Fr Roland - November 2012

posted 29 Nov 2012, 09:25 by Richard Jones   [ updated 29 Nov 2012, 09:25 ]

Dear Friends,



As a lifelong fanatical Preston North End supporter like many who support other teams I would hazard a guess that all will have their heroes. I for one make no excuses for saying that for me it was Tom Finney and as boy and grown man he was a Saint, daft I know but true. 

When the legendary Bill Shankley retired as manager of Liverpool Football Club, Bob Paisley was appointed to succeed him. Realising that it would be a hard act to follow, the soft-spoken, retiring Paisley at first refused the job. Finally, after a lot of persuasion, he agreed to accept it. 

It truly was an onerous job to take over from someone who was as successful as Bill Shankley. Liverpool not only prided itself on success on the pitch, but also on possessing a special approach off it. The manager, the players, the ladies who made the tea- all felt part of a great family. That is how the club was run. 

Right from the outset there was enormous pressure on Paisley to be another Bill Shankley. But he resisted the temptation. Instead, he brought his own style to the job. He managed to continue the traditions of the club, while remaining the unique individual that he was. And he went on to become even more successful than Shankley. 

When he retired he was asked what the key to his success was. He replied, `There is no way you can imitate someone else and be great. You have got to be yourself.` Wise words. 

Both Shankley and Paisley were very successful men and that both achieved greatness is beyond dispute. But achieving greatness as a human being may have little in common with conventional success.

Many religious people are not saints because they never succeed in being themselves. To be a saint does not mean that you have to be an ascetic, or even serious and solemn. But one has to be oneself.

Saints help us to do this, even the little ones. They cause the vision of a higher and purer life to rise up before us. They inspire us to try to win back our finer, kinder and healthier selves. 

They provide us with a mirror. Looking at them, we see what we could be. In them we see human beings at their brightest and best. They are examples, teachers, friends, and advocates. 

Whatever our path in life, what really matters is that we should be ourselves, our unique selves, but the best we can be - the kind of people God intended us to be. Not to refuse life, or try to be someone else, but to grow from the seed of life within each of us.

This is the journey home. 

Yes, I did dream to be Tom Finney...... but God had other become not a saint, but me!!! What about you?? 

Yours in Christ

Fr Roland.