Sunday, 30 September 2007


Another volume plucked from the
sun-basked window sill in my Front Porch.


The curtains were half drawn, the floor was swept

And strewn with rushes, rosemary and may

Lay thick upon the bed on which I lay,

Where through the lattice ivy-shadows crept.

He leaned above me, thinking that I slept

And could not hear him; but I heard him say:

"Poor child, poor child:" and as he turned away

Came a deep silence, and I knew he wept.

He did not touch the shroud, or raise the fold

That hid my face, or take my hand in his,

Or ruffle the smooth pillows for my head:

He did not love me living; but once dead

He pitied me; and very sweet it is

To know he still is warm though I am cold.

Christina Rossetti
Rossetti was born in London in 1830 and during her early years educated at home by her mother. In the 1840s her family was stricken with severe financial difficulties due to the deterioration of her father's physical and mental health. When she was 14, Rossetti suffered a nervous breakdown which was followed by bouts of depression and related illness. Rossetti began writing at age 7 but she was 31 before her first work was published — Goblin Market and Other Poems (1862). Rossetti continued to write and publish for the rest of her life although she focused primarily on devotional writing and children's poetry.Rossetti's deeply religious temperament left its marks on her writing. She was a devout High Anglican, much influenced by the Tractarian, or Oxford, Movement. Rossetti broke engagement to the artist James Collison, an original member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, when he joined the Roman Catholic church. She also rejected Charles Bagot Cayley for religious reasons. She maintained a large circle of friends and for ten years volunteered at a home for prostitutes. In 1893 Rossetti developed cancer and Graves' disease then died the following year due to the cancer on December 29, 1894
In 'After Death', which she wrote in 1849, the poet-speaker lays on a bed, with a shroud on her face, observing the surroundings before the burial. "He did not love me living; but once dead / He pitied me; and very sweet it is / To know
he still is warm tho' I am cold."


Old Sayings For A New Age

1. Anywhere you hang your @ is home.

2. The e-mail of the species is deadlier than the mail.

3. A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click.

4. You can't teach a new mouse old click

5.Pentium wise; pen and paper foolish.

6. The modem is the message.

7. Too many clicks spoil the browse.

8. Don't byte off more than you can view.

9. Virtual reality is its own reward

10. Modulation in all things.

11. There's no place like ( http://www.)home(.com)


Saturday, 29 September 2007


Sadhu Sundar Singh

The Life of The Sadhu

Sundar Singh was born in 1889 to an important landowning Sikh family in Patiala State in northern India
The death of Sundar Singh's mother, when he was fourteen, plunged him into violence and despair. He turned on the missionaries, persecuted their Christian converts, and ridiculed their faith. In final defiance of their religion, he bought a Bible and burned it page by page in his home compound while his friends watched. The same night he went to his room determined to commit suicide on a railway line.
However, before dawn, he wakened his father to announce that he had seen Jesus Christ in a vision and heard his voice. Henceforth he would follow Christ forever, he declared. Still no more than fifteen, he was utterly committed to Christ and in the twenty-five years left to him would witness extensively for his Lord.
Then, in October 1906, he set out in quite a new way. He walked onto the road, a tall, good-looking, vigorous teenager, wearing a yellow robe and turban. Everyone stared at him as he passed. The yellow robe was the "uniform" of a Hindu sadhu, traditionally an ascetic devoted to the gods, who either begged his way along the roads or sat, silent, remote, and often filthy, meditating in the jungle or some lonely place. The young Sundar Singh had also chosen the sadhu's way, but he would be a sadhu with a difference.
"I am not worthy to follow in the steps of my Lord," he is recorded as saying, "but, like Him, I want no home, no possessions. Like Him I will belong to the road, sharing the suffering of my people, eating with those who will give me shelter, and telling all men of the love of God."
In 1929, against all his friends' advice, Sundar determined to make one last journey to Tibet. In April he reached Kalka, a small town below Simla, a prematurely aged figure in his yellow robe among pilgrims and holy men who were beginning their own trek to one of Hinduism's holy places some miles away. Where he went after that is unknown. Whether he fell from a precipitous path, died of exhaustion, or reached the mountains, will remain a mystery. Sundar Singh had been seen for the last time. But more than his memory remains, and he has continued to be one of the most treasured and formative figures in the development and story of Christ's church in India.


