Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Most of us have had guests over for a meal.  If you’re the one who did the cooking you will know how stressful that can be.  You want everything to go well and there are so many things that can go wrong.  All you need is someone who doesn’t pull their weight or simply refuses to co-operate with you.  That’s at the heart of this Gospel but it is not Mary who is refusing to co-operate, not doing what she should, it is Martha!
Martha, Martha, her name has rolled down the centuries as the hostess corrected by the Lord.  All she wanted to do was look after her guests, especially our Lord.  In John’s Gospel she gives powerful testimony to her faith by proclaiming that she believes that Jesus is the Messiah; a proclamation on a par with that of Peter himself.  Her efforts to please her guests are testimony to the goodness of her heart and her love for the Lord.
Her culture and her faith commands her to be hospitable.  She wants to show her guests her family’s best side, not let the family down.  She wants to play a motherly role and be a hostess and to feed and care for them.   But on this important occasion her sister is sitting there on her big, fat backside doing nothing!  One can almost hear the banging and the muttering as she goes about getting everything ready.    There is our Lord sitting in the midst of his disciples teaching, with Mary sitting near him listening attentively, while Martha busies herself with her work.
Martha finally loses it.  She does not address her sister but the Lord.  What is going on here?  Has there already been a row?  Are they on speaking terms?  Is she afraid of Mary?  She appeals to the Lord, trying to get Him onto her side but to no avail.  She is corrected instead.  ‘You worry and fret about so many things’ could be said of many of us.  “There is one thing necessary.’ And Mary has chosen it.  The Lord will not deny her.  Why? 
He will not deny Mary because the Lord is the One who is providing the food.  He is the true Host at this meal.  Here it is the food of His Presence and His Teaching.  Soon He will give the food of His Body and Blood.  It is not He who needs food from Martha but Martha who needs food from the Lord.  Mary has realised where the true food is and the Lord is feeding her.
So often are we not just like Martha.  We worry and fret about so many unimportant things and miss the one thing necessary.  The Lord wishes to save us, take away our sins, feed us, and bring us into Eternal Life and few there are who, like Mary, take the time to let Him. 
How do we feed on the Lord?
 First by listening to Him in His Word the Bible, especially the Gospels, and in the Teaching of the Church.  We also feed when we give time to prayer – that is spend time talking to God and giving space for Him to speak to our deepest inner self.  We also feed when we listen to the events of our lives or the beauty of this world He has given us.  All this requires the sacrifice of time – time given to the Lord, to sit and to listen to Him.  We feed on Him especially when we celebrate the Sacraments,  above all when we receive Holy Communion in a state of grace i.e. free of  mortal sin.
I will restrict myself though to just prayer and that is a huge topic. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you are always in His Presence and under His care.   Being attentive to that Presence is the heart of prayer.  The Church still defines prayer as ‘lifting our heart and mind up to God’ and that is what being attentive to His Presence means. So here is a simple, ancient way to pray.  Pick a short phrase such as ‘Jesus have mercy on me’ or ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus I place all my trust in thee’ or any phrase that appeals to you.  Say it slowly as you breath in and breathe out while you sit quietly, paying attention to the Presence of God.   You will get distracted.  Getting distracted is normal.  When you notice your distraction just return to the Lord’s Presence.  All the saints had to do this.
Another way to pray is to read the Sunday or daily Gospel slowly and with attention and care.  One can read and reread it aloud.  One listens to the words and pays attention to any word or phrase that strikes you.  One talks to God about it and looks to see how it applies to one’s life.    Slowly we become more and more attentive to the Lord and His Teaching. 
When we pray daily the Lord comes to mean more and more to us and we become more and more aware of His Presence in our lives and how He cares for us.  We begin to want to love others more because of the love He has for us.
A Catholic who does not pray, who does not give some time to God each day is not a real Catholic.  Making space for God in our day, in our lives, taking the time to sit at His feet and listen to Him with our mind and heart is how we begin to grow spiritually.  It is how we learn to trust Him, to love Him and to want to follow Him wherever He leads, to not only avoid doing wrong but to want to do more and more good for love of Him.
It is your choice.  God has provided the food of Eternal Life for you.  You can choose to eat or you can choose to go hungry.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


