Wednesday, 24 June 2020

LEAVING HOME




He left home
A stranger
The heat of winter's
Fever burning

On the wrong
Side of everything
While she claimed
The honour 
Of a  superior choice

He wasn't worth
A word of farewell

Did silence tell
That they might never
Meet again?

(January 2020)

Saturday, 11 January 2020

DEBRIS OF HUMAN FRAILTY



Bare tree
Naked rosebush
Spiking the dawn

Dripping drops of dew
The tears I cannot shed

My heart a mayhem of crows
Swooping on a single seagull
Outside in the Green
Where we played by day
And partied by night

Until grief disfigured our joy
Love fatally fractured

The man has died
He who became my enemy

We made our peace
A defrosting
Long before it was too late

Yet still a broken legacy
Remains

The wounds of hate
The scars of love
Debris of human frailty

We must stand still
And wait for God
To win the victory
For us all

(January 2020)

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Veronica



Vera icon
True image of Christ
Imprinted on the towel
Of her kindness

Love did not allow
Her to be cautious
Self-conscious

It thrust her
Into the path

This bloodied battered
Body

Christ in degradation
Etching his sacred
Countenance

Upon the soul of one
Who attends to those
Most in need of mercy

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Pangs



Bare stalk of tree thrust
Claw into gut of sky
And mine

Winter-sharp vision
I can see and feel
Everything

Labour pains
Dying throes
Pangs of birth
In tandem

Subconscious memory
Playing out
Beginnings and endings

Fresh flesh failing
Body bent in pain
And adoration

The spirit is willing

Pre deliverance restlessness
Upon us

Mother and child
All over again

Curled up in bed

Whoever lives
Whoever dies

I do not know how
I can survive
Without her

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

WATER (A Womb In My Dreams)



Water is a womb
In my dreams

It nurtures
Some unknown subconscious
Still to be born

Water is a woman
In my waking

A still inspiring tranquil
Sea at the dawn
And dusk of day

Now
And then

A tempest inflicting
The frailty of man upon
Perishing rocks

A river rushing
From mountain top
To ocean depth

Tears of compassion
And delight

Uninhibited flow
Of love and every
Emotion

Water is a calm swell
Rising imperceptibly

Breaching boundaries
Seeping in where it does
Not belong

You open your eyes
On a bed floating in flood

The damage is not
Beyond repair
But it will take forever

And she flicks her eyelids
Glancing sideways
She sighs

Get over it!

Maybe she really wanted
Me to drown
To save me again

In that unfathomable
Logic of her love

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

THE TOUCH (Uncover These Wounds)



I have fallen in a heap
Of stones on the beach
At the quieting of the evening

Waters gathered up

As milk in a basin 
In the crook of a mother's arm
A place to uncover wounds

Wounds heavily bandaged
Wounds un-nameable
Wounds that I protect

From touch for fear
Of further pain too much
For me to bear

Uncover these wounds
For I have run out of options
Every treatment tried

I am hemorrhaging
And have not even strength
To touch the hem of Christ

But let The Touch come upon
The waiting of the open sore
That I have become

I can do no more than wait now

(Killiney Beach August 29, 2013)



Saturday, 11 August 2018

MY FIRST BELONGING

Relationship begins
In Eternity

Perfect pronouncement
Of Name

Unutterable Word

You have made me
For Yourself

You are my first
And present

Belonging

I have been made
Unmarriageable
By You

And still I yearned
For my child

And You have heard
My hankering

And claimed me
Still more
As Your own





Tuesday, 26 September 2017

PARDON IN THE SAND (John 8 - A Meditation)



I am the woman
Discovered undercover
Caught in the act
Exhumed from hiding
Beneath skin and flesh
The secret desirings
Of heart and mind

I am the boy
Who took refuge there
A place of escape
And safe solace
My habitual habitation

I am every one
Who exists on the outside
The other side of right

And there is nothing
That will not be revealed
In the end

And this is my end

The law abiding strong
Throng my orthodox accuser
With only one solution
The right of righteousness

I am petrified
Panic stricken stood bowed
Barely able to breathe

What will the first
Struck stone feel like?

What part of me
Will bleed and break
Before I am all blood broken
Bone splintered?

I gasp for air
For life

But God is merciful
He who alone is Good
Stands upright
Sees all that I am - ALL -
Absorbs me into Himself

He bends down
So that my bending
Now has no shame in it

And He writes my Pardon
In the sand.

