Can you believe it?

Can you believe it?

Men and Sports.

Klopp and Salah couldn’t. Bale did. When Salah became footballer of the year, Klopp spoke of he being a good man and a good human being and said that this was the most important thing about him. A Dutch man, is the only one I ever meet on the beach. He said to me this morning: “I hate Real Madrid. I was so sad that I couldn’t watch the end of the match.”
Well Leinster did the job! One of my women companions at breakfast later said: “The one good thing about men is that they can tune off from everything when sport is mentioned.” (Even the crudity of a Referendum vote). Imagine that? The one good thing….. I am deflated on behalf of the whole world of men. We are beleaguered. Should we start a support group or at least a Shed?

Wild flowers:

I go to the beach each morning at 6.30. I quietly watch the flamingos. They are so graceful,elegant and majestic until they open their mouths! Then the squawking takes over. Not unlike….. I meander my way to the sea, enjoying the wild flowers and wondering how they flourish. The neat cultivated flowers and shrubbery enthrall me but the wild flowers haphazardly smiling at the world, are full of mischief. I like that. ‘Full many a flower is born to blush unseen.’ I walk the beach which isn’t easy. The rhythm of the waves takes over. I amaze at how the beach patterns differs every day. I reach my chair and sit for a long time. The air, the variegated colours of the water, the birds, the changing sands, the sounds, all speak to me. And I try to be silent. Foolishly I bring the phone with me and am distracted.

Pope Francis and the Atheist daddy.

The other night, one of the women played a video on her phone of a young fellow with a question for Pope Francis. His dad had died. He was an atheist. Would he get to heaven? The child couldn’t get the words out. The pope hugged him and then replied. Have a look at it. He has a subtlety and an easy manner in dealing with tricky questions. This is the link: Francis is a very sensible man. Subtlety surely is a helpful word for faith people. The curse of clarity and certainly has nothing to do with God.

Night classes:

I was remembering another Francis. He comes to our Mass. He is a traveler. I have looked after his affairs for twenty one years. He called in after Mass one morning last week. He was in ragged humour. He had to get money to England for a funeral. He took down numbers from the phone – sort code; account number and many more. I wrote them down. He can’t write. He looked at what I had done. He told me that it was crooked and that I should write it again. ‘That 3 and that 5 is unsteady. ‘ Later in the day, he rang me up. He says: “Father, I hope you don’t mind me saying it, but there are courses for people like you, evening courses. You should start in September.” What an insulting brat he was and is?!

Do you love me?

I am remembering another Mass last week. That day we were discussing very seriously the awkward Jesus, asking poor gentle Peter, if he loved him. How could any decent person do that in public? John set him up I think. Anyway, I carefully and quietly said to the crowd – do you love me? There was a harmonious chorus: “No we don’t.“. I had a bad day. My little heart was shattered.

If only we had a priest:

Out here we went to two churches yesterday. The women disappeared as usual. They came back saying that they were looking for the times of Masses. And then and only then, did they realize, that I was a priest, and just might be able to celebrate Eucharist with them. Clearly they are unimpressed by my priestly demeanour.

Hello magazine:

We went out in the car. We saw those two lovely churches even if churches were the last thing on my mind. We did the shopping. What is it about women and shopping? They get some kind of buzz. They are electrified. The trolley was filled. When we were on the way back, there was a ‘cogar mogar’ tickling my ears as I carefully drove. They wanted to drop into another shop. They wanted a magazine. It was Hello magazine. We stopped. They got the English edition. They got home and devoured the photos. They were slavering over it. They are experts on the Royal Wedding. The dress. They liked this and didn’t like that. They knew all the names. All of this is beyond me. Royalty is a disease of the past. (At least Michael Curry stirred up the ceremony).
But it reminded me. One lady in our parish wrote a book some years ago. It was ‘Rituals for Key moments.’ It was a very good summary of happenings and celebrations, in the parish. She is a fastidious lady. But when the last section was being written up, she had other things on her mind. She was only interested in what Mary McAleese was wearing for her Inauguration. That dress again. I kept interrupting her viewing. She wasn’t interested. She told me to just finish it. After all her work, she didn’t care what I put down as she was preoccupied. Women are very strange. Why can’t they be more like a man??

