09May As I was walking

The world is in a  terrible state of chassis:

It was The Great Escape.  I went to the park. It felt furtive. I was almost euphoric. The School (my dear friend for 7 weeks) groaned with resentment.  It felt lonely and abandoned. I do hate jealousy! I did make an effort to humour the School later. I soothed the resentment, by going there in the afternoon.  It was still sulking. But we got over it.  My joints got into the act. They protested but it was attention- seeking. They moaned too. There was a harmony of discontent.  I ignored them.  I was thinking, walking and writing. Bewley’s and Clerys have closed.   The loadbearing walls of life, are collapsing.  Surely that was Dublin in the rare old times?  How can the very ‘heart’ of Dublin be slaughtered like that?   Is it any wonder then that chaos ensues?  We have lost our bearings.  Even the clock at Clerys can no longer be a meeting place.

 

All changed, changed utterly:

The poor thief who robbed a Chinese Takeaway in Rialto, emerged, to find his bicycle stolen.  There is no honour now among thieves.  Basic values are gone.  On a world-wide scale, some scientists are predicting more pandemics. They say that the promiscuous treatment of nature, will lead to further and similar cases. The destruction of wildlife habitats will lead to viruses. There will be a cross-over contagion, from animal to human.   And then into politics:  I thought Screaming Lord Sutch, of the Monster Raving Looney Party, was dead. He has come back. He is alive among our elected. He is pacing up and down in talks on forming a Government.   The wish-list can’t be damaged by reality….. Hasn’t Leo been magnificent?

Des’ island discs:

Enda Kenny and Eddie Jordan featured on Des’ Island Discs.   Both were very loquacious. Des didn’t have to say much.  The silent/silenced Enda, never halted. The blether was a torrent. There wasn’t even a possibility of a comma. Eddie knew everyone worth knowing. Name dropping was remarkable. Brian Murray was on (Thursday). He was refreshing. He loved his home; loved his school; loved the stage. The songs/music in each case were interesting and revealing. The format does work, and there is a character sketch, which can be telling.

 

Do what I say:

Catherine Calderwood (Chief Medical Officer for Scotland) and Neil Ferguson, (Government Scientist on Coronavirus UK), resigned.  They had set out the standards for everyone else, during the Coronavirus, but these standards didn’t apply to them. The nasty word hypocrite, was used to describe them.  In a crude way – The Mission Statement of our Church would contain the words – love, care, kindness, Christ.   The sluggish and unforgiving nature of our Church in regard to Tony Flannery and Sean Fagan indicates how far the language of the Mission Statement and the behaviour of the Official Church diverges. It is hurtful and embarrassing.  The nasty word hypocrite, might be used in this case too.  Do what I say, but not what I do…..God is too big for all that.

 

Good Shepherd Sunday  (1): 

Eddie Finnegan, who graces our website regularly, is an artistic wordsmith, steeped in history. He laces his words with dollops of humour. He mused about last Sunday’s Good Shepherd Celebration in Maynooth.   The setting was good. The background scenery looked well. The input of camera-shots were appropriate. The singing/music was reflective and seductive. It drew us into prayerfulness.  Phonsie spoke personally. His Iraqi story was catching.  I was concerned lest the focus on vocations, would be too tightly defined.  Eddie was wistful on Concelebration. I think he was teasing me. But he was right.  I am very uncomfortable with Concelebration. The Architecture is wrong. The visual is loud and untrue.  I see the priest as a manager, facilitator and chairperson (at a Service). That is the function. Added extras (concelebrants) take from the Celebration in my view. A phalanx of priests to me, is very confusing.   I recall a long time ago – on the night after my ordination, we had a party. That night, there was a throw away comment to a wallflower. “You are like a po (chamber pot) on a dresser or a lighthouse in a desert – beautiful but useless.”    It caught the moment rather well. Those terms come to mind in regard to Concelebration.  I think so often it emerges from a misunderstanding of what the priestly function is. The role becomes bloated. There are too many left prancing about with nothing to do, but to be on show in Concelebration.  It is a distortion of the Eucharist and of Priesthood.

 

Good Shepherd Sunday (2)

In regard to vocation, I often think of a friend.  He was ordained. He left after a year of priesthood. He now lives locally.  He and his wife have three fostered children – two of whom are being adopted.  Each child could be considered to be ‘a special needs child’ (I won’t say more).   This once ordained man, claims to have no faith.  I would dare to suggest that his ministry at present, is more inspirational; more profound; more priestly that anything he was achieving in that first year of official priesthood. Vocation is a big word. It isn’t limited to the wonderland of priesthood. Parenting. Frontline folk. This is ministry.  Any return from exile, needs an expansive exploration of Church, Sacrament, Priesthood, Ministry.  We cannot come back to celebrate what was. We come from the desert and the wilderness. ‘The promised land’ may also be a fearful place to enter. The issues in there,  are Giants waiting to devour us. (Dt1. 28).  We cannot  be reeking of nostalgia. …..  Eddie had a comment too on Confession in these non-contact times.   My own observation is that much of Confession from our past, was manure for the scrupulous.    Confession is too big to be confined to contact or rigidity.   Or any mechanical recitation of childish misdemeanour.  We have work to do, to discover the true meaning of Confession. It is God’s work in us and through us and our attentiveness and responsiveness.  We have to relearn our faith in this new land.

 

Tell me a story:

Some stories:   A mother calls me.  She describes the days and the evenings.  The parents try to create a pattern and a structure.  There was a meltdown. The children realised that there were more weeks until they could see their friends. The mother spelt out to them the story of Gratitude.  The ground around the house. The play area is big. The company. The food. The toys. The woods. The bicycles. The weather. The song and the dancing they do together. They calmed a little. They were asked then, to think of three things each day, for which they are thankful.  It sounds the basis for Eucharist………  A grandfather broke a few rules and took out his grandchild to the park. (Glasgow). They played football. Grandfather is 59 and grandson is 11. The grandfather is smart and cheated somewhat. But they had fun.  The child began to ask what would he be, as he grew up.  Grandfather told him that life was like football. You win some and lose some. You keep on playing. Everything doesn’t run simply and well. You must toughen up and be prepared always to try again. You can never hide away or give up or blame other people.  The youngster asked – ‘was that why you grand-da and grand-ma gave a kidney each to my mum? ‘ Things go wrong in life. He was told. Yes.   That is what they did and wanted to do.

 

Parkinson’s Law:

‘Work expands to fill the time available.’  (Parkinson’s Law).   I have found that. The day is always full. There is so much to do. The phone is forever busy. The calls are long. Many are serious. The catch up on paper work/computer work is always challenging. It has to be done.  The accountant is shouting at me. Many want to talk. I even did the post which wasn’t completed since Christmas. The emails. The videos. (WhatsApp). The chats.  The stories, from all over the world, have been uplifting.  There has been a re-connection with many from the distant past. Even some still want to take the pledge. There is never a shortage of work or demand.  Ministry isn’t ever confined to Ritual.  The birds keep singing. The weather is wonderful.  There are horses everywhere!  The kindness in the community is overwhelming.  The virtual funerals are profoundly sad.  Still despite the problems of these days: What a wonderful world (Louis Armstrong. )  Today is VE day (75) we remember them.                                   Seamus Ahearne osa

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