For the first two or three years after my conversion, I used to ask for specific things. Now I ask for God. Supposing there is a tree full of fruits -- you will have to go and buy or beg the fruits from the owner of the tree. Every day you would have to go for one or two fruits. But if you can make the tree your own property, then all the fruits will be your own. In the same way, if God is your own, then all things in Heaven and on earth will be your own, because He is your Father and is everything to you; otherwise you will have to go and ask like a beggar for certain things. When they are used up, you will have to ask again. So ask not for gifts but for the Giver of Gifts: not for life but for the Giver of Life -- then life and the things needed for life will be added unto you.

Sadhu Sundar Singh


'Autumn' - Levitan Sokolniki (1879)

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,

Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook;

Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring?

Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--

While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,

And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;

Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn

Among the river sallows, borne aloft

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft

The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

John Keats

Wednesday, 26 September 2007


An Indian poet and dramatist, Kalidasa lived sometime between c. 170 and AD 634 . Little is known about Kalidasa's life. According to legend, the poet was known for his beauty which brought him to the attention of a princess who married him.
In addition to his plays, Kalidasa wrote two surviving epic poems Raghuvamsha ("Dynasty of Raghu") and Kumarasambhava ("Birth of the War God"), as well as the lyric "Meghaduta" ("Cloud Messenger"). He is generally considered to be the greatest Indian writer of any epoch.


"Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and Realities of your Existence.
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And To-morrow is only a Vision;
But To-day well lived makes
Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!"


(acknowledgements to Alayana Apple's blog where I first came across this poem... )


Trevor Morrow
This article appeared in yesterdays Irish Examiner and offers one view of contemporary Irish society. Coming hotfoot on remarks in a similar vein made by the German ambassador maybe its time we woke up and took note !
The almighty euro — Ireland’s new religion?

IRELAND has become a country obsessed with sex, money and new technologies to the detriment of values that might make us happy, according to one of the country’s leading Christian commentators.
Dr Trevor Morrow said success, status and enjoyment of life were measured only in economic terms and workaholic parents were sacrificing their children and their health in order to "make it, financially".
He questioned the morality of debating the impact of immigration purely on the basis of financial costs and gains and further cautioned against the kind of liberal sexuality that placed no value on the stability of relationships.
Dr Morrow, a Presbyterian pastor in west Dublin and former moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, made his comments in an address for the second annual CS Lewis Lecture — held in the memory of the author who was also a respected religious scholar. He appealed for a critical examination of the social implications of the country’s current obsessions but said it was very difficult to critique them because they had become "Ireland’s version of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".
Dr Morrow said: "Even though it is a truism that money cannot buy one happiness, there is a seductive belief that money, pleasure, things and happiness are inseparably related. "All this has contributed to our individualism, social alienation and lack of civil involvement," he continued, adding that the "god of financial success" had caused hardworking, gifted and idealistic politicians to become greedy, corrupt and shameful. Dr Morrow lamented the pursuit of liberal sexuality without restraint or judgement."We need to encourage legislation in the Dáil that encourages marriage and family life but also recognises that in a pluralist society, for those who do not hold our views, we need to support that which is less than the ideal.
"Here I am thinking of civil partnership. Whatever one’s sexual orientation, if we choose not to be celibate, it is better to be in a committed relationship than to be promiscuous." Dr Morrow also highlighted what he called the "unthinking acceptance of new technology"."Simply put, our motto must be that people matter more than devices," he said. The CS Lewis Lecture, hosted by Evangelical Alliance Ireland, was scheduled to take place in Dublin last night. Dr Morrow will also be delivering his address in University College Cork on Thursday, October 4.

