Séamus Ahearne: ‘We spar and tiff, we quarrel and laugh and sometimes we sing.’ (Marlena de Blasi)

Friends of the morning: 

The pair of magpies continue to harangue the cat outside the house here. The cat lolls there nonchalantly, amused by the noisy interference. The cat subscribes to the idiom ‘live and let live, ’ (for the time being).  I wander to the Tolka. They won’t humour me. I meet two herons. I can’t ever see the three of them. One egret does brighten up the morning. But I am looking for the Trinity of Herons. Not together but at least on a stretch of the River. The ducklings are growing and are organised and minded by the parents. The odd abandoned supermarket trolley intrudes on the natural environment and is obscene. Gun shots were fired towards Tolka Park in the past few days. The very air bristled at such blasphemy. This is a place of beauty and of serenity. It is holy. How dare anyone pollute the aura of our chattering God. 

Our Presidents: 

Charlie did it. Michael D did it. Both spoke out of turn. Charlie was appalled at the UK Government’s policy of deporting refugees to Rwanda (so the report goes). Michael D lashed out on Housing policy. Both are figureheads with neutral political voices. Many however would agree with what they have said. The two Marys were always very vocal but controlled in their comments (during their presidency but not since!) They did an excellent job and made something better and bigger of the office. Michael D does the same. We have been blessed in our three recent presidents. 

Corpus Christi:

The Body of Christ. The Processions. The Benedictions of life. The Amen of Augustine to the Host but first of all to everyone present. The Eucharist of R. Voight. The sense of Table and the ICON of the Trinity (Rublev): Room for everyone at the Table of God. Space. I thought of Ignazio Silone’s ‘Bread and Wine.’ I know it was more anti-Fascism and anti-Stalinism than anything else. But the Table. The food. It tickles the essentials. ‘The Feast of Fools’ (Harvey Cox) came to mind too. My more recent book – The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club (Marlena de Blasi) is very special. The women meet. They cook. They celebrate the life-affirming joys of food and friendship. Bread is broken. Life is shared. They taunt us into the extravagant and extraordinary. There is the great contrast between them and us: The stolid, formal sterile way of celebrating Mass in many churches is often anti-Eucharist. The words are sometimes slaughtered. The action is passive. The community is not celebrated. It can be enervating and not energising. We have been given the gift of Covid to force us to rethink what we do and how we do it. The material of Synod can help. If it forces us to dump legalism and ritualism and it becomes sacred listening and respectful discerning. The Eucharist can then explode with life among us. Official Church is still full of formality and nonsense. Francis was right: “Get rid of your grandmother’s lace.”  (And all versions of that). 

New world in the morning: 

We move into a very new context in Finglas this weekend. The new parish of The Greater Finglas  takes over. There are now five Mass centres with seven Masses over the weekend. There are 14 primary schools with some 2700 children. It is all new. We will have three or maybe two priests. The 300 funerals (yearly) will make big demands. But it is like Mission land. We have a major rethink. We are afraid lest we lose the personal touch. The time with families. The preparation of the personal story with a bereaved family. The gentle contact with those who know nothing of church rituals. The learning of ‘their language’ rather than imposing our own. I was thinking of today’s closing school Mass at St Finian’s. The staff and children were magnificent. The Liturgy was framed and shaped and expressed by them. The funerals this week:  the beauty of home. The honesty of families. The language of love. That Table of God in the home. We are so privileged. It is daunting to live up to what we have been given. The Word is made Flesh. The ornate language of official church is totally foreign. We are the students of a new language and a very new culture. If we can learn; we can minister. If we can’t learn;  we can’t be priests. 

Indi wants to speak: 

The swallows tease her. They dart hither and thither. She wants them to stop and talk with her. They swoop and dive. She can’t even follow them with her eyes. She is exhausted these days. There is so much to see. The cows. The horses. The sheep. The clouds. The sun. The dogs. The cats. The birds. The smells. The shadows. The sun. The mountains. The trees. The bushes. The flowers. The fields full of growth. She is now considering what she can do to learn how to fly. She is intrigued with those flying birds. She feels jealous. She wants to reach up to the sun and hide in the clouds and just wander into somewhere new and different. However, she also knows to be satisfied with the discoveries of each day. She loves her God. Her understanding is that God plays with her. God shows her new things; new people; new aspects of life; new colours;  new words; new sources of fun daily. She knows now what prayer is: Thank you. 

Seamus Ahearne osa 

23rd June 2022. 

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