Friday, 31 October 2008



A new business was opening and one of the owner's friends wanted to send him flowers for the occasion. They arrived at the new business site and the owner read the card, "Rest in Peace."
The owner was angry and called the florist to complain. After he had told the florist of the obvious mistake and how angry he was, the florist replied,
"Sir, I'm really sorry for the mistake, but rather than getting angry, you should imagine this...somewhere there is a funeral taking place today, and they have flowers with a note saying, 'Congratulations on your new location.'"

Monday, 27 October 2008


Elvish Activity in Limerick yesterday
Walking through town yesterday I was horrified at the sight of Corporation workers busily hanging the street Christmas decorations ! I checked the date on my phone , just as I thought it was October 26 th. with Halloween still to come ! Already, I’m aware that many shops have been offering Christmas fare but street decorations a full two months before the Day…this is a bridge too far.I wandered in to a Subway Sandwich outlet still dazed by the spectacle outside, immediately as though reading my muddled mind the lady behind the counter said “Can you believe it, Christmas decorations in October !” If I had been in any doubt, this independent witness to the event confirmed my own observations and joined my chorus of discontent. I know it’s probably just one more sign of my multiplying years on this planet and I am fast in danger of becoming a Victor Mildrew ‘I don’t…believe it’ type, but does anyone else think this is plain absurd ? For instance you might ring the Corporation officials about the dwindling pressure of your tap-water (as I’ve had occasion to do!) and you’ll be lucky to get a sympathetic hearing, never mind a visit within 6 months from the relevant personnel! But it seems once the ‘C’ word is mentioned in the Council Chambers a whole team of Corporation ‘elves’ spring into action to bring tacky Christmas cheer to the citizens of our fair city ! If the diligence and promptness of the C.C.C (Corpo Christmas Cheer) could be replicated by other departments in that august body then maybe we might have pot-holes filled in before the accident !….roadworks completed within a reasonable time !…and parks and such like maintained to a high standard ! Maybe this yuletide helter-skelter by our Corpo comrades is inspired by a spirit that creeps abroad at this time of year and fills the city aldermen with goodness and cheer, absent for the other 10 months of the calendar.I wish ! O.K. enough said ,I’ve registered my protest and you’re right I have better things to be doing, like taking down the tree from the attic ! Ouch!!!
Gerard O'Shea

Bóthar na Siócháin

O'Riada's Album
This hymn ‘Bóthar na Síochána’(’The Road of Peace’) was written by Dónal O Liatháin and is featured on an album entitled ‘Winds-Gentle Whisper’ by Peadar O Riada. O’Riada is the son of Irelands best known modern composer the late Seán O Riada who most famously wrote the music for the film ‘Mise Eire’ (‘I Am Ireland’). The words of this piece are very powerful but to appreciate the depth of the song it really should be heard in its musical form on O Riada’s album. I’ll let Peadar’s album notes ( written in 1996) introduce the song… “This poem was written by my compadre Dónal O Liatháin during the period of 1987-’88 when the situation in Ulster was not very good. All the people of this island of Ireland wished for peace, but it eluded us at the time.I set the poem to music in the early summer of 1995 as we watched the fledgling peace process in the North of Ireland come under pressure.We hope that this will soon be just a reminder to us of the bad old times on this island, as peace for all with justice for all emerges and grows.”
Bóthar na Siocháin
A Thiarns Dia ár Slánathóir,
Tabhair dúinn do lámh ná tréig sinn.
A Thiarna Dia sa bhfásach sinn.
Is fuath is bás Caithréimeach.
Tú Thráigh an mhuir do Chlann Israél,
A bhí go docht í neighinn
‘Noís féach le trua is treoiríghsinn.
Chun síochána in Eirinn.
Ar bhóthar na sióchána.
Ar chosán díreach Dé.
Ar bhóthar na sióchána.
I gcáirdeas sinn go léir.
Tá dúthaigh romhainn go h-aoibhinn.
Beam ann le breacadh an lae.
Ach siúlaimis le chéile,
Gach láimh I lámhibh Dé.
Sheas tú go bás, a Shlánaitheoir.
Chun sinn ón mbás do shaoradh.
Tú crochta céasta ar an gcrois,
Mar íobairt dúinn Síol Eabha.
O bhróin an bháis atá ‘nár measc.
Tabhair sólás dúinn is feoéseamh.
Is treoraigh sinn-ne thuaidh is theas.
Chun síochána in Eirinn.
Dónal O Liatháin

