“What do you plan to do with your wild and precious life?”
A potpourri of tunes:
The Shepherds got a hammering last weekend. My friend Augustine had done a hatchet job on them too. (Sermon 46; Date 414). I rather enjoyed the frisson when the culchies (in church) told the local townies that they would know nothing of sheep or shepherds. However, after a while with Richard Burton featuring (‘He knows the Shepherd story’), we moved towards the elements in life where the artist in us, can catch the wonder of God. John referred to Máire’s pictures/reflections on screen that prepare us to celebrate every week. He said that these show us who God is in multiple ways.
Confirmed: The God of surprises
The Gardaí were stopping cars at a check-point outside the bungalow while I had two lovely lassies appearing as an apparition at the door –Imogen and Isabelle. The mothers too – Debbie and Audrey had come; ready for any catwalk. The men were hovering as men do – at a careful distance. Men are very shy. It was one o’clock on Saturday. I was feeding my hungry companions at the time. The girls wanted a blessing. It was their Confirmation day. They had been to the hairdressers. They were all dressed up. They went to the Botanic Gardens. The photos recorded the event! Now they needed a blessing. Of course there was no Confirmation. But the blessing helped. The Gardaí ignored us. I recalled some of the ancestors of the girls – those who had died from the families in recent times. That was the blessing and we hoped that something was confirmed in them, in a little way. The values of faith were absorbed. I expect the girls felt that all the essentials of confirmation had occurred! And maybe they had…………..
South Africa calling:
Our online Services are intriguing. The viewing congregation is huge. Many take part and often request prayers. We pick that up and read them out during the Mass. On Sunday past – one of the online Community asked for prayers for his country. Mike (in South Africa) had written his comment and his prayer was read out at the Mass. The world- wide congregation became very real. All the looting, following the imprisonment of Jacob Zuma, prompted his praying. This was happening on Mandela Day, 18th July.
And then on Monday morning we had a 94 year-old at Mass. It was her birthday. Her daughter/granddaughter told us. Doreen is a very special lady. She joins as often as possible and she loves being with us. A 89 year-old read perfectly. Our Rita proclaims the Word. We have to listen. Both of them lead us into prayer.
However, this almost 75 year- old is jealous at how young these two are. This one is getting forgetful. Names hide in my head and are reluctant to emerge. It annoys me. My memory used to be very clear and sharp over the years. But not now. Energy levels are good. These Masses/Services take so much out of me. Those funerals exhaust me. By the evenings, I can’t concentrate to read. I can write (some would disagree with that!) most times; the fingers work. But concentration for Reading is very limited. Why are Doreen and Rita so alert and clear? It is not fair!
The enchantment of the sea:
A few articles linger in my mind from the past week or so. Brendan Leahy’s article in The Furrow is very realistic and yet visionary. He maps out graphically how we can design and begin to dream of a new Church after Covid. Andrew McMahon’s article in The Furrow also (July/August 21). He writes in the aftermath of the Mother and Child Report. It is incisive and quite forensic. He critically assesses the superficiality of the political response. Brendan Hoban’s article (Western People and ACP Website) on the hullabuloo around the New Maternity Hospital, analysed the nonsense and showed how the clinicians shut down the gibberish of so many. Professor Luke O Neill’s book: Never mind the B…….Here’s the Science is very amusing but also very informative. He has been a brighter commentator too on Radio and TV over the months. But my very special article was written by Ann Wroe in The Tablet on 3rd July 2021. Beside the Sea. Chips and contemplation. She indulged in exuberance as her poetic words captured the enchantment of the sea. I felt she brought me there. I took myself back to my early morning walks by the sea in the Algarve. I was usually the only one on the beach. Sometimes, a Dutch man and his wife might appear. Otherwise, the waves spoke to me. The birds said hello. Everything else was quiet except for the waves noisily shouting about their strength. They seemed carefree as they played with each other. There was always a message. I was very small. God was very big. There was a perspective. Words seemed very inadequate. Beauty beckoned me to bigger things. I smiled. It was sacramental.
Séamus Power from Waterford won at the six play-off hole on the PGA Tour, Barbasol Championship. Louis Hamilton won at Silverstone. Max Verstappen wasn’t happy. Collin Morikawa won the Open at Royal St George, Sandwich. He was a surprise winner and quite delightful. Mark Cavendish didn’t quite beat Eddy Merekx for the record with a sprint victory on the Champs-Elysees. Tadaj Pogacar won his second Tour de France. Waterford staggered through against Laois. Dublin footballers just about got past Meath. Tyrone managed Donegal. Limerick came from nowhere at half-time to beat Tipperary. And now Tokyo 2020 Olympics begin.
Politics can be very disheartening. The glibness of many is frustrating. Some of that arose during the week when The Commons made an effort in regard to the crimes of the past in N Ireland. And then Mary Lou comes on and vehemently opposes everything. She does want the soldiers in Court but clearly wants an amnesty for the IRA whatever about the Loyalist groups. She can’t have it both ways. Rud nach féidir. And then irony of ironies, as the UK opens up for Freedom Monday, the Health Secretary Sajid Javid comes down with Covid. Boris and Rishi Sunak tried some sleight of hand to avoid isolation but were caught by the Court of Public Opinion. God must have a sense of humour. Not only Dominic Cummings, but also Jeremy Farrar (SAGE advisor) to the UK Government, haven’t been too impressed with the competency of the UK Government. And then we have the books on the Trump era in America. These books are rather in line with the information in the supposed leaks from the Kremlin. All of them paint a sad picture. Michael Wolffls Landslide. Michael Bender’s Frankly, We Did Win This Election. Nightmare Scenario with Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta. I Alone Can Fix It – Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. All of them lead towards despair in political leadership and the meaning of democracy in the USA.
Indi is on an adventure:
She is adjusting to country life. She had to be taken to a farm last weekend. Her vocabulary may be limited but she can imitate the sounds of the farm animals. This new world of the countryside is expanding her mind and her interests. She can’t learn enough every day. She is even interested in going to bed early so that she can get up and get out in the mornings.
For Indi, every day is an adventure. She is discovering different places and people and countryside. She talks to me on the phone every night and she has so much to say, that all the words tumble out together. She expects me to understand everything. This little lady, like every little baby, is a bundle of mystery from God. How can anyone, and how can so many, not see God in such a little beautiful person? Indi sees the God in everything. She is our inspiration.
Seamus Ahearne osa