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Latest figures show women now account for 42 per cent of the number of adult homeless and this has increased from 34 per cent over the last two years alone.
“I believe in the kingdom to come, and I’ll go on till the end of time,” Fergus McCormack tells congregations in Kildare.
Former US President calls on people of Northern Ireland to finish the work of peace “so we can all have a future together”.
“These crosses come to us unbidden and unwanted as occasions for deep and anguished faith,” priest tells congregation at funeral of Ryan McBride.
Ireland and the Holy See have some different perspectives and at times will have “difficult conversations”, but will also have many fruitful conversations about shared values – Minister Flanagan.
The death of Martin McGuinness had “lifted the lid” on the past and revealed “how raw, how hurt, and how traumatised many people remain”. Archbishop Eamon Martin said that there is still a lot to be done in the peace process.
The Good Thief
The Christian tradition of Saint Dismas (or, more correctly, Dysmas) is based on the story of The Good Thief, as told in Luke 23:39-43. One of the criminals crucified with Jesus abused him saying: "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself, and us as well". But the other rebuked him, saying: "Have you no fear of god at all? You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it. but this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom". Jesus replied, "Indeed, I promise you, today you will be with me in Paradise".
To accompany Bl Fra Angelico's painting entitled Annunciation, I have chosen a poem by Denise Levertov entitled Annunciation to evoke the richness of the feast in words.
Hail, space for the uncontained God!
(from the Akathistos Hymn, Greece, VIc)
We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,
almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.
Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.
But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions
The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent.
She was free
to accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.
Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another
in most lives?
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
when roads of light and storm
open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.
She had been a child who played, ate, slept
like any other child – but unlike others,
wept only for pity, laughed
in joy not triumph.
Compassion and intelligence
fused in her, indivisible.
Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail,
a simple, 'How can this be?'
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
the astounding ministry she was offered:
to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power –
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.
Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love –
but who was God.
This was the minute no one speaks of,
when she could still refuse.
A breath unbreathed,
She did not cry, "I cannot, I am not worthy,"
nor "I have not the strength."
She did not submit with gritted teeth,
Bravest of all humans,
consent illumined her.
The room filled with its light,
the lily glowed in it,
and the iridescent wings.
opened her utterly.
The Annunciation of the Lord