Monday, April 25, 2022

STARING AT THE CEILING (Priest of the Hidden Life)

"Wake up in a hotel, staring at the ceiling"

The last two lines of Marianne Faithful's 'Times Square' echoing in my head, her deep, throaty, lived-in voice sings the beginning of this sunny Saturday morning in Greenock. April 23rd, second anniversary of the death of my friend Father Michael Clarke.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

EVERLASTING JOY (Easter Monday 2022)


Everlasting Joy on their faces! This phrase from the Prophet Isaiah comes to mind as I reflect on Easter weekend. Maybe not everlasting but joy all the same, an abundance of it flowing out of the church on Easter Sunday. This is what I saw coming towards me as I stood outside after Mass. And, whatever doubts I might have about myself, I allow a rejoicing to rise in me. It is the rejoicing of a father witnessing the happiness of his family. It’s not about me but them, or more correctly it's about us together.

It's Easter Monday now. Eton Mess and a cappuccino in hazy sunshine by the sea. Kind, comforting food. A feeling of tired contentment. Having travelled to two funerals in the Manchester area in the space of five days has taken its toll. It’s about a 500-mile round trip. But of course, worth it! Pallottine Sister Hedwig whom I first met almost fifty years ago, Hedwig who went as a missionary to Tanzania at the age of 62, spending 23 years there!

And my cousin Mary Monson who came into our lives in a meaningful way six years ago, bringing healing to misunderstandings of family history. A brilliant solicitor, courageous and caring, who put herself out there for the underprivileged, the unjustly treated of this world, many of whom became her personal friends and attended the funeral. Of Mary the words of Jesus in Matthew 25 can be said, “Come blessed of my Father!” I had the privilege of anointing her a few weeks before her death. May they rest in peace.

Monday, April 4, 2022



“Jesus was left alone with the woman.” This is a very striking moment, the silent wordless moment when accusation, judgement and condemnation have dispersed. He, still in the bent down position, looks up at her, symbolic of what the Incarnation means. God has bent down to us who have gone astray, taking the position of a slave, looking up to us who look up to Him in prayer.

Saturday, March 5, 2022


"O LORD, remember David and all the hardships he endured" (Psalm 132)

No thorns
No nails
No spear

An invisible Cross
On which hangs
The soul of a child's
Tormented mind


Be wilderness
Be wilder

Being tempted
Being victorious

Your head cradled
In my arms
Resting upon my heart

Wild-aired Mother
Of Christ crucified

Of the wild-aired


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Compassion! Compassion! Compassion!


Compassion! Compassion! Compassion! Three times this word appears in the Responsorial Psalm of the seventh Sunday and four times we respond, “the Lord is compassion and love” and this response is our act of faith. We believe it, and when God says something three times He means us to take particular notice, He wants us to experience His compassion.

Jesus indicates in the Beatitudes that compassion is the perfect expression of who God is. In Matthew’s Beatitudes He calls us to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”, while in Luke’s Beatitudes he says, “be compassionate as your heavenly Father is compassionate.”

Sunday, February 13, 2022

TRUST: A Tree by the Waterside

“A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord, with the Lord for his hope. He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it feels no alarm…” (Jeremiah 17)

Happy and blessed is the man, the woman and the child who trust in the Lord. Whatever our life situation, however challenging, we who trust in the Lord can endure anything because of Him, because He is with us.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

MOVE ON FROM HERE TO THE HIGHLANDS: (Assembly and other thoughts)

For some, this was the first experience of Zoom; others have had their fill of the platform and we wondered how it would all work. A virtual Provincial Assembly spread over six different time zones, six countries, four continents and twenty two men – ever conscious that we represent thousands of women, men and children whose lives we share in ministry.