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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

15 July 2009: Irene Jeffery, Parishioner, St Laurence's Catholic Church

Do what we can for others

"Carpe diem" (seize the day) is a much-quoted dictum from the writings of the Roman poet Horace.

A hedonistic view of existence? A 'gather ye rosebuds while ye may' philosophy? A piece of advice reminding us that we only have one life, and that life must be lived to the full?

Perhaps, as believers, we can take this on board, but expand its interpretation to encompass others, instead of focussing, as it seems to do, on ourselves.

Being fully alive is surely all about awareness; about self-awareness first and foremost: awareness of our strengths and weaknesses, of our ultimate potential for good and evil.

However, self-awareness does not exist in a vacuum: it is dependent upon others. Could we not make more of our life, by being sensitively aware not of our own needs and desires, so much as of the needs and desires of others?

A novel by Taylor Caldwell, entitled The Man Who Listens, said it all. The 'listener' was Christ. We must follow his example. We must listen; act on what we hear; give our time; our sympathy and, ultimately our practical help when and where it is needed.

We are on this earth but once. Could we not all strive to make our stay worthwhile, for others' sake, so that when our time here is up we can say, 'I have tried my best to live this life I was given'.


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