Fetters of the Soul


Once when we were holidaying in Kerry, I bought a painting of a donkey from a local artist. My heart had leaped straight out to it as it hung there in the tiny gallery: a study in oils of a rough-haired donkey with huge soulful eyes, meekly accepting the mockery of a broken straw hat jammed on its head. The soulful eyes and the meek acceptance of its humiliation were a powerful reminder of the pity with which my childhood heart had once overflowed for a donkey. It was on a rural roadside, and the sad-eyed creature stood, motionless, its front legs cruelly fettered. I failed miserably to make any impact on the rope knots, so I burst into tears and ran home - where I denounced the "farmer man" with a ferocity which seriously alarmed my poor mother. "And the big green field behind the poor creature," I sobbed, "and him not able to run around in it. That farmer man should have his legs tied together himself and see how he likes it!" Is there anything more passionate than a child's heart when it's engaged with matters of injustice!

I was reminded of all of this recently when I came across a reference in her book, "Moments of Stillness" by Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, to denials we practise in our lives which act as fetters on our souls. I thought of the poor fettered donkey and the green field behind him which he couldn't enjoy, and I wondered why it is that we, voluntarily, put fetters on our souls! Why should we be so afraid to accept a truth and move forward that we shackle our souls with chains of denial. The freedom of the green field, daisy-fresh with the enlightenment of truth, is beckoning to us, but we resolutely turn our backs on it, pretend it's not there in our efforts to avoid letting go of old prejudices, old convictions, old opinions, nostalgia for the past, denials that death is a part of life - letting go so that we can unshackle our souls and die into a new, fresh, green future, every moment of which we can now live vibrantly, fully, freely and completely. The poor donkey was fettered by force; we fetter our souls all by ourselves.


31st July 2019 The Guest House
21st June 2019 The Glorious Abundance of the Almighty
25th March 2019 Shrinking
15th January 2019 Balance is All
19th November 2018 The human hunger for beauty
9th October 2018 Shifting Perspectives
19th June 2018 Thank God I was wrong
16th May 2018 "Today is a new dawn, new, clean and fresh - and so are you, my dear! Don't worry. All is well."
26th March 2018 The Long Winter
7th March 2018 The Gift of Tears
19th January 2018 An Understanding of Kindness
14th December 2017 Do You See This Woman?
17th October 2017 We Are All One with You
7th September 2017 Gaps
20th June 2017 "Love is not loved."
25th April 2017 I Hope You Dance
21st March 2017 From Darkness to Dawn
27th October 2016 The Bright Field
27th June 2016 The Enemy Within
31st May 2016 The Little Way to The Almighty
25th January 2016 Love Immeasurable
11th November 2015 Letting Go
21st May 2015 The Gift of Loss
6th May 2015 Walls
24th November 2014 Leaning into Winter
24th October 2014 Crossing the Road
25th June 2014 Fetters of the Soul
30th April 2014 The Power of Gratitude
10th March 2014 The Darkling Thrush
11th February 2014 Spring
10th February 2014 Masks
3rd February 2014 Dancing in the Wind
21st January 2014 Chains of nostalgia
13th January 2014 Forgiving wrongs darker than death or night
7th January 2014 Singing out Loud
17th December 2013 CHRISTMAS FOUND
9th December 2013 Withering into the Truth
2nd December 2013 The Celtic Prayer Garden
25th November 2013 Missing Dates
18th November 2013 NEARER GOD’S HEART
12th November 2013 Night
27th April 2010 Healing God
25th November 2009 Our Poverty
1st September 2009 Which of the two tigers will win the fight?
1st June 2009 Be your own role model
25th May 2009 The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord
18th May 2009 Power of the real presence
7th May 2009 "Lessons I did not learn in School" - by Bill Gates
30th March 2009 The Long Walk to Freedom
23rd March 2009 Become a Friend
16th March 2009 Ireland in Identity Crisis?
9th March 2009 Love to Pray
2nd March 2009 Life - Giving Words
16th February 2009 Exclusion Policy
9th February 2009 Somewhere the Child
2nd February 2009 The Conversion of St Paul
12th January 2009 Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"
22nd December 2008 A Christmas Parable by Louis Cassels
15th December 2008 Work – from In the heart of the Temple by Sr Joan Chittister
8th December 2008 Am I at home when the doorbell rings?
1st December 2008 Street Corner Christ
17th November 2008 How Did I Get This Busy?
10th November 2008 A Homily for The Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica – 9th November 2008
3rd November 2008 John O’Donohue taken from “Benedictus - A Book of Blessings”
27th October 2008 Charles Peguy 1873-1914, French poet and politician
20th October 2008 The following is an extract from a talk given by Bishop George Lungu of Chipata in Zambia in Africa, to the synod of Bishops being held in Rome this month.
13th October 2008 Excerpt from ‘A Door of Hope’ by Jean Vanier
6th October 2008 A Reflection on Matthew's Gospel 21:28-32
29th September 2008 The Daily Decalogue of Pope John XXIII