Steep yourself in the sea of matter.

Sons and daughters of the earth, steep yourself in the sea of matter, bathe in its fiery waters, for it is the source of your life and your youthfulness.

You thought you could do without it because the power of thought has been kindled in you? You hoped that the more thoroughly you rejected the tangible, the closer you would be to the spirit that you would be more divine if you lived in the world of pure thought, or at least more angelic if you fed the corporeal? Well, you were like to have perished of hunger.

You must have oil in your limbs,blood for your veins, water for your soul, the world of reality for your intellect: do you not see that the very law of your own nature makes these a necessity for you? 

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin 

“The Hymn of the Universe ”

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Naming it by its true name.

       Please call me by my true name.
Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow

because even today I still arrive.
Look deeply: I arrive in every second 

to be a bud on a spring branch, 

to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile, 

learning to sing in my new nest, 

to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, 

to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, 

in order to fear and to hope. 

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and 

death of all that are alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,

and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time 

to eat the mayfly.
I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond, 

and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence, 

feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, 

my legs as thin as bamboo sticks, 

and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to 

Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,

who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea

pirate,

and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and

loving.
I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my

hands,

and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to, my

people,

dying slowly in a forced labor camp.
My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all

walks of life.

My pain if like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names, 

so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once, 

so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names, 

so I can wake up, 

and so the door of my heart can be left open, 

the door of compassion.
Thich Nhat Hanh.

The Holy Person.

The holy person is the one whose senses are at their peak and whose imagination is ever ready to notice the slightest sign of the divine presence revealed momentarily in the most mundane of situations. He’s the one who doesn’t feel the need to analyse all of experience either for a greater ego or in defence against the thick, fertile, and ineffable torrent of vitality that screams at us every moment. She is the woman who can live in a body among bodies and in a world that has a body that is an extension of her own physical being. Allowing the physical is equivalent to inviting the spiritual because God is in the details, in the colours and aromas and textures.” 

From Thomas Moore “The Soul’s Religion.” (2002)

To be of the Earth.

“The brilliant Irish theologian and mystical writer John Moriarty says in Dreamtime, ‘Jesus the Christ is he among us who is most incarnate…He has enabled us who,hitherto, were only on the earth,to be of the earth.’ So often we have taken religious teachers to be pied pipers leading us out of this earthly life rather than further into it. This is a crucial mistake in spiritually, a defensiveness hardly noticed in the thrill of escape. The spirit is not apart from the body but,is revealed through it and in it.

God is the flutter of the butterfly and the sweet aroma of the honeysuckle,and in the steam rising from the pot of potatoes on the stove and in the smells and sounds of every passing light of every room in the house. God is also in the negative,horrific sensations-in the explosion of the bomb and the firing of the pistol. All of these sensations are there to be read theologically if we have the holy imagination to recognise them. Otherwise they are mere impressions lost to consciousness and reflection.”

From “The Soul’s Religion ” by Thomas Moore (2002)

Finding Peace in the here and now.

“Sometimes I long for a convent cell, with the sublime wisdom of centuries set out on bookshelves all along the wall and a view across the cornfields–there must be cornfields and they must wave in the breeze–and there I would immerse myself in the wisdom of the ages and in myself. Then I might perhaps find peace and clarity. But that would be no great feat. It is right here, in this very place, in the here and the now, that I must find them. ”― Etty Hillesum,

A Foundational Yes.

imageKevin Mulvihill took this photo while flying over Littor Strand the other day but I want to offer a few reflections from the ground!

My great friend Alma sent me an enabling reflection from Richard Rohr that has nourished and sustained me at a very deep level over the last weeks. It is at a time when the Spirit is highlighted in the Churches liturgy.

Rohr talks of remaining mindful or conscious or in the force of the Holy Spirit. It is simple and hard. ” Remain in Love, ” means I give a foundational YES to every moment. Don’t risk walking around with a negative, resentful, gossipy, critical mind. It’s unstable and not in the ‘force field.’(it’s a bit like Starwars speak!)  Love is urgent and crucial and it can begin in the mind.

Eleanor Roosevelt is supposed to have said:

Watch your thoughts; they become words

Watch your words; they become actions 

Watch your habit; they become character 

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

To be mindful,to contemplate, to pray nips negativity,hatred and violence in the bud. It can start by restraining my initial thought- stop the mind from operating in a paranoid,angry and resentful way. If I’m starting there I can’t see clearly. But if I only pray or meditate without doing something positive I get ‘ spiritual constipation.’

Alot of my spiritual/religious talk can often only be about myself and my relationships. It can be psychology and private devotion made sacred by the use of religious language. It can be much more. Jesus spoke of the ‘Reign of God ‘ which is driven by grace and love to transform the self and world that connect.

And it was on the road that the disciples were taught by Jesus. They learned by doing. They grew into an understanding of God as loving and compassionate. They paused, reflected and prayed with him.

The Spiritual Adventure we are all on doesn’t happen in the Church but it happens ‘on the road.”

