Columns

March 25, 2015

A smile, love, a sunrise… all the miracles you will ever need

As we journey towards Easter, it is time to think about miracles. For that is what we celebrate at this time of year: the miracle of an empty tomb. We commemorate the day when a crucified man rose from the dead. After 2,000 years, it is easy to become complacent about that claim. Yet it still stands before us as a miraculous invitation to …

 

March 18, 2015

The memories remain after those faces in the sand fade

The white waves lap around my feet. It is cold and grey, yet with every breath I feel more alive. The air is of the purest kind, fresh and fragrant like a heavenly dewfall. In the distance I see …

 

March 11, 2015

It’s a joy to see my young sons learn the virtue of poetic beauty

Some were as young as six. They stood alone in the centre of the stage. A short pause and then, with courage and conviction, they began to recite their poetry. It is a beautiful thing to watch children recite poetry. To see them sanctify the world with words is such a moving experience. As if by magic, …

 

March 4, 2015

We too must bloom and shine just like the lily does

‘See how the lilies of the field grow. They neither labour nor spin, yet Solomon in all his splendour was not dressed like one of these.’ With those words, Jesus Christ decreed that the lilies should become our model in life. In this time of new growth, they can teach us how to be…

 

February 25, 2015

Children need to play to learn true friendship

My generation is the last to have known a world without technology. Growing up, we had no computers, mobile phones, tablets or iPads. We were without the abundant means of communication possessed by our children, yet we all knew what it meant to …

 

February 18, 2015

Put away the headphones and find your way back home

Our world is bedevilled by distraction. Gadgets, toys and noise prevent us from hearing the sweet sounds of life. Instead of finding joy in the beauty of creation, we search for it behind a screen. We have never been more prosperous, comfortable and leisured. Why, then, are we so unhappy, desperate and distracted? Why are we so anxious, restless and stressed? A world that cannot sleep, that cannot take time away from the madding crowd, is one that …

 

February 11, 2015

February 14th: the day we mark the moment we became parents

Our eldest was born ten years ago on St Valentine’s Day. That day, universally dedicated to romantic love, was his due date. That he arrived on time was, for me, a sign that this gorgeous child…

 

February 4, 2015

The death of this girl gave meaning to life for many

The sound of her sobbing drew me to the room. There I found my wife, crushed by
the terrible news that one of her former students had died. Orla Quill was only 18 and was…

 

January 28, 2015

Making music is the nearest we can come to perfection

There is a time for silence, a time for escaping into the arms of peace. There are, however, other times when we require the beauty of sound. I speak of music, that language which communicates much more than the spoken word. I was only a boy when …

 

January 21, 2015

I knew that I was watching history unfold

It is the little things you remember. Little things like their clothes, their handshakes and hair. That I still remember such things after 40 years is proof of their extraordinary charisma. Watching RTÉ’s dramatisation of former taoiseach Charles Haughey, I recalled many of …

 

January 14, 2015

Brave French won’t give in to extremists

I have been asked by my friends in France to say something about their recent appalling trauma. I am honoured to do so for two reasons. First, France has always been a spiritual home to me. Second, …

 

January 7, 2015

January does not have to be gloomy… it’s a time of rebirth

They call them the ‘January blues’. After all the merriment, the lights and the laughter, we are now condemned to a month of misery. Yuletide cheer has been replaced by darkness and despair. For me, returning to normal after Christmas has always been difficult. It is as if …