The Road of Peace
O Lord God our Saviour,
Give us your hand, don’t forsake us.
O Lord God, in the wilderness we stand,
With hate and death triumphant.
You ebb the sea for the tribes of Israel,
Who were in dark enslavement.
So lead us now from north and south,
In peace for all in Ireland.

On the peaceful road now take us,
On the straight and Godly path
On the peaceful road forever
In friendship, hand in hand.
The promised land awaits us,
Through the gloom now shines the dawn.
So let us walk together,
In your tender hands each hand.

Steadfast you loved , O Saviour.
To death, from death to save us.
Nailed, crucified upon the cross
A sacrifice for Eve’s children
From death’s deep sorrow, grief and loss,
Give us relief and solace.
And lead us on from south and north
Toward peace for all in Ireland.
Dónal O Liatháin

Sunday, 26 October 2008


But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world,
and we can take nothing out of it.
But if we have food and clothing,
we will be content with that.
People who want to get rich fall into temptation
and a trap and into many foolish
and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin
and destruction.
For the love of money
is a root of all kinds of evil.
Some people, eager for money,
have wandered from the faith
and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:9-10


Founder, Arthur Williams

About 20 years ago I was involved with a coffee- bar in limerick city called Maranatha, a place for believers to gather and an outreach towards those who were curious about the gospel. One evening this guy came in to Maranatha in a very agitated state and after a few minutes conversation it was clear that he was locked in the grip of drug addiction and wanted to break free. We did what we could at that time , speaking to him and praying with him often, but soon realised that even with his desire to go clean that he needed specialist help. After several phone calls we finally discovered that the only available Christian run drug rehab was across the water at Yeldal Manor in Berkshire, England. Unfortunately despite at first agreeing to travel over to this facility our friend never did go for treatment and soon slipped back into his old ways. I recalled this story as I thought how the gospel has taken root in this land over that period, as I listened to the work of Stauros this morning at the Door of Hope fellowship. The Stauros Foundation ( ‘Stauros’ is the word in New Testament Greek for the cross) was set up back in 1980 to “minister to people who are addicted to alcohol and to other drugs and to offer support to their families”. The Irish work takes place at the Haven in Tipperary and I was first made aware of it through my friend Tony Carey who has been a supporter of Stauros for the last few years.
The Foundation was established through the experiences of Arthur G. Williams who lost almost everything through his addiction to alcohol and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in May 1971. Arthur had heard the gospel a full 6 months before when his doctor explained that the root of his addiction problem was a spiritual lack that could only be filled through the power of a risen Saviour. He responded by trusting Christ and experienced the peace and forgiveness that only Jesus can give. Over the next several months he fell back into the old lifestyle until he found himself in the hospital at rock bottom. Here, God met him in a new way , filling him with the Holy Spirit and giving him power to overcome his sin. From this point Arthur’s life of service began. After leaving Cliff Bible college he worked as a lay evangelist with the Methodist Church in Ireland and in time went on to pastor a church in Glasgow until 1982. During his work in Glasgow the vision for an agency to help people with their addictions was formed and the Stauros Foundation was set up in 1980.
The Irish branch at the Haven has been operating since 1994 where residential care is provided within a Christian framework for men and women who have a dependence on drugs or alcohol. About 90% of all who pass through make a commitment to Christ and several of the residents have overcome their addiction and gone into full time Christian work. The drug problem in this country cannot be overstated as it hits every strata of society, every age and socio-economic group and is as prevalent in rural areas as urban. Thank God for the men and women of the Haven who not only have the necessary skills to deal with those who wish to kick the habit, but also know the power and mercy of God who can make everything new ! This is good news for all who are afflicted with this scourge and a work that did not exist within these shores 20 years ago is now by His grace quietly going about its business deep in the Tipperary countryside. If you would like to know more about the work of Stauros or support it, visit their website at
Gerard O'Shea

