Wow! You certainly have bombarded me with loads of questions. I am of course, very grateful for your interest. To begin with, why rumblings, and secondly where is the bunker? Maybe even a word on revolution.
The bunker is where I am writing from. It’s general location is in Ireland, which from a religious perspective, I see as a small little island on the edge of Europe, at a time of great spiritual darkness. The bunker is semi-underground. I retreat to the bunker. I pray in the bunker. I also read, write, study and rest in the bunker. The bunker is also where the ensuing battle is viewed from. I mean the battle where the two predominant cultures clash: the clash between secular humanism, or materialism, and the values of the Gospel. I am referring to those points that we encounter on a daily basis, where this world interfaces with the Kingdom of God. The bunker often faces heavy shelling. This shelling comes from a variety of sources. It will come as no surprise, that a lot of the heavy fire comes from secular society, but some of it comes from unexpected sources, such as, from friends of the church, or indeed sometimes from within the church itself. The bunker is exciting, reasonably safe, and yet, is always under threat. The bunker could be described as an outpost of the church.
Why rumblings? Well rumblings are somewhere deep, guttural, as opposed to cerebral. Bellys rumble. Does cannon fire rumble? I think thunder rumbles in the distance. Rumblings suggest discontent. Rumblings are a forerunner of something significant. I hope the rumblings may lead to good questions, rather than necessarily great answers, maybe giving rise to the faithfilled questions. In this sense the rumblings are tentative, unsure and probably fragile.
Some of you have asked about the rebellion, which I have recently called for. It’s based on the notion that the Irish church is in dire straits and that there is an onus on us to do something about it. I don’t know that I want to say a lot about it at the moment, except that it’s apt and timely. I don’t see that we have much choice. I will develop the plan for this, a little more, in the coming weeks.
Moving to a different topic, and yet in reality staying with the core of the above, I am conscious we are celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday. This is a great example of how we can weaken ourselves, how we can feed the vice of disunity and discord. Is Divine Mercy just an optional extra, yet another ‘devotion’, or is it at the heart of the life of the Church? I am convinced that this is, and should be accepted as, at the heart of the Church.
Divine Mercy is not an extra or a peripheral. Mercy is another name for God. It is not an accident that we are in the Year of Mercy. Pope Francis sees clearly that our broken world is crying out for God’s Mercy. It is so easy for us, even in very small ways, to add to prejudice, to be racist, to be judgemental and cynical, all the while ignoring the fact that we are called to be the opposite. Often our default position is aggression. If we are serious about being ambassadors of Jesus, then we will seek to understand, to excuse, to sue for peace, to forgive. How can we bring God’s Mercy to the world if we don’t know how to be merciful to ourselves and one another? Instead of poo-pooing Divine Mercy as not your cup of tea, or making comparisons between it and contemplation or something else, that you think is spiritually superior, why not support it, and allow ourselves to be surprised at how God can grace us, often in the most unexpected of ways.
Hopefully many of you will join me at 3pm Divine Mercy Sunday, April 3rd. JMCD 29.3.16