Séamus Ahearne: Boris, swans, foxes, herons, hurling, Eucharist and Indi…and then some!

Boris and the Foxes!


The Feast of nature:

Tony (one of the morning people) was ecstatic. He sat at the Tolka pond. The six cygnets were having breakfast pond-side. The ma and da shadowed the chicks. Tony was two feet away and welcomed as an onlooker. A dog appeared. Immediately the ma/da sprang into action. The hiss was loud and threatening. When breakfast was over, the family went for a wander. Some of the little ones hitched a lift. The chicks had breakfast.

Tony had a feast. He pointed out the cormorant out in the centre on a rock, drying the wings. He glanced at the herons sunning themselves on the tree-tops. The dogs barked but the nonchalance of the herons showed utter disdain. He dawdled along watching the ducklings sleeping on the bank. He talked of the coots and the little ones. And then he launched into a speech of delight. He had passed the school on his way down and had seen ma and da fox with four cubs. He then said: “I live for this. For nature to talk to me every morning. For the wonders and beauty of each day to wake up my heart. This is beautiful.” Now, I had seen all of this, but wasn’t as eloquent. (I didn’t dare admit to my Tolka companion that I visited the Blackwater on Thursday morning.)

Corpus Christi:

The Open Church makes Liturgy real again. Our online Community is very participatory but having the crowd present in church, brings everything alive. This is Corpus Christi. I cannot now imagine a Mass with a preacher! Or myself as a preacher. Everyone present is that throbbing Body. The Community is the Body. Corpus Christi. The ‘living word’ of the lives at the Table is everything. We did chat on Juliana and Thomas Aquinas and Processions and Benediction and even Augustine with the ‘Amen to the Host’ but first of all it has to be an Amen to the people around us. We remembered the history of Tabernacle and the centrality of ‘the shared word.’ We spoke too of intimate moments such as Jacob and ‘God being in this place and I never knew it.’ And Kings 19 with the gentle breeze and Moses without his shoes before the burning bush and the Transfiguration. We tossed around our own such moments. Even R Voight on the Eucharist got a mention. ‘We give each other Eucharist.’

The throbbing Corpus Christi:

There are no limits. Communion has to be mean Communion. And that is very big. The hunger of the spirit; the inner gnawing at the bigger questions of life, matters deeply. That is Corpus Christi. Church is expansiveness. Church is forever restless (as Augustine said). Church is stretching out and very flexible.

Tidiness and rigidity and certainties are anathema to the faith-search and to the human-search. It is a wonderful feast if we don’t attempt to restrict it to simplistic and narrow pieties. There may be anorexia in the culture where the essential food of God is abhorred but we have lots of coaxing to do.


I cannot believe it. Galway beat Waterford. Antrim drew with Wexford. Davy Fitzgerald was put off. How could Davy ever merit that? Such a quiet man. Kilkenny are getting stronger. At least 69 athletes are poised for Tokyo Olympics plus seven boxers. Ruben Dias and Kevin De Bruyne emerge as the top footballers (soccer) of the year. England is one the favourites for the Euros. It must be the presence of former Irish men in Declan Rice and Jack Grealish.

Boris and Carrie:

The Boris and Carrie wedding story stirred the griasach of indignation. The response with technical gymnastics was embarrassing. I do smile however because there have been times when I have danced a similar jig to manoeuvre through the legalities whenever it was possible. I know it is nonsense. But when it can be done; then we do it. I have stretched the elastics wherever and whenever it was necessary. It is difficult not to blush in such circumstances. We do what we can where it matters to people. We are blessed out here. Not many are too interested in such niceties. I haven’t been bothered with an annulment for years. For which I am grateful. The fuss on such intricacies in relationships is minimal.

Boris as a church metaphor:

However on Boris, I think there is a message here. He was chosen as leader of the Tories. That upright, certain, Conservative party. Self-righteous. Definite. Always knew what was best for everyone. Came from the elite. And yet Boris came in. The blustering Boris. The bumbling Boris. The caffler. Somehow the rogue became attractive. Maybe even his marriage is a lesson. He scuttled the system. He laughed his way through. He got away with it. An example for Church. Frivolity. Is essential. Faith should be full of unsureness. Full of laughter. Full of the ridiculous. How stupid we have been so often in our tidy worlds. So many critics are caught up also in solemn seriousness. It is a culture of knowing everything and wanting everything clear and obvious too. This is never faith. We must have a light touch and be foolish. Ministers have been previously compared to The Clown. (Heinrich Boll). Well why not? It makes more sense. The solemnity/pomposity/arrogance of too many church people is off-putting and is in itself a caricature of real religion.


Young Indi:

She is very confused. Her home is in a mess. There are boxes everywhere. She only wants to empty them out as soon as they are filled. These are playthings for her. But she is slowly getting the message. They are leaving this home for another in culchie-land. She is excited at the prospect. Those big fields. The aroma of the air. The animals. The wide open spaces.

She has heard too of her cousins down south who are celebrating First Communion and Confirmation. She doesn’t understand why she can’t have those as well. This baptism talk for herself also makes her feel deprived. She isn’t sure what difference christening is going to make for her but she wants it. Now after that, she gets off the phone and tells me she is too busy to be talking. She wants to help her father and mother in their packing. It is a strange kind of helping as she scuttles every box she can.


Seamus Ahearne osa

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