I am human. I am a man. I am Catholic. I am Irish.

Month: April 2015

May Ireland Rest in Peace

Séminaire de CaenPeace is a beautiful condition of the human soul. Mankind longs for and strives to obtain it. Every human effort is dedicated to the goal of making it ours. Every thought, word and action exercised by each person is done so to accomplish emotional contentment. Wars are fought for it, love is sought for it, poems are wrought for it and Guardian Angels are beckoned for guidance and protection against that which seeks, in any way, to disrupt or lead us away from mental serenity. Yet for some reason, what we seek is rarely found.


Think deeply for a little: Why are we attracted to nature? Why do we watch television? Why do we insist on having conversations with others? Why do we exercise? Why do strive for education and money? Why do we vote in elections? Why, pray tell, do we do anything at all? The answer is simple: we seek peace. If anything of Heaven can be known, we can know that He is peace and all longing will be satisfied.


Alternatively, why do we get angry? Why do we envy? Why do we lust? Why do we accumulate possessions and why do we sometimes step on others to obtain them? Why do we gossip? Why do we hurt? We do we do bad things and why do we suffer bad things? The answer is simple: we seek peace. If anything of Hell can be known, we can know it is the absence of Him. We will be unable to know peace for eternity.


Why can we not have peace? The land of eternal youth, Tír na nÓg, evades us. That place of beauty, abundance and joy is ever on our minds yet rarely in our lives. Occasionally, it appears, but it is brief and fleeting. How is it so Ireland that we cannot rest? So many questions and yet the answer is simple: because we flee from peace. Human beings never find emotional peace because, although we think we are moving toward peace with our efforts, in actuality, we are running away from it. We may not even realize, but we make every effort to avoid the very thing we crave. Such a paradox is hard to grasp so let me explain.


If we are not running toward Him, we are moving away from Him. If we are not focused on Him, we are focused on something else. If God exists (and he does) what is the point of being focused on something else? What logic in the world can deny it? If we are created by God and we are not striving to be completely immersed in Him at every moment then we are seeking fulfillment in something that is not him. That something, apart from him, can bring no eternal peace. So what is the point?


Already at this stage of the article, half the people who began reading have now stopped. For some reason we are conditioned to immediately turn away or stop listening as soon as ‘God’ is mentioned. When you think about it, it is lunacy that something which is affiliated with eternal goodness can be such an aversion to people. How many times when sitting in the pew at Sunday Mass do people listen to an interesting tale told by the priest during the homily, then as soon as he begins linking the story to Jesus we switch off? Something about God makes people try to escape, mentally or physically. Why? The answer is simple: Although the perfection of God leads to peace, the demands of following God require us to recognize and amend the imperfections in ourselves and we see that as limiting, rather than liberating. We want the choice to live as we wish, not according to the wish of God. We think we can do it all without Him. We try so hard.


priest2Fortunately for us, in this life, we cannot escape. He is always calling. Even those who are most lost are being called always and every person has this inner longing which pulls at them constantly. Some ignore it, some involve themselves in ever more activity and others get angry or envious or seek the aid of others through gossip and direct attacks against anything or anyone who represents that good God. Some rebel by insisting on doing the opposite of what he wills. People are not at peace and they seek to find peace by ignoring or fighting that which ultimately gives peace. It is insanity.


But the words of Saint Augustine resound like a gong through the ages:


“Despite everything, man, though but a small a part of your creation, wants to praise you. You yourself encourage him to delight in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you”


Why is seeking God so hard? Peace does not always mean we will be without suffering. The hardships of living are inevitable with God or without Him. We cannot avoid them forever. There is really only one choice. Embrace them and give them to Him in union with His sacrifice on the cross. United with His sufferings, our sufferings will lead only to one place – Resurrection and ultimate eternal peace in Him.


When we eat, sleep, play, interact, develop, love, fight or fall we should be experiencing all these phenomenon in Him, with Him and through Him. Apart from Him these actions are meaningless. We would not have them at all because they and we would not exist. What is the point of doing anything apart from Him?


JesusWhen we eat do we consider that the food is given to us because of His Creation? When we learn a new skill or craft do we consider that the talents being developed by us could be used to glorify His Will? When we have time alone do we think of Him? When we have a conversation with another or in a group is our desire to talk about Him? When we go to Mass is our goal to worship Him or is there another reason motivating us like family tradition or social expectation? Our very desire, everything we do, think and say should be for Him. He leads to Heaven. If Heaven is what we want then we must become holy. There is no other way. We must turn to Him and embrace the life he wills for us. Every person was created for a great, unique and very personal mission. How long will we say ‘no’ to that mission? How long will we say ‘no’ to peace?


“Once I was at a dance with one of my sisters. While everybody was having a good time, my soul was experiencing deep torments. As I began to dance, I suddenly saw Jesus at my side, Jesus racked with pain, stripped of His clothing, all covered with wounds, who spoke these words to me: How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting Me off?