Caroline O’Doherty

Tuesday, 25 September 2007



A man and his wife are awakened at 3 o'clock in the morning by a loud pounding on the door. The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger, standing in the pouring rain, is asking for a push. "Not a chance," says the husband, "It is three o'clock in the morning!" He slams the door and returns to bed. "Who was that? asked his wife. "Just some drunk guy asking for a push," he answers. "Did you help him?" she asks. "No, I did not. It is three in the morning and it is pouring out!" "Well, you have a short memory," says his wife. Can't you remember about three months ago when we broke down and those two guys helped us? I think you should help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself!" The man does as he is told, gets dressed, and goes out into the pounding rain.He calls out into the dark, "Hello, are you still there?" "Yes," comes back the answer. "Do you still need a push?" calls out the husband. "Yes, please!" comes the reply from the dark. "Where are you?" asks the husband. "Over here on the swing!" replies the drunk.

Monday, 24 September 2007


This poem first appeared about five years ago in a collection called The Witnesses by Marie Barrett. With her husband Maurice she runs a tuition centre in Granagh (or did back then),but I last knew them about 30 years ago when they were involved with the Christian scene in Limerick. The book begins with a 68 page account of true events that took place in a squatting community in London in 1974 where the author says she received " a baptism of fire there in the company of drug-addicts and drop-outs" The rest of the volume is given over to her poetry, This, from the afterword ,describes Marie's spiritual sensibilities..." Time is running out,she is aware, for the system of things as we know it,for the current world order as the Kingdom of God and of Jesus,his son,approaches.Good news for all people everywhere who await Jesus' return. It is to them,she believes, that the following words of comfort and encouragement are given, received by her from the Lord on June 23,1998 -

Believe that as I am

so shall you also be "




I am the tree

and subject of a too severe attack.

I would have borne it well

though some say I deserved my lot-

I had too much,having nothing

and they picked and pulled

until I felt the wrench.

I am that tree

and must with it

see my green wood fade.

Time is measured to me

still more slowly now-

somewhere in my heart I heard it

the blunt axe fall.

Marie Barrett

Saturday, 22 September 2007


Three decades later-
and worth the wait !


Over twenty years ago at a Christian gathering in Carne Co. Wexford I first heard the vocal talents of Charlie Ward. On that occasion the performance was particularly poignant as he was accompanied by his sister Sandra who in her early twenties, was in the final stages of her battle with cancer. Brother and sister,their voices dueted perfectly as they sang one of Charlies own compositions ‘Healing Jesus’.
Now over twenty years later Charlie has released a collection of songs from 1982 to the present appropriately titled About Time.This CD is a captivating compilation of twenty original tracks,penned by himself and sung with his daughter Sandra and Jacinta Cassidy. The harmonies are delicious and the guitar playing sublime but it’s the directness of the lyrics and the pure melody of the tunes that carries this work along on the crest of a worshipful wave! This is music with only one end in view - Jesus. Throughout, the Scripture laced words and the patent sincerity of the performance, ushers the listener into the very inner court of the presence of the Lord Jesus. When King Saul’s head was bothered with fearfulness and negativity he called young David,”a talented harp-player…” to play for him. “And whenever the tormenting spirit troubled Saul,David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better and the tormenting spirit would go away.”(1 Samuel16:23). About Time is the handiwork of a very talented musician/songwriter and will, in my opinion, soothe the most troubled heart. The entire collection steers the listener away from our earthly cares and to another realm where Jesus is waiting with arms outstretched to welcome and refresh our souls. This is well expressed in the song ’Holy’…”

Lord I want to shine again
Be a light for You
Only You can fill my empty heart
When there's no one else around
No one to impress
Everything lies bare before your eyes.”

Listening to About Time last evening I was encouraged to seek the Lord afresh and ask Him to work through my life.It is so easy to loose sight of the loveliness of Jesus even as we race from meeting to meeting,I need to take time apart and learn to sit at the Masters feet. I can think of no finer preparation for this task than to listen to the beautiful songs in this collection. And the icing on the cake of this enterprise for me is the inclusion of that song performed all those years ago in the marquee tent at Carne,’Healing Jesus’

Gerard O'Shea

About Time can be obtained directly from Charlie Ward at his website

Or from the Limerick Christian Bookshop10 Upper Gerald Griffin Street Limerick Phone: (061) 419730 …or Christian Bookshop,Tucky Street,Cork.

