I remember many moons ago being taught English literature at St Patrick’s Academy by a wonderful old teacher called Aidan Corrigan. Imagine the task the poor man had trying to drum a love of Shakespeare into the head of a 15 year old Turlough Quinn; an impossible task.
One time Aidan taught us about the way Shakespeare developed characters and how the character often had to come to terms with something about themselves that they did not like.
I thought of this when I saw what was happening to Eamon Gilmore. I have to say, I don’t like Eamon Gilmore’s politics and when he and his party were humiliated in the European election I was cock-a-hoop. All day Monday when Eamon was forced to resign I could not have been angered.
Here was Eamon, who had proudly closed the Vatican embassy and insulted every Catholic in Ireland, making his resignation speech and no one outside of Ireland noticed. Why not, because the Pope was in the Middle East showing that he was a real world leader and a man whose office is still recognised as important, even if Ireland thinks God is not worth having an Irish ambassador.
It was great, until I went to Mass on the Monday evening. There is something about Mass that gets to the heart of a person. ‘Would you not be safer praying for the conversion of Eamon Gilmore rather than making fun of him,’ said the still voice inside me as Mass began.
I thought back over my own life and the times that I have been humiliated and made a fool of myself. The only difference between me and Eamon Gilmore is that I am unimportant and nobody noticed.
It must be a terrible thing to see your whole career go down the Shute in an afternoon. As a politician, I believe Eamon Gilmore deserved all he got but as a person he is the same as the rest of us; feeble, weak and hurt.
I wonder did it dawn on him to reflect on the values of his life as he sat in his office alone, clearing out his desk and making the decision to resign. Times like this should cause us to reflect. It certainly caused me to reflect about what was it in me that delighted in seeing another human being humiliated.
So in the middle of Mass, I prayed for Eamon Gilmore that he get twice as much out of life as I get and that he comes back to the faith of his father’s before he dies. No matter what a man does we do not want to see him choose hell.
To be honest, it has taken me a week to lose that deep resentment I had towards Gilmore. So now Eamon and I are buddies, at least in the light of God, which is all that is important at the end of the day.
If you get a chance this week, go to see a film called ‘God’s not Dead.’ It is getting horrible reviews in the secular media so I thought it must be good and it was.
The film plot is very simple: a first year university lad is told by his lecturer to write down, ‘God is Dead’ and the young man says he can’t do that as he is a Christian. The lecturer challenges him to a series of three debates and the class shall decide who wins.
The arguments are well rehearsed and we can all see what is coming, so as a film there in not much suspense and tension. But the arguments for and against God have been going on since Adam was a lad and as usual it boils down to do we accept there is a God or do we want to be our own god.
However, the film does show that there is a rational, reasoned reply to every atheist argument and in the final analysis there is no rational reasoned reply against the argument for God; atheism is a decision. Here is a classic example and something that I thought hilarious.
In one part of the film the young man says, “Richard Dawkins states that if God made the universe then who made God. Sounds great until you turn Dawkins’ argument around on him and ask, ‘if the universe made you, then who made the universe.’”
The secular media was scathing of the film, but then it had to be. The film shows in stark relief the nonsense of the choice not to believe in God but human nature is such that there shall always be those who choose self will and pride over some sort of obedience to God.
It is amazing the different conceptions of God that we have in the world. You wouldn’t know who to trust. But then again you might just as well choose to trust no one.
I laughed last week at the whole New North media frenzy about some pastor saying that he would not trust Muslims. Here we have a country where the Christian parties in government cannot speak to one another, where calling people names and saying in text messages that you want your fellow Christian dead, are two examples of a perfectly acceptable behaviour.
Indeed, there are certain parts of the New North where a man would not get a vote if he was even seen speaking to one of ‘them’ let alone doing business with ‘them’ or trusting ‘them.’
But it shows how ridiculous a place this is when it is perfectly acceptable, even commendable, to hate your Christian neighbour but anathema to say a word about the Muslims.
Here is a prayer for the self righteous New Northerner, ‘thank you god that I can hate my Fenian/Orange neighbour as long as I love the Muslims.’
What a great wee country; and you wonder why the atheists look at us with contempt!
“Dear Pastor, God loves all the universe not just the Protestant bit.”
But there is always hope of change. To be sure, we have all seen a lot of change in the New North over these past forty odd years.
Jeralean Talley has seen a bit of change. Jeralean, who is a spritely 115 and America’s oldest person, was born May 23, 1899, went fishing last year and still gets around on her own with the help of a walker.
I don’t know for sure but it is quite possible that her parents or grandparents were slaves. The progress made by the black community in America has been enormous.
