St. Stephen’s Day

A blessed day for a walk:


For a visit to the Graveyard:


For visiting cousins:


Lots of Wrenboys called;


The lighting up in the evening;


A thought for the day as we remember the first Christian martyr the day after the birth of the first Christian;


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This Christmas Day

The neighbours came to light the Christmas lights.The Past 


The present.


The Future.


A great celebration in downtown Asdee last night.


A great quote from Monica Brown’s Christmas Message, quoting a great Kerryman!

“I have chosen this beautiful text below from Daniel O’Leary as my Christmas reflection and offer it to you to ponder in your own way during this holy season of Christmas.


“All of life is sustained and intensified by those two greatest sacraments of the heart- that first morning when the huge heart of the Creator spun the earth lovingly into being; and then, that enduring night when God’s astonishing desire for us was revealed in the small heart of a starry-eyes and mystified child whom Christians call Jesus.” Daniel O’Leary”

What a wonderful insight.

Silent Night 


The little Chapel in Oberndorf in Austria where the hymn was first heard. 

It is nearly 200 years ago this year since the hymn “Silent Night” was composed and first preformed.

The story behind “Silent Night”
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” — Luke 2:8

In 1818, a roving band of actors was performing in towns throughout the Austrian Alps. On December 23 they arrived at Oberndorf, a village near Salzburg where they were to re-enact the story of Christ’s birth in the small Church of St. Nicholas.
Unfortunately, the St. Nicholas’ church organ wasn’t working and would not be repaired before Christmas. (Note: some versions of the story point to mice as the problem; others say rust was the culprit) Because the church organ was out of commission, the actors presented their Christmas drama in a private home. That Christmas presentation of the events in the first chapters of Matthew and Luke put assistant pastor Josef Mohr in a meditative mood. Instead of walking straight to his house that night, Mohr took a longer way home. The longer path took him up over a hill overlooking the village.
From that hilltop, Mohr looked down on the peaceful snow-covered village. Reveling in majestic silence of the wintry night, Mohr gazed down at the glowing Christmas-card like scene. His thoughts about the Christmas play he had just seen made him remember a poem he had written a couple of years before. That poem was about the night when angels announced the birth of the long-awaited Messiah to shepherds on a hillside.
Mohr decided those words might make a good carol for his congregation the following evening at their Christmas eve service. The one problem was that he didn’t have any music to which that poem could be sung. So, the next day Mohr went to see the church organist, Franz Xaver Gruber. Gruber only had a few hours to come up with a melody which could be sung with a guitar. However, by that evening, Gruber had managed to compose a musical setting for the poem. It no longer mattered to Mohr and Gruber that their church organ was inoperable. They now had a Christmas carol that could be sung without that organ.
On Christmas Eve, the little Oberndorf congregation heard Gruber and Mohr sing their new composition to the accompaniment of Gruber’s guitar.
Weeks later, well-known organ builder Karl Mauracher arrived in Oberndorf to fix the organ in St. Nicholas church. When Mauracher finished, he stepped back to let Gruber test the instrument. When Gruber sat down, his fingers began playing the simple melody he had written for Mohr’s Christmas poem. Deeply impressed, Mauracher took copies of the music and words of “Silent Night” back to his own Alpine village, Kapfing. There, two well-known families of singers — the Rainers and the Strassers — heard it. Captivated by “Silent Night,” both groups put the new song into their Christmas season repertoire.
Silent night! holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
‘Round yon virgin mother and Child!
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace. The Strasser sisters spread the carol across northern Europe. In 1834, they performed “Silent Night” for King Frederick William IV of Prussia, and he then ordered his cathedral choir to sing it every Christmas eve.
Twenty years after “Silent Night” was written, the Rainers brought the song to the United States, singing it (in German) at the Alexander Hamilton Monument located outside New York City’s Trinity Church.
In 1863, nearly fifty years after being first sung in German, “Silent Night” was translated into English (by either Jane Campbell or John Young). Eight years later, that English version made its way into print in Charles Hutchins’ Sunday School Hymnal. Today the words of “Silent Night” are sung in more than 300 different languages around the world.