Saturday, 25 October 2008


One day the zoo-keeper noticed that “Cheech” the chimp was reading two books — the Bible and Darwin’s 'Origin of Species'.
Surprised, he asked him, “Why are you reading both those books ?'
”Well,” said the chimp, “I just wanted to know if I was my brother’s keeper or my keeper’s brother.”

Wednesday, 22 October 2008



Can you imagine if the great Bard got to work on polishing up a piece of contemporary doggerel ? Imagine no more, this is what he might have made of that modern classic 'The Hokey Pokey' First let's painfully remind ourselves of the original..(you can dance along if you wish !)

Put your left foot in,
Your left foot out,
Your left foot in,
And shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey
And turn yourself around
That’s what it’s all about.

And now after its literary makeover on the banks of the Avon..
O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke.
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from heaven’s yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the poke -- banish now thy doubt.
Verily, I say, ’tis what it’s all about.


This book is a con...Truth is not found between
the covers of it or any other tome, but in a man...
When asked 'What is truth?' by Pilate,
He said....nothing -
and that silence has spoken more eloquently
over the centuries
than all the clamour and endeavour
of philosophers and thinkers
who have sought to fill it
with their own ideas and theories
So many truths
Expressed in the check-out queue
Of seeking souls
Particles of meaning, high shelved
Out of the reach of the immature-
Two for one price packs of instant karma…
Soluble truth grains
Ideal for that mid-morning
Sense of nothing pick me up…
Yellow packed morsels of cake
For the bread demanding mob,
More than empty heads
Will be lost in this revolution…
Mistress Truth still tantalises
Even in the black shadow
Of Madame guillotine.

All’s not yet lost in this cost-cutting war
The truth has relatives
Long distanced, non-visiting
Like Real and Soul Integrity
Where the kindly guardian
May, even after closing time
Allow the briefest visit.

As for me I think I’ll trust
In other than the Princes and their chariots,
And lye back as an infant child
Enjoying all the sustenance
Dropped at my feet
By kindly ravens.
Gerard O'Shea

Friday, 17 October 2008


Of The Tiniest Importance

It just happened!

That moment
When you are but an atom
And nothing has more importance

Are all transparencies


Are all placed at your convenience
To shower the retina with love.


John Carmody


John Carmody is a Limerick man who has tasted the highs and lows of life and found a passion for writing poetry. As a younger man he became embroiled in the Northern troubles and was jailed for 10 years for political offences. In prison he found solace in committing his thoughts to the poetic form and emptied into these pieces his frustrations at life‘inside’, his yearning for freedom and his growing spiritual awareness. In fact at the launch of his collection ‘The Butter Lamp’ at the Cuisle International Festival he commenced by acknowledging that without God’s input he would not be here today.
The Limerick Art Gallery drew a large audience for John’s publishing debut and it was obvious that many people there were friends who had come along to support this amiable, warm-hearted man. The poems were delivered in John’s rich baritone Limerick accent that added greatly to the authenticity and depth of the verse. One poem in particular, ‘Heaven’s Day’ movingly recalled the tragic death of his brother on an Easter Sunday and poems dedicated to his mum and dad similarly struck a responsive emotional chord with the assembled gathering.
The hallmark of John’s poetry is an honesty and accessibility that at first can belie the breadth and substance of his poetic talent. Here indeed is a new voice who has forged out of life’s adversities and joys the stuff of true-felt and illuminating poetry. And while his performance covered the the deeper tones of life’s journey, he also showed a finely tuned sense of fun with a few ‘quickie’ encores! My favourite was this howler called ‘Bloodbath In The Library’…’Phsssst, Phsssssst….(whispers) He has a gun’ - you’d probably have to had been there ! Concluding this highly enjoyable lunch-time reading John quipped “ I suppose I better stop here as I know some of you have to go back to work…We can’t all be poets !” More’s the pity ,say I.

