Saturday, 29 March 2008



How it all began ...
In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she had been called Amazon Dot Com.
She said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why doth thou travel far from town to town with thy goods when thou can trade without ever leaving thy tent?" And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, "How, Dear?"
And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale and they will reply telling you which hath the best price. And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."
Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. The drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever moving from his tent. But this success did arouse envy.
A man named Maccabia did secret himself inside Abraham's drum and was accused of insider trading. And the young man did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Siderites, or NERDS for short.
And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums, that no one noticed that the real riches were going to the drum maker, one Brother William of Gates, who bought up every drum company in the land. And indeed did insist on making drums that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.
Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others." And as Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel, or as it came to be known "eBay" he said, "we need a name that reflects what we are," and Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators." "YAHOO", said Abraham.
And that is how it all began.



Denzel Washington is one of the finest actors working in Hollywood today. Among his films are The Pelican Brief (1993), Malcolm X (1992) and The Great Debaters (2007) In this recent interview he speaks candidly about his life and his faith.


On Being A Spiritual Person > “I read the Bible everyday. I’m in my second pass-through now, in the Book of John. My pastor told me to start with the New Testament, so I did, maybe two years ago. Worked my way through it, then through the Old Testament. Now I’m back in the New Testament. It’s better the second time around…I think I’m going to instill it (spirituality) in everything I do, like this conversation. It’s who I am. It goes with me wherever I go. Understand that it’s something bigger than making a film, even American Gangster. When I met Frank Lucas (the drug kingpin the movie is based on), he said, ‘Do this and win an Oscar.’ I’m like, ‘Frank, I’m not in it for that.’ I found it interesting that he paid for his crimes with jail time, and now he’s paying with his body, which has sort of betrayed him. It’s important for me to tell that part of the story. There are consequences”…On His Father > “A gentleman. A real gentleman. A devoutChristian. A spirit-filled man, hardworking, low-key, consistent.”…On The Secret Of His 25 Year Marriage > “Do whatever your wife tells you. Yes, dear. And breathe.”…And The Hard Times > “You have faith. And discipline as well. You have to work at it. I was just reading today: One day you’re going to have to walk with God when you can’t understand where He’s taking you. (Laughs). Your techniques, skill set and connections won’t get you through. So don’t try this on your own.He’s got you covered. My faith helps me understand that circumstances don’t dictate my happiness, my inner peace.”…Dealing With Fame > “It ain’t about me. The one thing for me, understanding how I understand God, is that it keeps me humble, keeps the pronouns out of the picture. I’ve been given certain abilities, and I look at it this way: What are you going to do with what you have? Who are you going to lift up ?”…On Mortality > “As the old folks used to say,’You are born to dead’. It’s a part of life. So you might as well get used to it.” Things That Make Him Proud > “God, family, work. When our children were born, I was like, ‘My work used to be my life. Now my work is making a living.’ They’re life. My children are. So what I am proudest of is all of the above. In that order…On Reading > “Books? I don’t have time. Except for the Bible, the No. 1 bestseller.”


Wednesday, 26 March 2008


As a postscript to the Of Mice And Men blog I should, for the historical record reveal that the mouse siege has been happily resolved. The brothers have survived their ordeal with nothing more devastating than a few extra creases around the eyes, and the mice (ALL two of them!) have been expelled. In the course of attic explorations a trapped bird was discovered and released, thus explaining the terrifying sounds which nightly emanated from the roof ! So the freed bird has those little furry friends (the mice ,I mean !) to thank for his freedom which reminds me of this fable by Aesop…

A LION was awakened from sleep by a Mouse running over his face. Rising up angrily, he caught him and was about to kill him, when the Mouse piteously entreated, saying: "If you would only spare my life, I would be sure to repay your kindness." The Lion laughed and let him go. It happened shortly after this that the Lion was caught by some hunters, who bound him by ropes to the ground. The Mouse, recognizing his roar, came gnawed the rope with his teeth, and set him free, exclaiming
"You ridiculed the idea of my ever being able to help you, not expecting to receive from me any repayment of your favour. Now you know that it is possible for even a Mouse to confer benefits on a Lion."

And then there was the guy showed up at a lady's house and said "I'm sorry but I just ran over your cat. I would like to replace him."
The woman replied, " Ok but how are you at catching mice?"