A most moving version of the hymn by Eyna:

 

All the Going!

People wore sunglasses more this Winter than they did this Summer!


This short clip was taken last Monday, out from Littor Strand, with the Shannon dolphins. Locals will recognise the voices!

Being reminded of birth can be painful for some, great help in this for all of us.


The Crib in Duagh is drawing great numbers this year again.


Now that the schools are closed excitement is building at home.



Winter Solstice 

We are after the longest night of the year. Today is the shortest day of the year. The winter light this December has been very noticeable. This low light has put the whole landscape in a different hue as it slows us down still further. 


There is a lot of attention focused on Newgrange. This passage tomb in the Boyne Valley is older than the Pyramids and is so constructed that for 17 minutes this morning the rising sun travelled down the 62ft passage to illuminate the inner centre.

All these years later what message is this golden thread of light bringing us? The year is turning and it’s only in the last fifty years the wonder of the Boyne Valley is being rediscovered.


This was the time of year that early Christians chose to remember the birth of Christ. For he is our light that illuminates our darkness, often coming at the darkest moments when light seems almost quenched. 

May we each find the light to illuminate our felt and perceived darkness and slow down as we advance towards Saturday evening.



Duagh’s Live Crib

Yet again this year the great community spirit in Duagh has shown itself with the a better than ever live crib at the old stables at the back of St. Briget’s Church.

There was an official opening after Mass last Saturday night and the bell was rung from the new bell tower restored magnificently by the Duagh Development Association. Well done to all concerned.


Near the bell tower, on the way into see the crib in an organic reindeer made and gifted to the place by Tom Carroll of Littor. It is made of local wood and ferns and took hours to make. Thanks to Tom for the gift, some locals call the reindeer Nina but it’s a stag!


The crib space is as homely as ever.


Memories of times past 


Shriek, the donkey is back and likes an occasional carrot.


The Sheep are back and they look so happy to be near the baby Jesus.

Well worth a visit, open daily.

Quantum Reality 

The Newtonian Physics my generation learnt at secondary school has been superceeded by Quantum Physics.

Reality isn’t linear, all movement is quantum. St. Paul tells us “Christ is the image of the invisible God.” The stillness and the movement of reality, the two worlds, is held together in the Christ consciousness. To be conscious is to know that I know. This total awesome mystery is what we are immersed in an Jesus Christ can give us a handle in living in and with that mystery.


God’s DNA

I have come to believe we all have the DNA of God in us. The DNA of the creator is in the created.

For so long I created a God to fit my capacity to love and my capacity to love was/is always too small.

When I am present to what is going on with me and others I am aware of my capacity to love. To be present to the inners of anything is to love. There is a lot of loneliness in our world and lives.

How does love work?

Everything seems to have to die to its present form to receive a new form. Love can feel so scarce. If I let go of stuff will I get anything to fill the void? 

Love is the inner presence to the inferiority of anything. Once I can do that I can honour everything that is happening.

Loneliness is no longer an issue.


Life, Light and Love 

Latest evidence suggests that the Universe is in existence anything from 13.6 – 14.5 Billion years. So in geological time Jesus is around in Callander time illustration, in the last nano second of December 31st. 

Puts us in perspective doesn’t it? 

What kind of a God are we dealing with that is around that long if God is a creator God?

What kind of God have we come to know in Jesus whom we call “The Son of God?”

God is not an additive who dips occasionally into human history to do nice things for nice people. God can’t be “an unenvolved observer.”


Into the Silence 

This Advent I have consciously tried to go into each day through Silence.

Find myself in a quiet place.

Silence the Body 

Aware of the Breath 

What’s going on in my racing mind or head?

Start letting go of the Stuff 

Thoughts and Emotions 

The Stuff still with me from yesterday 

The negativity 

The barriers 

The resistances 

The judgements 

The criticisms 

Keep going through the Stuff 

Till I get to the FOUNDATIONAL YES

That’s a place I can step into the day from 

“The only agelessness is Yes,” according to Brendan Kennelly