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CLOSE YOUR EYES: Portraits of Maura

  After my sister Maura died unexpectedly in 1999 at the age of 46, our brother Harry wrote this song for her. It came to birth as a recording during the coronavirus pandemic. Maura Monson Foster May 9, 1953-July 28, 1999
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A Tree, A Wedding and A Wound

Saturday There was a tree in the garden in Thurles. An ordinary tree it seemed to us in the winter but in Springtime it revealed itself, giving forth two different coloured blossoms - pink and yellow. We learned that the tree with the pink blossoms had been grafted onto the main tree with the yellow blossoms, the two becoming one. One trunk, two identities. It reminds me of a couple getting married. Such a couple came to the church today. A wedding in the time of covid-19 with fifteen guests, my first since before lockdown last year. And what a joy it was to feel and behold the love of this young couple. There was a moment in the ceremony when both were kneeling, leaning shoulder to shoulder, holding each other's hands, eyes closed in intent prayer and you could sense their lives merging in a new way, in the way of the sacrament. As time goes on they, like the tree, will become more and more one while each retains something of their own distinct identity. Something similar is the d

KYRIE: Gregorian Chant

Winds That Go Howling, Breezes That Sigh

  The sighing breeze in the wake of a howling wind. Such is grief in the wake of death that is unexpected, in the wake of any death. A sigh that settles in upon one’s life; a grief that does not have words. No matter how much people want you to talk and unburden, you can't. You grow weary of its effects on the everyday things, weary of its exposure to the gaze of others who in turn must have grown tired of seeing how you are and are not. Do they want to say, “get over it and get on with life”, as is often said, or at least thought? It’s what you want to say to yourself. But it doesn’t work because you are flattened and disabled. Disabled. Mentally, emotionally and, as a result, physically. Winds that go howling, breezes that sigh. A line from “All Kinds of Everything”, the song that won the Eurovision for Derry Lindsay, Dana and Ireland way back in 1970. The excitement and innocence of it all. An innocent song that I have always thought of as harmless, associating it with butterc

PRAYER: The Atmosphere In Which I Live

  "I was always in your Presence; You were holding me by my right hand.  What else have I in heaven but you? Apart from you I want nothing on earth. My body and my heart faint for joy; God is my possession for ever.  To be near God is my happiness. I have made the Lord God my refuge."  (Psalm 73) Two images are uppermost in my mind today. Both are videos. One is a devoted priest with a fairly successful series on YouTube. His style strikes me as a bit stagey, is confrontational, sure of itself and somewhat accusatory, pointing the finger at us priests who he sees as being responsible for the state of the church in Ireland. Responsible because we are not praying enough. On this Easter Monday I think, “oh, give us a break.” It was recorded a couple of weeks ago but was sent to me yesterday as an Easter gift. I didn’t get beyond the first few minutes. Accusation has the reverse effect on me and makes me less able to do what is being asked of me. It may be my own psychological