A difficult journey from the head to the heart

A difficult journey from the head to the heart

Dear Editor, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of the article [IC 25/06/2020] by Dr Noel Keating.

Dr Keating begins his study by making a brief reference to Thomas Merton or Fr Louis, which was the name given to him in ordination as a Trappist monk in Gethsemani, Kentucky, US.  Merton was restless for several years before his entry to the monastery. He worked and travelled searching for his true self. The article states that he was the first in our time to bring the ancient Christian meditation into fashion. I thought that this reference was very suitable so early in the essay as Merton’s written word in his autobiography The Seven Story Mountain “sets the seeds of his journey of self-discovery and brings it to a happy ending in the monastery”.

Dr Keating’s work in question is easy to read and explains what Christian meditation is: a topic I believe to be difficult to discuss. His language here is soft and brings together the working of the Spirit between the Father and Son as this type of meditation is focused on God in prayer.

Words like silent presence, Spirit and mysterious, lift us out of the ordinary and elevates us to a higher level to our Heavenly Father.

We cannot hear, touch or smell silence but we can feel it when we pave the way to encounter it. It opens up the channels through which the Spirit can reach us and connect us to God.

Christian meditation takes us on our longest journey from the head to the heart. It can be a difficult journey with years of anger and resentment clouding our judgement.

Our heads buzz with noise and are jammed with ideas for projects on hand. Once our space is cleared then the Spirit, who is always by our side, waits for the invitation to enter our space.

Yours etc.,

Maeve Browne,

Tralee, Co. Kerry.


Would lockdown happen if secure salaries threatened?

Dear Editor, I wonder if the doctors, politicians, mayors, governors and country leaders around the world who make the decisions to lock down cities, counties and countries that have destroyed numerous livelihoods would be so quick to come to their decision if their secure salaries were threatened?

Yours etc.,

Dr Owen Gallagher,


Co. Antrim.


Goal of society ‘must be happiness’

Dear Editor, Fr Ron Rolheiser hits the nail on the head when he concludes [IC 24/09/2020] that “God is happy”. In fact, he tells us that God is “perfect happiness”.

However, in his article on evil [IC 01/10/2020], Fr Rolheiser gives his perspective on the powers of Satan and the devil. I disagree fundamentally on this analysis as I don’t believe that there is such a supernatural ‘force’ engaging with our world in the way he describes. The ‘force’ he is describing, those who do all the bad things he describes, is an unhappy humanity.

This is a very important point. Is it something outside our power that is making all the bad behaviours happen? Or is it us who have suffered a loss of happiness, momentarily or in the longer term? Unhappy people think only of themselves, not of victims, individually or collectively. The longer the duration of the unhappiness, the higher the risk of serious evil.

Consequently, as I define it, all ‘good’ comes from happiness and all ‘evil’ comes from unhappiness. Fr Rolheiser’s definition of God as perfect happiness should be adjusted to reflect the fact that all evil derives from perfect unhappiness.

It is also worth noting that, from observations and understanding, happy people have morals, ethics, values, standards and principles. Unhappy people don’t.

You can’t love, nor forgive, nor do any other higher virtues of Christ and his teaching if you are not happy.

The happiness/unhappiness dichotomy of good and evil guides us to the conclusion that the goal of our society must be happiness, not the accumulation of wealth as it is in our world. That way we will find our way back to God.

Yours etc.,

John O’Connell, 

Shantallow, Derry City.


Thanks to a ‘great paper’ and ‘vibrant’ religious and lay groups

Dear Editor, I thank you for keeping your very good newspaper published every week during this pandemic.

I would never miss it. I find it very good – full of interesting and relevant information. In fact, I buy extra copies every week so that I can pass them on to others. It shocks me that so many good people have no interest at all in spiritual reading – some will not even take the time to read a magazine or your excellent paper. Years ago, religious magazines like the Far East, Africa, Sacred Heart Messenger, etc. were a big part of Catholic households. Now, I don’t think young people ever see any of these excellent magazines that show us the great work being done by missionaries.

Ireland is a mission land today – a land that needs heroic missionaries both religious and lay.

The good news is that there are vibrant new religious orders here now. I tell people of our young sisters in Limerick, Roscommon, Donegal, Wexford, Drogheda, Mallow etc.

People are so happy to know that all their fervent prayers for vocations are being heard and answered. I have just mentioned the female orders but there are also male orders – Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in Derry, Limerick, brothers and priests from the Servants of the Home of the Mother and great Dominicans and regular Franciscan Friars.

If I have possibly left others out, I am sorry, there are also many great lay initiatives like Youth 2000, Net Ministries Ireland, the Michaela Heart Foundation and lots more. I thank your newspaper for the many beautiful photos of these and the John Paul II Awards and of other life giving activities in so many parishes, the spirit is alive and well but we hear little of God on radio or television. Prayers will be heard and are being answered – we must believe this. May we never lose hope.

Yours etc.,

Sr Susan Evangelist,

Knock, Co. Mayo.



Not only Catholics agree with the message of Humanae Vitae

Dear Editor, When Catholics defend the Church’s stance on contraception, Humanae Vitae is generally proposed as the primary support of their conviction.

I believe that highly regarded secular voices, agreeing with the tenets of that great encyclical, should be proposed as well.

Mahatma Gandhi was trenchantly opposed to contraception in any circumstances:, “I urge”, he said, “the advocates of artificial methods to consider the consequences. Any large use of the methods is likely to result in the dissolution of the marriage bond and in free love…if mutual consent makes a sexual act moral whether within marriage or without, and by parity of reasoning, even between members of the same sex, the whole basis of sexual morality is gone and nothing but ‘misery and defeat’ awaits the youth of the country…divorce of the sexual act from its natural consequence must lead to hideous promiscuity and condonation, if not endorsement, of unnatural vice.”

Economist Fritz Schumacher, author of Small is Beautiful, and a late convert to Catholicism, stated his belief in Humane Vitae in one salient sentence: “If the Pope had written anything else I would have lost all faith in the papacy.”

Yours etc.,

Colm Ó Tórna,

Artane, Co. Dublin.