Séamus Ahearne: ‘To live, love, while the flame is strong, ‘Cause we may not be the Young Ones, very long.’ (The Young Ones – The Shadows).

The Capuchin Day Centre:

Bro Kevin Crowley, of the Capuchin Day centre in Bow Street has left for Cork. The work goes on. That work is a celebration of graciousness, generosity and goodness. The Faith-Community can be very proud of what is done in the name of Christ at that Centre. This is real Eucharist. An Open Table. The hungry are fed. Their dignity is protected and preserved. Kevin is one of whom it could be said: ‘A man in whom there is no guile.’ (Rather appropriate on the Feast of Bartholomew-Nathanael?)  Kevin has been lauded as one of the obvious saints of these times. He has been such a redeeming gift in an era for us, when Church and Church people, were obvious targets for ridicule. We can surely bask in reflected glory. The parishioners everywhere have gladly given to the cause. Many others too, with no religious affiliation, have given. But the success of the venture hasn’t just been about Kevin; it is the community of workers with him. It is the easy, kindly, cheerful care and banter that accompanies the food. May Kevin rest happily and proudly in this great success story.

Reminiscing on 58 years: (1)

Today is the 24th August but it is the 26th August 1964 that stands out in my memory. I forget many dates. They come and go. This one is prominent in my memory. I arrived at Orlagh on that day, to begin my time in Novitiate with the Augustinians. I can hardly believe it. 58 years later. I’m still around. Giles, Brian, Francis, Davy are still here. John, Ambrose, Peter, Colman, Pádraig, Michael have died. Another Michael is also active in a Dublin parish. It was ‘the Rocky Road to Dublin.’ We could have done a version of that one (DK Gavan). We have ‘lived in interesting times.’ Why are we still so young while the rest of the world gets so old? The story. The history. The experience. The people of those 58 years stand out as if in an album of life. There is a plethora of significant words jumping in my mind. But it is the crowd of people who have graced those years that have nourished my soul.

Reminiscing (2)  58 years:

This business of faith. The adventure. The privilege. Every day full. Such variety. Never looking for work; work finds us. All days are a privilege. That God was central to everything. Some of us escaped from the Sanctuary and became priests and ministers in the great out-there. The dressing-up and the aura of solemnity didn’t take over. The so-called sacred language didn’t become an obstacle because a new vocabulary had to be created. We weren’t in charge and didn’t control the access to God. That model has died. (Well almost.) Our humbling challenge has come now when most people feel foreign and strange to church; where secular rituals haven’t, as yet, taken over or replaced the ready-made ones for funerals; for Baptism; for First Communion and Confirmation (Rites of Passage). Where we have to bend to being literally humble servants of those who come, in language and in ritual.

Reminiscing (3)  58 years:

The incarnation shouts at us to be allowed to happen and not to be hindered by us. It is demanding. It pushes us. It creates poets of us when most times we are lost for words and feel very inadequate. It makes us wake up. It dares us to be students and to be real theologians. The job description of formation days was totally inadequate. We learned on the job. Those 58 years have been extraordinary. We have been at home in the homes of so many lives. We are guests and easy in the very mess and chaos of ordinary life. In truth, the shoes have had to come off. It is holy ground. The burning bush is everywhere. The words of Synodal Pathway are lofty but the daily reality is much more real and precious. Listening. Respecting. Sharing. Seeing the God of each person. Knowing how little we know. Accepting every day is for learning and for mystery. Grace abounds. Those 58 years are crowded with the saints of life where real communion happened and much of it was outside of church….. I am grateful.

‘The young ones’  (The Shadows)  (1)

Jacinta Ardern became PM in New Zealand in 2017. She was very young. Sanna Marin came to power in 2019 as PM in Finland. I think she is now 36. She is a great dancer. Michael Gove was less good when he took to the floor in that Aberdeen Nightclub. Young Sanna obviously likes to party. Her prowess in the rhythms of music was very impressive. Some were aghast at the Official Residence being ‘misused’ for a party! She is 36. What should we expect a 36 year-old to be doing?  Politics is serious. But music and song and dance surely dilutes the solemnity. I wish we had such young people in the ministry of faith who could occasionally go wild and bring reality to our celebrations. (In my earlier days in Drogheda and Dundee – the church community was packed with young people).

The young ones  (continued).

We are old fogies and old codgers now (in the main)! When we think back over the centuries how the Church was a patron of the arts in painting and music. Somehow, we still have to stretch the muscles of our minds. And sinews. To reach the heights and depths of humanity and faith. We need fun and craziness and madness and dance and song and theatrical celebrations. How dreary much of Liturgy has become? With archaic words. With dreary passiveness. With cumbersome and excessive words rather than meaningful efforts at catching the wonder, poetry, mystery of God. We need to seriously read dollops of psalms where all the emotions of prayers are thrown about with total abandonment. Where are our Sannas?

Fake or Fortune:

Fake or Fortune’ is a TV programme. It was a possible painting by Ben Nicholson that was analysed last night. Ben was an exponent of British modernism. His painting ‘Fiddle and Spanish Guitar’ made huge money in a sale some years ago. His work is totally beyond me. I don’t have a clue. Whatever about Ben, I was thinking of Fake or Fortune in regard to celebrity. Ryan Giggs was a wonderful footballer but his infidelity was shocking. Johnny Depp was a great actor but his recent Court Cases with Amber Heard smashed reputations. The Wagatha Christie trials (Rooney and Vardy) were sad and trivial. Sylvester Stallone had a giant tattoo of his wife Jennifer Flavin which he covered up with a painting of his dog. So is celebrity Fake or Fortune? Does it all mean very little? Is there anything there when the paint and glitter is removed? Fake or Fortune then for us – What is the revelation? Where is the God of everyday life? As exponents of mystery – how do we put on show an exhibition of God in the Gallery of life? We can’t trivialise it. We can’t let it become too familiar. We have to catch the otherness as well as the immediate.

Indi hasn’t time to talk

She has problems with the following words: Every conversation is littered with these and she doesn’t like it: Look. Like. You know what I mean. Amazing. Wow. Awesome. Hi. To be honest with you. Absolutely. Definitely…

Seamus Ahearne osa

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