The original cast of Two and a Half Men - photo from Wikipedia
Almost weekly, but particularly more so during Christmas, we receive letters through the post urging us to donate to this and that charity. So much so that you end up feeling guilty if you do not respond to one appeal or another. They all have a sad tale to tell, with photos of people in difficulties, which you can alleviate with any donation you might give.
Some charities even suggest you sponsor or "adopt" as part of your donation. For example they would say that this or that animal is threatened with extinction and if you were to promise to donate a certain sum each month you would "adopt" such an animal. They would send you a photo of the animal, sometimes a cuddly toy too, and every so often a letter "from" the animal telling you how it is doing and how happy it is in the reserve where it is living.
OK ... I go along with this marketing ploy to get you to put your hand in your pocket and donate; each month, for ever more. They do need money after all and every marketing tactic will help.
I remember when I worked for a large company and we were preparing to launch a new product the Marketing Manager asked me: "And which tactic do you prefer?" I responded: "The orange ones!" I did not last long in that firm.
Anyway, back to "adoptions". They are in fact adoptions by proxy. You send the money, they look after the animal in question for you.
After all, it would be ludicrous if they sent you the animal to look after. Can you imagine opening your front door and finding a rhinoceros out there? What would you do with him? You can hardly walk him to the park or play fetch by throwing a ball and have him run to get it back. Even if he were to chase the ball, the chances are he would pierce it with his horn.
The only thing a rhinoceros is good at is running at your jeep, (or similar car), and hitting it hard with his head. Because that's what he has been taught to do in the wild. I have seen in on TV. The interviewer introduces the animal and explains what it's good at and the animal obliges by head-butting the jeep, (or similar car). He would not do it if it was a different type of car or a bicycle for instance.
Anyway, to continue what I was saying, these adoptions are always by proxy. Or so I thought.
They asked us during Advent in church to help with continuous donations to train new priests. I kindly obliged and filled in a form.
Three days before Christmas we had a new trainee priest standing at our door. He came to live with us.
I could not believe it! I never agreed to have a priest living with us. I read the form I signed, and there, in very very small print, it said so in Santa Clause 365 Chapter 366, sub-paragraph you'll be too tired to read thus far: "The priest will live with you until he qualifies as a fully working priest and has gained at least one A Grade in his exams".
Those Catholics had tricked me once again.
Apparently I have to have this priest living with us for I don't know how long. My lawyer said it is until he finishes his training. I hope he is not a slow learner.
Can you imagine what it's like having a priest living with you? I have to mind what I say and do. For a start, I cannot watch Two and a Half Men and the adventures of Charlie Harper on TV. The priest does not approve of that. And there's a limit to how much EWTN I can take. All this religion is doing my head in.
I have even stopped drinking my favourite whisky or can of Guinness. And yet again, there's a limit to how much coffee I can take. I am so wound up I'm likely to lose control soon. Coffee is making me run to the bathroom more often than I like to.
The trainee priest sits there quietly all day reading his books and praying all the time. Every so often he asks us, ever so politely, to test him by asking him questions from his revision books. Questions like "what does ora pro nobis mean?" And other Latin phrases which he has to learn by heart. Does anyone know how to say "Clear off!" in Latin?
Worse of all, since he has been here I have had to be very nice and very good indeed. I am not myself anymore. My family have noticed and liked the transformation in me. They say I am a much nicer person. That's what a lack of a good drink does to you and endless hours of EWTN. Even the cat now likes me and sits on my lap purring. It's really too much. Oh ... to be able to sin again!
I went to confession the other day and I had nothing to tell our regular priest. Ever since we've had this trainee priest living with us I have been turning into a Saint. I did not do one thing wrong or bad for ages. Not one impure thought, not one biscuit or chocolate too many, in fact none at all. Not one greedy piece of cake or my favourite cheese. In fact I am losing weight as well as being saintly - maybe it's all those sins washing away.
Can YOU imagine what it would be like having a priest living with you? Seriously now. Think about it. How would it change your life? Would it change you for the better?
Another thought - Jesus is with you right now and every day. How does this affect the way you behave?