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Showing posts from December, 2018


FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY This time 28 years ago – December 29th - on the eve of the Holy Family Maura and I were in hospital visiting Dad who had taken ill on St. Stephen's Day and was being checked out. As we were leaving him, she and I looked at each other and said "he's dying." There was something in his eyes that made us both think this. So, we went to the nurse in charge and said we thought our father was dying. She said, "not at all. He's fine." And we went off home. When I told Mam what Maura and I were thinking she said, "well if you think he's dying then go back and anoint him." This we did and when the praying was done two interesting things happened. First Mam took hold of his hand but he took it away as if to say this is not the time for holding but the time for letting go. Then he pulled the bed clothes up under his chin looking content and complete and told us to go off and get a drink for ourselves. We d


In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. (Psalm 19) It’s Christmas morning, still dark and I’m wide awake at 6.00 even though it was very late when I got to bed after last night’s Masses, not that the last Mass was so late but I was buzzing afterwards and it took me a while to come down to earth. Two very different and life-giving experiences. The earlier than wished for wakefulness was like a prompting of the Holy Spirit and I decided to go out in search of the dawn, something I’m not given to doing very often. I thought the view from the West Hill would be best and it was beautiful but I was drawn to the shore at Rockanore where the tide was out very far and there was plenty of sand to walk on. Down there I realized that I was walking where I had not walked before an

CHRISTMAS 2018: All I Want

Nativity by Bradi Barth The Bishop stands up and I get nervous because I feel he's going to make me jump from an aeroplane. It's a feeling, a sensation that runs through me, not a physical possibility. He has himself actually done it - jumped from an aeroplane. There's a challenge afoot and I'm afraid I won't be able for it - his plan for the renewal and future of the diocese. Having been through countless meetings like this and being the age I am I'm doubtful about what might be proposed. The language of it. I have no doubt about the Bishop’s own commitment, the energy that he’s putting into this whole process, never flagging in zeal. What sets me at ease is the line of Scripture he uses, "the Word who is life, this is our subject" - one of my favourite lines of the bible, my favourite reality. Bishop Richard  says that we go wildly wrong if we do not keep our eyes fixed on the Lord. This I agree with and I feel absolute


Above the moon and stars Beyond the edge Of what is known The space between all things The quiet dark The womb of light Where speed and stillness merge And distance has no measure A thousand years A single day Is all the same Where Love And Hope and Faith Remain pure and perfect Vision

In Expectancy of surprise

I had gone through a very difficult meeting and, feeling bruised and sorry, I sat in the back garden in Belgrano letting the sun warm me. Tommy, who was about three years old, stood watching from a distance and when he felt it was safe, he approached and started chatting. I have no Spanish and he no English, so it was a childlike conversation that drew me out of myself. He opened his little book to show me a picture of the Annunciation and I wished its joy would happen for me then. But it did not and I was not up to it. Later in the evening I was praying the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary when the Angelus bell rang and it struck me that I was experiencing a collision of sorrow with joy - that the joy of Annunciation was trying to break into my sorrow. And I chose to accept this strange mingling. It has happened many times since that, while praying the sorrowful mysteries, the Angelus will ring. The Angel of the Lord is always declaring the Good News and we are asked to receive it.