I must begin with apologies to those who have heard this story before but  I find I return again and again  to my Mother’s actions when one bitterly cold Christmas morning she found a young traveller boy crying outside our front door.  He had sprained his ankle and my mother took him in, checked his ankle and would not let him go until she had fed him.  She understood that everyone is our neighbour and she therefore could never pass by someone in need.
That is the heart of this Gospel passage.  We start with the Lawyer’s question of how we are to attain Eternal life.  Our Lord refers him to the Law.  The lawyer rightly recites the Shema Israel – the Jewish Creed still recited to this day.  This is the path to salvation; honour God and love your neighbour.  But the Lawyer wants to cover himself, to set limits and conditions.  ‘Who is my neighbour?’ the lawyer asks.  He is testing Christ, that is, God-made-man, the very author of all true law and creator of everything.  Christ who stands before him is both his neighbour and his God.  Our Lord’s response does not change the Law but expands it. He tells the Lawyer and us the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’.  In order to understand how shocking this parable is we must replace the Samaritan with another character.  We need to replace him with some person or a representative of some group we believe to be unacceptable.  WE might call him the ‘Good Unionist’.  It is then we can hear what our Lord is saying.  There are no limits to love, not the rather confused modern notions of love, but real love, love that is self-giving, self-sacrificing.  The Samaritan responds to the need of his neighbour though he is a member of an enemy people.  The priest and the Levite, professional religious men, caught up in religious and nationalist issues of purity choose not to reach out to the other and are, paradoxically, breaking the very law they would uphold.

Christ is our Good Samaritan.  We were, through our sins, enemies of God and yet He came into the world to save us.  St Augustine tells us:
“Robbers left you half-dead on the road, but you have been found lying there by the passing and kindly Samaritan. Wine and oil have been poured on you. You have received the sacrament of the only-begotten Son. You have been lifted onto his mule. You have believed that Christ became flesh. You have been brought to the inn, and you are being cured in the Church.  That is where and why I am speaking. This is what I too, what all of us are doing. We are performing the duties of the innkeeper. He was told, “If you spend any more, I will pay you when I return.” If only we spent at least as much as we have received! However much we spend, brothers and sisters, it is the Lord’s money.”
He has brought us to the Church as a place of healing. He has poured over us the purifying wine of His Blood and washed our wounds in Baptism and anointed us with healing oil in Confirmation.   He has given us into the care of the inn that is His Holy Church, a place of refuge for those on the journey to Eternal Life.  In this holy inn our task is to be the Good Samaritan to others, to be obedient as the innkeeper was and to care for those who are broken and in need.  Again as St Augustine tells us:
He shows mercy to us because of His own goodness, while we show mercy to one another because of God’s goodness. He has compassion on us so that we may enjoy Him completely, while we have compassion on another that we may completely enjoy Him.”
Even when we wander off and are brought down by our sins it is Christ who finds us and with His grace brings us to the Confessional where our wounds are bound and healed.  What foolishness it is therefore for anyone to avoid going to Confession or to neglect to confess all theirs sins.  Let Christ our Good Samaritan heal you!
There is no private or partial living of the Faith.  It must be public above all in our actions.  This does not mean that we force our faith down other peoples’ throats but neither does it mean we let them force their faith down ours.   Still less does it mean that we neglect to behave or to speak up in ways that make our faith obvious to everyone. Our Lord is telling us that there are to be no limits to love or to mercy.  If we find someone is in need then we ought to do what we can for him or her regardless of whether he or she is our enemy and regardless of the cost.  This visible proclamation of the Gospel is the most powerful witness of its truth and when we neglect it we are in fact offering a counter-proclamation, a denial that could cost others their salvation.
On the other hand in keeping Christ’s teaching, in extending to others the love and mercy He has extended to us we truly become His disciples and we will one day hear Him say to us “Come, you blessed of my Father, for I was in need and you looked after me.  Enter into the joy of my Kingdom!”

