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The Deep Winter of Disbelief

Recently on a long flight I watched Dr Zhivago. It’s a long film but my goodness how rewarding. JulieChristie, Omar Sharif and all that snow….and what about the music? Not just Lara’s Theme, though thisblows me away, but the entire score. I was grateful that my fellow passengers seemed engrossed in theirown little world and hopefully remained unaware of the impact my trip into 1917 Russia was having on me.My heart soared and crashed as the music and evolving story…

THE IMPOSTER IN THE VATICAN

There I was trying to mind my own business enjoying the coffee and the customary treat, the caramel shortbread, not quite of the standard that my Mama used to make, but not bad at all, and it happened. Once again I had an encounter with someone who seemed compelled to tell me about their reservations about Pope Francis. This is now a pretty regular occurrence. Sometimes I see it coming, a furrowed brow, a slightly darkening countenance or a hushed…

Keeping an eye out

‘On Guard!!’ This was our cry as young boys, with our left arm bent, hand on hip, the other hand brandishing our sword as we acted out a fencing scene from The Mark of Zorro or another swashbuckling epic. These sword fights were fast and furious and often ended in one or other of us being ‘run through’. Personally, more than actually executing my opponent, I enjoyed flicking his sword out of his hand and hear it clatter to the…

Of Spooks and Ghouls and the Holy Ghost!

It seems this year more than ever Halloween has really taken off! I don’t think I ever saw such an array of scary masks and even houses decked out with witches, skeletons and lanterns. I was reminded of Halloween at home. I remember my Mum scooping out the insides of the turnip and the little butts of candles placed in them. I remember my Dad fixing the spinning wheels to our front railing, spinning the sparklers in my tiny hand,…

The God I don’t Believe In

NO I SHALL NEVER BELIEVE IN : the God who sneaks up on us to catch us out the God who enjoys, or sends pain the God who is a spoilsport, or a killjoy  the God who sends sickness the God who wants us to live in fear the God who is like Harry Potter waving a wand at whim the God who wants us to always be formal with him  the God who we can only find by chance…

Crossroads Ahead!

I don’t think it’s too dramatic to suggest that the Church is at a crossroads!  In recent days debate is growing around the submission of the Irish Church to Pope Francis with regard to the Synod. Some people are delighted that the thirty or so pages did not suffer heavy editing or dilution whilst others struggle to accept, or own, much of the substance of it. If you haven’t read it I would encourage you to do so. It is…

HOLY BREAD OR JESUS?

Recently I was a little alarmed to hear someone,  whom I thought would know better,  display a huge ignorance with what happens at Mass. Of course there are many things that happen at this beautiful and most extraordinary of experiences that we call The Mass or The Eucharist, including sorrow for sin, the communal expression of what we believe in the Creed and a missioning back into the world to spread, and indeed live, the Gospel. However at the core…

MARY – THE SECRET WEAPON!

Bring flow’rs of the rarest,From garden and woodlandAnd hillside and vale…………How truly we love thee,How dark without MaryLife’s journey would be.(Bring Flowers of the Rarest, Mary E. Walsh ) Even on some of the more secular of radio stations the first day of May saw the playing of this beautiful old song, ‘Queen of the May’ or more accurately ‘Bring Flowers of the Rarest’. It is a well established annual ritual with one particular program playing various versions of this…

PACKING UP BUT NOT PACKING IT IN!!

According to those who know about these things it is one of the most stressful things you can do. Moving house. There’s no doubt there is something about it. It’s not just the physical effort of packing and lugging stuff downstairs and off to the new place and then when you get there up more stairs. Undoubtedly some of it is about the emotion of it. There is the sadness of endings. There is the challenge of letting go of…

THE FACE

After a period of confusion or uncertainty the disciples reached a point of clarity. It is at the moment when he breaks the bread that they know for sure it is Jesus. They recognise the Lord in the profound and sacred moment in which they have become accustomed to meeting him. This, for me, is one of the most moving stories in the Gospels. The disciples are so low, so disappointed, so downhearted. It is into this darkness that the…
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