Our Mission Today
A sliver of moon:
These mornings, a sliver of a moon stares at me. Thoughts of the ‘hammer and sickle’ come to mind. (The solidarity aspect rather than any other). However, this sickle slices away at the darkness everywhere, as it prepares to hand over to the waking sun. Its night’s work is almost done. Whatever about the darkness or the flickering light; an apparition appeared on the pond this morning. The swans are back. They were talkative but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. I still don’t know where they were, or what they were up to. It is good to see the family return. We will get to know each other in the days to come. Our mission is: To let light and darkness speak into our lives.
Whatever about the early morning, these days produce a special end-of-season Show; a Last Hurrah. The trees have begun to fade into Autumn/Winter these past few days. Before they depart, they put on a display like peacocks strutting, dancing and preening in courtship. It is a thing of great beauty. The gallery of nature, demands and challenges us, to enjoy the masterpiece of an artist, experimenting with dramatic colours. Our mission is: To find the wonder of God in the beauty of nature.
The colour of poetry:
Colm Tóibín has written with devotion and admiration of Louise Gluck (Nobel Prize for literature). I don’t know Gluck and I find her poetry powerful but somewhat beyond me. It has too many classical allusions and is steeped in myths. I prefer Pádraig J Daly. Pádraig’s recent book – A Small Psalter is, as usual, very evocative. How a man who is so flúirseach with words can be so precise and so sparse in his poetry, surprises me. He uses a scalpel to strip away at every sentence and makes each word, earn its place. There is no waste ever. My bias is obvious as a fellow osa. Our mission is: To see/imitate the struggle for meaning and understanding, in the work of our poets/artists.
Lewis Hamilton, Rafa Nadal, Sanita Puspure were big winners this past week. We cannot but step back and admire the commitment, the sheer application of these people, to reach this level of achievement. The Irish team (soccer) did okay and were praised. Roy Keane was frequently scathing on the Irish team being happy with a good performance, rather than seeing the win, as the target. This time the Irish team probably deserved the praise they got. The whole venture was riddled with Covid problems which made it almost impossible to field the best team. I think all athletes of every hue, can be an inspiration for the young (and even the old) to exercise, keep fit, get involved, use their talents in every way. Our mission is: Find the gift God has given us and use it.
These times are difficult. A frequent comment dances about in conversation these months. Motivation is the problem. There is so much to do but it is hard to do much. It is true too of ministry. The need is greatest at present. But the possibility is almost nil. In fact there is a hint of redundancy around for us as ministers. We can feel useless. This is Mission Weekend. I think the Mission is Now and Here and Local. We can forget about the faraway! We have a church without worship. A church without priests. A church without meetings. A church without sacraments. A church without people. A church without communion, community, communication. What then? What now? It is a time of crisis and opportunity. To rethink what we are about; what church is about; what mission is. To take down the structures of steel. (Rigid views). To even take down the scaffolding which has been our work on maintaining the weary building. God is central. Love is core. Prayer is the oxygen. How much of our work was peripheral? Strip it back. The accretions of history. The fashions and fads which became mainstream. Even cheap and formulaic Masses! Our mission is: To get to the core message and the person of faith: Jesus Christ.
Love in the time of Covid!
Why? I don’t know. Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s novel Love in the Time of Cholera comes to mind. I’m thinking more of cholera as disease rather than as passion (the novel). But both speak to us. Florentino and Fermina and of course Juvenal were caught up in a love triangle. Could love endure despite all the dirt tracks in life for all of them? Florentino went a-wandering and squandered love. He came back. We too are struggling with a disease. I wonder do we lack passion and love in the midst of this epidemic? Can we renew the love of our youth and admit to our waywardness and meanderings and then come home to the essence of humanity and God? Our mission is: We need passion and love. The message of being out of control is the message of Covid. We are powerless! Therefore!
The wisdom of Indi:
Indi has days to go until her birthday. She will be seven months old. Her phone calls each evening are getting more excitable. Words tumble out. She has so much to say. She can’t take a breath in case she misses something. She tells me that she keeps a Diary and a Journal. She is afraid that she might forget something. She heard about Religious Emblems being removed from classrooms (News). She asks why. She doesn’t grasp it at all why so few people are interested in God. When she goes back over her Journal – she recalls her own history. She even goes back earlier to the long journey of her parents to have her. She thinks that they should be praying and screaming with thanks for her. She sees them like many people around – as shy in speaking of God. They are very private on this. She doesn’t know why. She is a brazen little besom! She is proud to shout to the high heavens of the miracle and mystery she is! “I am here,” she says. “I have come. I have changed your world. God picked me.“ She wants to tell everyone about her God.
She heard of that programme on The Confessors (TV during the week). It didn’t make much sense to her but she did have a gripe about God/Church/faith. The crazy names used in Church sometimes she thinks, are utter rubbish and very wrong. ‘Rev,’ even ‘Very Rev’, and worse again ‘Most Rev.’ She can’t even imagine how anyone could use such terms. The latest one is her pet hate – ‘The Holy Father.’ How could anyone call someone ‘His holiness’ or ‘Holy Father’? “It is preposterous,” she said. Yes. She used that word. She had another gripe. Music. She likes Lyric FM. She does find Marty in the Morning much too giddy. She was bad enough to say: “If only he would shut up and let the music speak.” She then wanted to know if everyone created music, listened to music, found music in nature and in the wonder of people. ‘Life is a cabaret,’ for Indi. Keep on singing.
This is Indi listening to Lyric fm.
She asked me about school. She is intrigued. I tell her that all the children are in class (which is great). All the doors in the classrooms are open. The windows are open. Even the little ones in ‘Early Start’ are quiet as they go about their business. I tell her that they are learning. But she says, “I am learning too every day. I want to know more and more. I am excited with every day. I just love being alive. I love looking around. I love people. I love God. I love those beautiful leaves waving all their colours at me. I love the excitement of waking up every day and seeing new things.” Now she did end by saying – she doesn’t want to hear any more experts talking of Covid or any more words on Budgets. Her little head can’t take all of this extra stuff. Our mission is: Wake up. Stay alert. Learn everyday.
Seamus Ahearne osa
PS Those who read these articles are most impressed by Máire and Indi. Máire O’ Byrne is our local Salesian Sister who produces our photos, PowerPoints and helps us to see what most of us miss. She also provides our Reflections on Facebook. She is brilliant and we are blessed in her.