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Thought for the Day - Fr. Peter Conley

Fr. Peter reflects on the joy of shared meals.



Some of my favourite end of exams memories, from being at University myself, involve sharing special corridor meals in the student residence where l lived. Maybe, during lockdown, or as it eases, and while not up to MasterChef standards, you have enjoyed recipes from across the world this year already.

As an international student in Belgium, during the early 90s, I had zero culinary skills. 30 years later, sadly, this is still the case! But, in my defence, I can boil a kettle and make an omelette - so there is clearly hope for me yet! My skill was to be the volunteer first class ‘tidy-upperer’ so to speak! With apologies to the English Department, by the way!

At the end of the evening, it always seemed as if l had to clean all the mugs, glasses cutlery or utensils everyone had in their possession which, when challenged, they said that they absolutely had to be used! I tried hard not to complain - but the items concerned seemed to multiply just as l thought l’d finished. I exaggerate - looking for sympathy!

What kept me going was focusing on Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s simple expression about doing “small things with great love”. As did the encouragement I received from two other holy people. St Teresa of Avila reminds us that “God is among the pots and pans”. While Brother Lawrence prayed “Lord make me a Saint by baking cakes and washing plates”. Whatever end of term celebrations we are able to have, may we appreciate, once more, the gift of good food and the dedication of those who prepare it - and clean up afterwards of course !