Part of my staycation was to visit Hook Lighthouse in County Wexford, reportedly the oldest operational lighthouse in the world. Monks from Wales originally built a solid structure followed by Normans who greatly added to it. Modernizers maintained its sturdiness and now its electric lamp is operated from Dún Laoghaire in Dublin. Without stone upon stone, the light would not be seen.
I think of a bride from the recent explosion in Beirut. The chemicals blasted through the city and around Israa Seblani as she was being videoed on her special day. Before the explosion, she wondered if her parents were going to be happy seeing her in a white dress. Beauty was like a lamp that she could see in herself. After the explosion, she saw the damage that happened to Beirut – her lamp was still shining in the face of evil. Continue reading “From the lighthouse”
I went into my bedroom and felt drawn to kneel on my meditation mat. The view didn’t seem very photogenic, but I photographed it anyway. As I did so, I felt one with the universe for a moment or two. I felt humbled by the gesture of kneeling. I felt as though this is where I belonged. As I look at the photo now, I feel content knowing that I will return to this kneeling posture before I go to bed. It also evokes a warmth knowing that many Christians have gone before me to praise and honour their closest friend. Continue reading “Kneeling knights”
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”