Monday, 23 January 2012
Father Ignatius spies goodness.
Father Ignatius had an appointment at the Cathedral in the City and he happened to mention it to Theodore Luxton-Joyce, the rich benefactor and friend of the priest.
“Oh … I hate going to the City,” said Theodore frowning a little, “how do you plan going by train or are you driving there?”
“Like you, I hate the City, it’s far too busy and I don’t like driving,” replied the priest, “I hope to take the train!”
“If they run on time,” chortled Theodore, “the trains are always late these days … not like years ago when they always left on time and arrived at their destination on time.
“These days they never stick to the published time-table. The only way they’ll keep to their agreed schedule is if they replace the time-tables with calendars!” He laughed loudly at his own joke.
“Yes … I see what you mean. But for me, it’s better than driving.”
“I tell you what Padre …” interrupted Theodore enthusiastically, “when are you going? Next week you said?”
“Next Wednesday …”
“I’ve had a capital idea … what?” Theodore interrupted again, “my wife is away visiting her family next week. I have nothing to do. Why don’t I come with you to the City? We’ll go by car … my chauffeur knows the way well, so there’ll be no driving for either of us. I can go sight-seeing then meet you at the Cathedral when you’re ready!”
“I couldn’t possible ask this of you Theodore” replied Father Ignatius, “it’s very generous of you and …”
“Well it’s settled then …” the eccentric millionaire interrupted again, “I’ll pick you up at St Vincent’s on Wednesday morning.”
On the day in question the two of them were chauffeur driven in a luxurious car to the City and both went, as planned, their separate ways.
By late afternoon Theodore arrived at the Cathedral to collect Father Ignatius as arranged.
The church was empty so he sat on the pew next to the Sacristy door so that he could see Father Ignatius when he came out of his meeting.
The rich man looked around him at the splendor of this great Cathedral for a few moments, then he got up and lit a candle by the statue of St Anthony. No particular reason, it just happened to be the nearest statue to him. He then sat on the pew again and wondered if there is a Saint Theodore. “Theo means God in Greek! What?” he thought to himself.
He got a broken Rosary from his pocket and started praying. “Must mend this Rosary sometime,” he thought, “lucky all the beads are still here … just the chain is broken!”
His meandering thoughts were disturbed by a noise at the back of the church. He turned round and saw a man come in.
The tall thin stranger, dressed in a red shirt, blue jeans and a tatty overcoat came to the front and sat next to Theodore.
He knelt down and pretended to pray for a few seconds, then he sat down again and turning to Theodore he asked in a strong Scottish accent, “Is the vicar here, do you ken?”
“You mean the priest,” Theodore replied, “there must be more than one in there … I’m waiting for one of them as a matter of fact!”
“Aye … a priest will do,” said the Scotsman, “they come out of there one at a time do they? Just like waiting for a bus, is it?”
“Well … no. If you wait a while, someone is sure to come out.”
“Do you ken the priest can lend me some money?” asked the Scot tentatively.
“You’ll need a bank for that, old boy” chortled Theodore, “these priests are as poor as church mice … what? They’ll more likely ask you for money than give you any!”
The man scratched his head briefly and then continued, “I’m from Scotland, you see.”
“Yes … I gathered from your accent old boy! Grand place, so it is. I’m half Scot myself … the half which wears the kilt …” Theodore laughed loudly forgetting for a moment where he was.
“I came down here in England to look for work,” continued the man. “Things are pretty bad in Scotland so I thought down here might be better. I’ve been in a bed and breakfast for a week. And I found no work here either.
“I ran out of money and don’t have my fare back home!
“Do you think you can lend me some money to get home to my wife and wee bairns? I’ll pay you back …”
To the man’s surprise Theodore immediately pulled out his wallet and asked, “How much do you need old boy?”
“The coach fare is about £20 … it leaves this evening at eight.” replied the Scotsman.
Theodore took five £20 notes from his wallet and handed them to the astonished man.
“That’s … that’s far too much,” he mumbled in disbelief, “and they are notes from the Bank of Scotland too … not English ones …”
“Yes … I was in Edinburgh last week …” Theodore smiled.
“Let me have your address … I’ll pay you back … a bit at a time …”
“Think nothing of it,” replied Theodore, “buy something for your family!”
At this point Father Ignatius had just come out of the Sacristy and witnessed the whole event.
Theodore continued, “If you’re serious about moving down here with your family … give me a ring on this number … think about it with your wife!”
As the man disappeared out of the church hurriedly Father Ignatius asked Theodore “was that a vagrant begging for money?”
“I just gave him some spare change,” lied Theodore, “he’s from Scotland I understand … what?”
“The reason I asked,” said the priest, “is because this church has packets of food prepared for people who come here asking for help!”
About seven months later Theodore got a call from the grateful Scotsman. He still hadn’t found work in his country. So he and his family decided to move to Northern England and work on one of Theodore’s farms.