Well I’m on the road again, things are planning out very well and I’m in good form. I appreciate all the support and help and “the wall of prayer ” around me. And it’s May, with the whitethorn and blackthorn coming into bloom. And the tender apple blossom.img_0843

May Blossoms!


The bees are busy in the apple blossoms at the side of the house. I prefer apple blossoms to cherry blossoms for they seem to share more with the green leaves. And they seem to last much longer perhaps because they are more native than the Japenese cherry blossom.

Tom Costello lives on the banks of the river Feale. Someone  called to him lately collecting for a new swimming they are building down in Limerick and asked for a contribution. He was delighted to support the project. He gave them a bucket of water from the river!

Sonny Egan told me of a local happening. A builder he knows was asked to build a two storey house for a rather mean tight man. Would he get enough money to complete the job he thought? ‘Do you know what we will do,’ he suggested. ‘We will build one storey and the second storey might be another story.’

Last night we remembered the wit of the late Jackie Healy as we recalled a different world. Jackie made a career out of being perceived to be lazy. At his 80th birthday party at The Jessie James Pub he was asked if he had any regrets. ‘I think I worked one day in my life,’ he said.  ‘ Have you a garden this year,’ he was asked.  ‘The only earth turned on my behalf will be the day I’m buried in the grave!’ Other sayings are either too local or wicked!

It’s First Communion season. My god-child,  Caoimhe, made her Communion on Saturday and she came to see me on Sunday with her lovely family.
My cousin Debbie is with me again.

The young swallows are learning to fly.

And all is well with the world this May evening.

A Bucket List.

The following story was told in downtown Asdee last night after Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest.

Noti Thornton is living in Kylatalian and last Tuesday he decided to go to the hardware store in Asdee (I’m not sure which one). He sat into his car at home but it was out of petrol so he hopped up on the tractor only to find out that the starter was gone in the tractor. Both wheels in his bike were flat so he had to walk to the village. Bobo Stack served him in the store for he had four items to buy. He wanted an anvil, a white enamel bucket, a hen and a goose. As he payed for these four very different items, Bobo asked if he had the car or tractor outside. Neither Noti said for he was walking. How will you get your items home so, enquired Bobo. That’s easy said Noti putting the bucket in one hand, the goose under his right arm(or axter as he calls it), the hen under his left arm and he picked up the anvil with his free hand. Then he made for home. He saw Donie O Keeffe at the top of the hill as he left home with a fresh delivery of banana bread. At Craughdarrig Cross he met the most unusual lady he had seen in awhile. She was scantily dressed and he found her a small bit forward. She was looking for the road to Carrigane. Hoti said he was going that way and she could accompany him. You don’t expect me to go down that narrow road with you she said to Hoti in a very accusatory way. “Who do you think I am?”  How could you say that said Hoti when I have a bucket in this hand, a goose here, an anvil here and a hen under this arm? 

That’s very simple said the stranger. If you put the goose down in the ground, put the bucket over her, put the anvil on top of the bucket, I would hold the hen for you! 

It wasn’t till that moment that Hoti Thornton understood what “a bucket list ” means.


“And the Vision that was planted in my brain still remains.”


The wild orchids are out just now as I begin my conversation with this dis-ease. I’m back with familiar people, roads and buildings. I sense an after glow from the time before – a kind smile, a felt warmth. There is a sense we make our own maps as we step  into the future.  There are times I have to consciously try and get out of my own way. It’s a mistake for me to give energy to feelings of gloom. I find I’m in touch with hope when I’m in the heart space. A lot of the heart can be in need of freeing up and trying to get in touch with that deeper place has done that for me. I find I can feel a balance there. It’s the nature I can feel in myself and sense in others. It’s where compassion and tenderness reside. It’s where I feel trust.

So I’m expecting a bit of treatment later on next week. I’m up for it thank God and it is manageable. Today I had a visit from my grand-nephew in Mayo who will be one year old next week. He brought his parents (!) and went to the strand for the first time in his life. He wanted to stay there!

“I’ve come to talk with you again.”

Last Saturday (May 7th) I posted my breaking news here. Since then the discussion has opened up with the dis-ease! With the vigilant medical team, I met the oncologist on Monday last,have done bloods in Cork, interiorised the news, and will hopefully start treatment next Thursday. That treatment hasn’t been fully fine tuned yet, probably involving radium, chemo, oral and mainline.

This is what I’ve written for the Duagh/Lyre Parish Newsletter:

“When I went for my six month check up a biopsy showed the presence of cancer. It’s disappointing but not unexpected and after meeting with the oncologist it is treatable. Because it’s early detection, in one place and I responded to treatment so well before there are a number of treatments I can get. I appreciate your prayerful support and we will continue to pray for each other for God is very near.”

We headed to Cork on Tuesday morning. It’s 170 miles return trip. It was foggy at 7am and I scribbled these few lines in the May morning dew:

“The Stillness of the morning 

amplified by the fog

gave a sense that everything is incubating 

even healing.

The swallows dart silently around the shed.

The cuckoo has laid an egg in some unsuspecting small birds nest behind the Fort.

That voice of summer cuts the air like some transAtlantic jet ore head,

and I will continue to find joy in simple things.”

 

One of the Swallow’s nests.