Gerard O'Shea

Monday, 24 March 2008


Lately a friend of my acquaintance (whom I have assured will remain anonymous or should I say anonymouse) has been plagued with an invasion of mice into his setting of domestic bliss. Over many nights he and his brother have remained awake listening to the nocturnal activities of the little creatures who seem to have taken over the house! While I sympathise with his plight (being no hero in this regard myself!) I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without chronicling their ordeal with a few lines of verse.


Here is a tale of domestic terror
The growth of menace within a house
A story of two stalwart brothers
Kept at bay by the power of Mouse!

For nights on end the pitter-patter
Of creature feet beneath the boards
Has kept these men alert and fretful
Mindful of the furry hordes.

Traps were set with tasty chocolate
To tempt the nibbling mouse brigade,
But these treats were nightly scoffed at
While the brothers stayed awake, afraid.

Through the early hours they kept their vigil
Nodding off for a few quick naps
But then awoken most uncivil
By the snapping sound of the closing traps!

One mouse gone to meet his maker,
While a hundred more run up the stairs
The scurrying noise of little feet
Running here and scratching there.

The local cat was called on board
Sought out on the street at 4 am
Ignoring the ‘puss-puss’ desperate pleas
The sleeping towser never came.

Desperate now the fraternal duo
Put down poison to end their hell
Still the nightly watch continues
When it will end who can tell.

How easily is our peace disturbed
By the sudden onset of rampaging mice
How quickly do we appreciate
The routene acts of our daily lives.

So let us not scoff in sly derision
The plight of the brothers so put out
But rather let us make provision
To guard our homes against the mighty mouse.

Under a door, or in the attic
He can break through the stoutest home
And then the tell-tale scratching alerts us
That we are surely not alone!

So I salute our two brave heroes
Still awake for all I know
Keeping alert for any scurry
No rest for them till the meeces go.

Gerard O'Shea

Friday, 21 March 2008




There is a power in the cross

Wherever it is raised

Even in the cleric-garbed enclave

Of a Clare Good Friday church

With a bishop in attendance,

Here ,midst purple-sheathed statues

And the lingering scent of wax

The flame of the gospel 'dymos'

Rages through the sanctimonious air,

Tearing temple drapes in two

As once it did mllenia ago,

When outside the city wall He,

The maker of heaven and earth

Hung between this world and the Next,

Impaled on that hilltop tree

An offering for all our bleeding sores.


And as He gave up the ghost

The graves yielded theirs

Death itself released

By the power of that

Hell-harrowing cross.


And earlier this afternoon

On a sunny Good Friday,

Midst the swirl of episcopal robes ,

The cross again brought me to my knees

In tearful, grateful wonder.


Gerard O'Shea

Thursday, 20 March 2008



There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked so hard for his money and he wanted to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him.
An angel hears his plea and appears to him. "Sorry, but you can't take your wealth with you." The man implores the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules.
The man continues to pray that his wealth could follow him.
The angel reappears and informs the man that God has decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathers his largest suitcase and fills it with pure gold bars and places it beside his bed.
Soon afterward the man dies and shows up at the Gates of Heaven to greet St. Peter.
Seeing the suitcase St. Peter says, "Hold on, you can't bring that in here!"
But, the man explains to St. Peter that he has permission and asks him to verify his story with the Lord. Sure enough, St. Peter checks and comes back saying, "You're right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I'm supposed to check its contents before letting it through."
St. Peter opens the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaims, "You brought pavement?"


NOTHING is so beautiful as spring --
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. -- Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning

