Séamus Ahearne: ‘The smells of ordinariness, were new on the night drive through France: Rain and hay and wood on the air; made warm draughts, in the open car.’ (Seamus Heaney-Night Drive).

Boris (1)

The politics of the UK intrigues me. I can’t quite grasp how the sober, staid, stolid British electorate could elect a Boris. I know his flamboyance is attractive. There is a ‘grá’ for the wild one. The devil-may-care character. The outrageous. The very articulate ruffian. It is, as if – he was all they would like to be, but didn’t have the inner freedom to be so careless. And then the world of Boris began to collapse. Sajid Javid resigned. Rishi Sunak followed. PMQs arrived on Wednesday. Speaker Lindsay Hoyle lost it. Can we even imagine it? ‘Shut up or get out.’ The Alba MPs were told. In the House of Commons! Sajid Javid made a Personal Statement. And then some 59 Government ministers went. The race was on to replace Boris.

Boris (2)

The choice for leader now is with Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat. (Will change in the coming days and reduce). All kinds of confetti is thrown around by the Five, full of flimsy economic promises. Had they learned anything from Boris? They appeared on C4 for a debate. It wasn’t impressive. Some should have eliminated themselves immediately. Wooden prattle and superficial clichés were spewed out. Surely by now (after a Boris) the electorate could see that facile comment doesn’t make for a leader. That leadership means sense and vision. It means an ability to bring out the best in others. It means being straight and honest. It means being trustworthy. If someone isn’t self-aware, surely that eliminates them immediately.

Hurling as ballet:

I thought hurling was magnificent back in the 50s/60s. Tom Cheasty (my fellow parishioner) was my hero then. However the language of the game these days is exquisite. All-Ireland Final Day in July. It was a work of art. Poetic. It is music. It is a symphony. Another level. They can make the ‘camán’ talk! 60 scores today. Over 80,000 present. When all was done, it seemed it had been a stroll in the park. Helmets off. The weapon that is the hurley was put away. How do they do it? It is very special. Limerick – three-in-a-row. Kilkenny never giving up. Brian Cody playing every ball. John Kiely looking worried. And Hawkeye back at work. The skill of hurling is extraordinary. It has to be ballet on a field! 

The Eucharist and Gen 18 and Lk 10:

I was wondering. How does the Eucharist we celebrate these times fit into what the impresario put on for us today? The Oak at Mamre with the food and chat. The promise and the laughter. The hospitality for the visitors. Those moments when God drops into our lives. The surprise visitations. And then the Martha, Mary, Jesus Show. The three characters on stage. Talk. Food. Tease. Hospitality. The one who didn’t want to miss a thing. The one who didn’t do a thing. Again, it is a God-moment. A God-visit. Our Eucharist can’t be static. It cannot be passive. It cannot be loaded with lumpy language. Those prayers. That Confiteor. The Gloria. The Creed. The Preface. Everything is done to ensure that the Eucharist doesn’t live. It is stymied. It is suffocated. We have to make space for the experience of life, the experience of faith, in the real gift of everyone present. How can we do this? It isn’t a concert put on by the priest. So we can go back to the Hospitality. How do we open our minds, hearts, imaginations, to the surprises of the God-visitor daily? There is an expansiveness called from us to create a new Liturgy of life. Liturgy is an adventure. It is provocative. It is quiet. It is loud. It is mysterious. As Mary Oliver said: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.

Dream the impossible Dream:

The Irish Rugby Team did it. The All Blacks faltered in their homeland. This couldn’t/shouldn’t happen but it did. It was a brilliant achievement. Young Johnny Sexton (at 37) led his team to victory. The Irish Team wasn’t expected to win any match out there but they won three. Poor Rory slipped up at the Golf. He went close on the 150th anniversary of the Open at St Andrew’s. Now I did hear something surprising today – that Sr Ignatius was very much the instigator and probable founder of Reggae and to some extent Ska. How is that ‘for a game of soldiers’? Anything. Anyone. Anywhere. Who extends and expands the possibilities of life and living is a God-person. The ‘faithful’ person has to be an adventurer. ‘Dream the impossible dream.’ ……….. Three Herons today were indicators of the dream of nature this morning at the Tolka. I am told but didn’t see them that two peregrine falcons were on point duty there too. I did see the photos. Every day is a revelation.

