Jim Cogley’s Reflections Tues 14 Nov – Mon 20 Nov 2023

Friends, I have a little request. I know that so many of you faithfully pass on these postings with some having as many as a hundred recipients. The result is that they have a huge outreach to all parts of the world. Their overall aim is to teach, instruct and lead people into a deeper awareness of their Faith and a renewed appreciation for the Christian message. If you feel that this objective is being achieved, would you consider including any other friends, neighbours or fellow seekers and including them on your mailing list?

I send them out to around 400 each week with the prayer that they will be the right word at the right time. I invite you to do the same and ask your friends to also pass them on and  who knows how many lives can be touched?

Reminder: In response to many queries as to when and where seminars and retreats are taking place and as a means of ordering books from the Wood You Believe series, I have launched a new website: jimcogley.com It is still under construction and more content will be added later.

Tue 14th NovRemembering our Departed

Bringing them Home

During the month of November, remembering the departed, and praying for their souls, was considered a very important responsibility and a privilege by those gone before us. An older generation will remember three Masses being said on All Souls Day with various prayers and numerous visits to churches. Gaining indulgences to release the souls in Purgatory was very much part of the vocabulary of that time. Today the need hasn’t changed, Purgatory is still a reality and we still need to remember our departed and pray for the Holy Souls. However, our expression of it needs to be somewhat different and more appropriate for our present age. While the age-old truths remain unchanged, the language and rituals by which we express those truths needs to be adopted for each new generation. For some that might be as simple and meaningful as buying a cemetery candle, going to mass, and later laying it on the grave of a loved one.

Wed 15th Nov – Miracle Club (1) – The Pilgrimage

There’s a film released this year called ‘The Miracle Club’. Some of you may well have seen it. It’s about a small group of Dublin women who win a trip to Lourdes back in the 60s. While it can be very funny at times, there’s also a very serious side to it and it’s well worth seeing. It was a big thing to get to Lourdes back in those days. The women all go looking for a miracle but the miracle they get is not what they go for but turns out to be exactly what they need. The youngest brings a child who is unable to speak and she holds herself responsible for the child’s disability since during his pregnancy she had attempted an abortion. The child is like a symbol of so much that needs to be said but can’t be spoken by all involved. The others are all intertwined by a tragic story that surrounds the death of a fine honourable young man who drowned under suspicious circumstances forty years earlier and whose mother has just passed away.

Thurs 16th Nov – Miracle Club (2) – The Untold Story

Typical of Ireland at the time, it’s a story of a young girl becoming pregnant and they have all been trying to keep secret what happened and the tragic consequences that followed because each is involved in a different way. One is the mother who was banished to the US and forced to have an abortion. Another is her former best friend who has hatred towards her for first leaving and then not coming back for 40 years to visit her elderly mother and she being an only child. The deeper reality is that she was the one who betrayed her friend and is full of anger towards everyone. Then there’s an old lady, played by Maggie Smith, a friend of the girl’s mother who has just passed away. This lady is riddled with guilt. Now in her twilight years and thinking of death she is wondering what fate awaits her on the other side. She was the one who wielded influence over the girl’s mother and indirectly was responsible for the young man’s death, and the tragic fall out of all those involved who were once such good friends.

Fri 17th Nov – Miracle Club (3) – The Real Miracle

The real miracle of the trip is the confessions they eventually make, not to the priest on the trip, but to each other and how their untold story has kept them alienated for 40 years with each blaming the other. The secrecy had been destroying each of them and eating away at their souls. None of them were at peace until they could tell their story. Each needed to take responsibility and come to terms with what happened and the part they played in it. The story of that film comes to mind at this time because if the angel of death had visited any on that group, from the youngest to the oldest, would any of them would have been ready? They each carried a heavy burden of guilt and regret that left their spirits burdened and no one had peace. Why would we suppose that the person we are on the other side is going to be any different from the one on this side?

Sat 18th Nov – Purgatory – The Serious Denial of our Age

For thousands of years, we have been taught that Purgatory is a reality for souls who are not ready and who have died with unfinished business. Is it not very naive to discount our belief in Purgatory as for the birds because in so doing are we not saying that all souls are equal. So, in effect Putin and Mother Theresa will be entitled to the same status in Heaven? Is our present day reluctance to take Purgatory seriously not a form of denial where we want to avoid facing the reality of our lives and our need to come to terms with its darker aspects. The truth is that we are here on earth to fulfil a divine purpose. Our souls are meant to evolve as we journey through life, but unfortunately so many get stuck with bitterness, resentment and unfinished business. Many even leave behind a trail of hurt for others to deal with.

Sun 19th Nov – A man who did not bury his talent

Antonio Stradivari was born in Cremona, Italy, in 1644. Because Antonio’s voice was high and squeaky, he did not pass the audition for the Cremona Boys’ Choir. When he took violin lessons, the neighbours persuaded his parents to make him stop. Yet Antonio still wanted to make music. His friends made fun of him because his only talent was wood carving. When Antonio was 22, he became an apprentice to a well-known violinmaker, Nicholas Amati. Under his master’s training Antonio’s knack for carving grew, and his hobby became his craft. He started his own violin shop when he was 36. He worked patiently and faithfully. By the time he died at 93, he had built over 1,500 violins, each one bearing a label that read, Antonio Stradivarius of Cremona made in the year…” They became the most sought-after violins in the world and sell for more than $100,000 each. Antonio couldn’t sing or play or preach or teach, but he used the one ability he had, and his violins are still making beautiful music. Antonio is a challenge to people who have only a single talent and who try to bury the talent for fear of failure — like the lazy servant in Jesus’ parable.

Mon 20th Nov – The Truth that Needs to be Spoken

The old saying we have all heard was ‘Never speak ill of the dead’ but can we not speak the truth, and does the truth not cry out to be spoken? Someone on the other side may have hurt us deeply and may be asking our forgiveness. Someone may have done wrong and need us to make an apology on their behalf. So many, like those ladies in the film, may never have told their story, or come to terms with their lives, and need us to tell it for them. Likewise, if someone you know has died with resentment, they may need you to stand in their place and forgive the one who they held the grievance against. Where someone died not having released a loved one, we can be the one to do it for them by simply acting proxy. This is all part of remembering the Holy Souls and while we place candles on their graves, they may be asking us to do a little more than just saying a Hail Mary and bringing their memory to mind.

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