Séamus Ahearne: Being One with Patrick Kavanagh, The LIE, Michael Conway, Pádraig Daly, and Indi and the Tower of Babel

‘God is down in the swamps and the marshes, sensational as April.’          

(THE ONE.  Paddy Kavanagh)

Attention seekers:

It was the cowslips peering out of the ground; it used to be one clump but they have taken Genesis literally (increase and multiply). It was the Weeping Willow flourishing in its new coat. It was the cluster of tulips and daffodils on the public grasslands; the rainbow has dropped down to the earth.  It was Charlie Bird (MND) on top of Croagh Patrick with all the supporters and the generosity of so many towards MND and to Pieta House.

It was the soft and gentle Paddy Kavanagh talking to the children of God (in Betty O’Toole’s beautiful book) as also described so well by Una Agnew. It was Tiger Woods making his way around Augusta, despite his smashed leg. It was Rachael Blackmore winning again at Cheltenham on Honeysuckle and remembering Minella Times at Aintree (last year).  It was hearing Zelensky address the UN and asking them what it was for, if they remain so mired in helplessness. It was the ‘laugh’ of the cynics at the comedian president (in the past) but no-one is laughing now. It was listening to our own Geraldine Byrne from Ballsgrove in Drogheda speak bluntly and clearly at the Security Council. It was the Waterford hurlers winning the League. It was reading of Willie King and Brendan Hoban, being highlighted in ‘Word from the Cloisters’ , The Tablet 19th March 2022, on their contemporary take, on clerical life.

The Fall Out from Athlone:

I am recovering from the time in Athlone, where some 45 Augustinians gathered. It was great to be a listener and not have to lead anything. It was a reflective time. We have aged dramatically with an average age of 76; with six under 60 and 6 over 90. We were somewhat quiet and the usual contrarians were rather muted. There was a sense of realism too, in an acceptance, that our present way of expressing faith and our living out of that faith, has to adapt totally. This ‘New Deed’  is happening. We heard the loud cry: ‘Can you not see it?’ (Isaiah). We protested as did many of old – we feel weak; inadequate; fearful. We are called to be adventurers. That simply is the incarnation.  Christ is appearing anew in the air; the experiences; the land; the people; the language of today. The dressed up formalities of yesteryear (and the certainties) are way past their sell-by dates. Liturgies will have to change drastically. Our way of presenting faith will have to find a new language, if the Word is to become Flesh. Life in Finglas has tried a new way for years! It was good to meet since we hadn’t been together for such a long time. Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Spain, Italy were represented. We had an intruder – Covid, and we had to make a rush for the door. The New Government had been installed. I don’t know how anyone can take on these jobs anymore;  it has become so complicated. What matters though? Humanity. Humour. Humility and of course Empathy.

The News and the Lie:

Our News has been taken over by Bucha, Borodyanka, Kramatorsky, Mariupol. The Russians still produce the script that tells us they are in Ukraine to save the people and to protect them from the new Nazis. It is for their own good! The Holy Land of Greater Russia matters most. There are many believers in that propaganda. The self-righteousness of colonialists continues. Superiority. They know better. History is full of self-appointed Messiahs. And it isn’t all past. How can we ever make sense of the LIE. The LIE in the deprogramming of the Uyghurs. The LIE poisons humanity. The LIE at the heart of addiction. The LIE  in politics (Trumpland). The LIE  of criminality. The LIE in relationships. The LIE in judicial review in the name of GDPR  (Graham Dwyer/Joe O Reilly et alia.) The LIE  with the drug cartels. The LIE in a disregard for nature. The LIE that allowed Partygate happen in Downing Street. The mixed up LIE or strange confusion (at least) at the core of 11 Downing Street – with the Non-Dom of Akshata Murty, wife of Riskhi Sunak!  The values of Jesus Christ confronts all of us to be better human beings. To be truthful in all our living. The Prodigal Father of recent weeks. The woman caught in adultery with the miracle of doing it all by herself, tells us that we have to careful when throwing stones in a glasshouse! We look outward. Yes. We look inward. Yes. We look upward. The Truth has to set us free.


A Round Table mentality:

Michael Conway spoke well on Wednesday in the Webinar. The ACP has done a magnificent job with those broadcasts. Michael packaged his words very appropriately with Pádraig Daly’s poems. Now I would say that, wouldn’t I? His analysis of the culture and our place in it was clear, sharp, informative and inspirational. Some of the later interventions were rather longwinded. Mike talked of the Synodal Way and did it precisely and obviously. We don’t need theoreticians. We need practitioners. It could be described as using the round-table and not the long table where the Chief is at the top.

All of us have to think when we speak that we are practising the values of the Synod. Listening. Respect. Believing in the other. The presence of the Spirit. It isn’t just about everyone else. It is about ourselves. The new Church will emerge. The past wasn’t all wrong. In fact, it was rich. But the poet/artist of faith is forever learning and changing.  The new ministers will have to be a humble lot.

Young Indi:

She must be reading the Bible. I see that she was building a tower up to the heavens. The tower of Babel. I suppose. I think there were angels going up and coming down. Indi seems like EllyMay chatting with Paddy (Kavanagh). “I stumbled on God. He was there. He was everywhere. All over the fields. The hedges and the ditches. The buttercups and the daisies. He is sitting with us. He is in the trees and the clouds. He is minding the dog.”  (Elizabeth O’Toole – A poet in the house  P32).

Yes. Indi is alert and alive to everything around her. She is curious like EllyMay. She too wakes up her parents to that God, who is rambling around everywhere, and could be taken for granted. Why do we get so uptight about religion and church and the future?   God still dances among us. And looks for a partnership. God still makes music and we can tune it.  When we cling onto the past – we are unfaithful.

Seamus Ahearne osa








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  1. Sean Macken says:

    Séamus Ahearne: Being One with Patrick Kavanagh, The LIE, Michael Conway, Pádraig Daly, and Indi and the Tower of Babel

    Excellent stuff – especially that God is there in the Spring. A traditional Irish Catholic agreed with me recently that organised Irish Catholicism has become a joyless routine.
    I hear mention of Synod and renewal : My concern – well founded I believe, that the organisation this and the processing of contributions will bring it to a nothing.

  2. Roy Donovan says:

    Séamus Ahearne: Being One with Patrick Kavanagh, The LIE, Michael Conway, Pádraig Daly, and Indi and the Tower of Babel

    Seamus excellent funeral homily related in Irish Independent today.

  3. Brendan Hoban says:

    Séamus Ahearne: Being One with Patrick Kavanagh, The LIE, Michael Conway, Pádraig Daly, and Indi and the Tower of Babel

    Thank you for your prophetic words at the recent funeral.
    It takes courage and an unyielding respect for the truth
    to name such difficult though essential gospel truths.
    I continue to admire your resilience and determination at
    the coal face of a very challenging pastoral environment.
    Ministry at its finest.

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