Saturday 29 October 2016


God's voice
Is in the heart
And with my heart
I hear

Seeking his face
With the eyes of my soul

Great silence

Within and around
On hills and valleys and farms

I want to pick up
Mountains and kiss
Them with love

Even as I mourn
The passing
Of this sacred journey

The newly formed
Intimacy found

We climb into
The falling night

You in white
The only light in front
Of me

Scallop shell
Like cowbell tinkling

And I like a drunk
Stumble on uncertain
Rocks of pain

Within these boots

You would carry me
Up to the height

You have lifted me
My Camino companion
And I miss you

Even as the sound
Of your voice echoes
In my heart

And I see you as I see God
With the eyes of my soul
Beholding your beauty

More marvelous than
The most majestic mountain 



Monday 24 October 2016

The Chalice That Waits To Be Filled

My novice master is someone I love and respect greatly. He is growing old now, his health is in decline and in conversation a few months ago and he asked me, “Do you think we are in the end times?” I said, “I don’t know.” And he said, “I wouldn’t mind if we were. I wouldn’t mind dying.” To which I replied, “I wouldn’t mind dying either if I were in the state of grace.” “You are never to assess yourself” was his clear response.

I found that to be a great word of encouragement and wisdom because so often we can feel that we are actually unfit for the kingdom of heaven, that sometimes when the struggle is too great and we feel that we will never be ready. To know that we are not to assess or judge ourselves on the journey to eternal life is a blessing and a consolation.

What we are called to do is to strive. The word that Jesus uses in the gospel is “strive to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:22-30).  And the narrow door is the door of God’s discipline that is spoken of in the Letter to the Hebrews (12:5-7, 11-13); that discipline that trains us for eternal life; that discipline that turns us into clean vessels in the temple of the Lord that we read about in the Prophet Isaiah (66:18-21). Ultimately you and I are called to this – to be vessels that are worthy to hold the mystery of Jesus.

I look at the chalice on the table near the altar, the chalice that waits to be filled with the wine that will become the blood of Christ and I think of the little drop of water that the priest drops into the wine. We are that drop of water – “by the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity”.

We are the drop of water, we are mingled with Christ and we are also the vessel, chalice lifted up in the consecration that contains the mystery of the precious blood of Jesus, a mystery that we carry into the lives of other people.

When we think about the discipline of the Lord we need to be careful not to see it as something that is harsh. It is never designed to hurt and it is always designed to prepare, just like the discipline of the athlete is a preparation to participate in the Olympic games. It is a demanding discipline, a worthwhile discipline and we should expect nothing less from our spiritual preparation of the Kingdom of God in this world and in the next.

My mind goes back to an experience I had with my brother and his little daughter when she was about three years old. We came out from a restaurant into the car park and Dad told her to be careful because of the cars. But did what little children will do – she ran like a hare. It’s amazing the speed of a little child! So we ran, calling her back. But the more we and called, the faster and further she went in the direction of the main.

Her Dad had no option but to stop and he roared her name, an unmerciful roar that stopped her in her tracks and caused her to burst into tears. And what struck me was that this was the roar of love, the roar of protection, a roar of discipline designed to save a child from danger and it was the only option in that moment.

Inconsolable back in the car she said, “Daddy you shouted!” There was surprise and hurt in her voice. Daddy was hardly able to speak so I said to her, “do you know why Daddy shouted?” “Why?” she asked.

And I explained, “he shouted because he loves you and he was frightened for you when you ran near the road with all the cars that could have hurt you.”

There are times when we are like children running amok in directions of our own choosing, going towards destinations, experiences that are dangerous for our eternal spiritual wellbeing - times like these when God in His love has to roar at us in some way to stop us in our tracks to prevent us going to our own destruction, so that He can lead us to the place of safety. That He can purify us as the gold of the chalice is purified in fire, that we might know how much more precious than gold we are and that the fire by which we are made to shine is the fire of His most precious love.

Thursday 20 October 2016

PARTING (In Memory of Sal)

Ballyovey Cemetery

Flying high
On Grace

Soaring sunward
Over sorrow

Bright sky
Above dark clouds

We worship
The Maker
The Taker

Of all life
In Spirit and
In truth

You have 
Prepared us Lord
For parting

And we have
Allowed ourselves 
To be prepared

Prepare us too
For the loneliness 
Of absence

And tears
That speak
Of Grace

Poured forth
We beseech You

(Partry Church October 19,2016 7.00pm)

Tuesday 18 October 2016


Dark evenings closing in
I turn my chair to the fire
Facing the warmth

My back against night
Suggestions of cold weather

I am
Alone but not abandoned

Flame and hearth
Hold memory

Mesmerising moments

The mystery of old stories told
And new unfoldings

Past and future huddled
Together for now

Saturday 15 October 2016


Depression turns

Not content
With breaking

Heart and
Soul and

It assaults
Flesh and bone

The very marrow

Its dark heavy sadness
Pressing down
Upon the head

Taking possession
Of every single fibre

Leaving the body
Restlessly ill

An unnameable
That craves a clawing

The young man's
Self-harmed lacerated
Arms are red and raw

The only way he can bear
And feel the pain

We take different
Fretfully frightened paths

To escape the overwhelming

I have turned
To God in agony
At Gethsemane
Crucified at Golgotha

Taken down

Monday 3 October 2016

Jesus Sleeping In My Soul

Jesus sleeping
In my soul

Your head cushioned
On my heart

My body the vessel
Of your choosing

Spirit the wind
That fills my sails

The breaking

The Father's House
Our destination 

Though rough the sea
And filled with fear

I will not wake you

The silence of repose
The serenity of your face

Are calm enough for me


Mark 4:35-41New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Jesus Stills a Storm

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”