Thursday, 20 September 2007


A detail from Michelangelo's painting



In the Vatican Michelangelo Buonarroti’s brilliant painting of God and Adam adorns the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
If you look carefully at the painting, you notice that the figure of God is extended toward the man with great vigour. He twists his body to move it as close to the man as possible. His head is turned toward the man, and his gaze is fixed on him. God’s arm is stretched out, his index finger extended straight forward; every muscle is taut. Before Michelangelo, art scholars say, the standard paintings of creation showed God standing on the ground, in effect helping Adam to his feet. Not here. This God is rushing toward Adam on a cloud, one of the ‘chariots of heaven’, propelled by the angels. (In our day they don’t look quite aerobicised enough to move really fast, but in Michelangelo’s day the angels suggested power and swiftness.) It is as if even in the midst of the splendour of all creation, God’s entire being is wrapped up in his impatient desire to close the gap between himself and this man. He can’t wait. His hand comes within a hairbreadth of the man’s hand. The painting is traditionally called The Creation of Adam, but some scholars say it should be called The Endowment of Adam. Adam has already been given physical life—his eyes are open, and he is conscious. What is happening is that he is being offered life with God. ‘All of man’s potential, physical and spiritual, is contained in this one timeless moment,’ writes one art critic. Apparently one of the messages that Michelangelo wanted to convey is God’s implacable determination to reach out to and be with the person he has created. God is as close as he can be. But having come that close, he allows just a little space, so that Adam can choose. He waits for Adam to make his move. Adam is more difficult to interpret. His arm is partially extended toward God, but his body reclines in a lazy pose, leaning backward as if he has no interest at all in making a connection. Maybe he assumes that God, having come this far, will close the gap. Maybe he is indifferent to the possibility of touching his creator. Maybe he lacks the strength. All he would have to do is lift a finger. The fresco took Michelangelo four years of intense labour. The physical demands of standing on a scaffold painting above his head were torture. (‘I have my beard turned to the ceiling, my head bent back on my shoulders, my chest arched like that of a Harpy; my brush drips on to my face and makes me look like a decorated pavement… I am bent taut like a Syrian bow.’) Because he was forced to look upwards for hours while painting, he eventually could only read a letter if he held it at arm’s length above his head. One night, exhausted by his work, alone with his doubts, discouraged by a project that was too great for him, he wrote in his journal a single sentence: ‘I am no painter.’ Yet for nearly half a millennium this picture has spoken of God’s great desire to be with the human beings he has made in his own image. Perhaps Michelangelo was not alone in his work after all. Perhaps the God who was so near to Adam was near to Michelangelo as well - at work in his mind and his eye and his brushes. This picture reminds us: God is closer than we think. He is never farther than a prayer away. All it takes is the barest effort, the lift of a finger. Every moment - this moment right now, as you read these words—is the ‘one timeless moment’ of divine endowment, of life with God…
The central promise in the Bible is not ‘I will forgive you,’ although of course that promise is there. It is not the promise of life after death, although we are offered that as well. The most frequent promise in the Bible is ‘I will be with you.’
Before Adam and Eve ever sinned or needed forgiveness, they were promised God’s presence. He would walk with them in the cool of the day.

Foundational Truths of My Life with God

· God is always present and active in my life, whether or not I see him.
· Coming to recognise and experience God’s presence is learned behaviour; I can cultivate it.
· My task is to meet God in this moment.
· I am always tempted to live ‘outside’ this moment. When I do that, I lose my sense of God’s presence.
· Sometimes God seems far away for reasons I do not understand. Those moments, too, are opportunities to learn.
· Whenever I fail, I can always start again right away.
· No one knows the full extent to which a human being can experience God’s presence.
· My desire for God ebbs and flows, but his desire for me is constant.
· Every thought carries a ‘spiritual charge’ that moves me a little closer to or a little farther from God.
· Every aspect of my life - work, relationships, hobbies, errands - is of immense and genuine interest to God.
· My path to experiencing God’s presence will not look quite like anyone else’s.
· Straining and trying too hard do not help.

