‘There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.’
(Often quoted from Leonard Cohen’s Anthem.)
The magpie, thrush and cat:
I set out this morning very quietly but the noise of war disturbed my peace. A magpie was disputing with a black cat. The bird followed the cat and ‘growled’ aggressively at this black animal. There was no doubting the anger of the bird. I have no idea what prompted the battle but clearly neither of the protagonists were interested in a peace- maker such as myself. I got down to the Tolka and Tony was standing enthralled by the music of the thrush. I was an intruder at his concert. He was fluent in his description of the singer and felt he was at a musical extravaganza. When he descended from his operatic ecstasy, he wanted to tell me the local gossip. The swans and the babies had taken off for Glasnevin. Tony was full of disdain and utterly dismissive of their behaviour. They had become yuppies. Finglas wasn’t a good enough address. They were embarrassed in telling the other swans where they came from. They wanted to rear their children with the values of snobbery. We harmonised in our pride as Finglas folk, and were willing to send the magpie down to Glasnevin to express our displeasure. I still miss the swans!
The Media and Finglas:
Finglas has been in the news recently. The natives here cringe when we are associated with criminality and madness. Like ‘The Portrait Artist of the Year’ programme, many of us feel driven to show off the personality, character, spontaneity, lived-in face of our locals. The Gallery of goodness is the Exhibition we know and love. Paul Reynolds (RTÉ crime correspondent) arrived at the ‘burned out house’ in Barnamore, Finglas. We were already there. He wanted words. Any word would do, he said. I told him that I had no words. I think even that reached the News. But it was the truth. No words could describe the scene. A house burned. The neighbours endangered. More trouble. The journalists were eager to get the ‘silent one’ to speak. I did eventually with great reluctance. I weary of words. The cliché ridden comment compounds the local hurt. There was a tension in me – wasting words and yet accepting that silence isn’t appropriate either. And yet I knew that someone had to speak passionately about our lovely community. I hope a little of that passion came across. Brendan Hoban then coaxed me with buckets of plamás, to be interviewed on Midwest Radio for last Sunday morning. That was a very different programme. It allowed me ramble on about the parish here (25 years) and life as a priest in this new era. I haven’t watched, read or listened to anything. What is said is said. What is written is over and out. I never go back. Words drip from my fingers and my tongue. My words are not very important. They land where they will.
Farewell to arms (of communion):
We have a farewell Mass on Pentecost for our Community at Rivermount. The Augustinians leave after 36 years. I’m not sure if my time is up or not. I may be around to bridge (from here to there) the building of a new parish in the greater Finglas. Or I may be viewed as a possible hindrance to the evolution of this new project. I don’t know. There is a great silence. I expect the explosion of the Spirit on Sunday will enlighten all of us and then we will be all fired up to whatever is the way to go. We had a recent meeting of people for all the Church communities. I think it was close to miraculous. There was consensus on a total rearrangement of Mass times across the five Mass centres. It was quite unbelievable. This was the Synodal Pathway at work and not just being talked about with management-speak. There was listening. There was reality. There was respect. There was an ability to step outside our own little viewpoints. There was a holiness in all we did. There was discernment. It was extraordinary. It was graced.
She loves the sun. She is intrigued by the rain. She admires the foliage. She is thrilled with all the animals. She is besotted with the variety of colour on bushes, trees and fields. She comes alive when she sees the clouds and wants to chase the shadows. She wonders at the mountains coming closer and then running away. She can’t understand her father – who shouts for Liverpool, Leinster, Waterford, Dublin, Ukraine, Gabriel Dossen, Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke. She tells him that he is annoying her and that he needs to clear his head by getting out on his bike. She hears that her cousins went to a concert with Ed Sheeran and now are going to see Billie Eilish. She doesn’t yet understand what this is all about but she still wants to know why no one has asked her to go. After all that, she says her prayers for each day and lines up her teddies and dolls to make sure that they are grateful for everything they have.
Seamus Ahearne osa
2nd June 2022.