Great is His Name
Amen

Sunday, 28 May 2017

ASCENSION: SEPARATION AND UNION - A Farewell Homily by Eamonn Monson SAC


It’s providential that we are saying farewell to each other on the feast of the Ascension, the day when Jesus and His disciples said goodbye. Somehow, I feel that our parting is graced by the Ascension, is lifted up with Jesus and then it becomes a sacred and holy experience, an experience in which separation and union become one and the same thing because we are all held together as one in Jesus, especially every time we come to Holy Communion at Mass.

In all my years of leaving different places I have never felt as emotional as I do on leaving Shankill. I have always said that you have taught me to be a real priest but I completely underestimated the depth and strength of the bond that exists between us and I have been really touched by your response to the news of my leaving that was announced a couple of weeks ago. We are truly one body, one spirit in Christ.

The preparation for my life here came in the form of the Camino to Santiago, a journey that emptied me of every burden and left me free to be filled with something new, something very precious. St. Paul talks to Timothy about becoming a vessel fit for noble use (2 Timothy 2:21) You have filled my cup and made of me a vessel fit for God’s lofty purposes.

It seems to me that I haven’t done all that much in my five years here and my strongest memory is of celebrating Mass at this altar – the ordinary Masses of every day and Sunday; the profoundly sorrowful funeral Masses; the beautifully innocent and joyful First Holy Communion Masses; Masses of healing and hope. In every Mass, we have come together to meet Jesus, to be touched by Him, filled by Him and in every congregation, I have seen the face of Jesus – the wounded and sometimes fearful face, the challenging face, the hopeful face of youth, the graceful face of age and always the loving face of Jesus.

So, like the first disciples in today’s gospel I have no hesitation whatever falling down on my knees to worship Jesus – Jesus in Himself and Jesus in you. I would kneel in love, I kneel as a sinner who has experienced Mercy and I kneel in the weakness of who I am because I have nothing of my own to boast about.

And of course, the children have always brought me to my knees. When I anoint a baby in Baptism I am often moved to kneel – in many other ways I kneel to a child because I find my true size and height in them. I have three beautiful nieces and five fine nephews who have blessed my life and the gospel I have so often preached is about children, especially my two youngest  nieces Katie and Laura who have taught me so much about how to live a truly Christian life in a childlike way. Jesus himself places the child at the centre of the gospel, at the centre of the Kingdom of God.

This part is very difficult to speak of but it encapsulates everything that really matters!  Two days ago at a special assembly in Scoil Mhuire, I came face to face with a little boy whom I love dearly, a boy who has suffered more than anyone I know in the past year, a suffering that is often misunderstood. He was crying so I went and knelt in front of him, hugged him and started crying with him. We sobbed together in that embrace, we ministered to each other, cried for each other and represented the love of God for each other. It wasn’t that I was minding him but he also was minding me. And a while later we came together in a lighter moment with a bit of a smile when he gave me a card, I gave him a high five and a teacher gave him a piece of chocolate cake. There has to be chocolate cake and God always gives us reason to smile after we have cried!

Yesterday, when I was praying the fifth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, I realized that the encounter with this young boy was for me the finding of Jesus in the Temple and what I felt for him is what Mary and Joseph felt, what God Himself feels for the lost child in all of us.

Shankill represents the happiest period of my life but in every life happiness is often accompanied by pain and in such times, you need a place where you can be totally yourself, accepted in whatever state you’re in. I have found comfort in many people and a few good friends but there are two groups in particular who have sustained me through dark times – my family in Galway and my Pallottine community in St. Benin’s with Frs. John, Mike and Jaimie. It is a sustenance that is often without words, a safe place, a haven.

And so, as St. Paul said, “the time has come for me to be gone”, to go as Jesus Himself went “to other towns and villages” where the ministry of the Good News is needed. It is a calling from God and not just the arbitrary decision of my good friend and Provincial. 

I already felt that call as far back as November. I was celebrating Mass at 8 one Sunday morning - and it might have been at the offertory – when I heard a seagull cry clear as a bell and a voice that seemed to say, “you will go to Hastings!” When God calls, the only thing to do is follow. And you have equipped me to do exactly that. You have given me plentiful food for the journey.

