... in meeting a former pupil

Published on 15 Feb 2017
Ploughman's lunch with beer in background.

I was teacher of a Jesuit boarding school in the 1960s. I was in my thirties and it was my first job as a priest, just two years after my ordination, now over fifty years ago. It was a great delight the other day to have a message from a former pupil that he wanted to meet up with me. He had been Captain of the School in the early seventies, a very good Head Boy, helpful to me and to all in the school. 

Over a pub lunch we chatted what had happened to us over all those years, listening to each other and asking questions. I learnt about his happy marriage and his family of three grown-up daughters, his job from which he was now retired and doing voluntary work, his parents whom he visits regularly in Wales. I told him about the different places where I have worked since being his teacher. We shared memories and news of past pupils with whom we were in contact, so many different lives. I found God in that meeting. Those who have been teachers or chaplains like me will agree that there can be a sense of the presence of God, looking back, in meeting up and sharing memories like that. Many others will have had a similar experience of gratitude when the past comes back in this way and links up vividly with the present. It is a very special way of finding God in all things and all things in God.