Séamus Ahearne: ‘I happened to be standing.’ (Mary Oliver)

‘I happened to be standing.’ (Mary Oliver)

For the birds:

Nine ducks were sleeping at the side of the pond at the Tolka this morning. Another appeared as if on look-out duty. I passed by as quietly as possible. They deserved to be admired. I had been entertained by the wren on my way towards the pond. There was no sight of the wren but the singing was beautiful. Mary Oliver got it right when she wrote on the wren: ‘positively drenched in enthusiasm.’ (I happened to be standing). It became prayer for her. It couldn’t be otherwise. The wren had quietened my spirit which probably ensured, that I wouldn’t disturb the ducks. I also passed by two herons; quite separate from each other. Aloof and intent on breakfast. There wasn’t even a wave this morning. My mind meandered. I was thinking of the invasion of starlings at the back of the Salesians’ home. The sisters like to share their food with the birds. I was intrigued. The baby starlings looked bigger than the mothers. All the birds were feeding. But the young ones both were feeding themselves and had their beaks wide open for the ma to provide more food. There was no one else out this morning. Every day is a revelation.

The Departure (1)

Today is the official departure day for the Augustinians from Rivermount. We had a Thanksgiving Eucharist last weekend (5th June). Dermot Farrell was a guest Celebrant. The Parish Team prepared the occasion. It was an appropriate Pentecost even if the mood was weary and sad. The 36 years were marked with gratitude. Paddy and Paul depart today (12th June). I remain (for a time) as a bridge to help all the parishes blend together. I was thinking over this weekend how appropriate the Feast of the Trinity could be/can be, for our story. I liked the playfulness of ‘wisdom’ in the revelation of God for our world. I liked the suffering, patience, perseverance, hope with the love of God poured into our hearts. I liked the Gospel telling us that it takes time to become more aware of what matters in life and to see.

The Departure (2)

Somehow Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity fits rather well. The Table. The space. The colour. The tree. The house. The cup. The homeliness of God. The hospitality. True Communion. Real Communion. Clear Communication. The bad language and the lumpy words (in the official liturgy) could not be allowed intrude on such a lovely feast. The given words on the Feast appear to set out to obstruct the way to God and to hide the God who speaks, dances, sings to us every day. I thought of our parish celebration last week. How we rescued the Liturgy from the accretions of history. The dull and formal language which kills any real hearty celebration or any proper Eucharist. Today’s Feast and the Icon is a symbol of life here in this parish. We were indeed doused with the reality of this model in five funerals these few days. The book stuff would do nothing for the lived experiences of those involved. Thank God, we can make the Word become Flesh here where we are. We humbly hope it can continue. And then a last thought: It was inevitable that the Augustinians would leave; that the parishes would come together; that a new way of being church had to be created. The hurtful residue was how badly the process was handled. The absence of talk. The missing respect. The nonsense of legalism.

Great Sport:

‘Nearies’ – was a word used in Dundee. I felt that with Leinster (X2) and with Ulster. They were so close. But the last minute suffocated them. Alex Ferguson was a genius at getting his Man United to play to the final whistle. He should be called in as consultant even though he hasn’t done much for his own team over recent years. Mayo have reappeared. Shefflin and Cody clearly tickled the journalists with their warm handshake. Henry has work to do. Lisa O’Rourke (boxer) surprised many with her display in midfield for Roscommon. And then Ireland had most people scratching their heads when the team beat Scotland 3-0.

To be honest with you:

The Capitol Committee on the 6th January riot has presented a strong case. They went public. How can the Donald still hold onto his big lie? Or Boris who is very sorry and takes responsibility for Partygate but doesn’t admit that he did anything wrong? Or how can Putin justify his invasion on the grounds of ridding Ukraine of Nazis? Or how can the gun lobby (US) believe that their Constitutional right to bear arms protects people when they see so many children murdered? There is something very corrosive in our culture that can allow the word truth be polluted. Why, I wonder do so many in the media always pepper their comments with the line – ‘to be honest with you’ as if that had to be said or as if truth, was something dead and unusual.

Indi is lost

She can’t negotiate this new website. She is looking for the usual suspects who comment on everything but have now gone into hiding. I told her that she was upset at not seeing her own photo but she insists that it isn’t her photo that she misses, but all the photos by Máire and the interesting comments. She has patience (but not much) and hopes that in time, everything will be clarified. She has a new take on the interdependence of the world. She never realised that the world got so much from Ukraine, Russia and China. Even down to the biscuits and cakes she likes and the toys she plays with. She thought everything came from the back of the car or from the shops.

God has got a new outing too. How does God talk? She asks. Has God got a Waterford accent? She wants to know. Then she is gets into a real frenzy of delight. She is almost overwhelmed with the dancing God of daily life. The dawn chorus. The lowing cattle. The waving trees. The clouds. The hills. The fish in the Blackwater. Those who write and colour books for her. She hasn’t quite reached the Poem of a three-year-old (Brendan Kennelly) and Will the Flowers die? But she is a bundle of curiosity. And everything speaks of God to her. She even reluctantly but pleasantly thinks that God has a voice and a word in what her parents do with her and how they love her. Sometimes she prefers the company of other young people because these adults don’t seem to understand very much; they get so serious. Their faces frown. She only wants fun. She was thrilled to hear that letters, emails, phone calls come in to me always in praise of her views. Máire used to get a look in but now it is all about Indi. (Those letters) I am only the packaging for her nonsense and the photos! Her last fascination is rather frightening. She heard that LR had spoken of her mother Betty as being very holy. Betty has a message from Jesus tattooed on her body. And much more! It is quite delightful – what I am allowed to see. Can you believe it? Indi wants one. A tattoo!

Seamus Ahearne osa

12th June 2022.

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