Saint Faustina of Divine Mercy


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A Simple Remedy for the Tyrant in Ireland

man1You know, there is nothing in Ireland like a rainy spring morning by an open window. Have you ever tried it? It would do you good to give it a go just once with a wee drop of ‘tay’ to warm the hand. I have no doubt it is how the world was intended to be savoured and it is about as close to the peace of heaven as you are likely to know in this life (excepting the Eucharist of course). Hearing patter of droplets hitting grass mingled with the medley of bird carols calling collectively for love and life is a contentment no man should omit, a peace no soul should be deprived. It makes you wonder why so many people have chosen to gift their precious hours to such superficial entertainments as found on television or computer screens, large or little, when so much human achievement awaits the man adventurous enough to advance his mind beyond his front door.  Notice, the operative word in that sentence is “his”. You see, what enhances significantly, the experience of sitting by your window looking out is knowing that you have a plot of land you have shaped or could shape with your own hands. It is reveling in the creative potential of that land and contemplating the many ways you can mould it to your own image. It just adds to the satisfaction.

The history of Ireland has been notably carved by a struggle for land. In that struggle is the desire to live, to lead, to protect, to provide for yourself and your family. It is the spirit of the father, the calling of the man to make provision for those placed in his care. To pull from the earth creation, to bear fruit for the good of those loved is a special accomplishment.

heaney1The great Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, delivered successfully in his work Digging, the profound concept of Irish ancestral connection with the land and the elemental masculine thirst to form, build, develop, create what you conceive. In the poem he relates his father digging with a spade and compares it to his own digging, except now, with a pen. Like his father, his father’s father and the many men who came before him, Heaney masterfully describes the human freedom to craft and create:

Digging: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/177017

In the same way as Heaney looked down upon his father from his upstairs window, we too can contemplate ancestry from our spring morning windows and consider now the possibilities our imaginations offer the boundaries of our own land. There is no limit to what creation we can imagine springing forth from our soil. Every man should be entitled to the freedom to provide a life for his family from the land and be satisfied. This basic right to live should be divorced from all interference from outside parties. Yet alas, a weight hangs heavy around the shoulders of our young men with their young families and young dreams.

storm2The weight and the scourge of all those who just want to live at peace in Ireland are the selfish ambitions of those who acknowledge no limits and are willing to accumulate mountains of more. They seek this even if it means taking advantage of other humans. The world is filled with men who want more and can never be satisfied with what they have. Impoverished are the men who have so much but yet they always seek to add to their possessions. Politicians and bankers today work together to devise ingenious ways of enticing people to part with their money. Mortgages, which appear a wonderful invention at first, soon betray their deceit when they move beyond the financial grasp of the common man.

Paradoxically, this happens because we Irish people have this unwillingness to curb our own personal cravings for more. We reject limits on what we can own and so our hunger to buy means sellers will raise prices. The higher the prices rise, the more money we look for. The more money we need to buy, the more we need to be paid. We pursue education for better jobs and then the cost of education grows. We want the best cars and homes until even the smallest homes move beyond the financial grasp of the most educated. All we want to do is rest but we work night and day to achieve it…and it never comes. The economy grows but we become poor because we work harder and struggle more to pay off the many debts we accumulate. We think we have freedom to pursue dreams of wealth. In reality we become more and more enslaved to the debt manipulated by the bankers and politicians who become richer and grin wider.

man2So what are we to do? Simple! A man with his family could easily live a satisfying life on a small parcel of land and feel more free and fulfilled from crafting with his own hands and enjoying the fruit of his labour. Why do we exert so much energy fighting for a job and education when we could be happy and peaceful on our own land? Why not spend our energy fighting against the forces that keep us from owning and living our Irish land in freedom? 1. We should be fighting with revolution against those people who have pushed the prices of land beyond the reach of most men. 2. We also should be meditating upon our own human nature. Something is very wrong. The banks now own most of our Irish land and they have pushed the price of that land beyond our grasp. How is this any different from the landlords of the English in the 19th century? Something needs to change as we head toward another financial collapse.

Yet the answer to the whole thing is very simple and the power is always in our hands. Indeed, “simple” is the answer if only we had the strength for it. Simplicity itself will free us from slavery. Ireland’s ancestry of simplicity has always been our people’s most beautiful quality. Can we continue to allow that simplicity to be eroded by intemperate men? If only we could at least adopt once again the mentality of living simply from what we have and experiencing the beauty and joy of the paradise we live within. It should be enough. It should be everything we want. Only then will be content. Only then will we find rest.

However, the bankers are banking that we cannot. If we could meditate on simplicity and live it one person at a time, we can remove these financial tyrants from our midst. We can return Ireland to its beauty, the humility of simplicity where we will all sit by our windows on a spring morning and delight in the song of birds reveling in what we own and what our hearts have forged.

Our Lady Queen of Peace, Pray for us.

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