04Aug The Holy Trinity

Heroes and Heroines:

We all need our heroes and heroines. The Church has produced a motley crew of saints – supposedly fulfilling that role. In many cases they are. In some cases the cosmetic make-up is off-putting.  There is a roll-call of characters in all our lives; in every community; in every section of life.   A few are flawed geniuses. But if their humanity touches us and lifts our hearts; then we become better ourselves. Butch Cassidy had words for the Sundance Kid: “Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.” The line comes in one of many memorable moments in the 1967 film. I rather like that line and it is very true.  The major and dangerous difficulty so often is, that we don’t notice such precious times, or we take people, places and memories for granted.  That is why I believe Eucharist is seldom celebrated appropriately. Our lives are half-lived. Or we sleep-walk.

The Cure d’Ars is often linked to the idea that he was a slow-learner and found it almost impossible to get through the study for priesthood.  He had a heart of faith which is beyond qualifications. Most of us are overburdened with education and still few enough have vision.   My heroes and heroines/saints are those who have the vision; who are bigger than themselves and bigger than the present moment; who have those far-seeing eyes which can call us out of ourselves to be more, better and wholesome.  I think literature has such characters. I think faith is all about such people. I think frequently it doesn’t happen. We miss the obvious.  We are too small and too limited and too caught up in the immediate.  Ministry and leadership could develop this one.

John Hume:

John Hume.  Gerry Adams. David Trimble. John Major. Albert Reynolds.  Bertie Ahern. Tony Blair. Mo Mowlam. George Mitchell. Martin McGuinness. Ian Paisley. Seamus Mallon. Bill Clinton. Alec Reid CSsR.  plus plus. These are some of the main players in our recent history.  John Hume has been compared to Daniel O Connell and Charles Stewart Parnell.  I don’t know where this came from – but a thought struck me as I was walking:  Leo Trese (from way back in the 60’s).  I think he wrote a book called ‘The Greatest of These.’   I can’t find any mention of it on google. But I want to use it for John Hume.  John was outstanding in our history.  He was better than any of them. He spoke a different language.  He never gave up.  He talked and talked. He sang. He persisted. He wasn’t limited by a narrow view of history or confined/reduced by political blinkers. He only saw people.  The Unity of people mattered. The future mattered. Living together mattered.  Religion could not be a divider. The weight and curse of history wasn’t sufficient to create a better future.  As his father told him: “You can’t eat a flag.”    He overcame bigotry; rejection; disillusionment and the bitterness of his own people. John Hume is a hero. He is an inspiration.  So all leadership has to be about communication and not dictat.

John Lewis

John Lewis died.  He too was a hero.  Barack Obama spoke in Ebenezer Baptist Church, in the pulpit of its greatest pastor, Martin Luther King, He paid his respects to perhaps his (King’s) finest disciple – Lewis. An American whose faith was tested again and again to produce a man of pure joy and unbreakable perseverance — John Robert Lewis.    George W Bush and Bill Clinton spoke.  Jimmy Carter sent his wishes.  Obama was the statesman who could lift the nation.  Barack could capture the story. His pauses are eloquent.  His masterly connection with his audience. His statesmanship. He had spoken too at Mandela’s memorial. He had spoken at John McCain’s memorial. He had spoken at many of the tragedies in America.

He had been called out of himself by John Lewis.  Another John never gave up.  And so a man like Barack could emerge and succeed. He became President of the US because of a man like John.  I felt sad for Donal Trump.  Eloquence is not his gift.   Statesmanship is not his presidential presence. He doesn’t unite. He divides. Who can tell if Mary (his niece) has got her diagnosis correct or not.  But too much of it appears likely. If any of it is true;   Donald lacks insight, self-awareness and empathy. He was elected by America. This Great America who could precisely land Space X (Hurley & Behnken) in the Gulf of Mexico last Sunday – the first such landing for 45 years and yet could only find a Donald as leader.  Trump has been kept in post by his Republican Party. He has his followers. He is not finished. Yet.   But he does suffer when compared to any of those presidents at the funeral – Clinton, Bush, Obama and Carter (Jimmy couldn’t attend but sent his wishes).