Gerard O'Shea

At present I’m not sure where John’s book can be purchased, such was the demand at the launch that every copy there was sold! As soon as I know something definite I will add it to this blog.

During break time at Obedience Training school, two dogs were talking.
One said to the other. "The thing I hate about obedience school is you learn ALL this stuff you will never use in the real world."

A psychologist asks a collegue: "What time is it?"
The other one answers: "Sorry, don't know, I have no watch."
The first one: "Never mind! The main thing is that we talked about it."

Why did the guru refuse Novocain when he went to his dentist?
He wanted to transcend dental medication.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

The Lord's Prayer

This is a spirited recitation of the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples...brace yourself for those high notes !!!


Imagine meeting your best friend for coffee at your favourite cafe. Your friend knows everything about you. You can count on your friend being exactly where he says he will be. Anytime you need him, you can call and he won’t be upset with you. He is willing to listen and responds with love and concern. That is just like prayer The only difference is that your best friend is God. God is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He knows everything you ever did and He still loves you! He knows your future too. He has the best plans for your life. He cares for you so much that He gave His Son so that you could be with Him forever. “For God so loved the world, the He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). You can talk to Him about anything that concerns you. Tell Him your desires and passions. Share your concerns for your loved ones. Talk out your fears with Him. Communicate to God what is inside you without fear.

Power Of Prayer - How powerful is it?

The power of prayer should not be underestimated. James 5:16-18 declares, "…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops." God most definitely listens to prayers, answers prayers, and moves in response to prayers. Jesus 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" (Matthew 17:20). 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." The Bible urges us, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18).

Power Of Prayer - How do I tap into it?

The power of prayer is not the result of the person praying. Rather, the power resides in the God who is being prayed to. 1 John 5:14-15 tells us, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him." No matter the person praying, the passion behind the prayer, or the purpose of the prayer - God 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! We cannot access powerful prayer by using "magic formulas." Our prayers being answered is not based on the eloquence of our prayers. We don't have to use certain words or phrases to get God to answer our prayers. In fact, Jesus rebukes those who pray using repetitions, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:7-8). Prayer is communicating with God. All you have to do is ask God for His help. Psalm 107:28-30 reminds us, "Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven." There is power in prayer!

The Bible is full of accounts describing the power of prayer in various situations. The power of prayer has overcome enemies (Psalm 6:9-10), conquered death (2 Kings 4:3-36), brought healing (James 5:14-15), and defeated demons (Mark 9:29). God, through prayer, opens eyes, changes hearts, heals wounds, and grants wisdom (James 1:5). The power of prayer should never be underestimated because it draws on the glory and might of the infinitely powerful God of the universe! Daniel 4:35 proclaims, "All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: 'What have you done?'"

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).


Monday, 13 October 2008


The 'Better World Books' website


"Better World Books collects and sells books online to fund literacy initiatives worldwide. With more than two million new and used titles in stock, we’re a self-sustaining, triple-bottom-line company that creates social, economic and environmental value for all our stakeholders."

