Re-defining “marriage” is social engineering which privileges homosexuals above religious believers

I have today sent the following letter to my local MP. If you agree with any of the sentiments in it, please feel free to lift sentences or paragraphs for your own use.

Dear Mr Doughty,

I am the RC Parish Priest of St John Lloyd, covering Rumney, Trowbridge and St Mellons. Firstly, let this letter serve as an introduction, and congratulations on your recent election.

I am writing at this time to express my concern about the Prime Minister’s proposals for the re-definition of Marriage.

I recognise that, in common with many Western democracies, the UK has changed its position greatly in recent decades, first decriminalising homosexual acts, and then introducing Civil Partnerships. We have also introduced Equalities Legislation protecting the rights of religious believers to practice and manifest their faith.

Adherents of many traditional religions, including my own, sincerely believe that homosexual acts are morally wrong, and that same-sex relationships should be given no privileged status in law. As an elected politician in a liberal democracy, while I do not expect that you will necessarily agree with this religious viewpoint, I do firmly hope that you will be committed to defending the freedom of religious believers to hold this position without suffering discrimination from the State.

When the legislation introducing Civil Partnerships was introduced, no recognition was made of the plight of those working as Registrars who held traditional religious views and who felt, in good conscience, that they could not preside at Civil Partnerships. I would have wished for the law to provide them with either a guaranteed opt-out from doing so while keeping their jobs, or else a generous severance package recognising that new legislation had changed the job description to the extent that they could no longer perform it. If this had been done, it would have sent out a strong signal that Britain was equally serious about eliminating anti-gay discrimination and about protecting religious rights. But such provision was not made.

Now, since Civil Partnerships already exist and grant same-sex couples almost all the legal rights applicable to married couples, it is clear that the Prime Minister’s move to re-define marriage has very little to do with extending legal rights, and much to do with sending out a message. It is a message which encroaches on the position of religious believers who have their own clear understanding of what constitutes marriage.


  • The Manipulation of Language

At the moment, the terms “marriage”, “husband” and “wife” have clear meanings in law and in everyday language. They clearly identify the institution of a man and woman who have pledged themselves to one another, to form a family.

Now that the law allows alternative lifestyle choices to exist, both by recognising Civil Partnerships, and by accommodating legal recognition of elective gender-change, we have social arrangements which have no traditional language to describe them. New reproductive technology involving donor eggs or sperm, and surrogate pregnancy, also introduces new kinds of relationships.

The Prime Minister has said that he doesn’t want same-sex couples “excluded from a great institution”. But what is proposed is not “opening up” marriage but changing its meaning. Redefining marriage would mean that there would be no word available for those who wanted to indicate that they were partnered to a person of the opposite sex. The legal definition would have such a knock-on effect on the use of language that the idea that there’s something special about the union of a man and woman to produce their own children becomes almost unsayable.

Is Parliament so confident that this is the right use of language for British society that it wishes to drive through such a change? And how does this respect the rights of religious minorities for whom the word “marriage” has a clear and traditional meaning?


  • Implications for Schools

Section 403 of The Education Act 1996 requires that pupils in maintained schools “learn the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and the bringing up of children”. At the moment, therefore, schools are required to teach that it is important for society that a man and a woman form a stable partnership within which they are likely to conceive children and provide them with a stable home.

If the nature of marriage were to be redefined, schools would automatically be required to teach a different message: “In Modern Britain, it’s a good thing that any two adults can form a vowed partnership. They may want to bring up children so if they are of the same sex, they can ask someone else to help them produce a child which they will then bring up as if it were their own.”

I am sure that many people in liberal Britain would be at ease with the above statement, but a significant minority – especially, but not only, religious believers – would not. The existing provision is not discriminatory against homosexuals, because it respects the intrinsic requirement that male and female parents are needed to conceive a child.

The re-defined provision would be discriminatory against religious believers, as it would make state schools responsible for advocating a position which many religious believers cannot agree with.

If redefinition of marriage cannot be avoided, would you support the repeal of Section 403 of The Education Act 1996 (and any parallel legislation), so that the state schools can take a neutral stance on redefined marriage? A neutral stance is the only position which favours neither homosexual rights nor religious perspectives.


