THE SEA WAS STILL AND CLEAR: New Year's Eve 2019

Ballyloughan New Year's Day 2010

Coming to the end of this year and the decade since 2009, I’ve been looking back in gratitude at those ten years, going back a further ten to the end of the year in which Maura had died and the arrival of the new millennium. This is what I wrote then in my diary:

“The sea at Ballyloughan was still and clear as glass, reflecting all the colour - the orange, dark red and pink of the sky as the sun went down over the hills of Clare. The buildings too were washed in the colour and a cargo ship, moving slowly towards the docks, cast its shadow as it passed between the sun and the Galway coastline. The sound of birds echoed, birds skimming in formation over the water, flying towards the south.

I stood in contemplation and awe and worship. Even Vincent Browne or Stephen Hawking, if they stood here, would understand worship, without having to have it explained. It seems kind of God to let me witness this at year’s end and maybe it’s an omen of better things. Afterwards I went to the Mervue Adoration Chapel to worship the One who is behind, above, beyond and within such beauty.

Eve and Har were at home when I returned and, with Mam, we did some reminiscing and laughing by the fire. Mam and I rang in the New Year quietly, having said Mass at 10.30pm, we had and few drinks and stood at the front door at midnight shouting Happy New Year to Margaret and Brendan Dowling, the Clohertys, the Quigleys and the Kennedys who came out briefly. The air was crisp with a heavy frost and the horns of the boats in the docks sounded like they were just in front of us. This used to be a wild night for us. Now the wildness had passed to two lively parties pouring out into the gardens across the avenue. It’s another kind of life, a world apart.”
Most of those have gone from us into everlasting life.

We cross the threshold now of these two years – 2019 into 2020. Into this new decade. Every threshold, every transition has meaning – its memories and its hopes, its curses and blessings, its losses and gains. We make the crossing with Mary Mother of God, in the spirit of the Epiphany, God seen again in this little Child in the poverty of the night, the Light that shines in the darkness, Light never to be overpowered.

In revealing Himself to the Magi, God shows His absolute freedom and His ability to surprise. He is discovered in this feast, not by men of faith and not in formal prayer but by so-called pagans who were watching the stars. So accustomed were they to gazing into the night sky that they noticed when something new occurred and something really new did occur when Jesus was born. Creation reacted to his birth and the Magi were ready, open to this new event and to its surprise, the surprising self-revelation of God that we sometimes miss because we are too distracted, tightened up, closed. This is the season for opening the doors of our hearts to the Truth revealed in Christ, this Beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

Hasting Decembers 2019






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