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30th Aug, 2015

LAW OF MOSES

One of our readings in Church today (Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8) refers to the Jewish people being asked to have pride in the law God has given them. No other nation had been blessed in this way. So they must not tamper with it, change it or add to it.

Why did the Jews institute these Laws and find them so important? "Possession of the land" appears to be very important to its rulers at this point. Why? Were they in danger of losing their identity as a people? Why did they want to be "different" from the nations around them?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Moses

29th Aug, 2015

DE MORTUIS, NIL NISI BONUM

I try to attend the local parish assembly (Mass) each morning and frequently there is a funeral service included. It is amazing how people who have not darkened the door of the church for years still want to honour their dead by a Christian ritual. One recognizes them immediately. They are not familiar with the normal rituals of the celebration.

Then one often has to listen to a long homily lauding, cautiously perhaps, the virtues of the deceased although he/she may have been the greatest bastard that ever lived in the neighbourhood. Is there not a measure of hypocrisy in all this?

Perhaps you can recall the little scene in the beginning of "Lawrence of Arabia" when a clergyman and Colonel Brighton are looking at a bust of the dead Lawrence. The clergyman asks: "Well, nil nisi bonum. But did he really deserve .......a place in here?" and Colonel Brighton's reply is a pregnant silence.

27th Aug, 2015

A WALK ON THE CLIFF

Today being warm and summery I spent the afternoon walking along the cliff path overlooking Rosslare Europort.

It was a wonderful experience and made life worth living.


This is part of a 27 km Wexford coastal path over sand dunes and sandy beaches.

Sitting to take a rest and watch a ferry boat being maneuvered into its berth this little Peacock Butterfly rested on the path beneath my feet. It is widely distributed in Ireland, can be found in most habitats, and is probably the most spectacular of our Irish butterflies.


24th Aug, 2015

SHORT REFLECTION






"And those who were seen dancing
were thought to be insane
by those who could not hear the music."

- Friedrich Nietzsche

21st Aug, 2015

CHEWING THE CUD

The epitome of peace and contentment.



The sight of cattle "is so reassuring to my restless mind. They just lie there, those cud-chewing animals, worried about nothing, just being in the Now"!

19th Aug, 2015

WHY CANDLES

Recent international tragedies have shown the worldwide custom of placing flowers and lighted candles at the scene of disasters. Flowers have always been a sign of love and affection for the living and for the dead. But why lighted candles?

Of course, lighted candles have been important in religious practice for thousands of years to represent the presence of unseen Deity. For Jews and Christians this has been of particular significance.

Apart from this 'religious' practice, the lighting of candles was not very prevalent in the past, but now people are using them all the time, putting them in bedrooms, around the bathtub, on shelves, everywhere. Statistics show that the number of home fires caused by candles is soaring as more and more people use unprotected candles to soothe nerves, to create atmosphere, or set the stage for romance.

In an "unreligious" world, however, what is the significance of lighted candles? Whatever it is, I'm sure business must be booming in recent times!

17th Aug, 2015

PILGRIMAGE

On Saturday I joined thousands of pilgrims on their traditional pilgrimage to Lady's Island in the south of the county. It was a very devotional experience.



14th Aug, 2015

SAVING SOULS

At present we read and hear a great deal about the dreadful situation in the Mediterranean where hundreds of thousands of refugees are being plucked from rickety boats and landed safely on Greek and Italian islands.

We in Ireland are proud of the wonderful work being done by our own ships in the area. But should we not ask ourselves if we are being somewhat hypocritical if all we do is land so many refugees on Greek or Italian shores and let them sort out the problem? Should we not bring our fair share of them home to Ireland?

Of course immigrants are always a big problem for countries. But our own history of migration shows how immigrants can prove very positive for host countries.

A few months ago Wexford remembered the crew of one of its own non-combatant merchant vessels, MV Kerlogue, who, in stormy seas, saved 168 German sailors, until it was too dark to continue the search, from the jaws of death after their destroyer and torpedo boats had been sunk in an engagement with the British Navy in the Bay of Biscay in 1943. The present German people have shown their appreciation for their heroic action.

13th Aug, 2015

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY!

We had a wonderful hot sunny day today. What's rare is always wonderful and, at least in this case, very welcome.

So I decided to visit our neighbouring town, Enniscorthy. Enniscorthy is on the River Slaney and the local authority has had the vision to make a beautiful walk along the river for miles, complete with shady trees and benches at intervals along its length.

I walked its length, rested in the shade, admired the river and scenery on its banks and listened to music. What more wonderful way to spend a glorious summer's afternoon?

I ended up enjoying a latte and chocolate bar in the Riverbank Hotel. May there be many more days like that! God be praised.

Unfortunatey I forgot to take my camera with me but the on-line shot of the hotel and beginning of the pathway will have to do.

11th Aug, 2015

NEW ROSS

Continuing my summer visits to towns with which I or my congregation have had connections. Today it was New Ross. I must have passed through New Ross hundreds of times yet have never spent time rambling around this historic town until today.

And a very historic town it is. It would take me ages to recount its history. A few items will have to suffice.

New Ross on the river Barrow dates from pre-medieval time but came to prominence as a town when the Anglo-Normans under William Marshall and Isabella (only daughter of Strongbow and Aoife McMurrough) arrived during the early part of the 13th century. It couild really be called Isabella's town she influenced it so much. She had a huge important church built (1210) over-looking the town.

The Ross Tapestry traces the history of the medieval New Ross. It is a series of 15 wonderful modern tapestries, each taking 4 years to complete, sewn by 150 volunteers. Two remain to be finished. Today I was allowed the privilege of adding a few stitches to the last one myself! http://www.rostapestry.com/about_us.htm

As is known, John F. Kennedy's ancesters left New Ross for the USA on a famine ship called the Dunbrody. A facimile of the ship is anchored at the quayside near an "Emigrant Flame" which was taken from the "Eternal Flame" at his grave in Arlington. More than 35 million people in the USA claim Irish/American ancestry today!

Another interesting thing to see is the Tholsel (Toll-sell), built in 1749 as a place where taxes of all sorts were payable. The prison was next door where summary justice was meeted out to those not paying their taxes - including a ducking-stool, a pillory and a gallows! It is now the seat of the town council. In it are kept the mace of King Edward III (1374), the mace of King Charles II (1699), a Charter of King James II (1688), and the minutes of the town corporation dating back to 1650.

There is also a beautiful town park where I sat while listening to Mozart on my disc-player.
All in all a wonderful day.


Isabella's Church





Tholsel




John F. Kennedy

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