I am aware that not all of us grow older gracefully, not even all of our grandparents and great-grandparents. We do not all become naturally mellow and light-hearted, forgiving and free. Perhaps this speaks of rigidity and strictness. Perhaps our years can tighten us up and choke our gratitude. Continue reading “Who choked our gratitude?”
“I am with you always, yes, to the end of time” – Matthew 28:20.
Habit of praise
There was a turning point during the lockdown when I realised that my old way of living was not sustainable. I fell into a depression and felt a lack of joy. I got in touch with a contemplative nun who prompted me to turn to praise through the Divine Office, a form of daily prayer with the church worldwide. I did it for a few days in a row and felt the return of an inner sunshine. Later, I adapted it by choosing more personal readings and songs. I now find both silent and vocal prayer to be a recipe for wellness. Continue reading “New life, new normal”
In the movie Cast Away, Chuck is stranded on an island and befriends a volleyball which he names Wilson. He shares his intimate thoughts and feelings with it and becomes distraught when it is swept away in the ocean. He eventually has to let Wilson go. Similarly, technology has helped us make the best use of our time during the Covid-19 pandemic. Zoom calls with family and colleagues have been awesome! But now we are encouraged to let go and see more people in real flesh and blood. Continue reading “Value of time: 1 of 3”
Before the descent the ascent! It was a rainy and blustery day as a small team of us, including the married couple in the painting, climbed Djouce mountain in County Wicklow. I used to climb the mountain with my family as a child, and my dad often squeezed our friends into the car and boot! Years after his passing, we trekked the same terrain and lifted our knees as the cosmos tried to make up its mind on the weather. We pushed on – some leading, some accompanying – until we reached the jagged rock at the summit. We made it! Continue reading “Descending Djouce”
I imagined being in a quiet land outside of the city and suburbs during the Covid-19 crisis. Jesus and I had our hands on each other’s shoulders while we looked at a statue in front of us. I heard a wind come and go, I smelled and tasted the earth, I tried to be present. As I delved deeper, I saw a gentle expression on the statue’s face. I saw a blanket of cloud and I got in touch with the movement of the wind. Continue reading “Contemplative nothingness”
“I don’t sing because I’m happy. I’m happy because I sing.” – William James
As I was writing a blogpost last week, I noticed a lack of conviction on my topic. I felt tired and unmotivated, and I needed some inspiration. So, I got in touch again with a Poor Clare contemplative nun who reminded me of the importance of turning to praise on a regular basis. She told me that her community does the Divine Office – consisting of hymns, psalms, readings and prayers – seven times a day and that it actually seeps into your soul after a while. This motivated me to set a schedule and pray and sing it over a few days. Continue reading “Bursting out in praise”
“The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes” (John 3:8).
As I contemplated the bird’s nest in my garden, I began to realise it was not as fragile as I first thought. Sure, individually the feathers, twigs, moss and leaves could be blown away by the wind. But together along with small branches that acted as support, it was actually quite sturdy and secure. There was even one branch towards the back of the nest that formed part of its structure. It was protected from many angles and was just the right weight in the tree. Likewise, we are fragile and vulnerable on our own but we can support each other and find peace in our circumstances and world right now, for example, we can check in regularly with those who are cocooning and feel less lonely and more connected ourselves. Continue reading “A bird’s call”
There is a story this week about how two disciples do not initially recognise Jesus after his resurrection when he walks with them on the road to Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. It would seem they are so caught up with noise around what had happened to him that they forget to stop, take time to notice, and see the beauty in front of them. When they eventually recognise Jesus, they are able to look back and see that their hearts were in fact burning within as he walked with them and opened up the scriptures. It may have been an ordinary moment but something extraordinary was happening to them. Continue reading “The extraordinary ordinary”
Still a firm favourite of the people of Ireland, Caravaggio’s ‘The Taking of Christ’ is worth looking at this Good Friday. It examines the pain and anguish that Jesus experienced among those who loved and hated him. The painting includes Judas kissing Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane along with the temple guards who have come to arrest him. One of the apostles on the left is in a state of panic and anxiety while Caravaggio is the observer with a lantern on the right. Continue reading “The Taking of Christ”
In the Book of Genesis, the senior servant of Abraham is sent to look for a wife for his master’s son Isaac. He meets a beautiful woman called Rebekah by the spring, and she nourishes him with plenty of water and makes sure his camels are also nourished. He gives her a gold ring and bracelets, and asks to stay in her family home. Her brother Laban provides water for him and his companions to wash their feet and a place and food for their camels too. He explains his mission and they readily agree to let Rebekah marry Isaac. He gives ornaments and clothes to Rebekah and rich presents to her family. They eat and drink and spend the night before returning home. Continue reading “An ancient story of gratitude”