When she was interviewed, I heard Jeralean saying, “I often ask the Lord to take me home.”
What a wonderful way to feel as you approach death. An atheist would be saying, “I have to go on. If I close my eyes it is all over. I have to stay awake as long as possible, if I go to sleep I might die and that would be the end of it!”
On the subject of sleep, I didn’t get a lot of sleep on a couple of nights recently. They have started this now addictive all night programme on TV. It is called Springwatch and shows live pictures of animals and birds going about their daily business.
I sat up one night til the wee small hours waiting on a badger to appear. He never came. The next night, as I awaited the illusive badger, the wife asked me what I was doing and I said I was watching the trees grow: as good an answer as any.
Then another night a nightingale was sitting on her nest, wings outstretched, protecting her young from the rain. I sat for another couple of hours looking at that and then a thought come to me: We who live in rural Ireland have some idea about these things but the millions of children living in big cities in England have no conception of this.
Sad really, isn’t it; but what a wonderful use of technology, bringing all this lovely nature into the home.
Then on the other hand we have those who go a bit overboard when it comes to nature. Take poor old David Truscott who loved to roll about in the slurry at a farm in Cornwall. David would strip to his birthday suit and muck about for while.
Unfortunately David didn’t own the farm and when the farmer tried to get him to stop David threatened to kill the farmer and his family. David is now spending five years as a guest of Her Majesty.
At least he’ll enjoy the slopping out!
There is some nonsense in this world and people just keep on inventing new ways of wasting money. Wait til you read this:
“Children can learn to eat new vegetables if they are introduced regularly before the age of two, suggests a University of Leeds study.
Even fussy eaters can be encouraged to eat more greens if they are offered them five to 10 times, it found.
The research team gave artichoke puree to 332 children aged between four and 38 months from the UK, France and Denmark. One in five cleared their plates while 40% learned to like artichoke.” (BBC Health News)
The article continued:
“Prof Hetherington said her research, which is published in the journal PLOS ONE and funded by the EU, offered some valuable guidance to parents who want to encourage healthy diets in their children.
If you want to encourage your children to eat vegetables, make sure you start early and often.
Even if your child is fussy or does not like veggies, our study shows that five to 10 exposures will do the trick.”
Funded by yours truly; the EU; it’s almost, but not quite, enough to make you want to vote UKIP.
UKIP were the big winners in the European Elections and all over Europe the anti EU parties made progress. As to whether we are in the EU or not doesn’t really worry me one way or t’other. But it would have one real big implication for us; they would have to bring back the border.
Think about it. Nigel Farage becomes prime minister of the not-so-United Kingdom, and decides that we all should leave the EU. But what about us, does this mean that when we drive past Newry, heading down to see an Ulster team in the All Ireland semi final, that we would have to bring our passports with us.
I am just about old enough to remember the old triangles that you had to have in your car window when you were crossing the border. While I cannot be certain I think it was called the ‘triptyque.’
I found this on a website called Borderlands. It is actually a very interesting site.
“The movement of motor vehicles was also regulated after April 1925. Those travelling across the border by car or van were required to obtain authorised pass for travel known as a 'triptyque' or bond in the form of an annual deposit. Acquiring one could be time consuming, difficult and expensive especially for those who lived in the Free State (and later Republic) and needed to have their bond guaranteed by a rates paying resident in Northern Ireland.”
Can you imagine going back to that, the big long queues we had as children in the early 60s?
In the elections for the New North things stayed the same. We voted for us and they voted for them. I wonder who is right. Come to think of it, I wonder who the Muslims voted for.
Then on Sunday morning I was driving to Portadown for Cemetery Sunday and I was listening to Sunday Sequence. It was like a time warp. Do you remember listening to all the nice middle classes of the peace people talking to each other about how terrible all this killing was?
For an hour I listened to same old stuff I listened to for years; it made me angry then and it makes me angry now.
Let’s face it, there were unionist politicians who would not condemn the killing of Catholics because they were members of Sinn Fein. Orange parades have been causing riots and deaths for more than 200 years, and still the same unionist politicians won’t condemn them.
We have lived with hatred and religious murder for centuries. All I can say to the Muslims is ‘welcome to the club!’
But then on Monday morning I was driving into Maghera. As I passed Mayogall PS I saw a man walking home from leaving some of his children to school; he was carrying one of those wee scooters that a child rides.
The wife looked at me and said, “The wee one rode the scooter to school and now the dad is carrying it home. Bet he brings it back after school; is that love or what.”
It is still a beautiful world.