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Showing posts from October, 2019

A Complete And Humble Loving

On the street in Rome We are pilgrims, passing guests, olive trees of trust in the House of God, this magnificent house of life, the wide-open welcome of God’s presence. The groaning of Creation is in us; the sighing of the Spirit; the wordless prayer of a man that rises from the depts of unknowing nothingness, out of the bowels of the earth, his own humus. The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds. It begins head bowed, eyes downcast, not daring to look towards heaven but the result of this prayer, by this prayer we are lifted up into a new intimacy with God. I’ve been committed to God all my life as a Catholic Christian and, since the age of seventeen, have given my whole self to Him as a Pallottine and as a priest since I was twenty-five. Part of that journey has been the pursuit of the virtue of humility that has eluded me time and again; all efforts to achieve it have been in vain. I have been humiliated many times and have humiliated myself many times more, but that i

VESPERS (By The Sea)

"...he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord..."  (Genesis 28:12-13) Prayer turns the soul To the red October sky Evening respite From relentless rain Relief from pain Quiet waters touching The edge of everything Removing her scarf She bares the shriven Head of her illness Bowing with Love's Own Humility  To God Who Is Known to be In the sanctuary Of this place Stairway between Heaven and Earth He walks on the top of the heights of the world; the Lord, the God of Hosts, is his name. (Amos 4:13)


It's my day off, the walking is done and I'm flicking through the television while waiting for 'Dublin Murders' to begin. My attention is caught by an Irish Country Music channel. Not the kind of thing I usually go for but I'm more open minded than in my youth so that I can listen to Margo and Big Tom and appreciate what they are doing. It's a kind song about life-long love, the last recorded by Tom before he died.  A Love That Lasted Through The Years And it's while I'm watching that on YouTube that I come on ' Shower The People' which was written and originally recorded by James Taylor but it's the Ray Lynam version that I love most. It was released by Ray in 1980 around the time of my ordination and, at the request of the Ffrench family, was played for me on RTE radio the day of my First Mass. The only part of my homily from that day that I can remember is the message of the song, "shower the people you love with love."

The Cenacle of Our Time (A Prayer)

Eternal Father You draw us to yourself In Infinite Love and Mercy That we may find Our true selves Our true Mission In the Heart of Jesus. Deliver us From all that would rob us Of this present moment For now is the favourable time. Heal our memories And our anxieties Bless us Every single one of us That we may abide with Mary In the Cenacle of our time And under the impulse of the Holy Spirit Go forth as Missionary Disciples To see the world as Christ sees To understand as He understands To love as He loves We adore you profoundly With all of Heaven And the whole of Creation In Jesus Name. Amen!

Jesus Is The Kindly Light

The oddest thing! Walking home in the dark my eye caught sight of a piece of paper trapped at the base of a seafront bench. It was flapping in the wind and it looked somehow familiar. I bent to pick it up. A Pallottine Mass League certificate that was issued at the Pallottine College, Thurles in 1996 when I was a member of the community there. I recognized the script and know who typed it but have no knowledge of the person enrolled. So, I googled his name when I got home. Flight Lieutenant Gregory Mark Noble died at the age of 28 in an RAF air accident which happened in Norfolk in January 1996. Why should this distinctively Pallottine document find its way into the path of the only Pallottine in this town? I find myself praying for him, for his family, for the secretary who typed the cert, her family, for the rector of the college and the community. But mostly I pray for Greg himself and his memory. Such a sad loss of a young life. Before the paper caught my eye, I had been

SOMETHING PRECIOUS: Love's Unquestioning Duty

I peer through the curtains of the morning to gaze upon the unwelcome day, then choosing to welcome it in the name of Christ, befriending the unknown that awaits my love. One by unexpected one they arrive by grace. “You have been trusted to look after something precious; guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” (2 Timothy 1:14) A friend has been looking after her ailing father for the past few years and I have seen how exhausted and frayed she becomes, wondering at times where can she find the strength to keep going. But she finds it, she does all that needs to be done. It is her a God-given duty, the duty of her love for him and there is no question of not doing it. It is love’s unquestioning duty and it doesn’t always feel like love. It’s what Jesus talks about in the Gospel, “when you have done all that you have been told to do, say, “we are merely servants, we have done no more than our duty.” (Luke 17:10) It is our duty to be servants of each othe

The Call of St. Matthew (Caravaggio)

When Jesus enters the room My hands are still on the money Fingers fiddling My mind distracted by it My soul oppressed by its demands My heart tangled in its deception Then glancing sideward I see the Hand outstretched Finger pointing like a new creation’s Dawning light And when He speaks It is clear that I cannot Serve both God and money It is He that I must follow However harrowed be my life I grow younger as I near Him A beauty ever ancient Emerges ever new Sitting with Him at table We sinners are drawn in To an intimacy Most Divine