Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor on Pause for Thought

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It is good to see so many people wearing poppies this week reminding us all of the sacrifice made by the many Servicemen and women during the Wars of the past century. You know, I am the last generation that remembers the Second World War. I was seven years old in 1939 and how well I remember the Battle of Britain when we had to sleep in the cellar of our house. Fortunately for us, the bombers usually went over to London and not too many bombs dropped on Reading where we lived. What I remember particularly about the war is, of course, the hardship of not having quite enough food.

I wonder how many listeners remember powdered egg, spam or tripe? I remember once at our table my mother confronted by her five sons, of whom I was the youngest, and after I had eaten what we were given I said, like Dickens’s Oliver Twist, ‘Can I have some more, Mum?’ Her eyes filled with tears – there was no more to be had.

Now I don’t want to make too much of this. The hardships of the war were borne very stoically with much patience by everybody. Nowadays, most of us in this country have plenty to eat and children have so many things by way of toys and games, sometimes too many, unheard of seventy years ago. While I realise these are difficult times, crunch times financially for many, don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to your children if they always ask for more, nor indeed to say ‘no’ to yourself and deny yourself something, especially so that you can give more to other people.

As Jesus reminds us, ‘If God has clothed the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you people of little faith? So do not worry about tomorrow; let tomorrow take care of itself.

Ends – 2:50.17 (into the programme)