Séamus Ahearne: Walking and looking in the mirror…

‘Beautiful Dreamer awake unto me.’


Put on a mask going into the Bank!

I have been to the Bank. Isn’t it amusing that we have to wear a mask entering the bank these times? In previous years; it was the robbers who did that! Whatever about a mask, (going into the bank), I am rather pleased that my beard keeps my face a little warmer these mornings. Dudley, Eunice and Franklin were rather savage. My face was being attacked ferociously. That beard has to grow somewhat more fully to mind my face. This morning was different. I didn’t need protection. The birds were singing. The water was happy. The crocuses wanted to talk. The daffodils said hello. Nature was winking at me. The sliver of a moon was having fun.

All of this reminded me of a street in Clontarf last week. I was taking a relative to the Surgery. I saw a beautiful tree flourishing in the finery of a spectacular white dress. It must be one of the cherry blossom family. All the trees along the avenue were lonely and naked looking, except for this one. It smiled at me. It transfixed me. That little memory added to the winking of nature today. The world is waking up. Despite the cold and the rain and the gales, life and growth is stirring. Oh what a beautiful morning….

Ukraine (1)

The Klitschko brothers are offering their services to the motherland of Ukraine. I doubt if even these Heavyweights, from the Ring, will be strong enough to cope with a regime which deals in poison. Litvinenko died slowly. Kivelidi died with many unanswered questions. Sergei & Yulia Skripel somehow managed to live. Alexei Navalny, that dangerous dissident (who called Putin corrupt and a conman), committed the most serious offence of all, by breaking bail conditions while recovering in a German hospital after being poisoned! Charlie Rowley lives on too, but his partner Dawn Sturgess died, after inhaling from that supposed perfume bottle, which was in fact Novichok. It is hard to accept what is happening in the Ukraine. We had the drama of Putin rambling through his speech but the consequences are shocking. The West seems incapable of doing too much. They live with the left-over fears, from Vietnam, from Libya, from Syria, from Iraq, from Afghanistan. There is a frustration and helplessness. Then there is Trump admiring the genius of Putin. What is happening in the Ukraine is an affront to humanity; to democracy; to all we hold dear. We never believed it was possible. We saw the posturing but not this.


Ukraine (2)

Grandiosity and aggrandisement are the natural qualities of the bully. I wonder what would Nathan (the prophet) have to say? 2 Sam 12 does apply. One little story niggles at me. I met a girl from Lithuania recently. Her name was R. She never felt herself a Lithuanian. She preferred to see herself as part of the past – the Soviet Bloc. Similar problems exist in the Ukraine, with Russian allegiance by some. We see the craziness in the North of Ireland too. So many in the North feel British while living on the Island of Ireland, an artificial construct. The whole Brexit thing is by definition impossible to reconcile with such a confused configuration. There are layers of issues beyond our understanding. Putin clearly believes that the Ukraine is a non-nation and is part of the Soviet bloc. Even a holy land. He craves the glorious State of the past. What an impossible mess.


A dollop of unrelated nonsense:

(1) Am I just getting old and crotchety? Ads get on my nerves. All this rubbish about cosmetics; smells; paints; big red lips; skin and anti-ageing; black eyes; dye for hair. Why aren’t people happy looking just as they are, being natural and real? Is it any wonder that the young ones get so caught up in body image, and then feel inadequate? It is a pathetic industry, the glamorisation of the supposedly perfect!

(2) Trump’s Truth Social App has been launched.  How perverse it is, that this could happen? The greater sadness is that this profoundly delusional person could captivate and mesmerise so many. He has created an alternative world, where truth is whatever he says it is. This is pure fantasy.

(3) I often think of the addict. To alcohol. To drugs. To sex. To power. How can we ever get an insight into their behaviour? How can they get an insight into their own behaviour? Most never grasp the damage done to so many who catch the fall-out for the wider family. The AA project does talk of an inventory but it still projects a view that the AA is a selfish programme. There are victims everywhere. Even the sober ones focus on the damage to themselves. Rather than acceptance and understanding of the damage to others. But it isn’t only about drink or drugs. The same denial and avoidance is very obvious with those who do sexual damage. This may be their only way of coping. But it does make the whole process frustrating and infuriating. It is almost impossible for the non-addict to break though into understanding. I know. Insight or lack of it, isn’t monopolised by the addict. It is a lurking virus everywhere.  The journey of faith has to be constantly revelatory…….  Where is original sin gone?  We need a new version….

Indi is a terrier!

She has fastened onto her new bone. It is Ash Wednesday and then Lent. This ashes idea doesn’t make any sense to her. She likes to be clean. She tells me that she never does anything wrong; she doesn’t need a black face. I told her when she refused to go home with her mother from the child-minder, that this wasn’t good behaviour. She argues the case. “I was happy there. I like Jazz. My friends were there. I can see mammy at any time. Why would I want to go home?” Then she wanted to leave the dirty ashes and speak of Lent. She knew it had something to do with Spring. New life. New flowers. New buds. New days. Brightness. Warmth. She liked all that. The mountains would come closer to her. The fields would look greener.

Lent with Indi

So she got the idea that Lent has something to do with all of us waking up; brightening up; smiling; sharing; meeting people; saying hello to God; being grateful; getting ready together to be surprised by Christ. She could see all that. She was happy to have a go at Lent! Now she had heard something about ‘a small collation’ and fasting and such things. She couldn’t make any sense of this. She must have been listening to her grandmother telling stories from when she was a young one. I don’t know. Why do youngsters ask all the awkward questions?

I should have told her that Lent is a journey. It is a journey from the Desert of Covid to the Oasis of delight which is Easter. We had been in the aloneness of the desert and now we were moving out. Little things matter. Meeting people. Appreciating each other. Listening. Chatting. Sharing. Walking.  Hugging. Gratitude then for the little things in life which are the things that really matter. The small talk of life is the big talk. Lent can be a delightful time. She had tuned out. She had found someone more interesting – a new teddy.


Seamus Ahearne osa    25th February 2022.





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  1. Soline Humbert says:

    Séamus Ahearne…

    “This ashes idea doesn’t make any sense to her”…I hope for Indie it never does!
    I still remember vividly the shock, and disgust, I felt at age 5, going up to receive with joy what I thought would be my first Holy Communion and instead receiving a big dollop of ashes on my forehead…Deemed too young to be fed with the Bread of Life, but not too young to be told to repent! It didn’t make sense to me then, and has never done despite all my catechetical, theological and spiritual training.
    For several decades now on the first day of Lent I anoint myself with oil, renewing the anointing received at my baptism: priest, prophet and sovereign. A remembrance of my dignity and responsibility, of who I am, to Whom I belong and of my mission in life.
    Peace in all hearts, Peace in the world, Peace in Ukraine.

  2. Joe O'Leary says:

    Séamus Ahearne…

    We see Ukrainian civilians massacred and Russian soldiers burnt alive on our Youtube.

    Ashes are the ideal symbol for our grieving thought today.

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