Holy Spirit Interactive
Monday, October 23, 2017
Inside Holy Spirit Interactive
Holy Spirit Interactive: Fr. Jack McArdle: Come 'Ere Till I Tell You

Come 'Ere Till I Tell You

by Fr. Jack McArdle

When I was attending a small rural national school many moons ago, there were two teachers on the staff. The principal was a first-cousin of mine, and the assistant was my mother, who was an aunt of her boss. I myself became a teacher several years later. I taught all grades, from four-year-olds to eighteen-year-olds. I was ordained a priest at forty-one years of age, and, guess what, I went back into the classroom for the next fifteen years.

This is my way of telling you that I am a teacher by training, and by instinct! Even when I did the Retreat and Mission circuit, around the country; when I took up an appointment in a parish; when I eventually moved to work with the elderly — in all of that work, I discovered, that I was still thinking like a teacher! (A teacher should never presume that the pupils know what he's talking about! The answers presented in the exams he sets should dispel that delusion!)

All of this became more evident, and, indeed, more useful, when I began writing, and recording cassettes. No matter what the medium, my approach has always been the same. With a subject like Religion, I had never allowed it become academic, like many of the other subjects on the school curriculum. My favourite method of presenting the core message of the Gospels was to sit on one of the desks at the top of the room, and just share what I believed in, where I had come across the message, and why I believed it.

I shared what I saw as the consequences of that in the lives of others, people I knew, and, indeed, people they knew. I shared with them, also, of course, the consequences I myself experienced. I then tried to lead them to 'give it a try'. "I cannot tell you what this will do for you. I can only speak for myself. The only way you are ever going to find out what this will mean in your life is to try it yourself.

I enjoy my work enormously, whether it be the spoken or the written word. The Gospel is good news, and it is not intended as good advice. I have reason, by now, to believe that what I say, and what I write, is helpful to somebody, because I'm kept fairly busy! I tend to write exactly the way I talk, so the only big difference is whether you have your eyes open or not (and you get someone else to do the reading!). I have named this series Come 'Ere Till I Tell You, so you imagine me sitting on one of the front desks, as you read!

From my own experience, I would hope these articles serves a purpose, especially for our present hard-pressed catechists. It could also help in the preparation of homilies. Many of the stories in other books of mine are scattered throughout these chapters. I have deliberately chosen to include these stories, even at the risk of having over-used some of them. The alternative was to omit them, and I believe, by doing so, the material in this book would be enormously impoverished.

I myself have used many of the same stories in my own teaching and preaching, and, I believe, they still prove effective. You can take it that most people are not good at remembering stories, and so the listeners may not be too sure just where they heard that one before! The correct story, placed within the teaching, can be a powerful vehicle for highlighting and re-enforcing a message. I am hoping that what I now present may be inspirational for any reader of any age, who is open to reflection and prayer. Without this dimension in our lives, I don't think we can claim to be really living, and certainly not fully alive.

  1. The Snake in the Grass
  2. Some Shady Characters
  3. Recycling
  4. As Good As New
  5. Free At Last
  6. Telling It Like It Is
  7. Playing God
  8. Letting Go
  9. Pie in the Sky
  10. Right Here Right Now
  11. The Firm
  12. The Winds of Change
  13. Remembering
  14. Celebrating
  15. Listen, Lord
  16. Speak, Lord
  17. Enough's Enough
  18. Hang in There
  19. And Then There's Death
  20. Happy Ever After