Monday, July 4, 2016


Every business, every enterprise requires training, especially on the job training.  My training as a school chaplain was all on the job.  There’s your class go in and teach them.  Here the Lord is training His disciples, particularly the non-Apostles and it’s on the job training, sending them out to proclaim the Good News, to experience the highs and lows of ministry.  They are learning to cast their cares upon Him and how to trust in His power.  It is a long time since there were wolves in Donegal or anywhere else in Ireland.  Christ sends these disciples to the wolves, that is to sinners, to those who are beasts of prey to their neighbours that through the Good News they might become sheep and walk in the way of peace.  They go empowered by Him who is peace itself, by the Lord of the harvest.  
Here the Lord points out to us the importance of prayer and commands that we call on God for an increase in the number of those working for the harvest of souls.  All that we do in His name is done by His power, in fact nothing good can come about but by His power.  The Good News of peace is not merely absence of conflict, still less an absence of effort and labour.  It is the peace that comes from the reconciliation between God and man in Christ.  From this follows His instruction that they should greet no one.  He doesn’t mean they should be rude but that the Good News of this Peace with God is more important than any social nicety.
What an honour to speak in His name! What a responsibility.  He urges us that if we rejoice in anything it is that our names are written in heaven.  They are written first by Baptism and Confirmation but they are affirmed whenever we proclaim His name and do His will above all in our actions.
All of this is addressed to us, priests, friars, nuns and laity, male and female.  We are all disciples of Christ, therefore we are all, in a sense, apostles and so sent to others with the Good News.  Each of us according to our state of life, gender, age and intelligence is commissioned by the Lord to proclaim the Good News of God’s peace.  Therefore we are all called to make sacrifices, to lay aside even some of the good things of this world in order to serve the Lord.
I have noticed over the years that lay people greatly exaggerate the difficulties of the priesthood and religious life.  Yes there can be loneliness especially for the priest of a diocese.  Life in a marriage that has broken down is lonelier still with many added sorrows.  The single life carries its fair share of loneliness.  As a priest or friar one hands a lot of power over ones life to a superior or bishop.  There are restrictions and there are sacrifices.  The same could easily be said of marriage.  But just as marriage has its joys so do the priesthood and religious life.  Again and again priests score the highest in job satisfaction ratings.  The work is varied, and no two days are the same. I have baptised many babies.  The youngest was only sixteen weeks in the womb.  In the Confessional I get to talk to people about some of their most painful, darkest moments and hopefully direct them on the way to wholeness.   Many times have I stood by a couple as they said ‘I do’ to one another.  No one else gets as close to that wonderful moment.  Yes I have no wife, no children.  I taught in a school for twelve years and at times I thanked God I had no children, especially teenagers.  Teenagers could make a saint of you.   During my time there I had the awful honour of burying four of them: Roisin, Stefan, Kayleigh and Nicole.   Of all the simply natural roles we can take on none is higher than that of being a parent, being a mother or a father.  The Priest, who represents Christ who represents the Father, is called ‘Father’ because of his spiritual ‘fatherhood.’  For it is through his ministry that our Mother the Church brings us to supernatural life in the Sacraments.
The priest stands at the heart of life.  He gets to bring people into the Kingdom of God through baptism, walk with them through life in his ministry, teaching and consoling them, feeding  them with Holy Communion, cleansing them in Confession; uniting in Marriage, healing in anointing, praying with and for them as they go to the Lord and then laying their bodies to rest.   I have offered many Masses for my parents since their deaths.  There aren’t too many of the dead that can claim that.  I believe with the Church that the Lord will replace all I have sacrificed for Christ a hundred times over – all I have to do is remain faithful to my vocation.  The priesthood is part of all the important parts of life and it leads to eternal life.  It is a shame and a loss that so few will even consider it.
As a Capuchin friar I have the support of my brothers in the Order.  Yes we fight.  As you may or may not know we had our Provincial Assembly recently and there will be changes here in Ards.  One of the men coming to Ards gave me such stick about my transfer here that I roared out laughing when I saw he was to come here.  Then I thought of his knees and felt sorry for him.  Of course when I saw they were leaving me here that wiped the smile off my face.  As brothers we each have our own room, our own space and our own stuff (sometimes too much stuff) but we eat together, pray together and often work together for the Lord.  Why do so few want to work for Him today?
The Capuchins have been here since the 1930s but we have not had a vocation from Donegal in over 40 years.  As I said last Sunday I am the only vocation from my home parish, that I know of, since it was founded nearly 50 years ago.   The Lord commands us to pray for vocations, for labourers for the harvest, but is anyone actually praying?  Is anyone listening to the Lord? Is anyone encouraging or nurturing the call to serve Him?
My Parents had only one grandchild, my niece.  My vocation to the Capuchins and to the priesthood was a sacrifice for them more than for me.  Why should they have to sacrifice so that the people of Cork or Donegal can have Confession and Mass?  Why are so many today afraid of commitment even to the Sacrament of Marriage?  There is a want of faith God’s providence and care.
All across the Western world there is a huge problem.  It is behind many economic and social programs and policies.   There are simply not enough babies.  It affects Ireland too though not as obviously as in other countries.  Ask yourself why this is.  Such a situation in a Catholic country naturally affects vocations.  There are simply not enough children being born to sustain the country let alone the priesthood.  There are fewer young men for the Lord to call to be priests and religious.  That means fewer Masses and a greater difficulty in finding a priest when you need one.  If you want to be able to attend Mass or get Confession here or in your local parish in twenty, or fifteen or even ten years time, someone will have to make sacrifices.  Some young men will have to answer the call and be supported in that call by their family and friends.

