Séamus Ahearne: Burning bushes, burning cars…revelations



I was walking along on Sunday morning, by the Tolka, trying to disentangle my unruly mind. The wonder of the transfiguration was dangling before me. The burning bush and the holy ground were teasing me. I saw the two herons. I saw the hand-over of the baton from the Spring Flowers to the daffodils in the relay race of nature. I saw the water hens, the ducks and the wandering swans, shopping together, at the Food Emporium. I had seen the fading moon when I set out and then I saw the ball of fire.  The sun was rising. It was awesome. Holy ground; I was on it. Burning bush; it was shouting at me. God moments; good moments; graced moments – it does happen. I thought of the many people who reveal this daily. Haven’t we got an extraordinary opportunity in being involved in the excitement of faith every day? Revelations.


Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke with conviction to the Russian people, when he described truth. He illustrated his words with a portrait of his father. It was most impressive. Kira  Rudyk (Ukraine Deputy) spoke on Morning Ireland (Monday). She was emotional yet calm (if possible). She recounted the past; told the story of the present and predicted the future. Putin’s Russia was not to be trusted or believed. The West has to wake up and cannot stand idly by. Mealy-mouthed words of support aren’t sufficient. The clarity of the sadness was frightening. Vladimir (spoke to the BBC from Mairupol). “God, why would you bring all this upon me? I am not supposed to bury my children, my lovely girls; I failed to protect you.”  Where is the UN at present and Secretary General Antonio Guterres? I presume they are deeply involved. As some of us watched the queue of refugees snaking its way towards safety; the carrying of a dog or a cat under their oxters told a story. How can we ever explain or understand the inhumanity of it all? I find it deeply moving to listen to people who have offered space in their homes to the refugees. When I asked some how might they cope, the answer was profound. “We couldn’t but offer.  There wasn’t a choice.”


Nazanin Zaghari-Ratciffe spoke at a Press Conference in Westminster today. She spoke with such dignity and graciousness. Six years was a long time to be a pawn in political chess games. Again, how can we ever grasp how people are used by Governments?



There was silence. It wasn’t eerie. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. It was lovely. I was remembering Patrick’s Day of years ago when some in this area wanted their own Parade. The city was too far away. Robbed cars. Burned out cars. Fires everywhere. On one year, there was a great symmetry in celebration. We had 17 cars burning to mark the feast. An excited reporter was rather aghast when I said that the people here liked to have their own type of Parade. My comment was rather tongue-in-cheek but was considered inappropriate! So yes. There was silence everywhere here this time. It was a deserted village. It felt rather peaceful. I have no regrets at the changed scene. We did then have the sadness of Sandra Boyd’s shooting.



Today is World Poetry Day (21st March). Unesco wanted us to dip into the colour of language and the richness of diversity. It challenges us to an awareness of varying cultural expressions and stories. The rich hinterland of the musical repertoire in language, constantly wakes us up to beauty; to wonder; to miracles. It seems to me that faith can only be expressed if we have some grasp of the poetry of existence.  Liturgy cannot be celebrated unless the artistry of a community is tapped.

Synodal pathways may try to escape into the jargon of management-speak/facilitators’-drivel. The blethering can take over. But it has to be stopped. Synodal thinking is something simple and practical. It is not to be talked about (as the latest plan on the block). It has to be done. We listen. We respect. We hear. We are in awe of the god-gift in each person. We then work together and realise our own inadequacy. We move into the future with humility. The Spirit has to have space to interfere. Synod and Poetry share the same space. The poet is forever searching. It is treasure hunting. It is admiration for beauty displayed by the artists of life. Faith sounds somewhat similar or can. Tommy Tiernan’s Show on Saturday featured Imelda May. They spoke of the need for spirituality and how unwanted it is in present-day culture. Her poetry was rather sensual and evocative. Her talent in ‘reading it’ was moving and evocative. I believe the latest new priest – David Vard, did well. I had switched off. Was I turned off by the appearance of the clerical outfit? Hardly but possibly!!


The ageing young one: Indi

She had two parties. Guests were restricted. Parents and grandmother turned up. Her cousins had been invaded by Covid and couldn’t attend. She paraded her teddy-bears as her friends. She had a big long list of invitees, before the day arrived, but she didn’t seem to be too upset at the moment. The candles on the cake and the presents were sufficient distractions. When the fun of these faded; she began to ask about her own listing.

Her latest fascination is with words. She is surprising her parents every day. She wants to learn. They couldn’t understand at all when she told them one night that she was no longer sick and didn’t need to see a doctor. They had no idea where she got this idea. Now she had been sick but there had been no mention of a doctor. However, she had stored something about doctors in the file of her mind.

She can hardly claim to be a poet yet but for her, every day is fruitful. Those new words excite her. She has the very strange idea that God plants those words for her to find.  She almost squeals with delight with every little gem discovered. Oh if only we were as reverent with words; with the daily discoveries; with our efforts to describe the wonders of each day. If only we had the gumption to take off our shoes because of the Holy Ground of life. 


Seamus Ahearne osa

21st March 2022.






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