Authentic and consistent





Kneeling Man: I think we’ve got the abiding relationship thing happening here, but I’m uncertain about the rest.

God: How so, my son?

KM: Does this count as truly praying? I’m on my knees, but I do tend to use fairly informal language.

God: I don’t think formal language is an absolute requirement.

KM: That’s good to know. But I also don’t really ask you to heal the sick, or help the poor much.

God: That’s true.

KM: But you know I’d like that to happen. So can we sort of take that as a given?

God: As long as the thought is in your heart, we can take it as a given.

KM: So we’re good?

God: We’re good.

KM: I’ll say good night then.

God: The Pontiff did leave the door open a bit.

KM: What door?

God: Saying difficult. Rather than impossible.

KM: Ah… Oh. Yeah. He’s actually saying that it is possible to live an authentic and consistent Christian life without an abiding relationship with you.

God: I’m sure he didn’t mean it like that. Just didn’t choose his words very carefully.

KM: Sometimes I think he just throws his magnets at the fridge.

God: Oh that’s a bit unfair. This one makes more sense than a lot of them.

KM: That’s what I mean.

God: Anything else?

KM: No. Thanks, God. Good night.

God: Night, Neel.


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A more human face






Kneeling Man: I haven’t seen much hate and darkness recently. Should I look for some so that I can bring love and hope?

God: Well… it’s usually not a good idea to go looking for trouble, so maybe that’s not what the Pontiff meant.

KM: I’m pleased to hear that. I mean I’ll still bring love and hope if I do stumble upon some hate in the darkness.

God: That’s good to hear.

KM: I do wonder about one thing though.

God: What’s that, Neel?

KM: I know that love and hope are human attributes, but hate is too isn’t it? I mean animals don’t hate do they?

God: It’s a side of humanity that needs to be discouraged and defeated.

KM: If it’s not a rude question, why did you make humans capable of so much hate?

God: I didn’t make it that way. I gave humanity free will. Humanity made hate common.

KM: Fair enough. But I do think the Pope is being a bit optimistic saying that love and hope will give society a more human face. Isn’t society a perfect reflection of humanity already? A warts and all sort of human face.

God: Perfect and imperfect both.

KM: By perfect, I didn’t mean good. I meant accurate.

God: Ah. You make a good point, Neel. But it doesn’t explain why different societies are so very different.

KM: The main differences seem to be in the way they relate to you.

God: Oh, you think?

KM: Especially in the case of the ones where they’re prepared to kill each other on the basis of how they relate to you.

God: I think you might be getting a wee bit off the track there, Neel. It’s very late, you must be tired.

KM: Well, yes I am a bit.

God: Good night, Neel. Sleep well.

KM: Night, God.

God: Phew!

KM: Sorry? Did you say something?



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Experiences of the Cross





Kneeling Man: I’ve been wondering, God, how come the Pope knows so much about marriage?

God: The Pope is a very wise man.

KM: Yeah, I know. But he doesn’t have much experience in this area.

God: The Pope is married to the Church.

KM: For sure. I know that. But isn’t he talking about marriage in the man woman, romantic love sense?

God: Yes, I believe so.

KM: That’s an area he doesn’t have much experience in, does he?

God: Of course he doesn’t have experience in that sort of thing. What do you mean by much?

KM: Sorry, God. I didn’t mean to be give offence.

God: I forgive you.

KM: Thanks, God. I understand the bit about difficult moments, but is he saying that all difficult moments are like Jesus’ experiences on the Cross?

God: Didn’t he say experiences of the Cross?

KM: Yeah, you’re right… But I thought the experience of the Cross was the ultimate sacrifice made by you and Jesus for us all, which is not really in the same league as flushing the toilet when someone’s in the shower is it?

God: I’m not certain about this but I think he might be alluding to the Cross as in a marriage reaching a crossroads, and when you continue the journey together, the path is stronger.

KM: Uh… okay…

God: Is there anything else?

KM: Ah, no…  I think I’ll just let this one go through to the keeper. Thanks for your help.

God: Through to the keeper?

KM: Just an expression. Doesn’t mean anything. Thanks God. Good night.

God: Good night, Neel. Sleep well.


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Given to us in and through





Kneeling Man: I think know where the Pontiff’s coming from on this one. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have thought about going to church on my own. Certainly not as a toddler or young child.

God: Which is exactly why it’s important to give the faith to children.

KM: You think if we weren’t indoctrinated as children we might not find the faith?

God: Isn’t that what we both just said?

KM: Well, yeah… But couldn’t you just as easily give the gift of faith to adults who’d never been to church?

God: Doesn’t tend to work as well.

KM: Why do you think that is?

God: Well, if it hasn’t been drummed in early, people seem to need a bit more evidence of my existence before they’ll devote their life to Jesus.

KM: So why not just give them the evidence?

God: It’s not as easy as that.

