Lent – a great opportunity to download

Lent – a great opportunity to download
The Notebook
Fr Vincent Sherlock


I listened to ‘The Deer’s Cry’ in the house before Mass.  It is a favourite of mine and I thought that I might play it at Holy Communion time if there was no choir. There was no choir, so I left the phone on the altar, moved the microphone close to it and clicked ‘play’ but nothing happened. I tried again but no sound.  I gave up. Only later, did I realise that when I listened to it in the house, I was using Spotify and the WiFi connection at home.  I was listening to the song in ‘the cloud’.  I had not downloaded it to my phone.

There’s something being said here about the need to download.  It’s one thing to have an awareness of the story of our Faith, the teachings of our Church and the core message of the Gospel but if we leave it ‘in the cloud’, it may well prove to be silent when we most need it and depend upon it.  The hard drive is the key.  Files downloaded to the hard drive are readily accessible and more local to us.  We don’t need to have the wireless connection or a password.

Well maybe we do need the password. A priest told me once of visiting a school and talking to the young children about blessing themselves. In teacher style, he blessed himself, using the left hand and very slowly spoke the words as he moved his hand from forehead to chest, from shoulder to shoulder and to a joined position.  A young pupil, watching and listening, asked the priest: “Does that mean we are logged in to God now? The password is the blessing and the logging in will take care of itself, but the downloading is essential.

Lent, a chance to download – to make our own of the Scriptures, to become familiar with the Stations of The Cross, to speak again those words: “Bless me Father, for I have sinned” and to hear those words of absolution – absolved from sins: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen” – logged in.


Download the message of forgiveness and of letting go of baggage, however justified, that places distance between us and another.

Take to the hard drive memories of friendships that might have soured and journey back, beyond the moment of friction to the years of togetherness shared and moments enjoyed.  If only we could do this, what a difference it could make.  If only we could remember what brought us together and focus less on what drove us apart.

I’m not saying it is easy to do this.  I am not foolish enough to think that some hurts are beyond repair but not all.  It is possible to re-claim friendship and re-build bridges. The desire must be there of course, desire in the heart of one that might eventually get through to the heart of another.

Think about it at least.  If you are reading these lines and connecting with them in some way, maybe that’s the reason you are reading them. In the cloud we know the right thing to do, we know the tune, but we run the risk of not downloading and of losing words and a tune that could truly bring us joy.

So, log-in this Lenten Season. Do everything possible to be at peace with people and to be a means of peace. Begin, and continue: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”

After all, that’s the password – WiFi or no WiFi!


She set up the box…

On Ash Wednesday I was called to a house where a lady was found dead. I had seen her the previous Sunday, walking up the hill to the church to join us for Mass.

At the end of that Mass, I mentioned that the Trócaire Boxes had been placed in the parish bulletin and I encouraged people to bring them home. I said I knew there are many calls for charity now and it’s not easy to respond to them all, but that the Trócaire Box gave us 40 days to respond and that a little now and then could make a huge difference to those depending on us.

As I stood in her kitchen, I noticed the Trócaire Box set up and in place on her worktop.  Her intentions were good.

May she rest in peace.

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