The Long Winter

The wind from the east cut into frail flesh with icy knives. The skies were sunless, unforgiving, threatening the worst. An old man, shaky on his walking stick, turned rheumy eyes up to me and muttered querulously, "Will it never end? Did you ever know a winter as long as this one?" A line from a poem by Shelley crept into my mind: O wind ,If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" but I kept it to myself out of deference to the old man's shivering frame and scowling face. Discontented humanity isn't always enamoured of what might appear to be a pithy response to its plight. And then a smile as welcome as an unexpected ray of sunshine through clouds lit up the old man's face. "But, d'ye know," he said, "even if it's a long wait itself, Spring will surely come. And it'll be worth the wait!"

The bleak world after the death of Jesus on the cross must have shrouded his followers in a darkness which seemed endless. They must have felt the icy knives of loss and grief and terror pierce their hearts. They must have felt the cold blue breath of death on their faces, on their shivering frames. The green of hope, the triumph of the cross, the knowledge of the infinite love which gives meaning to the cross was, as yet, far from the cheerless, colourless world in which they hid and huddled now.

The Irish artist Mainie Jellett's painting of The Crucifixion is a profound work of art which uses colour miraculously to reveal its deepest meanings. The icy blue of death is there, but so also are the fiery red golds of passion and love, visible in Mary as well as in others around the cross. And welcome greens are there, signifying the light of hope and resurrection. It's a wonderful painting which urges us towards an understanding of the meaning of suffering in the world; a work of art, prompted by the Divine, which urges us towards an understanding of the infinite love at the heart of the crucifixion. On the cross, Jesus entered completely into the collective suffering of mankind, and by his resurrection which was to follow, revealed that there is no death: there is only transformation.

Winter will soon be over. The greening of our world is already happening.





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