Teresa Reilly:

Teresa Reilly has died. Her funeral is on the same day as John Hume.  She wasn’t on the world stage but she was on our stage.  She lifted our hearts. She was a natural comedian. She was looking for a ‘photo’ of Jesus smiling. She made us smile.  She argued with her husband Joe (who was dead) about going to Mass in the mornings when she didn’t feel like it. He told her that she would feel better if she did.  She kissed his photo and went. Her comment then was –“he got more kisses now than he ever did when he was alive.”  Before she left the house, she winked at a picture of Jesus; and Jesus winked back at her.  She sang at Mass. She shared at Mass. She always liked the words of the psalms. She was at a funeral one day and the final song was ‘Going Home.’ She looked up into the heavens and said to Joe:  “I will be up to you soon.”  And then to her amazement she saw Joe turn to God and say: “Leave her down there. My peace will be shattered. “    Our Teresa was a heroine.  She was beautiful. She stirred all of us. We had a smiling Jesus with her presence.  She was better than all the haloed saints.

 

Seamus Ahearne osa

Ps  I believe some hospitals are charging €75 to enter. Questions are asked and temperature is taken.   I visit a hospital each week. I am asked questions and my temperature is taken. There is no charge.  What is happening?

2 Responses

  1. Kevin Walters

    “That is why I believe Eucharist is seldom celebrated appropriately. Our lives are half-lived. Or we sleep-walk”

    I have read that because of the pandemic many priests are saying mass in isolation but from my understanding this is not possible as these words given by Jesus “Take and eat; this is my body” cannot be said without a communicant been present, which leads us into this understand of Christian witness (Fellowship) “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the middle of them”.

    When Our True Shepherd meets two dispirited sheep on the road to Emmaus He feeds (Shepherds/leads) them with the promises of our God which He gathered from sacred scripture as had been given to the twelve tribes of Israel, while bearing witness to Himself (The true bread of life) which accumulated in Him been joyously recognised by His breaking of bread in fellowship with them.

    The place name Emmaus is derived from “warm spring” –symbolic of the His Way (Journey). The encounter of ‘warm embrace’ in previous times was manifest as “see how those Christians love one and other” So how do we encounter each other on the ‘Way’ in the market (Working) place of life, from the Tea Plantation to the Office as partakers of the ‘warm spring’ (Grace).

    Food for thought: ‘The Emmaus encounter’ incorporates ‘joyous living’ in sharing (breaking) the Bread (Sustenance) of Life publicly, but not the Wine (Blood) suffering of full (Confirmed) sacrificial discipleship (Focal point) of His Way. To Peter “feed my flock” we will always need ordained Leadership. So should The Sacrament of Confirmation only be conferred on Mature Christians, those capable of discerning the ‘full’ implication /calling/reality of His Sacrificial ‘Way’ of life

    I believe that the Shepherd leader for a new invigorated Church will be a humble one, with the capacity to discern and direct the potential in others, leading them also to become (working) Shepherds (Male and female), who together hold each other responsible for their combined actions, underpinned by total honesty, the serving of the Truth in all situations would be the binding mortar holding these new emerging structures together.

    The essence of Love is Truth we all fall short in the actions of Love, but no man or woman can excuse dishonest before their brothers and sisters who would serve the Truth for to do so would be an attempt to destroy the mortar (Humility) of that unity.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  2. Veronica Clerkin

    Dia Duit Seamus, would “The Greatest of These” be “You are called to Greatness” by Leo J. Trese. Thank you for your meaningful reflective postings, especially during lockdown. Your piece today “heroes/heroines has us reflecting on ours and being grateful for the many in our lives. One in a very special way our friend/mentor/challenger Fr. Tom Hamill who died 27th March, peace upon him. Shalom


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