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to  which he has called you..." (Ephesians 1:17)

https://www.facebook.com/sarah.jordan.3705157/videos/826992264116830/


Sunday, 14 May 2017

I WILL GO

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8)

The echo
Of a seagull's cry
On a winter's dawn

Crystal clear
Carrying a call
From another coast

It comes to me
At the altar

Sacrifice
Separation

From all who hold me
Dear

To leave familiar loves
I am reluctant

Resisting
Surrender

But still I will go
If You lead

And need me
To take Your People

To heart
In a different land

Gratefully and
In Love

As Eucharist
In Your hands

(Shankill, a November Sunday 2016)

Saturday, 29 April 2017

AS EVENING FALLS: An Emmaus Reflection - Fr. Eamonn Monson sac

“…they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said, ‘and the day is almost over.’ So, he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

This is one of the loveliest and most tender moments in the Bible, a moment that inspired this prayer that we say in the Divine Office:

‘Stay with us, Lord Jesus, as evening falls;
Be our companion on our way.
In your mercy inflame our hearts and raise our hope,
So that, in union with our brothers and sisters
We may recognize you in the Scriptures
And in the breaking of Bread
Who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.’

It is the desire of us all that the Lord Jesus would stay with us, that we would experience the warmth of His presence and of course He is with us but we don’t always recognize Him or feel His presence. We are often at the early stage of this journey to Emmaus – the time of sadness, darkness, blindness and confusion; we find ourselves running away from the painful realities that might in fact be our salvation.

I think that we as an Irish nation are at this early stage of the journey even as we long for the warmth of its conclusion.

My young companion Fr. Jaimie and I often have a kind of spontaneous Emmaus evening when we sit together and chat about the things that matter to us; we have conversations about some of the hard realities of our lives, conversations that eventually warm our hearts because they have Jesus as their centre. Jaimie has a purity and keenness of spirit that I have come to trust.

Recently, after his return from pilgrimage in Medjugorje he spoke about the strange coldness he found in Ireland, a coldness that contrasted with the warmth of Medjugorje – and he wasn’t talking about the weather! He was talking about a coldness of the spirit and it resonated with me because I have been feeling it myself of late.

It’s a feeling I usually experience with death and grief. When someone close to me dies, I am already cold inside even before I hear the news of their death. And I feel cold in relation to Ireland – as if we are dead or dying.

When I reflect on what transpired at the Citizen’s Assembly last weekend then I understand why there is such coldness in the spiritual air of the country. We have become a people like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus – a people walking away from salvation, our eyes, hearts and minds closed to the presence of Jesus and to the Way He has marked out for us. We go on as if Jesus does not exist at all.

It seems to me that the Assembly has accelerated our descent into the cold dark night of the soul. But unlike todays Gospel there can be no warm conclusion – not yet and maybe not for a long time to come. These decisions separate us as a people from Christ in a most profound and radical way.

There’s a Scripture from the Bible that has struck me very forcibly. The Lord spoke to His people through Moses, “I put before you fire and water – stretch out your hand and touch which one you choose. I put before you life and death, a blessing and a curse. Choose life then so that you and your children may live in the love of the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 32 and parallel texts) Choose life! Choose life! The words of God Himself.

The choices we make, the choices we allow to be made on our behalf have their own consequences. These dark realities are the things that we as Christians need to talk about as we journey through life and our conversations must have Jesus at their centre, leave space for Jesus to reveal Himself, leave space for Him to instruct us, to open our minds and set our hearts on fire with the love that He has for everyone and especially for the least of all.

St. John of the Cross says that the life of faith, hope and love means aligning our will perfectly with the will of God and making sure that we do not align ourselves with anything else. It is the prayer of Mary and the prayer of Jesus Himself - these two prayers - that made salvation possible in the first place – “let it be done according to Your Word…not my will but yours be done!”

Emmaus - Cleopas and his wife Mary with Jesus
Without this alignment with the will of God we remain in the dark but if we pray this prayer in union with Jesus and Mary, if we mean it and do our best to live by it then we will reach that lovely evening in which Jesus comes in to the reality of our home, to our table, to His table and to the warming of our hearts with that Love that overcomes every difficulty, every obstacle, every darkness that we encounter. And then we can pray with integrity:

‘Stay with us, Lord Jesus, as evening falls;
Be our companion on our way.
In your mercy inflame our hearts and raise our hope,
So that, in union with our brothers and sisters
We may recognize you in the Scriptures
And in the breaking of Bread