The answer to our present difficulties is a return to the teaching of Christ and His Church.  The answer means sacrifices and a huge act of faith in God’s power to care for us and meet all our needs.  It means generosity and courage to face the wolves in our society, our community and in our lives.  It means encouraging and nurturing those who express an interest in the priesthood and religious life.  Above all it means each of us taking seriously our obligation to spread the Good News of Christ, firstly by how we live but also by what we say.  If you wish to have your name written in heaven you need to stand up, speak up and work for Christ.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Imagine you set out to drive to Dublin or Cork but instead of watching the road in front you kept looking in the rear view mirror or wondering what was over that hill, or down that road on the left or right. Even if you somehow managed not to crash or drive into a ditch surely you would soon be lost? Having the end of one’s journey in mind and keeping one’s eyes on the road is essential to getting there in one piece and on time, safe and sound. That’s what our Lord is saying to us today.

He has set His face for Jerusalem, the home of the Temple, the holy city, the heart and symbol of all the Jewish hopes and dreams. He is going there to suffer, to die and to rise again. He knows He will face rejection and that His own people will be the ones to hand Him over to the pagan Romans to be murdered on the Cross. He does all this because it is His mission, His task from the Father to be the bridge between heaven and earth, to be the Father’s love and mercy made visible for and to us. On the Cross at Calvary He opens heaven to us and unites us with the Father. Every good thing comes to us through Him upon that Cross and He is determined to see it through.

He begins though by sending out His disciples to preach ahead of Him. People are to be informed of what is coming, to hear the Good News of God’s saving plan. They themselves are to undergo rejection and trial in the future so this is a training program to toughen them up for what is to come later in life. They are to learn how to remain at peace and not lose heart because of difficulties. This is something we need to learn as well. We must never give up, never lose our trust in the love and mercy of God.
The Samaritans reject the Gospel because Christ is on His way to Jerusalem. Such are those who can only see this world and think that the only important matters are those of this life: politics, power, wealth, fame etc. By their foolishness they lose what God has to offer. For us it is a warning not to let our fallen nature overcome us and so replace the will of God and His plan with the hunger to be in control, to use others, to have more and more beyond what we need, to always be the centre of attention. Such shortsightedness has done so much damage to the world we live in and, worst of all, deprives us of the blessed joy of life forever with the Lord.

Then there are those who think that religion is a way to enrich themselves such as with the man who says he will ‘follow Christ wherever He goes’. Christ has not invited him to such a path; he puts himself forward. Christ does not come to build a merely earthly kingdom or to enrich his followers. His kingdom is not to be like that of this world. There is a deeper meaning, though, in the reference to the foxes’ dens and birds’ nests. The great St Cyril of Alexandria sees here a reference to evil spirits and sinful habits. How can Christ find a welcome in our hearts and in our lives, he says, if we allow what is evil to have a home in us? We must get rid of the vermin in our lives so that Christ will have room to be King of our hearts, our families, our nation and our world.

Then there are those who though invited to follow Christ make excuses about family and other concerns. There is no greater offer than the call to follow Christ and serve Him. It is a shame that there are those who lack the faith or courage to serve Him in the priesthood and religious life as well as those who lack the generosity to encourage and nurture vocations in their families. Our Lord tells the bereaved man that the Kingdom of God outweighs even our duty to our dead. He is not telling the man not to bury his father but to not use his dead father as an excuse to avoid doing God’s will! In fact the Kingdom and Kingship of Christ is so important that it must affect everything and every aspect of our lives. That is why one cannot be a Christian in private and something else in public even if you are a councillor or a TD. We cannot compartmentalize our lives, we cannot be a Christian in one part and someone else in another part and still be a true Christian, a true follower of Christ. God wants all or nothing.

