News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool



Cath Pic Jubilee Issue-1 February

By Moira Billinge


The house is tidy.  Every nook and cranny has been carefully cleaned – sometimes two or three times.  Forgotten treasures are rediscovered and old favourites are restored to their accustomed homes.  Is that a sudden attack of domestication, virtue and New Year resolutions?  Sadly, no: It is merely the inevitable consequence of the single question, ‘What on earth did I do with it?’  


The frantic search through the post-Christmas detritus of cards, wrapping paper and gifts which, somehow, have not yet found a resting-place, gives rise to the despairing realisation that the only way in which to find the missing item is to go through each pile of rubbish, every mound of newspapers and magazines and every corner where ‘it might have hidden itself’ – for how could I be blamed for the loss?  The blame has to be placed on the object which has gone walkabout.


Do you somehow recognise that awful feeling of mounting disbelief and rising panic, the dry mouth and churning stomach when the initial - but fairly confident that we will find it - hunt hits a dead end and becomes the all-too familiar, frantic turning of the house upside down?  What about the sleepless night, spent in a virtual retracing of the day’s waking moments?  As for any plans for the following day - including breathing – forget them.  There is only one thing which matters: finding the rogue item.  Panic in such circumstances is natural and is often a hindrance.  Rational thought becomes one of the first casualties.


Of course, realising the loss inevitably happens minutes after the local council’s collection of recyclable and non-recyclable rubbish. (Why were they so punctual?)  It is too late to search the bins, scrutinise every piece of paper, supermarket bags and soap powder box, wade through parcels of rotting cabbage leaves, and worse – only to repeat the whole process, just in case the first investigation missed a vital clue.  When Jesus said with such confidence, ‘Seek and you will find,’ he obviously wasn’t thinking of seeking to find anything in my house.  Nor did he ever mislay his car keys!


A friend once told me that she lost a ring which had belonged to her mother, so it was of enormous sentimental value.  She begged St Anthony to help her find it but it was only 25 years later that she did – after she had moved house and was re-potting some plants.  It was at the bottom of one of the containers.  Thank goodness he doesn’t usually keep us waiting for nearly three decades before coming to the rescue.


St Anthony, St Jude, St Dympna and a legion of saints and angels find themselves coerced into helping with the big search - and, there are copious promises of abundant tokens of gratitude if only they will get their act together and find the missing item.  Family and friends are also asked to ‘storm the heavens,’ on my behalf.  Boundless joy, triumph, gratitude and relief accompany the discovery of the wayward article, but a ‘firm purpose of amendment to be more careful in future?  Naturally – until the next time!

Seek and you will find

It is merely the inevitable consequence of the single question