KM: Why not? Why not just part the clouds and shout down at everybody, “Listen up. Here’s the gift of faith. Use it. Be faithful. Stop being bad!” And close the clouds again.

God: That’s not how I work.

KM: I know that, but I don’t understand why.

God: You’re not meant to understand why, Neel. You’re just meant to believe in faith. If I explained it to you, it wouldn’t be mysterious would it?

KM: I guess not.

God: And you know I work in mysterious ways.

KM: That I do.

God: So, have faith, Neel. Accept the gift.

KM: Thanks, God.

KM: Good night, Neel. Sleep well.

KM: Night, God.


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Stronger than any sin


Kneeling Man: Hi God, it’s me Neel.

God: Hi, Neel. How can I help you today?

KM: Once you’ve forgiven a sin, that’s it isn’t it? It’s not like being on parole where if you commit another sin you can add the old ones on top of the new sentence.

God: When a sin is forgiven, that, as you say, is it.

KM: And you can forgive any sin, regardless of how bad it is?

God: Provided the sinner asks for forgiveness, yes. You’re not planning on committing a grave sin, are you Neal?

KM: Of course not, God. You know that. You can read my mind.

God: Just testing. And… you know… just in case I wasn’t paying attention.

KM: Can you hear the screams of the sinners in hell?

God: Of course.

KM: So you can hear their prayers as well?

God: People in hell don’t pray. They’re too busy dealing with pain and flames and the devil to even think about praying.

KM: So really the last chance you get is if you see the gates of hell and you realise that’s where you’re going?

God: Pretty much.

KM: Will a last minute prayer be enough to do the job?

God: The job?

KM: Avoiding hell and going to heaven instead.

God: A sincere prayer for forgiveness will always be answered. Just don’t make the mistake of relying on that though. If you die while you’re unconscious…

KM: That’s why I always talk to you before I go to sleep.

God: I know. Sleep well, Neel.

KM: Night, God.


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The gentleness


Kneeling Man: Can I have the gentleness please?

God: Sure. Have as much as you like.

KM: Is there no limit? I thought I might have to do something for it. Like say a few Hail Marys or something.

God: No, you can go for it. The only problem with having too much gentleness is people may start to take advantage of you.

KM: But if I’m really meek, I’ll end up inheriting the earth won’t I?

God: Yes, of course. But not until after you’re dead.

KM: How does that work?

God: Mysteriously. You do inherit the earth. Just not in this lifetime.

KM: Right. Okay. Anyway I suppose I’m going to need a bit more gentleness. I can understand the poor. They’ve got no dosh. Been there myself once or twice. And I’m not afraid of them, so I’m sort of half way there, but loving them? Is that strictly necessary?

God: Well, not in a physical sense, no.

KM: Thank Christ for that.

God: I’ll let him know.

KM: Cheers. About the devoid of calculation bit?

God: Yeah?

KM: I don’t think I ever do calculations when I see poor people. I mean they’ve got nothing, so there’s nothing to add up, is there?

God: I don’t think that’s what the Pope meant by that.

KM: Well what did he mean?

God: I’m not sure. Leave it with me.

KM: Okay, thanks, God.

God: Sleep well, my son.


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No other meaning and finality


Kneeling Man: So, God, I’ve been struggling with this in a couple of ways.

God: Uh huh.

KM: Firstly I don’t understand what it means. This is a bit embarrassing because thousands of people have like it and retweeted it so obviously they all understand it.

God: Not necessarily.

KM: You think they’d like it and retweet if they didn’t get it?

God: People have been known to pretend to understand things that don’t make sense. Not that I’m saying the Pontiff doesn’t make sense here, but he could be a little less obtuse perhaps. What was the other thing you were struggling with?

KM: I’m also having trouble trying to remember it. Which is not good, as the Pontiff makes it pretty clear that he wants us all to remember it.

God: He does seem to.

KM: But even using mnemonics it’s tricky, because apart from having no other meaning, I haven’t yet managed to understand the first meaning. Let alone either of the finalities.

God: That’s because there is no other meaning. Or finality.

KM: Oh, right.

God: So you’re okay with the meaning of witnessing Jesus?

KM: I’ve witnessed all the crucifixes. The church is full of them. Is crucifixes the correct plural?

God: Sounds nicer than crucify.

KM: Point taken. But surely the Pope can’t mean that the only meaning of the church is to look at the graven images.

God: You wouldn’t think so.

KM: So can you help me out?

God: Did you try asking the Pontiff? He’s the one who tweeted it.

KM: He doesn’t seem to respond to tweets. He’s pretty much a one-way from Jesus kind of twitterer.

God: Okay. So, no other meaning and finality…

KM: Oh hang on, he said “to witness to Jesus”, not “to witness Jesus”.

God: There you go, further study always helps.

KM: I still don’t get it.

God: Leave it with me.

KM: Thanks, God.

God: No problem, Neel. Sleep well.


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