So He gives us the image of the man ploughing a field. Back at the time of Christ there were no tractors or machines for ploughing. The plough was made of wood and usually it was drawn by oxen. It was slow, hard work and if the ploughman did not keep his eye on where he was going then he could find himself tearing up ground all over the place wasting valuable time and energy and damaging the plough as well. Our Lord offers us this lesson: do not waste the time you have been given, keep your eyes on what is really important, not this life but the eternal life that God offers you. Put God’s will and the Gospel first and then you will plough straight, you will not wander from the right path, you will safely get to your journey’s end, life with God for ever.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


If you have ever watched Zefirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth  you will have seen this episode acted out in all its drama.  Our Lord, although a guest, is not among friends.  To understand this demands that I explain a few things.  The Pharisees were largely a lay movement and usually wealthy.  They were devoted to their faith and to their Law, in particular its rules on ritual and personal cleanliness.  In the culture of Jesus’ time the custom for welcoming a guest was that they were offered water to wash their hands and arms, as well as their feet and for an honoured guest oil was provided to anoint their head.  They did not eat at table as we do.  For one thing they lay down on couches and reached forward to take their food from the dishes – they ate with their fingers.  For large groups the tables were set in a horseshoe pattern and the guests sat around on one side of the tables all facing into the centre where the servants served the food.  The Pharisee has deliberately neglected to offer the basic signs of welcome for our guest.  So you see our Lord has been offered real insults.  The Pharisee is trying to provoke Him.  The whole meal is a trap.
It is into this charged situation that the woman comes.  She is not named – we are only told of her bad reputation.  Our imaginations can fill in the blanks here.  She is even more unwelcome than the Lord.  As a public sinner she risks making the Pharisee and his guests unclean by her very presence.  They are lying on the couches so she has easy access to the Lord’s feet.  She weeps over Him, and her tears drip down onto His feet. His feet that are filthy from the street.  Remember there were very few sewers outside the major cities back then and there was every kind of filth in the streets.  To touch and kiss His feet she must bow or even kneel before Him.  Then she does something that perhaps women understand better than men.  Hair means so much more to women. A woman’s hair is described in the bible as her glory and it is this woman’s glory that she uses to dry the feet of our Lord.  Then she goes further, anointing his feet with ointment, an expensive gift from what she treasures most.
Our Lord then confronts the Pharisee.  He points out his rudeness and challenges him with a case: who will love the master more, the servant forgiven less or the servant forgiven more.  Our Lord points to the woman.  She has been forgiven more.  Here Jesus is sometimes misinterpreted.  He is not saying that the woman has sinned so much because she has loved so much but that she is forgiven so much because of the amount of love she has shown for the Lord.  Her tears and her drying of His feet with her hair are a sign of her faith in Him and His mission and her true sorrow and repentance.  So He responds to her with mercy, forgiveness and absolution because she is the believer not the Pharisee. 
The Pharisee who is so devoted to his religion cannot see God at work in Jesus.  He is so convinced of his perfection that he is unable to do as this poor woman has done.  He cannot weep for his sins.  He cannot even humble himself to offer water to the Lord let alone wash the Lord’s feet with his tears, nor dry them with his hair.  He certainly cannot put his wealth at the Lord’s service.  But this woman with a bad reputation has acknowledged Christ’s Lordship and mission by weeping for her sins at His feet.  Her lips have been made holy by the feet she has kissed.  In anointing His feet she places her most valuable possessions at His service.  Christ means ‘anointed one’ and by anointing our Lord’s feet she proclaims her faith that He is the Messiah, the ‘anointed one’, the ‘Chosen one’ of God sent to save sinners.  She knows that Scripture has foretold: Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace! So our Lord proclaims peace to her and sends her away at peace with Him.  She was still reviled by the people of her town but she was no longer cut off from God.  Christ has reconciled her.  Whatever the world might think she is a new creation.
So note the four things she has done:
She has courageously come to the Lord with faith.
She has wept at His feet in repentance.
She has wiped His feet clean in penitence.
She has anointed His feet in loving self-sacrifice.
This woman with a bad reputation is a model us and for the Church, and for all who would be truly repentant.
This Autumn I will be seventeen years a priest.  In all that time I have rarely heard a penitent weep for their sins.  I have heard people weep over other things but rarely over sin. I do not suggest that they lacked sorrow for their wrongs or were not penitent.  Perhaps it is our lack of faith or a lack of understanding of Who Jesus is and What He has done for us.  Perhaps it is a poor understanding of the nature of sin and the harm it does to ourselves and to others. 
Whatever the cause the Lord is always inviting us to move deeper into our knowledge of Him.  He wants us to draw closer to Him whatever the Pharisees (and all the others who think they have no need of God and can save themselves), whatever they might think.  He wants us to come to His feet in genuine sorrow and repentance, to recognize that He is the Love and the Mercy, the Compassion of the Father made truly human for us.  He wants us not only to recognize but to weep as best we can over our faults and failings, our wrongdoing, our sins, for we can only find rest in Him.  He wants us to show Him that we really are sorry, really do want to change, that we really do want to make amends and heal what we’ve broken.  He wants us to love Him in return for His love and to kiss and anoint His feet with our good works, with the love, mercy and forgiveness we show to others. He wants us to:
Courageously come to Him in Confession with faith in Him and His mercy.
To weep at His feet in repentance through asking for the gift of true contrition.
To wipe His feet clean in penitence through prayer, fasting and service of our neighbour.
To anoint His feet in loving self-sacrifice through care of the needy and the most needy are those who need our forgiveness and to place all that we are and all that we have at His service.
It is by coming courageously to the feet of the Lord in humility and sorrow and trusting in Him that we discover His mercy and kindness.  It takes courage and humility to go to Christ in the Sacrament of Confession.  I know, I have to go often enough myself.  Every time we go to Confession, and we ought to go often, we ought to pray that we go as this woman went.  We should go bravely no matter what others might think or say and put our trust in the Lord, asking Him to bless the priest with all the graces he needs to help us.  Perhaps you think that you have no sins.  If you have no sins that what are you doing here?  The Church is a hospital for the sinners not a museum for saints.  Perhaps you think that the Lord will not forgive you.  Who do you think He died for?  He has told us often enough that He would die for each of us even if we were the only one.  Therefore we ought to run to Him in the Sacrament, confess our sins to the best of our ability and do our penance – after all a few prayers is nothing compared to drying someone’s dirty feet with our hair.  When we do what is ours to do, when we confess our sins in sorrow, when we forgive from our heart and care for those in need, then He will do the rest.  The Lord is never found wanting.