Who needs reason when there is emotion:

When they were finally sated with royalty; they wanted news from the Referendum. Results were in. The exuberance (at the Castle) was extraordinary. It was a celebration of compassion. Ireland had thrown off the shackles of the past. ‘Free at last. Thank God, free at last. ‘ God may not have been mentioned and would have felt like an intruder. We had come into the modern world. I’m not convinced we have. I’m not certain that this type of modernity is where we want to be. I’m not sure that there were any winners. I am sure that there are losers. I worry about us in the depths of our humanity. Many of the senior politicians were stupid in their utterances. They mistook and misused emotion for reasons. Simon Harris’ drama after the announcement was rather pathetic. The basic elements of logic were lost throughout the campaign. How could anyone be against the women who have been hurt? That wasn’t the issue. I thought by now, we had some idea of what a substantive issue is, and what related and associated issues were. Emote and emote was and is the way ahead – apparently! The very important problems of women carrying a dying baby or a dead baby with the need to visit another jurisdiction was a total disaster and should have been dealt with previously. A separate and related issue but different. The medical problems were never addressed, instead abortion now is compassion. Anyway it is over. We get on with life. Our politicians – if only they were able to learn and not pander to the next best thing on offer. Jim Dillon (on Conor Cruise) “Had a wish bone for a back bone.” Well now – not a bad observation indeed. Do we need a Tribunal or an Inquiry into the use and misuse of logic in political argument? We probably need also a thorough examination of the ‘education system ‘ which would have logic at the heart of it. Church language and behavior too would need a re-examination. We have been riddled with non sequitors and crude assertions.

Nature’s way ( A sense of beauty)

Nina George (The little Paris bookshop) and The Little Breton Bistro helped amuse and intrigue us. Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama meeting in a book on ‘Joy and Happiness’ (Douglas Abrams) was rather too precious but endearing. The story of Guernsey during the war was sad and yet very compassionate. ‘Nature’s Way’. (A Sense of Beauty) (Veritas) by Patrick O Sullivan captured nature and wonder and opened the eyes of our imagination. The Eucharistic Table of Teilhard de Chardin was laid for us by Patrick. The rest was chatter and wandering and laughter and giddiness. Six people in their seventies ambling along mostly with sticks suggested time out of a care home. Their increasing senility was very obvious when they mentioned a place, or a name or a memory – with “do you remember?” And none of us could. It could be the keys or the glasses or even the sticks left behind – but the call most often was “where is the toilet”?

I write only to keep my fingers supple:

Philip Roth died. Whatever else, he wrote or said his summary of Trump was precise and apt. I am questioning how might some of his comments apply to our Irish politicians? In this place of lovely people, it still intrigues me how so many beautiful women plaster themselves with such muck on their faces. Those blacked out faces and garish rubbish distorts their faces and takes away from such beauty. I don’t mind the torn jeans! And muck on our faces is what some would see on us as Church folk. We have been left behind. We are hiding ourselves in the paint of the past. We are ornate museum pieces. And we may be. But the beauty of God is everywhere. The challenge to all of us is to reveal a God of such beauty and wonder. This is daunting. We have to strip off the paint of the ages. Our life is revelation. Never mind the Referendum. Never mind rejection. Never mind being scoffed at. Never mind our own stupidity. God still is wonderful and is still taunting us and teasing us and surprising us. Little moments like Francis with the boy is the core of our pastoral life. We collect the treasures and celebrate the privileged gifts we have. What is Trinity? Home. Table. Hospitality. Godliness. Friendship. Family. Community. Communion. Love. Eucharist is everywhere. The Table of life is open and welcoming. God is never exhausted. Whatever about men and the only thing they are good at….. in the ministry of faith there is always fun and dance and song and life and teasing and laughter. We too can say with Martin Luther King: “We have been to the mountain top and have seen the promised land. Free at last. “. We are free. I think it is the people of faith who have thrown off the shackles. Faith is freedom. Let’s enjoy the gift.
Seamus Ahearne Osa.

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