The Catholic Parish of
Blessed John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

A Purpose in Life.

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We have all read of the terrible suffering that occurred in the concentration camps set up by the Nazis and I am sure there are many harrowing stories to be told by the surviving inmates.

Here is one man’s story of how he managed to survive the horrors of Auschwitz.

When Victor Franklin was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz he had been researching a book he was writing entitled “Finding Life’s Meaning.” When all his clothes were suddenly taken from him by the prison guards, it included the manuscript he had hidden in the coat lining; he questioned whether his life now had any meaning at all. Then something
happened to change his outlook on life: the Nazis had given him the rags of an inmate who had been sent to the gas chamber and Franklin found in the pocket of these rags a page containing a Jewish prayer which he opened and read, “The Lord our God is one God and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” He asked himself how he should interpret such a coincidence, other than to live with his thoughts instead of merely putting them down on paper. Later he wrote, “Nothing in the world will be so effective in helping you to survive, as the knowledge that there is a purpose in your life.”

Remember, those who have a “why” to live for can bear almost anything life throws at them. Some of the most famous thinkers and writers all, had to overcome difficult problems in their lives. Charles Dickens was lame and so was Handel. Homer was blind and Plato was a hunchback. Sir Walter Scott was paralysed and St Paul spent all but seven years of his ministry in prison. So what gave each of these people the stamina to overcome their circumstances?

The answer is purpose; each of them had a dream, fuelled by a fire within them that could not be extinguished. Do we sometimes hear the call of God within us, and then do we allow the fire to be extinguished as we live our busy everyday lives?


Whenever you become tired of life, then there is something wrong with you and not life. To quote Dr Johnson, “How can any of us afford to live a day unpleasantly, when this is all we can ever hope for, before our time is up?”


Last Modified on Fri 3rd Apr 2015 20:11:29

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