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FEBRUARY SONG: Seasons In The Sun

My tears are dry. Dry like sand. Lost sand of the Sahara scratching the place between bone and marrow, a constant irritation, clogging up my eyes. It's hard to cry when you're coping, managing what needs to be done. "Big boys don't" but that's not true anymore.    It comes out in dreams. The other night I was put into a psychiatric hospital, tried to escape, was captured, and locked in a room. I heard the key being turned on the outside so I was trapped, alone, in bed with no way out and I wondered would I panic or stay calm. Then I woke up. There's a bit of madness that comes with grief, especially when it's pent up, locked inside.    Next, I dreamed about Josh Groban. I was on stage and he was in the audience and I was telling him how much I love his "February Song" and today I found a very poignant video of it on YouTube. "Where has that old friend gone?" And of course, now I realize that for me it refers to John who went awa

Holy Mass Second Sunday of Lent

THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY: In Loving memory of Father John O’Brien SCA

  Meditation in the Sahara Desert Through a glass darkly. A phrase from 1 Corinthians 13 which was the last piece of Scripture I read to John the day before he died. The same phrase came to me separately and independently from Derry and Tom yesterday so it seems an appropriate place from which to start. In his unconsciousness John’s eyes remained open and, though he could not see us or anything around him in this world, it seemed to me that he was gazing into the Beyond, perceiving dim reflections of the reality towards which he was travelling, the God whom he loved all his life, the God by whom he was touched. "He touched me" was a phrase he liked to use. The Father was uncovering His face to His child and like a new-born baby learning to see, John sometimes looked a bit puzzled as if he was trying to work something out, trying to understand. But the end of that gazing is this, “…we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been

First Sunday of Lent

 

Ash Wednesday Mass

 

A FEELING FOR SNOW: Memories of Warsaw 1997

Flying To Warsaw - January 25, 1997   I’m on my way to a meeting of Pallottine Directors of Formation. Dreading it! Taking my window seat in row 14, I wait to see who my flying companions will be. It’s a nice morning but I’m tired, apprehensive and lonely. Loneliness always accompanies me on a trip like this - when I’m going alone to a strange place. Loneliness is for God.   A tall woman with short blond hair takes the seat beside me and simply asks, “How are you?” Her tone is really sincere and it makes me realize that it would be all right talking to her all the way to Amsterdam. As it turned out very little was spoken between us after the initial few words. Her little son sits next to her, while her husband and daughter are across the aisle. There is something of Australia in the woman’s voice and at some stage before take-off she cries quietly with her head turned away from me. The priest in me wants to help but it strikes me that she has the right to privacy in this moment, so

CANA (I Will Be The Water)

  i The Hour had not yet come And still here it is Brought forward at Her behest Just do what He tells you She says It will be well And all that seemed perfect before   And all the blemished, run-out days Are cheap merriment in the face Of what is taking place here You have kept the best wine till now Said the maître d' Having no idea how or Who You really are ii I do not deserve it but I know that You have given me This untimely time of my life As if I had been born too soon From the womb before the dawn Begotten You knew me first Eternally Consecrating Claiming me For Yourself and I  At last letting myself Be Cana Claimed Espousal of my soul to You I will be run out empty  A marvellous longing capacity Gallons of abundance I will be the water You will be the wine

Always In Your Presence (Psalm 73)

"I was always in your presence;  You were holding me by my right hand.  You will guide me by your counsel and so You will lead me to glory.  What else have I in heaven but you?  Apart from you I want nothing on earth.  My body and my heart faint for joy;  God is my possession for ever.  To be near God is my happiness.  I have made the Lord God my refuge."  (Psalm 73)

Leaving The 99

  Painting by Charlie Mackesy Sitting at my kitchen table feeling bruised and sore of soul, the prayer of Psalm 31 comes spontaneously and audibly to my lips – “In you O Lord I take refuge, let me never be put to shame…into your hands I commend my spirit.” It’s the prayer of Jesus on the Cross. “With Christ I hang upon the Cross!” – St. Paul locating me, telling me where I belong. The Cross being the bed of the woman ravaged by covid-19, gasping, dying of it; it is the grave by which I stand, the grave of one who died of the virus. The seasons, especially the spiritual ones, keep arriving before their time. A priest from Scotland says that we are in a long Holy Saturday since the pandemic arrived last year. I feel that I am in a Good Friday, that I am somehow crucified with Christ as a result of my decision to suspend public worship. It’s one thing to obey a decision made by Bishops and Government but it’s quite another to make the decision myself and stand by it. I would like to p

I HAVE SEEN THE STAR: Epiphany 2021

"They were men with restless hearts, not satisfied with the superficial and the ordinary. They were men in search of the promise, in search of God. And they were watchful men, capable of reading God’s signs, his soft and penetrating language." (Pope Benedict XVI) Sahara 2020 In the above photo we resemble modern day Magi, trekking through the desert in search of that which God had in store for us. We set out as strangers to each other with our own personal, private pursuit but it was necessary that we travel and arrive together and, like the Magi of the Gospel, we would return to our own country a different way. The route back might look the same but it was we who were different in our returning and our destinations would never be the same again. All pilgrimage draws our gaze forward and upwards, with little time for looking back. Like St. Paul we leave the past behind, straining forward for the gift to come. The gift and the victory. And even if the past chases us, even when

He asked me to take Him in my arms: RESPECT FOR GOD

  One day in the silence after the Gospel at Mass I picked up St. Faustina’s diary and asked God to show me something that needed to be seen in that moment. This is what I saw, “I saw the Infant Jesus near my kneeler. He appeared to be about one year old, and He asked me to take Him in my arms. When I did take Him in my arms, He cuddled up close to my bosom and said, “It is good for Me to be close to your heart. … Because I want to teach you spiritual childhood. I want you to be very little, because when you are little, I carry you close to My Heart, just as you are holding Me close to your heart right now.” ( Aleteia ) There is the danger at this point of the Christmas season that, as we begin to put away the decorations, we might also be inclined to put away the child Jesus, forgetting about this essential aspect of what He came on earth to reveal about who God is, what God is like. The Word became flesh and lived among us. Flesh is an important word here, a vital part of the birth o