  • Religious Organisations and Same-Sex Ceremonies

Culture Secretary Maria Miller has announced proposals to allow religious organisations to opt-in to conducting same-sex marriages subject to a “quadruple lock”. Given that some Quakers, Liberal Jews and other religious groups advocate same-sex relationships, I as a representative of another religion have no business telling them what kind of relationships they should or should not bless. But unless a major religion has a clear and long-established tradition of promoting same-sex relationships under the name of marriage – and I am not aware of any which does – the Culture Secretary’s proposals should be applied to legislating for religious groups to conduct Civil Partnerships.

In Conclusion

Mr Doughty, to choose to redefine marriage sends a signal that in today’s Britain, the rights of same-sex couples are held in higher esteem than the rights of religious believers, because the change now proposed is not an extension of legal rights but an act of social engineering. I ask you to resist the zeitgeist of ever-increasing liberalisation by recognising that true and balanced equality for homosexuals and religious believers in modern Britain requires not a redefinition of marriage, but merely fine-tuning of the law so that same-sex couples have the same legal rights as married couples.

If you are not convinced that you should oppose the re-definition of marriage, would you at least recognise that it is best for schools to adopt neutrality rather than advocate for “new marriage”?

Yours sincerely,

Revd Gareth Leyshon, PhD, MA (Keble, 1994), BTh

A Royal Baby is Coming!

Homily at St John Lloyd, for the Vigil Mass of Christmas, 2012

Clipart representing a newspaper

Read all about it! Read all about it! News! Good news! A Royal Baby is coming!

A few weeks ago, the newspapers were filled with baby-talk. Medical experts discussed different kinds of morning sickness. Fashion editors mulled over maternity-wear. Royal correspondents speculated on the kind of reign this future King, or Queen, might expect. Much of British society was excited watching and waiting, and supportive citizens have already sent cards and romper-suits to Buckingham Palace!

The Duchess of Cambridge’s baby matters because it will be a royal baby, and represents hope for the future. It may be many years before this child comes to the throne; I am now 39, and perhaps this child won’t become King, or Queen, until I am dead and buried. But we fully expect that this child will, in the fullness of time, take up their destined role. This child brings us stability. This child brings us hope. This royal child roots us to the future!

We’ve gathered in this church tonight to celebrate the birth of another royal baby. Tomorrow is the official birthday of Jesus Christ, King of the line of David, and Son of God. It was a coming glimpsed by the Prophet Isaiah in ancient Israel. If they’d had newspapers in Isaiah’s day, the headlines after he wrote his prophecy would have said:

Scroll and Bible

Read all about it! Read all about it! News! Good news! A Royal Baby is coming!

At Christmas, we celebrate this gift of new life. Baby Jesus matters because he is not only a King, but God among us. We proclaim his status by singing carols like Once in Royal David’s City. And he is not only our King but our Saviour, our Rescuer, our Redeemer.

In some parts of Britain this week, floods have trapped ordinary people who have needed to be rescued by boat. But many are trapped by a different kind of flood, a flood of insecurity, a sense that we don’t have complete control over nature, the knowledge that we are limited and our life on earth is finite. Some of us may be struggling with guilt over some foolish action. Many of us may be burdened by a sense of shame, that we are not as good as we ought to be – an ought imposed on us by a parent, or teacher, or society at large.

The angel spoke to Joseph: “You must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people.” The very name Jesus means God-who-saves us. And this is what the Christ-child came to do – Jesus comes among us with a mission to proclaim God’s good will to all mankind. He came to tell us that whatever wrong we may have committed, God is willing to forgive us and offer us a new beginning. He came to tell all who feel deep guilt that God does not hold us responsible – the punishment for our sins would be lovingly borne by none-other than the Christ-child himself. He came to show those of us who doubt ourselves that we are loved, and loved by God. He points us to a Heaven beyond this earthly life which never ends, and where he has gone before us. He is truly our Saviour, our Rescuer, our Redeemer, and he loves us!

Bible, black with gold words

Read all about it! Read all about it! News! Good news! A Royal Baby is coming!

We in the Catholic Church have a communication problem. Half of our message gets through clearly – we’re well known for being a church with clear DOs and DON’Ts. But the other half of our message is a well-kept secret: we are a church for people who don’t always get things right. We call Jesus the Prince of Peace, because he has the power to heal the mind, and to restore the body, too, for those humble enough to seek God’s help.

