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THE THIRD HORIZON AND A BASKET OF FRUIT

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  “If you love somebody, set them free…” sang Sting back in 1985. I sing the song now down at Rockanore. Freedom of seagulls, sea, and wind. Quite an astonishing thought! Love ultimately lets us go, sets us free, even sends us away so that we can be who we are meant to be, though we don’t often really want to be sent away, perhaps not even free. We prefer to be held, to cling. Routine, controlled, measured living and loving. The soul in me is endeavouring to reclaim something, to rediscover the purity and freedom of who I really am. This endeavour takes me to Mary Ann McDonagh’s kitchen in Kilronan of Aran, behind the pub that she ran with her sister Katie. I went there every morning as a small boy. The black range shone, and the big black kettle was always boiling for the wetting of tea at any given moment. She would sit on her kitchen chair near the table, and I would kneel at her feet, my hands resting on her lap. I loved her so much, felt utterly safe and well in her presence. And

Drifting Away

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  I feel like a Yank Returning to this rugged Remoteness Her face in repose Utterly unfamiliar In death  It is her voice That remains The bright kindliness With which she used To speak my name Summoning summer days Of another time Young men Fishing Fast driving Effortless friendship I remember David diving Into the bottle-green Calm of the deep To retrieve the oar That had slipped Drifting away Like a prophecy Coming back To the shallow shore And the dying Out of our friendship I still don’t know How we became Such strangers I think of him now Pray for him s leeping  Slipping away Far away from here The innocent bed We shared back then In the way that young friends did As close in soul As in body Word made flesh Body of Christ The tender warmth Of it The beauty And though it is lost It is a history That abides within my soul Treasured

RAFORD: Home for the Races

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Race Week stirs all sorts of memories. I’m remembering Raford, the house on the hill in the country that was my mother’s birthplace, and I’m thinking of the clear cold water from the rain barrel at the gable end, cold water scooped up in a white enamel basin put standing on the kitchen table. White soap in a saucer and a blue towel to wipe away from my face the shock of the cold water of the morning. Granny cut slices of brown bread made by her own hands, the wholemeal wholeness of her heart in it and lavished with salty country butter churned by the same hands and mine. Everything and everybody was washed in rainwater and we went to the well down the lane to draw that which would quench our thirst and wet the tea. We brought tea in a billy can across the fields to Grandad in the bog and helped him load the cart with turf, sitting on top of it for the journey home, staring down into the black water of the bog holes, terrified that the cart would turn over when its whee

CONSECRATION

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Holding the host in my sinner's hands Gazing attentively Deliberately Without distraction I speak the words of Consecration Pronouncing them As if this were the first time ever And the last “This is my Body” In this moment The galloping stampede of thoughts Is halted The tumult of emotions Stilled Here is the intersection Of heaven and earth Life and death Joy and sorrow The divine and the human Crossroads of the Cosmos Drawing all to Himself Lifted up in Peace Exaltation Adoration Pure and perfect Love Fulfilment of every hunger Consummation of all desire “My Lord and my God”

HOSEA (My Beautiful Son)

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  I would lean towards my son, Stooping down to feed him, And taking him up in my arms I would hold him safe to my cheek Kissing him Tenderly, faithfully, lovingly And raising him high on my shoulder I would be proud of him My beautiful son. I would take my son fishing: he would learn to love the sea with me and the One who is more glorious than all surgings. And though I am no fisherman I know my love for the sea And though I have no little son I know the love of God in me. " more glorious than the surgings of the sea,  the Lord is glorious on high" (Psalm 93:4)

MY LORD AND MY GOD

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  Whispered on the lips Of holy ordinary Believers Gift of Thomas To the doubting By it every church Is painted It is the shine On every polished pew Incense of the sacred Air rising Ancient prophecy fulfilled Blessed are they Who have not seen Written on every open heart   Each from our own agony Reaching out to touch The wounds of Christ Transformed My father's Consecration  Loving Adoration  Etched upon This soul of mine  My Lord, and my God! It is written on the altar

OPEN MY EYES

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Open my eyes To see Your Face That Your Light alone May shine in me Open my ears To hear Your Voice That Your Word alone May be my guide Open my mouth And breathe in me That Your Name alone May be on my lips Open my heart And fill my soul That Your Love alone May live in me.