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Some months ago I read this book, the Great Facade, by Ferrara and Woods having previously read Sire's Phoenix from the Ashes. Now while I cannot agree with all that they say and I think that at times, in their indignation, they throw different matters into the same mix, they do make some interesting points. I guess I am no longer a 'conservative' Catholic but a 'traditionalist' one whatever those terms mean.

Unlike Ferrara and Woods, Sire's book is much more historical and touches more on the philosophical-theological issues that have lead to the modern crisis in the Church.  Though not as philosophical as Roman Amerio'c Iota Unum it is still a good read.

All the same I feel I need to reread these books with a pencil in my hand to note those points where I thought matters where not handled correctly.



So it has been quite some time since I posted anything and I am not sure why.  Perhaps I am now turning over a new leaf.  At the moment one of the books I am reading is the Devotion to the Sacred Heart  by Fr Jean Croiset SJ.

Fr Croiset was spiritual director to St Margaret Mary Alacoque and it was he whom our Lord commissioned, through St Margaret Mary, to write this book, the original book on the devotion.  It's well worth getting and I found it clear, well-balanced and helpful.  You can get it here at Book Depository.

Friday, February 19, 2016


So this is where I live now on the Ards peninsula Co. Donegal, not far from the village of Creeslough.  The friary looks out onto Sheephaven bay with a National Forest behind us on the hill.  Unfortunately with my disability I cannot go exploring as I once planned to do before my accident but that means I have more time to read or listen to stuff on the internet.  Our connection is poor (at times it would be quicker to communicate by smoke signals) but I am working on that.  The weather, it being Winter, is usually grey, wet and windy.  Add to that the nearby boom of the sea and it can be quite noisy here; I thought the countryside was supposed to be quiet.

My room would give me a view of Malin Head but for the trees planted by previous generations of friars.  Not that I can complain after all I spent the six months from June to December with a view of another friar's window and the roof above him.  I have far more room here and the use of another beside me for painting.  The downside is that this house is so big.  It was built as a student house a few years before they  moved the students to Dublin and numbers began to decline.  

So even for the more mobile friars this place is, at times, a chore. Any activity means a hike up and down stairs and along long corridors. I guess it counts as exercise. The locals, both those who work here and those who come to attend the Mass or get confession or just visit, are very welcoming. Time passes at a more sedate pace here. Such a change from UCC. There's more time to pray of course even with 'duty' everyday. It really only gets busy at the weekends, especially Sunday. I fill my time with sorting out my stuff, getting rid of rubbish and stuff I don't need or use anymore. I am also transferring my pigments from glas to plastic jars so as to shed weight; it was embarassing how much I had accumulated on top of what I had when I moved from Dublin to Cork. I filled a Hiace.

I must do a post on some books I am reading. But for the moment this is enough.


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