For a brief and beautiful moment, the media saw the beauty of a 12-week-old child in the womb for what it is; a human life. No newspaper reported that the Duchess was carrying a royal foetus, or a pre-human embryo. Because the child was a wanted child, because it represented the hope of a nation, there was no hesitation in calling it a child and pondering its royal status. Not all children receive such recognition.

Perhaps there’s someone here tonight who, in a moment of darkness, has hurt another human being – a friend, a parent, or an unborn child – and doesn’t know how to find peace. If that’s you, then know that the Prince of Peace wishes to offer you healing, through the Church. There are paths to peace of mind through prayer and counselling. If you ask for help, the Church will not condemn you, but will help you to find the peace which only Christ can bring.

This is news worth shouting about. This is truly Good News. It’s better than a royal baby, better than Britain’s performance in the 2012 Olympics. The great news is that whoever we are, whatever we have done before tonight, God WANTS US! Yes, us, warts and all. Sins and all. Each and every one of us is invited to be a member of the Royal Court – to be a follower of Jesus.

Not to follow Jesus on Twitter – though you can find Pope Benedict there as @pontifex.

Not to follow Jesus on Facebook – though this parish launches there soon.

But to follow Jesus to the altar, where he commanded us to “do this in memory of me”. At Christmas, at Easter, Sunday by Sunday, here in St John Lloyd Church, we do what Jesus asked us to do, we explore his words and message, and we are nourished by his Body and Blood. This church, and every church, is the Royal Court of the Saviour.

You have come here this night to celebrate the birth of a royal child. The stable door is open, the light is on, but you can only experience the full peace and healing which the Christ-child offers if you remain with him to be filled with that light. He is the humble child in the manger, the one who will be your King on the last day of your life. Will you choose to be his companion?


Homily at St John Lloyd, for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year C – Expectant Mothers’ Sunday

Today, the last Sunday before Christmas, is traditionally called “Expectant Mothers’ Sunday”. In the joy of telling the story of the mothers carrying John the Baptist and the Christ-child in their wombs, it’s easy to overlook one crucial element of the story: for most of her life, St Elizabeth suffered from infertility.

Although Elizabeth and Zechariah longed for a child, they passed into old age childless. Not only was this a personal tragedy, but in the Jewish culture of those days, it was seen as a sign of God’s displeasure. Today, we wouldn’t interpret infertility as a curse from God; instead, we recognise that infertility exists, and causes extreme pain and suffering for many couples. At this time of year, when television relentlessly shows us images of happy families gathering for Christmas, the longing for a family that hasn’t happened can bring that pain to the surface. We cannot underestimate this pain.

Infertility sets a couple apart when their friends are starting families. It causes anger and tension in a marriage where one partner blames the other, or takes the guilt upon themself, for failing to produce the longed-for child. And when a devout Christian is in this situation, they might blame God, echoing the words of Micah: “No child has come to birth – why have you abandoned me?”

The pain of infertility is not rare. In Britain today, 8 out of every 100 couples find themselves unable to produce a child despite trying for two years, and naturally the next step is to seek medical help. There are approaches to fertility treatment to which the Church has no moral objection – the same fertility awareness methods which can help Catholic couples to space out pregnancies can also greatly increase the chances of conceiving a wanted child. But medical science now offers the possibility of creating a new human life in a test-tube,* a technique called IVF.** Is this moral?

Normally, the job of medicine is to help our human bodies to repair themselves, or to relieve symptoms when problems can’t be fixed. But the NHS will normally suggest IVF** as the “one size fits all” solution to infertility, and we need to think carefully about this – because IVF isn’t about repairing a human being – it’s the creation of a new human being.

There are practical down-sides to IVF. It’s been around for so long that the first generation of IVF babies are now adults. Some have said they “feel like a product rather than a person”. At a science festival, I once met a young woman who was absolutely livid that the identity of her true father would never be known to her because he was an anonymous donor. But what if we don’t allow a third party to provide any genetic material, and we give strict instructions to the doctors that they are not to produce any “spare” embryos – surely there’s nothing wrong with two married people asking doctors to make a baby in a test-tube when nothing else seems to work?

