Saturday, 25 February 2012


Sometime ago a friend gave me a book on Christian spirituality entitled: Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them. How true it is! Each of us has a history, has quirks and inconsistencies, faults and failings; each of us carries baggage.

There are times when we can be painfully aware of that baggage. Then the danger is that we hear the Word of God as condemnation, harshly telling us what we are not… rather than revealing what we can be, and as an invitation to respond more deeply to God’s liberating love.

God’s Word confronts and challenges me but never condemns me – there is always the promise of new beginnings. With Christ’s goodness every moment can be a fresh start.

Love draws, grace invites, mercy attracts…..

It is the knowledge that I am so loved and capable of much greater goodness that creates the desire in me to change. My own experience is that the more I believe in my inner storehouse of goodness, the more I want to become truly good.

Whatever spiritual practises you have committed yourself to this Lent, may they help heal the wounds shame and self-rejection inflict. 

May these days of grace open you more joyfully to a love no betrayal can destroy.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Lent: Drawn to the Light

Sometime ago I read Tobias Wolff's excellent novel, Old School.  I was struck by the comments of one of the characters.

He speaks about "tropism, what makes a plant grow toward the light. Everything living aspires to the light. You don't have to chase down a fly to get rid of it - you just darken the room, leave a crack of light in a window, and out he goes. Works every time. We all have that instinct, that aspiration."

We are by our very nature drawn to the light. "Everything living aspires to the light." And, at our deepest level, the human heart seeks the One who is the source of all light.  Even when we are distracted by false lights, even when we turn from God's light - the longing for the light of His presence and grace abides. We are made for the light not for darkness.

Lent begins this week.  During the coming weeks we are invited to consciously turn from the darkness toward the light; we prepare ourselves to let the Easter light enter in at a deeper level; we open ourselves more fully to Christ's  liberating power.

At a particular time when he struggled with the confusion of competing lights, the young Francis of Assisi begged God: "Enlighten the darkness of my heart. Give me a right faith..."

Faith dims the false lights so the true light can get us home.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Words that Heal

Dr Bobby Moore led an "Awakening  the Soul" retreat in our friary in Rossnowlagh last August. It was a great grace for all who took part. On his website he speaks of the journey to freedom and peace we are all on. 

What struck me was his emphasis on the power of listening and conversation to heal.

"Most of the people and groups I work with paint vivid pictures of profound loneliness and crippling isolation as their core dilemma.  Attempted solutions have often resulted in ultimately damaging and destructive relationships and behaviours.  

However, at some point desire from within awakens the realisation that there is another more productive way.  They initiate a conversation with me because there is something right with them rather than something wrong.

Generative conversations and empathic listening have the capacity to heal and restore.  Words weave webs of connection that form bridges for meaning and emotional relationship.  They offer an opportunity to re-connect with our Source, to remember who we are and to restore our lives to their highest level.

‘They can be a great help – words.
They can become the Spirit’s hands and lift and caress you.’  (Meister Eckhart)

Conversations heal by replacing the internal destructive voices of judgement, cynicism and fear with the resourceful voices of acceptance, hope and compassion."