Review these truths once a day for two weeks as you cultivate the practice of God’s presence.

John Ortberg

Monday, 17 September 2007




i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginably You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

-e. e. cummings


Francis Thompson

In the winter of 1837, Mr. Wilfrid Meynell, the editor of a minor literary magazine called ‘Merry England’received a grubby parcel containing an essay and some poems,with an accompanying letter.The enclosed letter was from Francis Thompson apologising for the sorry state of the manuscript “due to the strange circumstances and places under which it was written”. He signed off “Yours with little hope”. Mr Meynell put the papers in a pigeon hole where they were to remain for the next three months.
Thompson was born in 1859 to a well off Catholic family and was sent to Ushaw College to train for the priesthood.The headmaster wrote to his parents and advised them to place Francis on another career path,pointing out he could succeed at anything if he could “shake off a natural indolence “.He then half-heartedly studied medicine and failed the final exam three times. Along the way he became addicted to opium.
Meynell eventually read the manuscript and decided to publish one of the poems. On reading his published work Thompson presented himself at the offices of the Merry England journal,arriving in a sad and dishevelled state after a long period of drug addiction. Meynell and his wife virtually adopted the hapless poet,sending him to a clinic to dry out and later to a monastery to convalesce.
During his four years of withdrawal Thompson wrote his most widely read poem The Hound of Heaven. Sadly in 1898 he became addicted to laudanum and he battled with deep depression until the end of his life in 1907.


The kingdom of God is within you

O world invisible, we view thee,

O world intangible, we touch thee,

O world unknowable, we know thee,

Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!

Does the fish soar to find the ocean,

The eagle plunge to find the air--

That we ask of the stars in motion

If they have rumor of thee there?

Not where the wheeling systems darken,

And our benumbed conceiving soars!--

The drift of pinions, would we hearken,

Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors.

The angels keep their ancient places--

Turn but a stone and start a wing!

'Tis ye, 'tis your estrangèd faces,

That miss the many-splendored thing.

But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)

Cry--and upon thy so sore loss

Shall shine the traffic of Jacob's ladder

Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.

Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,

Cry--clinging to Heaven by the hems;

And lo, Christ walking on the water,

Not of Genesareth, but Thames!

Francis Thompson

Sunday, 16 September 2007



Once in every life
Love steps in
We sometimes meet her at the door
And times we find within…
But whether that encounter
Lasts for all our days
Is all within our gift
As the Piper always pays

Whatever song we hum to
Is our soundtrack at the End
Whenever there’s a turning
We cast aside a friend,
Until at last the Sea
O’erwhelms the rising flood
And all is sealed Conundrum…
Of true and pure and good?

Gerard O'Shea

Saturday, 15 September 2007



According to a recent study - reported in the journal, Heart - watching comedy films increases the flow of blood, making a good laugh literally heartwarming. The study also found that a watching a good tearjerker has the opposite effect, leaving hearts a little low on blood flow.
The study included 20 healthy young adults who watched 15 to 30 minute segments of either humorous or sad films with a minimum of 48 hours between viewings. The study participants were asked to refrain from aerobic exercise or from using alcohol, vitamins or herbs the evening before the viewings, since these can all affect blood flow.
Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore
collected a total of 160 measurements of brachial artery flow from the participants a minute before and after phases of laughter or sadness. The brachial artery, which runs from the shoulder to the elbow, is a good indicator of blood flow throughout the body. According to the researchers, brachial blood flow was reduced in 14 of the 20 participants after they watched segments from the sad movies. Blood flow was increased in 19 of the 20 participants after they watched clips from comedy movies.
The effect of watching a sad movie caused the same kind of reduced blood flow as remembering episodes of anger and doing mental arithmetic, the study authors said. In contrast, watching a comedy boosted blood flow to a level equal to that of doing aerobic exercise or getting started on a cholesterol-lowering regime!
So in the light of all this research,sit back and enjoy...