As soon as a human embryo is created, it contains everything needed to develop into a fully grown and unique*** human being. We recognise that a precious human life is present from the moment of conception – an understanding which the Gospel confirms as John the Baptist, at six months’ gestation, salutes the Christ-child newly conceived in Mary’s womb.

For questions around IVF, we have no explicit teaching from the Lord or St Paul to guide us. But Our Lord hasn’t abandoned us! He promised his followers the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, and appointed Peter as the rock on which the Church could stand secure. So in each age, when new moral questions arise, it’s the special job of the Vicar of Christ, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to guide us towards moral truth. And what the Popes see is that while God has entrusted human beings with the right and ability to manage the natural world around us, we are called to have a special humility, before God, when it comes to the creation of human life itself.

Pope Paul VI warned us of a pitfall of pride waiting for us down the road of medical technology. A humble Christian attitude understands that human life is a gift. It’s a gift which we have no right to throw away through suicide or euthanasia, and no right to wrestle into being in a test-tube. There’s nothing wrong with using medicine to repair the body’s own ability to conceive a child, but when we replace nature with a test-tube, we’re telling God that a child is our right to take, rather than God’s gift to give – and that’s a dangerous attitude of heart for a Christian.

Pope John Paul II saw clearly that there’s something sacred about the creation of a new human life. The marriage bed is the altar of the sacrament of marriage. Genesis clearly indicates that ‘two becoming one flesh’ is what our Creator intended. While medical technology can play its part before or after the moment of conception, the beginning of human life itself is something which should be respected as a moment involving husband, wife, and God alone.

In a short weekend sermon, it’s simply not possible to go into all the questions which this difficult teaching stirs up. “Surely if every child is a gift, a blessing, it’s good to bring another into the world?”, “What about children conceived this way – are they less precious?”, “Should I feel guilty for having my beautiful child, just because we used IVF?” – these are real questions, and if any of them are in your heart, they’re best dealt with in the privacy of a pastoral conversation. Suffice it to say that God loves every child unconditionally, however that child came into being.

To any family for whom infertility is a personal source of pain, if I have touched a raw nerve just before Christmas, I’ve done so because there’s a greater gift on offer: the Christ-child, who can lead you to peace of mind even through the most difficult circumstances. The gift which God offers is not easy to receive. Today’s second reading shows us how Christ comes to earth as a man saying to God “I will obey your will” and who allows his own body to suffer on the Cross. Elizabeth and Zechariah welcome their child at an age in life when they’re certainly not expecting to do so. Mary responds to God with total trust: “Let what you have said be done to me” – even though she will be wrongly accused of being unfaithful. Each of these persons attained their holiness through embracing the challenge God offered, not by avoiding it.

It’s easy to be glib and to make comments about the possibility of adopting a child, or about “offering it up” and embracing the deep pain of infertility. I have no wish to be glib from this pulpit; but as true followers of Jesus, we must set aside our own desires and embrace the unexpected duties which God sends our way. Technology offers us the promise of “what we want, when we want it”. But spirituality indicates that true peace of mind comes through the prayer of the suffering servant of God: “Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will.” Only in this way can we find true peace.

Our reasoning might not make much sense to a world which has no instinct for what is sacred, a world proud of what technology can achieve; but we who are followers of Jesus belong to a Kingdom which holds very different values. Today’s take-home message is not only that “The Church says NO to IVF”, but that behind every NO in this area, behind the NO which says that human lives are too sacred to be created in a test-tube, there shines a great YES acknowledging the dignity and value of every single, unique and precious human being.


* Technically, not a test-tube but a much more sophisticated and appropriate vessel, but for a spoken sermon I hope I am allowed some poetic license.

** There are other technologies which separate fertilisation from marital intimacy, with acronyms like IUI and ICSI. The spoken sermon refers to IVF since it is the most well-known procedure but the moral teaching applies to any technology which separates fertilisation from a sexually intimate act between husband and wife.

*** In some cases, of course, the embryo can split to form identical twins.

Additional material for on-line readers:

Due to shortness of time in a weekend homily, it was not possible to fully acknowledge additional moral problems which often arise during IVF. Normal IVF procedures result in the healthiest embryos being implanted, with the others thrown away or frozen for possible future use. If we recognise the human dignity which belongs to every human embryo, how can we be content with human life being frozen, still less discarded as mere clinical waste?

