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15th Jul, 2018


Mystery (again)

Yesterday I was musing here about the notion of Mystery. A confrere of mine in Australia pointed me to an interesting article  by philosopher Gabriel Marcel (1889–1973) on the subject: Problem and Mystery.
It can be found at

13th Jul, 2018




What is a mystery? Is there such a thing? Can a mystery be solved? What is the central mystery of human life? Is the topic taboo among scientists? What is the most profound mystery in all of science?

12th Jul, 2018



Are you superstitious? Tomorrow, Friday, is the 13th of the month.

Many have a phobia about the figure 13. Some hotels won't have a 13th room or 13th floor.  Airplanes often don't have a row 13.

Friday 13th is especially superstitious. It is associated with the crucifixion of Christ which is supposed to have taken place on that date.  Scripture also mentions that the Last Supper had 13 members - where the 13th member was Judas who ultimately betrayed Jesus.

During the middle ages some Knights Templars were tortured by King Philip IV of France on a Friday the 13th.

In Britain, Friday was “the day of the hangman or the noose” as many public hangings took place on this day, and there were 13 steps to the gallows.

Have you a phobia? My own phobia is the hell of a fear of enclosed spaces - even an MRI scan!  The recent saving of boys from a cave in Thailand did nothing to assuage it!

10th Jul, 2018



The death of Saman Kunan - a highly trained Thai diver - has underscored the danger involved in bringing twelve Thai boys and their coach out through the cramped, flooded passageways of a cave.

The diver, a volunteer, died after losing consciousness in one of the passageways. His job was to lay oxygen tanks along a potential exit route. In the end he did not have enough for himself on his way back.

What a wonderful act of heroism. To give one's life for another is the ultimate act of love. An act that must be recognized by all people.

The whole effort to save the boys shows what can be achieved when a group works together to achieve a worth-while goal.

Should not the Pope be prepared to declare that man 'holy'? Like Christ, he gave his life that others might have life.

8th Jul, 2018



Normally I run a mile from music that involves pop and guitars but recently a friend recommended me to have a look at the lyrics of a love song of U2's called 'In a little while' on the album All that you can't leave behind.
I was surprised by the 'religious' theme throughout. It is littered with spiritual musings. The lyrics give the impression of a man who doesn’t like where he is, but knows things will get better in time.
‘In a little while, I’ll be there
In a little while
This hurt will hurt no more".

It is often when waiting for change that things seem most hopeless.
"When the night takes a deep breath
And the daylight has no air
If I crawl, if I come crawling home
Will you be there?"

The notion of the night time, a period of darkness, bringing more relief than in the day implies that he is at odds with himself and his faith. He can't breadth properly in the presence of God and wonders whether he will be forgiven when he finally repents.

"A man dreams one day to fly
A man takes a rocket ship into the skies
He lives on a star that’s dying in the night
And follows in the trail, the scatter of light."

It looks at man’s place in the grander scheme of the universe. How man has taken a rocket to the moon, yet we are still just following the trail of scattered light left by the Creator. Bono explained this line: "It’s the divine comedy. . . . No one is in charge. . . .  I love the idea of human beings believing they are in charge of their own destiny. For all the progress and all the enlightenment we have had, I do see us kind of stumbling around. There’s a sort of audacious side to human beings that puts themselves at the centre of the universe".

Full text:     https://genius.com/U2-in-a-little-while-lyrics

7th Jul, 2018



One of Donal Trump's nominees for a seat on the US Supreme Court,  Amy Coney Barrett, is extremely well qualified for the job apparently, but there's a problem - she's a Catholic. And not just a Catholic, but a 'real' Catholic who seems to take the teachings of her Church seriously. This sort of Catholicism does not win media favour. They like their Catholics served lukewarm at best.

At least what a Catholic believes is public. There is a creed and a catechism. Not so for others whose consciences are guided  by principles and preferences known only to themselves.

God help you Ms. Barrett. If your nomination to the Supreme Court is successful your life will not be a picnic.

6th Jul, 2018



So the American people have once again celebrated the Fourth of July!

The Fourth of July is a celebration of Independence, but is it a Religious Holiday? What has Religion to do with Independence Day? you may ask. Independence, like all the rights of man, comes not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

JFK in an Independence Day speech once said: “Our government was founded on the essential religious idea of integrity of the individual. It was this religious sense which inspired the authors of the Declaration of Independence: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.’”

Religious Freedom is a fundamental right that must be actively guarded in every country. What approach to religious freedom has the US today? Is not American culture now trending against religious freedom? And, after so many centuries of Christian faith, is not Ireland now out-stripping the States in this?

28th Jun, 2018



I have been reflecting on celibacy. Lack of marriage is often viewed with suspicion - as an indication that people are likely to fall into sexual sin, or as a sinful shirking of adult responsibility. Underlying much of this attitude is the belief that for the vast majority of people, celibacy is either impossible or cannot be fulfilling. Many blame the Catholic sex abuse scandal on the requirement that priests remain unmarried. Others see celibate living as a needless source of loneliness, and can even be viewed as a form of punishment. To remain celibate is unthinkable!

On the other hand, marriage is seen as the universal solution to the problems of loneliness and sexual temptation. Some groups now view marriage as a legitimate vocation for same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage is seen as a way to “solve the problem of gay people.” This approach, I think, is less than honest. It is forcing many to deal with the uncomfortable tension between typical views of celibacy and the traditional understanding of marriage. I think the move to see same-sex marriage as a legitimate Christian vocation is often an attempt to escape this tension without having to question the prevailing view of celibacy. Could it be that our view of celibacy is the real problem?

Is not affirming same-sex marriage as a Christian vocation simply the result of following our modern culture. I think our present broader culture idolizes romantic relationships. Are we following our modern culture’s lead with too little thought?

The direct teaching of Scripture too often seems to be either ignored or worked around. For example, both Jesus (Mt. 19:10-11) and Paul (1 Cor. 7:37-38) teach that, when feasible, it is better for the unmarried to remain unmarried. Do Christians actually believe this teaching? For those of us who view Scripture as authoritative, this is a big problem.

Some Christians neglect to grapple with the reality that celibacy requires a significant amount of self-control, even for those gifted with it. Are those who desire marriage always called to marriage?

17th Jun, 2018



The Trinity Knot (Eternity Knot) is a religious symbol with both pagan and Christian heritage. In Celtic mythology, knots symbolize the sacred geometry of the universe and the interconnectedness of all life in the universe. In Christian iconography, the Trinity Knot represents the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Trinity Knot can be seen in Ireland’s most valuable relic, the Book of Kells, now located in the suitably named Trinity College, Dublin.

The knot is a complete loop that has no start or finish and could be said to represent eternity whether this means loyalty, faith, friendship or love. Only one thread is used in each design which symbolizes how life an eternity are interconnected.

14th Jun, 2018



James 5:16-18 says, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective". And Jesus himself taught, "…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" (Mt. 17:20).

How would an honest modern scientist respond to these quotes from scripture?

Is there genuine power in prayer? Is it reasonable to expect results from our prayers?  Does prayer help people to cope with alienation, loneliness, and the stresses of modern living? Is there something uniquely powerful and uplifting about praying together? When we pray, are we praying to a personal creative power who really exists, or to some projection of our imagination?

I believe the Mystery we call God is a personal creative power who answers prayers that are in agreement with His will. His answers are not always yes, but are always in our best interest. When our desires line up with His will, we will come to understand that in time. When we pray passionately and purposefully, according to God's will, God responds powerfully! The power of prayer is not the result of the person praying. Rather, the power resides in the Mysterious God who is being prayed to.

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