My second choice of quotes from my blogs during 2011 sings the praises of two women – my mother and Mary Fenech Adami and one man – Ashih Tekleab Haile. The fourth quote is from my blog where I reflect on my 34 years as a priest.

In praise of my mother

“I have just returned from the Naxxar Cemetery. I visited my mother Pawla on the 19th anniversary of her death. They say that 19 years is a very long time. Is it really? They say that 19 years is enough to forget. Is it really?

I vividly remember my mother as a simple woman with no ambition except to take care of us – her children – and our father. We were everything for her. We were her joy and fulfillment. Today many speak of spending quality time with their children. Generally they mean to say that they have very little time for their children so, in order to feel better, they call it quality time. My mother never heard the phrase quality time. She did not need to know its meaning. She did not just give us time, she gave us all her time; all her life.” (03/08/11)

In praise of a brave man

“Ashih Tekleab Haile escaped the rough seas between Libya and Malta but fell victim to the rough seas at Paradise Bay. He could have still been alive today. He just had to play safe. Instead, he preferred to be brave and altruistic instead. The cries for help from a French student who was drowning made him show his true mettle. The need of the other made him put aside the risk for his life. He tried to save the French student from drowning. Ashih Tekleab Haile succeeded but paid the ultimate price for doing so.

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15: 13). Ashih had a love greater than the greater love. He did not lay down his life for his friend. He laid down his life for an unknown person. Ashih did not look at the colour, nationality or gender of the other person. He just considered the humanity of the other person. He saved a man, not a Frenchman or an Arab or a black or a white. (22/07/11)

Her faith was her strength

“I knew Mary Fenech Adami for the last forty five years or so. She was a pillar of strength in the guise of an unassuming woman.

Her guise of an unassuming woman made her approachable. Her strength, then, aided those who did approach her. A common person and a head of state generally were given by her the same kind of attention. If the common person was someone in need of help, then, that person was given more attention than a head of state. Is-Sinjura Mer, as most referred to her, loved people and people loved her. She never considered herself as someone who had more honours than others. However, she considered herself to have more duties than others as her position bestowed on her the privilege of being able to help others.” (11/07/11)

On being a priest

“I have been a priest for 34 years. I am thankful that the Lord chose me to celebrate His joy by communicating it to others and by experiencing it myself. I know the joy of saying to others and listening myself to the words “your sins are forgiven.” I know the joy that comes from the discovery that God is madly in love with us. I am awed by the power of consecrating bread and wine to the Body and Blood of Christ and the joy of receiving them. I have seen the joy of God’s love radiating from people in pain, young innocent children, proud mothers and fathers, the fragile aged and so many others. These last 34 years I have been comforted by the love of a God who, because of me, became a fragile man not capable of carrying his own cross on his own. Such a weak and vulnerable God surely understands my weakness and vulnerability!

To-day I look back at the 34 years I have been a priest and thank the Lord for being so kind to me and the ecclesial community for accepting and loving me notwithstanding my limitations.” (25/06/11)


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