Gerard Manley Hopkins


Monday, 17 March 2008


Today is the feast day of Irelands national saint, Patrick. While it is celebrated with lots of shamroguerey and oodles of Paddywhackery at its core is the historical figure of the Saint himself, one of the pioneers who preached the gospel to this country some sixteen hundred years ago. All we know for sure about Patrick’s ministry comes to us from his own pen in his Confession, written towards the end of his life. Originally he came to Ireland in chains as a slave aged only 16 but later back in his homeland Patrick heard the cries of the Irish in a dream and felt the call of God to return with the Good News of the Gospel.
The main opponent to the Message at that time was the Druidic religion of the Celts a mishmash of pantheism and occultism overseen by a powerful priesthood. There are numerous stories about head to head confrontations between the Saint and the Celtic priests culminating with a big showdown at Tara where both attempted to show the power of their respective ‘God’ by a dazzling display of miraculous signs and wonders! Patrick emerged as the ultimate victor proving to the people of Ireland that the God of Scripture and Jesus Christ was the One alone worthy of their allegiance and devotion.
One other lasting legacy of Patrick was the abolition of the slave trade on the island of Ireland. In fact he was one of the earliest Christians to vigorously oppose slavery his stand no doubt informed by his own experience of it as a teenager. Cortical a ruling tyrant in Britain carried off some of Patricks converts into slavery and was sent the following letter by the Saint…"Ravenous wolves have gulped down the Lord's own flock which was flourishing in Ireland," he wrote, "and the whole church cries out and laments for its sons and daughters." He called Coroticus's deed "wicked, so horrible, so unutterable," and told him to repent and to free the converts. Within Patricks own lifetime the entire slave trade had ended.
Below is a piece from the opening of his Confession in which he firmly nails his colours to the mast as a true disciple of Jesus and indeed an Apostle of His Gospel to the Irish people…
Gerard O'Shea

I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, of the settlement of Bannavem Taburniae; he had a small villa nearby where I was taken captive. I was at that time about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people, according to our deserts, for quite drawn away from God, we did not keep his precepts, nor were we obedient to our priests who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought down on us the fury of his being and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where I, in my smallness, am now to be found among foreigners.
And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son. Therefore, indeed, I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favours and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me in the land of my captivity. For after chastisement from God, and recognizing him, our way to repay him is to exalt him and confess his wonders before every nation under heaven.
For there is no other God, nor ever was before, nor shall be hereafter, but God the Father, unbegotten and without beginning, in whom all things began, whose are all things, as we have been taught; and his son Jesus Christ, who manifestly always existed with the Father, before the beginning of time in the spirit with the Father, indescribably begotten before all things, and all things visible and invisible were made by him. He was made man, conquered death and was received into Heaven, to the Father who gave him all power over every name in Heaven and on Earth and in Hell, so that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe. And we look to his imminent coming again, the judge of the living and the dead, who will render to each according to his deeds. And he poured out his Holy Spirit on us in abundance, the gift and pledge of immortality, which makes the believers and the obedient into sons of God and co-heirs of Christ who is revealed, and we worship one God in the Trinity of holy name.
He himself said through the prophet: ‘Call upon me in the day of’ trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.’ And again: ‘It is right to reveal and publish abroad the works of God.’

Tuesday, 11 March 2008



A trapped bird

A wrecked ship

An empty cup

A withered tree

Is he

Who scorns the will of the King above.

Pure gold

Bright sun

Filled wine-cup

Happy beautiful holy

Is he

Who does the will of the King of love.

Brendan Kennelly



Just days after the Madrid bombings in March 2004, Bono was interviewed by French journalist Michka Assayas. In this revealing exchange he spoke explicitly of his Christian faith and his personal belief in the atoning death of Jesus Christ.

My understanding of the Scriptures has been made simple by the person of Christ. Christ teaches that God is love. What does that mean? What it means for me: a study of the life of Christ. Love here describes itself as a child born in straw poverty, the most vulnerable situation of all, without honour. I don't let my religious world get too complicated. I just kind of go: Well, I think I know what God is. God is love, and as much as I respond [sighs] in allowing myself to be transformed by that love and acting in that love, that's my religion. Where things get complicated for me, is when I try to live this love. Now that's not so easy.
There's nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is. I accept the Old Testament as more of an action movie: blood, car chases, evacuations, a lot of special effects, seas dividing, mass murder, adultery. The children of God are running amok, wayward. Maybe that's why they're so relatable. But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum, is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you're a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.
Religion can be the enemy of God. It's often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building. A list of instructions where there was once conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit. Discipline replacing discipleship…
You see, at the centre of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff.
That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.
But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there's a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled… . It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.
No, it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: "I'm the Messiah." I'm saying: "I am God incarnate." And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the "M" word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase…
If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. …When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my s--- and everybody else's. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that's the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.


Monday, 10 March 2008


March has well and truly established herself with strong gales and heavy rainfall over the last few days. According to folklore the month will go out like a lamb when it enters like a lion! Each of the quotations below match one of the pictures, you can decide which...just to keep you on your toes !

