Séamus Ahearne: “ Not Stuffy, like going to Mass stuffiness.” (Brendan O’Connor Show)

Brendan O’Connor (Sunday morning 29th January 2023  c 12.30), I was driving away from Mass this morning. The Radio was on in the car. There was a discussion on Classical Music. I think there was some link made between Hip Hop and classical. What link? I haven’t a clue. But I caught the words of the classicist. She saw all that is happening now as a renaissance of Classical Music. She was ‘cool.’ (She said.) Classical music people aren’t “stuffy, like going to Mass stuffiness.” She said. I don’t know who she was. The thought struck me, of what a friend said one time (unintentionally); this was a ‘defecation of character’! He meant to say ‘defamation of character.’  But maybe this suits better. Should we sue? 

The Fallen and the Redeemed:

Frank Field is dying. It is taking a long time he said. He wanted to finish his book (a memoir). He didn’t think he could complete it. But he did. Frank was a Tory, a Labour man, a friend of Margaret Thatcher, and a cross-party peer. He served in Tony Blair’s Government as a minister where he was asked to think the unthinkable. But when he did; he was sacked! Everything Frank did or said, arose from his Christianity. He was very strong on the fallen aspect of human nature but also was certain of redemption. He felt that Blair’s time in Government had an exalted view of humanity which Frank felt was unwarranted by the ‘facts.’ A fine man. A good man. An inspiration. But a contrarian.

The stirring of the sap: (1)

I have lost a month. The herons haven’t seen me. The Tolka hasn’t missed me. The morning walking stopped. I will begin again now that I am able. I saw my first snowdrop and my first daffodil this morning. That stirred the inner spirit. Whether Brigid brings the Spring or not; there is definitely a waking up of the buds, on the bushes. Life is returning to the world. I respect the variety of the seasons. But winter and myself, don’t get on. I see some of the lassies turning up for Baptisms and for Funerals. The legs are long. The tops are very limited. Clothes are sparse. How can they be so warm when I feel the cold so much?  Never mind.

The stirring of the sap: (2)

I should have wintered in a warmer climate! I rather liked the response this morning to the Beatitudes (Mt 5) at Mass. There was no shortage of comment. We found three songs as we made a homily between us. Some even wanted a microphone to sing. ‘What a wonderful world’ (Louis Armstrong). ‘I’ve got a beautiful feeling, everything goin’ my way’ (Rodgers and Hammerstein). ‘Be happy.’ Despite the wintering darkness in life. The Bad news. Shootings. Stabbings. Criminality. Drugs. Alcoholism. The cost of living. The refugees. The wars. The political moaners and groaners. There are wonderful people everywhere. Content in themselves. People of the Gospel. Attitudes of graciousness. At one with God. Friendship. Kindness. Fun. Laughter. Holiday. One lad at the back of the church said – (after turning the corner from drink and drugs, etc.), he now at last has put a smile back on his mother’s face. That was the celebration. This our new Spring. Hints and whispers are plentiful. We learned too what humility could mean…..finding our own place in ambiance/aura of God.

Intimations of mortality  (Not Wordsworth)!

Twelve of us began our Novitiate in August 1964. Six have died. Vincent’s funeral is on Tuesday 31st January. He had spent most of his life in Nigeria and Kenya. He had got ordained earlier than the rest of us – he avoided UCD. I am meeting the daughter May of Michael shortly. Michael’s second anniversary was on the 21st. It will be Pádraig’s sixth anniversary on the 13th February. I must be getting old. It is a strange feeling to realise that those of us who still think we are young and full of energy, need a reminder that we now are the old ones.


She was very indignant. One of our friendly musicians was here for a funeral on Saturday. He then rang me to say that he had taken off and was arriving in Cappoquin for a gig. I asked him had he smiled and listened to the Comeraghs as he passed by. He was bad. He called them ‘only little lumps on the horizon.’ Indi didn’t like that. She is very fond of those mountains. She has a pair of mountains to look at. The Knockmealdowns and the Comeraghs. She dismissed Séamus Brett as befuddled and devoid of a poetic spirit. I tried to defend him but didn’t get far.

Then Indi took off on Brigid. She had heard that Brigid was a wild, wicked and wonderful woman. She even thought that Brigid was a Religious gaffer and probably an abbess or a bishop. These distinctions don’t impress Indi. But it was the Spring connection that Indi liked. She goes around now with those eye open, looking for any suggestion of Spring lurking anywhere. Brigid is her present heroine. Indi just loves discovering new life. Whoever told her about Paddy Kavanagh;  Indi feels a kinship with Paddy, and finds her God and his, in the countryside. She doesn’t need a bog to see God but every movement of life brings a smile to her face. A Sacrament is ‘a smile on the face of God.’ That sums it up.

Seamus Ahearne osa   29th January 2023.

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