Where did you bump into one another last? Although, be careful when looking for clues, if you ask about their family. If the person you have asked about, died ten years ago, then pardon the pun, it’s a dead giveaway, that you don’t remember, who you’re talking too.
Memory is a vital part of who we are, and how we engage with the world, and other people. Anyone who has lived with a family member, suffering from dementia, can readily relate to the importance to memory. During the week, I attended a talk regarding, a theological response to dementia. One of the central points, made by the speaker, concerned, dignity and identity. Especially, how we understand a person’s dignity, when they no longer, remember, others, God, or themselves. Ultimately, we are more than our intellects and minds, for
there is more than one kind of remembering, our bodies remember too. As a child of God, made in the image and likeness of God, we have an inalienable dignity and value.
Even when we can’t remember, even when our loved ones, can’t remember, God remembers. As a Church, the body of Christ, united across all peoples, and all generations, we remember through the power of the Holy Spirit. On the cross, the thief, the criminal, who was justly condemned, asked Jesus to remember him. In the Church, formed by the Holy Spirit, we encounter God’s memory. On this last Sunday of the Church year, we reflect on the reign of God. We all have a part to play in Jesus’ mission to the world. Having been given unique, talents, abilities and a personality, we each have been called to fulfil a unique aspect, of God’s saving mission. Our vocation is to serve, God and one another. For true happiness, is the gift of being able to live, as the person God, called us to be. As we live our lives, who is the person we are becoming, who is the person, we are asking God to remember. Likewise, how do we remember and recognise the dignity and vocation of those we encounter within the now, of the Kingdom of God.