Séamus Ahearne: Who can disbelieve a world drenched in miracle? (Pádraig Daly, Glimpsing More)

Cherry Blossom:

I drove down a street to meet a family in preparation for a funeral. The street is always very crowded with parked cars. Children can appear from anywhere without notice. The street calls for high alertness and the traffic leaves little room for manoeuvre. There is something quite haphazard about the street. It is almost chaotic and there is a temptation to avoid it, if possible. But despite this on Saturday, everything changed. The smiling Cherry Blossom was most hospitable. It was a guard of honour as we went to the home. It was beautiful. It had appeared without any fanfare or advance warning. The whole street was lifted by the clarion call of Spring. The family too continued that celebration of honesty, spontaneity and story-telling. The four families of the past few days were ‘blossoming’ in their sharing the history and the story of the dead. What a privileged life we lead – to be let into the home of a person’s life? The Liturgy of a funeral has to catch that and celebrate it. This is Holy Ground. We are ministers of ‘the burning bush.’ Poets and artists. Adventurers in faith. Pioneers.

Andrea Bocelli on horseback (plus):

It was another lovely accident. I came upon Sky Arts on Monday evening. It was the final part of the series on The Journey of Andrea Bocelli. This was another Cherry Blossom moment. The journey on horseback. The chat as they went along. The monasteries. The singing. The scenery. Andrea’s reflections were astonishing. It was a whisper of – the Transfiguration story. The camera work added to it. It knitted so many elements together. It was definitely prayer on horseback. (A lady with MND on Sunday morning with Miriam O’Callaghan was another one, full of inspiration – ‘Dance while you can!’ Trauma isn’t the problem; it is how you deal with it.)

Déjà vu/‘Here we go again.’ (Stealing the title of the song):

I am accused regularly of being too positive and too optimistic and inclined to see the best in every situation. This seems to be a personality fault, which I don’t want to correct. While many at present in Church life moan and groan at how bad things are, I see the excitement of our new mission. Others are verging on despair at the almost total fall-off from Church; at how disinterested the Irish are in anything to do with God; at the profile of church people in the public forum; at the focus on the badness of the past; at all the historic failures being dumped on Church people and how controlling the God-squad were; at the caricatured version of all priests as paedophiles, displayed in the Media. Somehow, I just laugh at the notion of the highly intelligent culture and society emerging, which is so certain of its own infallibility. A new hierarchy of certainty! I am happy with where we came from and what we did. I also accept and admit the failures but I can see too how the Church-folk carried life, and lifted life, and accentuated the wonder of life. Art. Education. Health. Social work. Care in the Community. Being there. This is a proper description of Social History. And gratitude has to be the alleluia of life for all of us.

Revamping our expression of faith:

There is a need to revamp Catholicism. There is a need to have that ‘aggiornamento’ of the Council and now of the Synodal Pathway. In Priesthood. In Ministry. In Liturgy. In the structures of Sacramental life. In the set-up of parish life. We cannot carry on as we did. The fact that we can’t helps us to re-imagine what Church can be. The apparent collapse of the familiar is not failure. God hasn’t died. Faith finds a resurrection. This is opportunity. This is challenge. This is the missionary way.

Here are my oft-repeated ideas. Lest anyone think I am becoming critical and negative – it is really excitement, enthusiasm, exuberance. After fifty years in priesthood I should have learned a little. And I am still learning like Michelangelo! There is one area worth a glance. The utter clutter of Liturgy and the formulaic approach to it upsets me. Liturgy is about the life of a Community and has to celebrate their expression of God with that Community.

One little experience of the weekend Masses:

This is what happened for the Masses: It isn’t a perfect model but it worked very prayerfully. The Readings for the weekend (as usual) are a psychological travesty! It is not possible to throw three Readings at any group of people who haven’t had time to digest them and interpret them and pray them. The Gospel for the weekend was the Transfiguration. That is sufficient for everyone. It is a form of spiritual gluttony to carry on the way we have been doing. (Three Readings!) The Prayers of the Mass too are lumpy and Latinised. How dare anyone throw such rubbish at us and on us. Too much of the Mass structure remains an import from monastic life and then is badly written. We re-write the Prayers and everyone says them together. There is a Presentation of colourful reflections on screen (at the beginning) to steady the mind and take us into the prayerfulness of the occasion.

People don’t jump up and down. They stay sitting. Mass isn’t a work-out. A woman read the Gospel. How dangerous is that? People then repeated words from the Reading. Many spoke. Then there were questions. To tell us about special moments in life that lifted the spirit and that always stayed with there. Some of the Sharing was really quite wonderful. The second question was – ‘If you wish to tell us of moments when you felt very close to God.’ Again. It was lovely. People have no problem sharing. Many of the Bidding Prayers were prayers of the Faithful. They arose from the congregation! No Confiteor had been said. No Gloria had been said. No Creed was said. The Preface was rewritten and prayed together. The given ones are heavy and ‘wooden’.

Of course there was singing all through. We have been called ‘Protestant’ for the way we do things. But it is the Community who prays. It is the Community who Celebrates. It is the Community who shares. It is the Community who is immersed into the Transfiguration. It is their Story of Faith. It isn’t the priest from on high. This way of celebrating is a daily occurrence. There is no room now for the formulaic praying of Mass. It is rather useless to be full of praise on the Synodal process if the Congregation is silent and passive. That insults the incarnation. It sounds close to the Latin Mass brigade who fail to live the moment or to accept the reality of the incarnation.


Indi went away for a few days with her parents. They stayed in a hotel. As she was leaving the hotel she informed the hotel people that she would be back for her holidays and that they had to keep the room for her! She will be three on the 21st. But she is well able to give orders and does expect them to be carried out.

Seamus  Ahearne  osa

Similar Posts

Join the Discussion

Keep the following in mind when writing a comment

  • Your comment must include your full name, and email. (email will not be published). You may be contacted by email, and it is possible you might be requested to supply your postal address to verify your identity.
  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger. Comments containing vulgarities, personalised insults, slanders or accusations shall be deleted.
  • Keep to the point. Deliberate digressions don't aid the discussion.
  • Including multiple links or coding in your comment will increase the chances of it being automati cally marked as spam.
  • Posts that are merely links to other sites or lengthy quotes may not be published.
  • Brevity. Like homilies keep you comments as short as possible; continued repetitions of a point over various threads will not be published.
  • The decision to publish or not publish a comment is made by the site editor. It will not be possible to reply individually to those whose comments are not published.