ACP – Priests and Priests:

I thought of that debate and those candidates for the leader of the Tories. If we as church decided to set up some such structure for our leaders. For our priests. For our bishops. A real Debate. How would it work? I’m just thinking. I joined the ACP way back some 11/12 years ago. I was convinced that priests needed to support each other. Priesthood can be a very lonely life. The culture too has gone against us as priests (which is no bad thing), against the church. It appeared that none of us could be trusted. We were all loaded with the baggage of the past. There was very little regard for the ‘bosses’. More so for the local priests. The camaraderie of the ministry wasn’t always strong. I think the ACP has created something like a line out or a scrum; we lift each other and we push together. Not too many have got really involved (actively)  in the ACP. Not many want to write or comment. There is a tiredness around. But this is a Forum. Many have been helped. There is a place to go. There are people who will listen. Views can be exchanged. There is something good happening. Being pastoral means caring. This caring has to extend to our fellow priests and to our bishops. And we expect that from them too. It was delightful to see how many took part in those webinars during the Covid time. There was a Communion.

ACP – Priests and Bishops:  

As I was thinking of those Debates (political) – yes I thought of our leaders (bishops). They have a rough life. They have an isolating life. The rigours these times of bureaucracy can be all consuming. Legalism can overwhelm everyone. How can they have time or energy or basic humanity and humour to be pastoral? To talk with people. To listen. To step outside the formalities. To respect the experience of those working in the field of ministry. So do we need a debate? Do those candidates have insight and know themselves? How can we help? The ACP is about ministry. It is for all of us. It surely is for the bishops too. If we could come aboard as a communion; we could look out for each other and look after each other. We do need administrators to keep everything flowing properly. We need people who can make decisions. Who can work with others. But above all we need people full of basic humanity. There is the Synodal pathway. How often do we abandon our bishops into the morass of administrations where every day is full of problems and where fun and faith is smothered. We have to step out towards each other. Are we pilgrims together or not?


Has become a Commander in Chief or a Sergeant Major. She gives orders. She tells her parents what to do. She corrects them. She is the boss. They submit to her controls. I wonder where she got all this? I blame her mother!

I used the word intrigued earlier but Indi is mesmerised by sounds, colours, shadows, smells. The sound of a bee or an insect. The sound of a bird flying past. The different colours of the flowers. The changing shadows and how things look different. Animals too display different shapes and different sounds. She wants to know what they are saying and can’t understand why she doesn‘t know their words. She sees a new world every day and every moment as God showing off. She knows that God is playful. She isn’t happy having to go to bed at night. She is afraid in case she misses something. However, she tells her mother and father to go to bed too at the same time. She doesn’t want them seeing things that she will miss while asleep. They reassure her that the new day will put on another show from God.

Seamus Ahearne osa

17th July 2022.

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One Comment

  1. Paul Savage says:

    Séamus Ahearne: ‘The smells of ordinariness, were new on the night drive through France: Rain and hay and wood on the air; made warm draughts, in the open car.’ (Seamus Heaney-Night Drive)

    Boris (1) and (2)
    I used to conduct Disciplinary Hearings – as Investigator or Judge – in the Civil Service and Local Government. The, to me, obvious question left hanging in the air is, “what was the purpose of the private ‘briefing’ given to the PM about Chris Pincher in 2017?”

    No 10 have been criticised by Lord McDonald for using the ambiguous expression “resolved” and subsequently the PM used a similarly contrived choice of language by saying, “cleared up”, which has exactly the same weakness.

    Having been found “guilty” after a formal investigation, the next step was to decide what penalty, if any, should be imposed. Since civil servants do not have the power to remove ministers from office, I would have thought it unavoidable that the matter should be referred to the PM, for him to make the final decision. I can’t believe I am the only person to have spotted this gap in the story. Boris himself must surely be the one who chose to do nothing?

    The only explanation I can come to is that all the “establishment” – and that includes our best journalists – have an unconscious need to avoid truth and genuine leadership in favour of what is expedient in their own or their “Group” interests.

    In other words the “British electorate” – or any electorate, for that matter – act in accordance with Group Psychology. Seeing through “facile comment” in search of a “leader” is not what Groups do. We are not a “single people with a single language”, but we want to be one. Try Genesis Ch.11.

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