St Patrick’s Lament


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This poem was written by my brother-in-law, Michael Adams, in response to Ireland’s recent decision to legalize abortion.  Though it came as no great surprise, it is hard to comprehend how this former bastion of the Catholic Church got to this point.  The spiritual heritage of that little island is so rich.  Now it seems much as the rest of post-Christian Europe. 

St. Patrick’s Lament

We Irish have decided that it’s time

To loose the raiders on a mother’s womb.

Vox Populi declared, “What was a crime,

Now is our right: to seal the unborn’s doom.”

A hush has fallen on our darkening hills;

Angelic music borne upon the winds

No longer has the power to stir our wills.

We’re proud to wield the power that rescinds

The Law’s protection of our innocents.

A wail is heard beneath St. Patrick’s Reek,

Our arrogance has fueled his dissonance.

He’ll keep the names and faces of the meek,

The blistered, the dismembered ones. His voice

Decries the coming carnage we call “Choice.”

Clarity of Purpose

This article is coming from a secular perspective, but many of the insights are compatible with the Gospel.

Pentecost gave the disciples clear goals and purpose.  We see the same spirit in the Sermon on the Mount.  All effective Christians — the heroes and the unsung — have this quality.  The Gospel has the power to set our priorities very straight and clear if we will let it, and save us from rambling or wasting our energies.

In Philippians 3:13 Paul said, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  What made Paul effective was that little word “one.”

The great Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote a whole book on the subject, Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing.

One of the greatest impediments–I think I can say, THE greatest in these days of social media addiction–is slavery to the approval of others.  Others do not reward singleness of purpose, until after you have made yourself into a huge success.  Then its OK.  But along the way the crowd will do nothing but condemn you for leaving the path of conformity and mediocrity.

Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Before you can achieve your biggest dreams, you need to sharpen your mind first.

This means defining your goal and purpose.  Lots of young people waste four years of college (or graduate school) because they entered without a clear sense of purpose.  Many adults drudge away in jobs they hate because they are unconnected to any goal or purpose bigger than the paycheck.

So much good stuff in this article.  I hope you will read it, and think about how it applies to your work life, your discipleship, and the life of St Peter’s.

Collect for Monday After Pentecost

Send, we beseech thee, Almighty God, thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, that he may direct and rule us according to thy will, comfort us in all our afflictions, defend us from all error, and lead us into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the same Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.  Amen.

Help With One of Our Great Frustrations

“Imagine we have a classroom of 100 pupils. One fails. It’s likely his fault. Maybe he played too many video games. But if 99 students fail, then it’s not a problem with the students. The problem is with the teacher. The problem of rampant obesity means that it is very obviously not the fault of the people. The fault lies with the official dietary advice.”

This paragraph comes from this fascinating and potentially liberating article by Dr Jason Fung.

Do We Belong Together?

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Philosopher, Roger Scruton, is one of my top five favorite authors.  In his latest book, Where We Are: The State of Britain Now he makes the following observation, which I believe applies not only to a nation but also to a church.

A country’s stability is enhanced by economic growth.  But it depends far more upon a sense that we belong together, and that we will stand by each other during the real emergencies.  In short, it relies on a legacy of social trust.  Trust of this kind depends on a common territory, resolution in the face of external threat, and customs and institutions that foster collective decisions in response to the problems of the day.  It is the sine qua non of enduring peace, and also the greatest asset of any people that possess it.