The air is like a butterfly

With frail blue wings.

The happy earth looks at the sky

And sings.-

Joyce Kilmer, Spring

Slayer of the winter, art thou here again?

O welcome, thou that's bring'st the summer nigh!

The bitter wind makes not thy victory vain,

Nor will we mock thee for thy faint blue sky.

Welcome, O March! whose kindly days and dry

Make April ready for the throstle's song,

Thou first redresser of the winter's wrong!-

William Morris, March

Botanists say that trees need the powerful March winds to flex their trunks and main branches, so the sap is drawn up to nourish the budding leaves. Perhaps we need the gales of lifein the same way, though we dislike enduring them.

- Jane Truax

When March goes on forever,

And April's twice as long,

Who gives a damn if spring has come,

As long as winter's gone.

- R. L. Ruzicka

March is the month of expectation,

The things we do not know,

The Persons of Prognostication

Are coming now.

We try to sham becoming firmness,

But pompous joy

Betrays us, as his first betrothal

Betrays a boy.

- Emily Dickinson

March is an in between month,
When wintry winds are high.
But milder days remind us all,
Spring's coming by and by.

Friday, 7 March 2008



Gather around my bloggy friends
And warm yourself by the flickering flame
Of our solitary birthday candle
That toasts the natal hour we came.

One year ago to this very day
The Dew of Hermon hit the Net
And blog by blog for all that time
We’ve tried to hold you in our Web!

With funnies, soul food and other such
These pages have been filled
And poetry and personal comment
At times for good at times for ill!

The tranquil hours were here displayed,
As well as stormy darkening days,
Poets, philosophers and dancing clowns
Some worthy saints and cheeky knaves.

But through all the frantic rush
There’s One that permeates the whole
In every word and every line
The Lord of Life is King of all.

So raise your glass to the infant Dew
And take your draught with heart and cheer
And wish us well to steer this ship
Through all the days of another year.

Gerard O'Shea

Wednesday, 5 March 2008



Love's as warm as tears,

Love is tears:

Pressure within the brain,

Tension at the throat,

Deluge, weeks of rain,

Haystacks afloat,

Featureless seas betweenHedges,

where once was green.


Love's as fierce as fire,

Love is fire:

All sorts--infernal heat

Clinkered with greed and pride,

Lyric desire, sharp-sweet,

Laughing, even when denied,

And that empyreal flame

Whence all loves came.


Love's as fresh as spring,

Love is spring:

Bird-song hung in the air,

Cool smells in a wood,

Whispering 'Dare! Dare!

'To sap, to blood,

Telling 'Ease, safety, rest,

Are good; not best.


Love's as hard as nails,

Love is nails:

Blunt, thick, hammered through

The medial nerves of One

Who, having made us, knew

The thing He had done,

seeing (with all that is)

Our cross, and His.

C. S. Lewis



An American decided to write a book about famous churches around the world, so he bought a plane ticket and took a trip to Rome.
On his first day he was inside a church taking photographs when he noticed a golden telephone with a sign that read Euro 10,000 per call'.
The American, being intrigued, asked a priest who was strolling by what the telephone was used for.
The priest replied that it was a direct line to heaven and that for Euro 10,000 you could talk to God.
The American thanked the priest and went along his way. Next stop was in Moscow. There, at a very large cathedral, he saw the same golden telephone with the same sign under it. He wondered if this was the same kind of telephone he saw in Rome and he asked a nearby nun what its purpose was.
She told him that it was a direct line to heaven and that for 10,000 Roubles he could talk to God.
'O.K., thank you,' said the American.
He then travelled to France , Israel , Germany and Brazil .
In every church he saw the same golden telephone with a '10,000 per call' sign under it.
The American finally decided to travel to the Ireland to see if the Irish had the same phone.
He arrived in Limerick and again, in the cathedral, there was the same golden telephone, but this time the sign under it read '20c per call.'
The American was surprised so he asked the priest about the sign.
'Reverend, I've travelled all over World and I've seen this same golden telephone in many churches. I'm told that it is a direct line to Heaven, but everywhere I went the price was $10,000 per call. Why is it so cheap here?'
The priest smiled and answered, 'You're in Ireland now son, - it's a local call'