Showing posts from July, 2019

You Are Weeping Now

Broken body resting On my lap hidden Image of the unseen God in finite form frail God knows how to live And how not to be Able to keep going To birth's beginnings The end of expectancy Eternal is the space Beyond end and beginning The place of this child's Belonging forever loved By God ever before World and Womb were made "So it is with you: you are sad now, but I shall see you again, and your hearts will be full of joy, and that joy no one shall take from you." (John 16)


Up till then I never loved anyone as much as I loved my older sister Maura and then I wondered had it been a mistake to love so much. The pain of her absence was unbearable, and I honestly thought I wouldn’t survive. I thought too that I would never dance again. It was with her that I danced best, most joyfully. But I have survived and have loved again. I have danced, but never so joyfully as with her.  The morning of July 28, 1999 I was in London on my way home from holidays. There was a message to phone my sister Rose. There was no answer. So, I phoned Maura. Her youngest son answered. I said, “can I speak to your Mum.” He said, “she’s dead!” She went to bed at the age of 46 and never woke up. That was the beginning of my worst nightmare. I didn’t just cry. I howled. Those who were with me then still speak of the sound of my grieving. The experience left us all reeling as a family, fragmented and nearly destroyed.  She was my best friend, my sister and the lin

INSOMNIA: They Who Fly Home To God

"Insomnia can become a form of contemplation. You just lie there, inert, helpless, alone, in the dark, and let yourself be crushed by the inscrutable tyranny of time. The plank bed becomes an altar and you lie there without trying to understand any longer in what sense you can be called a sacrifice." (Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas) Insomnia! A brand of coffee and a state of being! Being awake when you should be asleep. It's been part of my whole life since childhood, though it's less of an affliction now. Most religious people seem to resort to formal prayer like the rosary to help them through the dark hours. Not me! I just groan - "oh God!" One such night many years ago my distress was so great that I sat up, took hold of my Bible and asked God to speak to me. What opened before me was Ezekiel Chapter 13, and I was particularly struck by verse 10:  "...they have misled my people by saying Peace! when there is no peace." My inclinati

GLASTONBURY: Do You Love Me More?

Image It’s Monday, my day off and knackered is the only word for what I feel. I’m having an americano on the pier in sunshine. It must have to do with the intensity with which I live the weekends, especially in celebrating Mass. A surprising thought entered my mind during the consecration at the last Mass yesterday, just as a weary knee genuflected - "this is where I would like to die - here, celebrating Mass!" And in the state of grace! An honest, unbidden desire! And I thought of how awful that would be for my family and all who love me. I know the awful shock of sudden death and yet, if God chose to call me in that way, then I would serve them best by it. You never know the kind of thoughts that fly through your head at such sacred moments. Friday, we had Mass for the feast of the Sacred Heart up at the school. Always a special experience from the time I walk in the gate to be mobbed by the children from Reception,


A Place to Retire to ? View from my kitchen window at home It's a long enough journey home - 10 hours from house to house - but there's no complaint except a weary body which is not a complaint. Just a fact of nature. There's a great amount of pleasure in the whole process - the train, the airport with an americano stretched out to last an hour so that I can charge my phone, a delayed but lovely flight and running in the rain to catch the 19.45 GoBus with only minutes to spare. And there I listened to all 10 episodes of Vesna Goldsworthy's 'Gorsky' on BBC Radio 4, so beautifully read by Philip Arditti. A voice that has soothed me to sleep some nights. It brought me to within 10 miles of Galway. I'm home for my brother's retirement as head teacher. He's seven years younger than me, so it's natural that I might taunt myself with the question, "what about me?" A taunt and a temptation. I’m naturally and essentially a very lazy pers