I’m obliged to fellow bibliophile and good friend Tony Ryan for alerting me to this unusual site . The ‘online bookstore with a soul’ was founded in 2002 by a group of students from Notre Dame University who decided to earn money from online book selling and also donate some of those funds towards social and literacy programs around the world. As they explain “We’re not a traditional company with an add-on “cause” component. Social and environmental responsibility are at the core of our business. You could say it's in our DNA.We’re breaking new ground in online book selling. We believe that education and access to books are basic human rights. That's why books sold on Better help fund high-impact literacy projects in the United States and around the world.” The site works like any other online book seller, you browse their selection make your choice and the book will be posted any where in the world for $3.97. The difference though is that part of what you pay will go towards contributing to individual literacy throughout the world and the promise of a better life. As well as selling new titles they also collect used books from campuses and libraries all over the U.S. to date having converted more than 13 million donated books into $4.6 million in funding for literacy and education. This has diverted 7,000 tons of paper waste from landfills. As they proclaim on their homepage “Thanks for joining us in our mission to create a better world, one book at a time.”


Melancholy Reds
by Hyatt Moore

"When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.
For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost. When I'm feeling most ghost-like, it is your remembering me that helps remind me that I actually exist. When I'm feeling sad, it's my consolation. When I'm feeling happy, it's part of why I feel that way.
If you forget me, one of the ways I remember who I am will be gone. If you forget, part of who I am will be gone. "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." the good thief said from his cross (Luke 23:42). There are perhaps no more human words in all of Scripture, no prayer we can pray so well. "

Frederick Buechner

Sunday, 12 October 2008


Tony Campolo

Campolo is a bit of an irritant to his brothers on the religious right in the U.S. as he maintains it is possible to be a Bible believing Christian and still vote Democrat! He reached an all time low as far as his critics were concerned when he continued to minister to President Bill Clinton even after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Campolo's rationale being that Clinton needed more than ever to hear about the grace of God in the 'sinful' situation he had gotten himself into. The remarks below seem eerily prophetic as they are taken from an interview which he gave several months before the present global economic meltdown!.




'I don't know about America any longer. I see us going down the tubes. I'm an old guy. I'm old enough to remember the British Empire. The idea that the British Empire could ever collapse was beyond our comprehension. But the sun has set on the British Empire. I'm sure that in 1935 the idea that the British Empire could collapse was unthinkable, but it did.
'The US right now is waging a war in Iraq that is costing a billion dollars a week. You can't spend more money than you are taking in as a government without eventually going bankrupt. In addition, our balance of trade is terrible. You cannot buy stuff from other countries and not sell stuff to other countries without it affecting your economic system and the deficit spending, together with the imbalance of trade is going to bankrupt America in a relatively short period of time. That is a very despairing reality and there doesn't seem to be anything going on right now to make us expect anything different in the future.
'In the book of Revelation, when Babylon falls, all the other nations fall with it and I think the ramifications of the collapse of the American economy are going to be frightening. We have ignored the poor, we have ignored justice, we have ignored a lot of things we should have been paying attention to, and the prognosis is not good. I pray for my nation and God is great, God is good, and I am hopeful that He will bless America but I don't see it happening in the near future because the sheer arrogance of the American people right now. That arrogance is very dangerous. I think America is getting drunk on power and the church is saying nothing.'


Tony Campolo

Saturday, 11 October 2008


This is one of the
months to invest in stocks.
Other dangerous months are
July, January, September,
April, November,
May, March, June, December,
August and February."
Mark Twain

Wednesday, 8 October 2008



Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.
“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.(1)

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.(2)



(1)...Luke 12 (2)...Matthew 6

Tuesday, 7 October 2008



i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
e e cummings (1894-1962)

Saturday, 4 October 2008



If proof were ever needed that the old adage ‘money makes the world go round’ is true, it was globally vindicated over the last seven days. With the collapse of U.S. lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the collapse of major US bank Lehman Brothers,the worlds financial institutions reeled in a sea of economic uncertainty as banks teetered on the brink of collapse and governments convened to avert national meltdown. Here in Ireland our government has taken the unprecedented step of basically going guarantor for our banks to the tune of €400 billion , apparently we are advised if they had not done so it would have been curtains for Ireland Inc. as we know it. I’m not going to pretend that I really understand what’s going on (my Leaving Cert results in Economics whisper for themselves!), I have no insight or cutting edge enlightenment to offer in the present situation, except for this: we now know our priorities as a nation!