For some medical conditions, doctors suggest that IVF works better using genetic material from a third person. The couple receiving treatment would raise the child, but biologically, it will have another parent. This offends our Christian understanding of marriage. In the marriage vows of the Anglican Church in Wales, husband and wife vow to each other that “forsaking all others”, they will be faithful as long as both live. Catholic wedding ceremonies don’t use those exact words, but embrace the same understanding that marriage is an exclusive partnership. Husband and wife have promised to be faithful to each other even if sickness and “for worse” happens. And if marriage is an exclusive partnership, then using IVF to include a third parent would clearly break the wedding vows.

It is clear why, as Christians, we take a stand against third party involvement in the creation of a child: marriage vows clearly commit us to “forsaking all others”. It is clear why, as people who cherish all human life,  we cannot countenance producing multiple embryos, freezing some past their use-by date, while selectively destroying others. If we find it difficult to understand why our Popes have said “NO” to IVF in other circumstances, let us assume that they have discerned God’s will correctly, and ask God for light to help us understand this difficult teaching.

Articles 2373-2379 of the Catechism deal with infertility.

A 2004 paper by the Pontifical Academy for Life dealt specifically with fertility treatment.

John Paul II called for research into morally acceptable ways of treating infertility

Benedict XVI in 2012 addressed a special forum on “Diagnosis and Treatment of Infertility”.

Bible Sunday

Homily at St John Lloyd, for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year C – Bible Sunday

Imagine that you had the privilege to be invited to attend Mass with Pope Benedict himself. In his private chapel, you find yourself accompanied by a handful of cardinals, a bevy of bishops, and several priests and deacons – but it turns out that you are the only lay Catholic present. When it comes to the time for the First Reading, what will happen?

All of the eyes in the chapel, from the lowliest deacon, to the Supreme Pontiff himself, will turn towards you – because not one of the clergy present is permitted to read the Word of God at Mass, apart from the Gospel, as long as there’s a competent lay person present.

When we commission lay ministers to assist with Holy Communion, we call them Extraordinary Ministers, and train them to understand that the Church’s normal practice is that ordained clergy handle the Blessed Sacrament, so lay ministers only assist when there’s a practical necessity for extra help. Holy Communion is God’s gift to us who are members of His Church, so it is most appropriate for the Blessed Sacrament to be handled by ‘churchy’ ministers – that is, by those set aside by ordination for sacred duties, and wearing priest’s or deacon’s vestments.

But every baptised Christian is a proper minister of the Word. This means that each one of you present, if you have been baptised, then you are called to take God’s Word out into a world that needs to hear it. If you’ve been confirmed, God has promised you the strength to carry out this work more effectively. And when you’re present at Mass, if you can do so competently, you have the right to proclaim God’s Word to our community of faith.

There are two challenges that we all face, together: sharing God’s word in Church, especially at Mass – and sharing God’s word outside Church – in the community.

The more difficult task, of course, is sharing God’s word in the community. The Christians in ancient Philippi understood how important this was. It’s possible that they were the very first Christian community in Europe, as St Paul and the other early missionaries passed from the Middle East into Greece. In today’s letter, Paul writes to them: “I pray with joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the day you first heard it right up to the present.” If I should write my memoirs one day, I hope that I too would be able to write: “When I first came to St John Lloyd parish, I invited them to share their faith in Jesus with their neighbours, friends, colleagues and families. Over the next few years, they took God’s Word to heart and shared it with many people in Rumney, Trowbridge and St Mellon’s.”

But before we can share God’s Word with others, we need to have a clear understanding of what God’s Word is. That’s why I’m giving the monthly talks now in my series on Catholic Roots. Next year, I’ll be challenging us, as a parish, to discuss how we take the next steps – how do we find a new enthusiasm for what we believe? And what’s the most effective way to share it with those who have never been Christians, or who’ve drifted away from Christian faith? I’m deliberately using the word “Christians” rather than “Catholics”. A Catholic is someone baptised or received into the Catholic Church. A Christian is someone who is consciously trying to follow the example and teaching of Jesus. Does it make sense to be a Catholic without being a Christian?

If we’re serious about wanting to follow Jesus, we need to know what He taught – which of course we find mainly in the pages of the New Testament. But is it OK for Catholics to just pick up the Bible and read? It’s true that there were rules against Catholics reading the Bible in the past – but these rules didn’t ban Bible reading – they licensed it, so that from 1584, Catholics were only allowed to read translations of the Bible into modern languages if they had the permission of their parish priest or spiritual director.

