We really should be more grateful, you know. We could have been born in Somalia and faced with death by famine or disease. Or we could have been born in Afghanistan or Iraq or Libya, where if disease didn’t get us, NATO war planes might well have obliterated us. But we’re relatively lucky – the good Lord saw fit to have us born in Ireland.
And that’s another reason for gratitude – that the good Lord is the good Lord. Because He could have been anybody. He could have been Fintan O’Toole. Or Pat Kenny. Or Ed Moloney. Now that would have been worrying. A bit like the famous eighteen minutes of missing tape from Richard Nixon’s recordings of events in the Oval Office, we could find on Judgement Day that parts of our life had gone missing. Big parts. We’d be set on the scales and Fintan or Pat or Ed would look down on us and say “I’m not a bit happy with your life – go to hell”. It’d be useless for you or I to protest to Fintan or Pat or Ed, or try to point out that in OTHER parts of our lives we acted in truly good ways – Christian ways, in fact. When people insulted us we said nothing in return, when people ignored us we didn’t hold a grudge. In fact we spent the major part of our lives doing what Christians are supposed to do – loving our enemies, doing good to those hate us. “Bollocks to that” Fintan or Pat or Ed would say, in their role as the Lord on Judgement Day. “I’m not counting that. Go to hell”. And off we’d have to go, because Fintan or Pat or Ed would be the ultimate Judge of our lives, and being perfect as only the good Lord can be perfect, they’d do the thumb’s down and pull the trapdoor to Hades.
Scary or what? Fortunately, Fintan and Pat and Ed aren’t the good Lord, so we can add that blessing to living where we do. F and P and E may judge us, but ultimately their judgement won’t count. Let’s instead remember and follow the words of Margaret Thatcher, when told that her orders had resulted in the war-crime-chargeable deaths of over 300 Argentinian sailors on the Belgrano: “Rejoice in that!”