Who broke down the walls of Jericho?

The visiting Bible school supervisor asks little Johnny during Bible class, "Who broke down the walls of Jericho?" Little Johnny replies, "I dunno, but it wasn't me!" The supervisor, taken aback by Johnny's lack of basic Bible knowledge goes to the school principal and relates the whole incident. The principal replies, "I know Little Johnny as well as his whole family very well and can vouch for them; if Little Johnny said that he did not do it, then I, as principal am satisfied that it is the truth." Even more appalled, the inspector goes to the regional Head of Education and relates the whole story... After listening he replies: "I can't see why you are making such a big issue out of this; just get three quotes and fix the wall!"


Jewish children sporting
their bar-mitzvah kippahs

As the jewish New Year festival -Rosh Hashanah (Sept13-14th) has just passed I thought this little piece on the significance of the kippah was appropriate...

Clothing worn by Jews usually varies according to which denomination of Judaism they adhere to.
Orthodox Jewish men always cover their heads by wearing a skullcap known in Hebrew as a kippah or in Yiddish as a yarmulke. Women also cover their heads by wearing a scarf or a hat.
Liberal or Reform Jews see the covering of the head as optional.
Most Jews will cover their heads when praying, attending the Synagogue or at a religious event or festival.
Wearing a skullcap is seen as a sign of devoutness.
The most common reason (for covering your head) is a sign of respect and fear of God. It is also felt that this separates God and human, by wearing a hat you are recognising that God is above all mankind.
There is disagreement over whether the covering of ones head is a Torah commandment. However there is some evidence in the Talmud (Jewish teachings) that some form of head covering is required.
One should not walk bare-headed (the distance of) four cubitsShulchan Aruch, Oracn Chayim, chapter 2
Pride and Identity
Many Jews feel that by wearing a skullcap they are proudly announcing to the world that they are Jewish. This is classed as an 'outward sign' of their faith.
It has also become custom to wear kippahs or yarmulkes of certain colours, sizes and materials as a sign of allegiance to a certain group.

Thursday, 13 September 2007



Shortly after writing the blog about my idyllic day by the sea circumstances changed dramatically. Whilst skipping from stone to stone crossing a stream on the beach at Spanish Point I stretched too far and tore the muscle in the calf of my right leg ! The pain was instantly excruciating and I could hear the tear which was a terrifying sound. As I was down on the beach I had to delicately inch my way back up to the road over stones and climb up a sand dune. Luckily my friend Tony was with me and he packed up the gear. Painfully I eventually got back to the car and drove to a pharmacist in Miltown Malbay for painkillers. Thank God for Neurofen Plus which allowed me to drive back home in a Codeine induced cloud of feel good!
The following morning (Saturday) I went to the A and E at the Regional hospital and left after seeing the doctor with a support stocking and a prescription for Diffene. So for the last week ,I have been off work, confined to the house ,resting with my leg up. Such are the joys of skipping on a Clare beach on a sunny September day. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing, the unfortunate end of the outing was more than compensated for by the other delights of which I have previously written. And it could have been much worse,a torn muscle is one thing, a torn ligament or tendon would have been ten times more serious.I’ve written this piece in the interest of balance, my day by the sea,like life had sunshine and shadow,light and shade but always underneath are the Everlasting Arms (Deoteronomy 33:27)

Gerard O'Shea

Tuesday, 11 September 2007


Harley Surgeon

A mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a Harley, when he spotted a world-famous heart surgeon in his shop. The heart surgeon was waiting for the service manager to come take a look at his bike. The mechanic shouted across the garage, "Hey Doc can I ask you a question?" The famous surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over to the mechanic working on the motorcycle. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, "So Doc, look at this engine. I also can open it up, take valves out, fix'em, put in new parts and when I finish this will work just like a new one. So how come I get a pittance and you get the really big money, when you and I are doing basically the same work?" The surgeon paused, smiled and leaned over, and whispered to the mechanic, "Try doing it while it's running."

Monday, 10 September 2007


C.S.Lewis (1898-1963)


To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.