These rules were made at a time when much of the population was poorly educated, and the Catholic bishops knew from experience that without guidance, it was very easy for people to misunderstand things in the Bible. But we now live in a very different culture, with widespread education; in 1757, Pope Benedict XIV declared that Catholics were now permitted to read translations of the Bible approved by the Vatican or containing references to Catholic scholars. Nowadays, the Church positively encourages us to read Scripture, and declares that any Catholic who devoutly studies an approved translation of the Bible will receive the kind of blessing called an indulgence.*

So we are indeed encouraged read the Bible – but do we? A recent survey found that in Britain, 17% of churchgoing Catholics said they read the Bible on a daily basis; but more than four out of five said that they read the Bible seldom or never. That’s a pity, because it means that if we are a typical congregation, more than three-quarters of the us never pick up the Bible – and with modern technology, if we can’t read, audio Bibles are readily available, too.

Bishop Kieran Conry suggests we should ask ourselves four questions this weekend:

  • Do we own a Bible?
  • Do we know where it is?
  • Do we make time to read it prayerfully daily?
  • Are we open to God speaking to us through it?

These are good questions! And I’d like to suggest a fifth one: “Where do I start?” – because some parts of the Bible are easier to understand than others. Today’s Gospel, for example, explains a prophecy from Isaiah. Who is the voice crying in the wilderness? For hundreds of years, Jews had read that passage and wondered. St Luke explains that it is John the Baptist.

The New Testament is easier to read than the Hebrew Bible, because the New Testament writers knew about Jesus and could make better sense of God’s big picture. So if you want to start reading the Bible, pick up a Gospel – perhaps Luke – and then try the Acts of the Apostles. And when should we read the Bible? Sooner rather than later, because Bible is spelled B.I.B.L.E. – that’s Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth!

Finally, I want to say a word to our Parish Readers. Thank you for your willingness to come to this pulpit and read in public. Recently some younger members of our community have started reading in public, and I would like to see our rota of readers grow larger, so at every Sunday Mass we could be sure of having two readers on duty. I know that public reading can be quite nerve-wracking, and that sometimes you have to cope with place-names or personal names which are not easy to pronounce in English. But what you do is tremendously valuable, because you are giving God’s Living Word to our gathered community – and remember, apart from the Gospel, that’s something that no Pope, Bishop, Priest or Deacon is permitted to do at Mass if you are present, willing and able! Anyone who receives Holy Communion and who can read English clearly is welcome to share in the ministry of the Word of God.

In October, I formally commissioned or re-commissioned our parish ministers of Holy Communion. As a sign that the ministry of Reading is no less important, I would like to formally commission all of the Parish Readers present at this Mass, and so I now invite you to come forward and stand before the altar, as our whole community stands to join in the Prayer of the Faithful.

  • * The full grant is of a plenary indulgence for half-an-hour spent reading Scripture devoutly, under the usual conditions, and for those who cannot read, they are permitted to make use of audio or video recordings of the Bible instead. A partial indulgence is given for devoutly attending to Scripture for a shorter period.

Every present has a past – and a future!

Homily at St John Lloyd with pupils from St John Lloyd School, for the First Sunday of Advent, Year C

Gift-wrapped box

(After holding up a gift-wrapped box…)

Why do we wrap up our Christmas presents?

Every present has a past – when we look at our wrapped-up presents we should remember that someone chose it and wrapped it for us, as an act of love.

Every present has a future – they are wrapped up now because a day will come when it is the right time to open it and enjoy the gift it contains.

In today’s readings, God says – I am GOING to keep my promise. We remember that in the past God gave us gifts, including the gift of Jesus living among us. We trust that in the future God will bring us all to a day of joy when all of God’s promises will be fulfilled. But right now we live in-between.

God is not a straight-away God. Advent is about learning to wait. The present is there! It’s a promise. But it’s wrapped up – we have to wait until the right time.

So in Advent we live in the present – and this wrapped-up present reminds us that we have already been loved and will experience future joy.

A wise person once said: yesterday’s history. Tomorrow’s a mytery. Today is a gift… that’s why it’s called the Present!