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Showing posts from October, 2020

GAZE, CONSIDER, CONTEMPLATE

Beautiful, tranquil music from the Poor Clares of Arundel. Apart from the Icons, photos were taken by me in Galway and Hastings. One picture is by my friend Mark Teiwes - Bibles open before the Blessed Sacrament in the Franciscan Church in  O Cebreiro  on the Camino

God Draws People to Himself in Unexpected Ways: Confirmation Homily

 

I LOVE YOUR FACE: The Mission of the Child

  Speaking at his Grandad’s funeral my dear friend Father Jaimie speaks about the greatness of the child in the eyes of Jesus; how we have to forget ourselves in order to remember and in remembering to become a true child. A little child who is content with the little daisies of life, content to be a daisy rather than a big impressive flower. It reminds me of a woman spoken of by John Moriarty in his autobiography, ‘Nostos’ – he asked his father why this woman was so happy and his father replied that she is happy because she is not seeking to be a tree where only a bush can grow. Something like that. Meaning that she is content to be who she is. On Mission Sunday I’ve been struck again about the place of the child in my life, the Mission of the child that constantly lifts up my heart, draws me closer to God and to my true self, simply by being the child they are. Last Sunday after Mass a ten-year-old girl commented on my mask.   It’s pale blue with white daisies. Probably not what

LOSS: The Need To Be Found

In the early 1960’s things were hard economically and my mother never tired of reminding us that “money doesn’t grow on trees” and that it was hard to “make ends meet.” So she was understandably furious when my older sister Maura, who was about 8 years old,  lost the thrupenny piece on the way to the shop to get something for the tea. I was with Maura when she decided to throw the money in the air to see if she could catch it. She didn’t and it got lost in the grass. It was a dark winter’s evening. The searching was intense. And it was in vain. The value of it in today’s buying power would be about €15 and it must have been near the end of the week and there was no more money. It was a very frustrating reality when you  had children to feed. My mother, like all of us, used to stress  from time to time over the loss of hard earned material things and then came the day when she lost her daughter. Maura didn’t wake up one morning and all of our experience of loss reached an altogether dif

St. Teresa of Avila: Let Nothing Disturb you

“My soul at once becomes recollected and I enter the state of quiet. Everything is stilled and the soul is left in a state of great quiet and deep satisfaction.” (St. Teresa of Avila) St. Teresa of Avila has been one of the most significant guides of my spiritual life since I was 17 years old. I began reading her very early in my life as a Pallottine and there are two moments – a dream and a time in prayer - that have connected me to her. In the dream I walked into an old unfamiliar church where I met my father who was already dead at the time. He pointed me to a side altar at the top left-hand side. When I went there I saw St. Teresa’s tomb in front of the altar. It was like the Italian ones with the shape of the body carved in marble; she was sleeping covered with a blanket. Then she stirred and woke up, telling me to stand between her and the altar. “Stay here” she said “and I will take care of you.” The second happened during a charismatic retreat when I was resting in the Spirit,

CONTENTMENT: I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got

  Dolores O'Riordan painted by Ryan Gannon Foster in January 2018 Morning. Bright and crisp. October 9 th – my father’s Birthday, may he rest in peace. Born in 1911. It’s also the Feast of St. John Henry Newman, Britain’s newest Saint. From outside, the voices of children echo through the church door. The prayers I requested of them are on the small table beside my chair in the sanctuary so that, as promised, I can bring them to Jesus when I pray. The voices I hear are glad – parents and children on their way to school - light and happy. Most children seem to like going to school but some don’t and I can empathise with the latter because, from beginning to end, from the age of four to seventeen, I didn’t like school at all. So, I’m really happy that it’s so far behind me, to be where I’m at now. This is a most special time of day. Morning – once the drama of waking and getting up is done. The silence of it. Silence without interruption. Except what saunters into my mind but eve

THE CATHEDRAL OF MY HEART

  “I always keep a candle burning for you in the cathedral of my heart! Yes, I always do!” So writes a friend all the way from Germany, across the distance of ten years. It’s that long since we met. We’ve known each other for about twenty-four years and were thrown together a lot in the course of work for the six years from 2005-2011. He’s a big, strong man and we’re as different as chalk and cheese. I drove him crazy with frustration at times but we have common ground, we are bonded by all of our experiences together and we even daydreamed of setting up a contemplative cenacle together. He is one of the most God-like people I know and it is an honour to be so respected in the cathedral of his heart. As a priest I find some of the best expressions of who God is, what God is like in the noble expressions of motherhood and fatherhood that I encounter. Something that parents want for their daughter and son is that they be treated with respect by others and when their child is treated wi

ALL SOUND CEASES A WHILE

  All sound ceases a while – the pausing of the wind that beats on the roof, the noise of traffic subsiding. I am Samuel in the sanctuary of the morning – “speak Lord!” A child’s footfall patters outside in the pouring rain, a voice that speaks of pleasure while the song of a robin dances in the sky. “There has been a delay” said the boy as he stepped through the church doorway. He was referring to his First Holy Communion. Four months of a delay. And, when it came to receiving his First Holy Communion, this boy skipped up the aisle with delight.