Saturday, 8 September 2007



"Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal."-- Phi_3:13-14 (R.V.).

ALWAYS STAND at the bow! Leave the stern with its backward look and make for the bow. To spend time in sad review of past sins and failures is not to put them to the best account. Confess them, and believe that for Christ's dear sake they are absolutely forgiven! Failure often provides the material for success, and our dead selves may become the stepping-stones to better things. Did not our Lord say to His disciples: "Sleep on now and take your rest"--the past is irreparable, but immediately added: "Arise, let us be going!"--the future is available. Therefore, leave the stern with its backward look, and make for the bow.
True, the sky before us may be dark with storm-clouds. The weather-prophets say that the world is shedding its old sanctions without replacing them with better ones; that seven civilizations have already passed, and we are to see the death of the eighth. Be it so, but they forget that God holds the stormy waters in the hollow of His hand; that Jesus walked the threatening billows to succour His friends. They forget that when the earth was without form and void, the Spirit of God brooded in the chaos and darkness, creating the heavens and earth. They cannot detect the voice of the Creator saying, "Behold, I make all things new!" Out of chaos is born the cosmos. Each age ends in travail, out of which a new age is born.
Look out to the vast circle of the horizon, and prepare for the new lands to be explored, the wonderful discoveries that await us, the great missions hidden in the future which are waiting to be fulfilled. Never doubt that the clouds will break. Never dream that wrong will triumph. Never count yourself God-forsaken or forgotten. The Master may seem to be asleep on His pillow, oblivious and uncaring, but His hand is on the helm. He guides your course. He rules the waves and they obey Him.


Spanish Point, resplendent in September sun


Just as summer gloriously arrived back in April while students were head-bent knuckling down to their exam preparation, now as they diligently return to desk and whiteboard, we are experiencing the best weather of the whole season. Strictly speaking we have slipped over into autumn but to judge by today’s temperatures (20-23 C) , this is the summer that has been absent since those heady early delights of four months ago!
Endued with thoughts warm and cheerful, I have ensconced myself overlooking the glistening sea at Spanish Point in County Clare. As it is Friday there are only a scattering of souls on the beach as the incoming tide dashes against the golden sanded shore (yes I know it’s a cliché, but on this particular day it’s true!).
What is it about the sea that so invigorates and revitalises ? Earlier dipping my feet in the shallows of the great Atlantic I could feel the briny refreshment rush between my toes. Even the embarrassment of slipping on stones crossing a stream and landing sodden on my backside could not diminish my sense of utter freedom and rapture at my outing by the sea.
The rhythmic pounding of the surf- crested waves is the hypnotic audio background to this golden day. The ocean is bejewelled as the sun skims its dazzling surface, and in its waters a few surfers are propelled shore-ward by the rushing tide. A spray of swallows swiftly move across the surge and are lost in the shadow of a wave. A mother and her two tots walk along the beach while clutches of people bask on the rocks just beyond the reach of the swelling sea. It’s like a national holiday has been declared by the Magisterial sun and we have been summoned away from cloudy skies and the incessant summer drone of falling rain.
There is an urgency too as the autumn evenings draw in and our intake of vitamin D reduces daily.These pet days are our nut store for the confined hibernation of dreary winter months ahead.Now I close my eyes and deeply breathe the soft sea air,locking the whole panoramic spread to my remembrance .This mental hearth will be sat around and its embers raked as the days shorten and the nights close in. This glorious sea-side day will live forever


Monday, 3 September 2007



The beauty of the world hath made me sad,

This beauty that will pass:

Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy

To see a leaping squirrel in a tree

Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk

,Or little rabbits in a field at evening, lit by a slanting sun,

Or some green hill where shadows drifted by,

Some quiet hill where mountainy man hath sown

And soon would reap; near to the gates of heaven;

Or children with bare feet upon the sands

Of some ebbed sea, or playing on the streets

Of little towns in Connacht,Things young and happy,

And then my heart hath told me:

These will pass,

Will pass and change, will die and be no more,

Things bright and green, things young and happy;

And I have gone upon my way