Some solace after Sam

De Facto

WISE WORDS Mississippi-born Catholic religious sister, scholar and teacher Thea Bowman.


De Facto

Liamy Mac Nally

Sam Maguire has opted to travel south rather than west, but there’s always next year. There always is.
Galway were mighty in the circumstances, but ‘been there, done that, have the T-shirt’. In fact, we have eleven such T-shirts since 1989. Normally, at the end of the GAA Championship season we’d be saying it will be a long winter but sure summer hasn’t arrived yet. The new GAA calendar is playing puck with our annual emotional time clocks.
It’s time to go back to the drawing boards, back to the well and for some, fall on the knees. While it’s not lockdown we’ll have a longer opportunity than previous years to ponder. The third Sunday in July is a far cry from the third Sunday in September!   
One could do worse than log in to daily meditations by Richard Rohr, an American Franciscan priest and spiritual writer (cac.org/daily-meditations). He is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation because, as it says on the tin, he saw a need for the integration of both action and contemplation. His daily meditations are challenging, absorbing and comforting.
He recently featured the experiences and writings of women ‘mystics’, stating: “People who know God well – mystics, hermits, those who risk everything to find God – always meet a lover, not a dictator.” We could adopt one mystic per month for the rest of the year; walking with their words would be inspiring and supportive.
Among Richard Rohr’s selection of women mystics is Caryll Houselander (1901-1954), a British poet, writer and artist. “Realization of our oneness in Christ is the only cure for human loneliness. For me, too, it is the only ultimate meaning of life, the only thing that gives meaning and purpose to every life,” she wrote.
Thea Bowman (1937-1990) was a Mississippi-based Catholic religious sister, scholar and teacher: “I bring myself, my Black self, all that I am, all that I have, all that I hope to become; I bring my whole history, my traditions, my experience, my culture, my African-American song and dance and gesture and movement and teaching and preaching and healing and responsibility as a gift to the Church.”
Catherine de Hueck Doherty (1896-1985), a Russian-Canadian social worker and author, is best known for her work, ‘Poustinia’: “True silence leads to the final prayer of the constant presence of God, to the heights of contemplation, when the soul, finally at peace, lives by the will of God whom she loves totally, utterly, and completely.”
Mother and daughter Rachel and Rosemarie Freeney Harding (1930-2004) are authors of ‘Remnants: A Memoir of Spirit, Activism and Mothering’: “No one need starve. There is enough land and enough food. No one need die of thirst. There is enough water. No one need live without mercy. There is no end to grace. And we are all instruments of grace. The more we give it, the more we share it, the more we use it, the more God makes. There is no scarcity of love. There is plenty. And always more.”
Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was a political radical and co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement in the US: “Whenever I groan within myself and think how hard it is to keep writing about love in these times of tension and strife which may at any moment become for us all a time of terror, I think to myself ‘What else is the world interested in?’. What else do we all want, each one of us, except to love and be loved, in our families, in our work, in all our relationships? God is Love.”
Richard Rohr says that one of the main obstacles to experiencing intimacy with God is our very doubt that we can experience it. It’s a bit like our regular Croke Park experiences. We have hope but we are still dosed with doubt. There is always that niggling feeling that it just won’t work out in the end. It’s strange how every county wants to welcome Sam ‘home’. Leaving Croke Park without Sam has that sense  of distance’ and ‘emptiness. Only our doubt is intact. All we can do is keep believing. Someday Sam will arrive. Please God!