Our Dail met to debate the economic crises and continued in session up to 2 a.m. ! I’m not sure how other parliamentary democracies operate but I can assure you this level of activity for our elected T.D.s is unheard of. And why this sudden flurry ? It appears the various Irish banking institutions got in touch with the government and demanded action to save their backs as bank price shares plummeted on the Stock Exchange. And dutifully our representatives filed into the Dail chamber to put together this early Christmas box for our beleaguered bankers. It seems our economy once beholden to greedy builders and property speculators during our Celtic Tiger boom, is now playing generous uncle to the greedy, huge profit-making banks! Squeezed between these two extremes of success and succour are the muted cries of ordinary men and women who are facing escalating utility costs and job losses on a scale we haven’t known in almost a decade, as well as those locked into mortgage deals on devaluing properties as lent by those same bank tycoons who we are now compelled into bailing out! Bob Dylan observed in a gentler age 'money doesn’t talk, it swears' and of late the air has been blue with the rantings of moneys high-priests and guardians.



Jesus said quite a bit on the subject of money and the effect it has on our psyche. Once when the disciples were broke He actually created the necessary coin with which they could pay their taxes (1), and another time He defined the two spheres of influence in our world when questioned about paying taxes He said, ‘Give to Caesar the things that are Caesars and to God those things that are Gods’ (2). Again He alerted us to these contesting loyalties when he emphatically stated that one cannot serve God and mammon (money) (3). The events of the last few weeks show clearly the path this world has decided to take, and we are all expected to march lemming-like along on this grand parade!. Sadly many of us do not have a choice having become embroiled in loans and ‘easy’ credit schemes, we may have woken up too late to the subtle entanglements that riches (real or borrowed) have placed over our ability to love God and seek his Kingdom. Like the rich young ruler shall we go away sorrowful with the Masters words ringing in our ears…’Go sell everything you have and give it to the poor, then come, follow me’ (4).



These are tough days with hard choices for everyone, but the most important choices will not be concerned with our budgets or pension schemes as at the very heart of our being this question hovers, “This day choose whom you will serve ?” (5) As Joshua uttered this challenge to the ancient Israelites, today the same Spirit causes us to stop and consider the path we are going to walk. Back then the prophet of God was able to answer for himself, “as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Each one of us need to consider our response, whether our future is to be entrusted to the vagaries of stocks and bonds or to the certain hope that is found alone in the Lord Jesus. The cry of the early believers was “silver and gold we have none” (6) as they operated in a material world but according to spiritual laws and verities. The power of original Christianity was not wielded by a sword or realised by wealth or status, but it operated by faith in the Risen Christ and was sustained by their conviction that God through His Spirit continued with them to guide and provide. Perhaps today as the safety-nets are being pulled away in the ‘real’ world, it is time we turned around and faced up to the claims of that Nazarene who walked on this earth two thousand years ago, and took his words to heart that this world does not offer peace or lasting happiness. Yes the worlds economies are slipping and sliding but this could in a way unexpected, become a global blessing as the terra firma of fiscal policies are rocked and ploughed under. I will leave the last word on this to Jesus as he reality- checks all we hold dear and precious, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (7)

~ Gerard O'Shea ~
(1)...Matthew 17:27 (2)...Mt,22:21 (3)...Mt.6:24 (4)...Mt.19:16-26 (5)...Joshua 24:15
(6)...Acts 3:6 (7)...Mt.6:23

Thursday, 2 October 2008


'Autumn'~ Mary Cassatt (1880)

"Lord, it is time.
The summer was very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials,
and on the meadows let the winds go loose.
Command the last fruits that they shall be full;
give them another two more southerly days,
press them on to fulfillment
and drive the last sweetiness
into the heavenly wine."

Rainer Maria Rilke