Showing posts from June, 2019

Fathers Day 2019

My Dad and I had a particular kind of love that was born of years and years of family life, time spent together – bad and good times. We spent a lot of time together as family – moody morning breakfasts, hurried lunchtimes and long evenings that were often peaceful and sometimes filled with arguments. And in the era before television we spent our time by the fire talking. As little children, it was he who put us to bed saying as we walked up the stairs, “all together like Brown’s cows!” He was gentle and silent and somewhat overlooked, still is overlooked in some ways because we have always paid more attention to our Mother. And he had his weaknesses that we came to know; I had my arguments and misunderstandings with him; we got over them again and again. And through it all there was an intimacy developing, a kind of knowing that cannot be spoken but is real and deep as the ocean. From the time I was thirteen years old I worked for the summer holidays in the factory where he


Slowing to the pace of a pond, time away from mowing machines, a breeze too cool for June, a warm suntrap carved into the rhododendron bush, birdsong, rushes rustling and water lilies perfectly still. This is Ashburnham! There is no need for strain, no need to make more or less of this space in time. No need! I am in the Presence of God and His wonderful creation of which I am a part and yet apart, outstanding in dignity without any boast. This is really lovely, a welcome respite from being tired and out of breath. 40 minutes of peace, one with God, with nature and with myself. I began to ponder the readings for the feast of the Holy Trinity and I conclude again that I am unable to explain or define God. He is to be discovered by those who seek the Truth (John 16:12-15) and I urge anyone who is tempted to stop believing - I ask them at least to seek the Truth, to hold on to and protect that special inner feeling that they have for Jesus, particularly teenagers many of whom fe

Fr. Mick Timlin Remembered: 20 Years On

Our Lady of the Grapes The beginning of the year 1999 was marked by the retirement of Mick Timlin as Provincial Bursar and the first six months of the year were marked by his illness. He really hadn ’ t been well for the past couple of years but his doctor didn ’ t make much of it. There was trouble with the prostate and he was on medication. We weren ’ t satisfied but Mick didn ’ t want to put pressure on his doctor who, it transpired later, had cancer of which he died. Mick   became very jaundiced in February and it was decided that something had to be done and he was admitted to St. Vincent ’ s. His departure from here to the hospital had all the atmosphere of a final farewell and he never really returned except for a short spell. Going down the steps of the Provincial House, looking very frail, he said “ I should have done something about this a long time ago. ”   His racing green Mazda 323 was parked outside. He never got to drive it again. As John Fitzpatrick wa

FREEING THE PIGEON: A Pentecost First Communion

My First Holy Communion Day when I was 7 It's 7.30 the morning of Pentecost Sunday, the sun shines bright into my kitchen and there is a silence, the silence of seagulls that allows the other birds to be heard for a while. A beautiful, sweet sound that comes from the trees across the way. My house has had a stale smell lately, so when I got up yesterday I opened all the windows wide to let fresh air in. A strong breeze blew from the outside, circulating vigorously within. I realized that, in the same moment, I was opening wide the windows of my soul, allowing the fresh air of the Holy Spirit to come and fill me, removing what has become stale in my heart and soul and mind. In the afternoon a pigeon entered through the lower part of my bedroom window, stood there looking happy and curious until he spotted me. He went into a right flap, flying madly around the room, knocking, scattering what got in his way, clawing at the curtain, unable to get out the way he came in. So,

A Divine and Continuous Silence:

Celebrating Father Míceál Beatty’s Twenty Years as a priest St. Paul says in the first reading, “life to me is not a thing to waste words on, provided that when I finish my race, I have carried out the mission the lord Jesus gave me – and that was to bear witness to the Good News of God’s grace.” And St. Jose Maria Escriva says this of young men who are to be ordained priests, “They are being ordained to serve. They are not being ordained to give orders or to attract attention, but rather to give themselves to the service of all souls in a divine and continuous silence.”   A divine and continuous silence; a life of words not wasted! What a beautiful thing that is! A divine and continuous silence that is focused on God and the service of His people. This is the Mission that we honour, the divine and continuous silence in which we ourselves are hidden, particularly in Jesus in the Eucharist, the silence from which the Word of God is spoken and God is revealed; the silenc


It’s one of those journeys you’d rather not make, a conference you’d rather not attend but you go anyway in fidelity and with a small measure of hope that it might have meaning, that it might make a difference. There are always the few who are pleased to see you, even if the majority don’t see to see you at all, despite your attempts to break through. It’s good to have someone friendly and familiar to sit with, to ease the strain of just being there. God usually provides in the end. It was indeed worth my while because it gave a whole afternoon to our own mental health which in itself was a healthy sign, that a hundred or so men – priests - were dealing with something that affects some, and maybe many of us. The quote that stood out for me is from Carl Jung and it goes something like, “the shoe that fits one person comfortably will pinch the feet of another.” How true. A few months ago, I realized that I had been wearing shoes a size too small and my feet were suffering un