Much Ado About Nothing
The Scream (or the scream of nature) by Edvard Munch.
Was it a response to a volcanic eruption (red sky) or was it a psychological response to the commitment of his sister into an asylum? The answer isn’t important. The painting is a metaphor or symbol for us all at present.
At times, I could pick up the note and echo the scream across my backyard here. But my scream is muted compared to the screams in homes with bored children; apartments with no space; families insecure on their future employment; old folk fearful and alone; refugees; the poor who aren’t mentioned in the News that swamps us daily.
Is nature screaming back at our casual and selfish misuse of the world? Sean McDonagh picks up the words from Pope Francis’ interview with Austen Ivereigh (The Tablet) – how God forgives and we forgive but nature doesn’t.
I am reading a book (slowly). It is called Wilding by Isabella Tree. (Picador 2018) It is a wonder-story of nature. Biodiversity plus. Despite all my schooling; all my learning, I realise how little I know. This book, with many other articles on Covid 19; climate change and all such related issues, mesmerises me. My own ignorance is profound.
An Easter Visitor:
No one has come into this house since mid-March; a house that was always busy and full of visitors. But I did have an Easter visitor. It came just on time. It sprang up and smiled. It now waves at me from outside the door. It is my cowslip of the primrose family. It speaks of Resurrection. It was buried in the ground. It was walked on. Its head was probably chopped off by the lawnmower. It was forgotten. It appeared at the right time. It never forgets me. I sometimes ignore it. This is my special Easter present. It came at the right time. It does me good.
Pope Francis (1)
I found the interview with Pope Francis quite moving. (Austen Ivereigh) I liked the links he made with nature; with climate change; with rampant capitalism; with the poor; with armaments. His summary of the Next Door Saints was quite special.
I was a little concerned as he spoke of his own selfishness and his weekly visitor (Confession). I wondered. There was another little scream in me. Another echo of a different past.
It was strange too, that Massimo Faggioli has just written quite a critical article on Francis’ programme of Reform. Massimo thinks that the project is running out of puff. He agrees with Christopher Lamb (Tablet correspondent who has published a book on Francis) that the ‘enemies’ within and without, are becoming too strong.
One of my American friends (in Academia) wasn’t too impressed by the make-up of the New Commission on the Diaconate. He felt that Francis is trying too hard, to juggle the various factions and is humouring the ‘enemies.’
Pope Francis (2)
I rather liked the Easter Letter to Francis by Claire Henderson Davis. (Recent Tablet). She appealed to Francis for real hospitality in the Church.
Claire – was a blast from our past. The 60s. (Charles Davis and Florence). As an aside – Massimo Faggioli is a Professor at Villanova (USA). Barbara C. Harris who died recently, was the first female bishop in the Episcopal Church and the world wide Anglican Communion. She also studied at Villanova. I am pleased that the Augustinians are making a little contribution towards a different outlook in the world of God. There is hope.
Obama and Trump:
Last evening I turned on a video of Barack Obama endorsing Joe Biden. And then the video moved on to other speeches by Obama. I felt nostalgic. It was so different to the performances of Trump and his rants. His bitterness. His name-calling. His bullying. If it was sports, he would be sanctioned for bringing the game into disrepute. He is a sad man. His language is crude. He isn’t a statesman. But he was elected and will probably be re-elected which is a sad reflection on the electorate. Our own politicians are doing well. Even Boris was excellent on his release from hospital. The Queen too was so assured and dignified in her broadcast. (But Trump……………….)
I have seen the future (1)
A lady calls on the phone. She is in tears. “I miss you all so much. The TV Services is not the same. It is too stiff and formal.” This is indeed a most unusual time. I have my helpers too. They ring up. They shop. They jeer at this old cocooned and marooned elder. What is most striking everywhere? The silence. The birds. The colours. The smells. The phone calls. The emails. A time of reflection.
However. Now that I have time to catch up. To tidy up. To do all the post and writing. To read; I don’t feel able to read very much. To pray. Somewhat. It is good to be abandoned into isolation for Prayer. Ministry means we are always leading or preparing or doing something with others or for others. But praying alone. Meeting with God. Not just doing something. Or for someone or for others. It is a challenge.
I try to imagine what will emerge for us as Church. I recall Gabriel Daly writing a long time ago. He described how people were beginning to choose. They go a la carte on our menu. We used to have a menu on offer which was a-take-it or leave it. Everything as is or nothing. People were in or out. That is no more. It will not be the way of the future. Most people will go ‘off piste.’ Or ‘a la carte’ as Gabriel wrote many years ago.
I have seen the future (2)
Somehow I began to think of the ‘Spailpín fánach’ (of our Irish past). I don’t know why but that is the image that comes to mind. We have been evicted from our land (the land of faith and status). Now we wander. For hire. We have a rough life. We are nobodies. Useless. Itinerants. Of God. I actually like it. Our importance has diminished. We sell our labour. We can be useful at harvest time (birth, sickness, death). We will have to adjust our song; our musical instruments.
The Church and its ministers have become peripherals. That too is fine. Our creative juices can be sharpened over these weeks and months. No longer will it matter if we have female deacons or priests or celibates. We will be on call to answer the needs. And those needs will be different and new.
Seamus Ahearne osa.
We remember: Notre-Dame First Anniversary of the fire on 15thApril 2019.
We remember: Hillborough Thirty first anniversary on 5thApril 1989