From our new friend and explorer:
Brendan MacCarthaigh. “Born Dublin 1938. Eleventh of eleven children, loveless childhood, eventually fled into first escape route available – the Christian Brothers, at 14. Fled further to India at 22, lived there for 64 years, legal realities compelled return to Dublin in 2022, where now am. Negative life experience turned miraculously (yes) positive in 2019, and have lived in that glow since then. Loved India. The meaning of life is God, another name for Love. Have loads of qualifications in various fields. bursting with new ideas, mostly denying the beliefs we have nourished for decades, even centuries., enough about me!”
“One grows foolhardy, I guess, when none of the bullets one is braced for actually strikes. By now you know that for me Jesus is a role-model. I don’t tie up Jesus with religion past the point of his name going on to Christianity as a religion. Religions I am pretty cynical about, regarding them as very useful, very bonding of people (both strong reasons for associating with them, I grant) but insofar as they are exclusive of all interpretations of divinity except their particular one, I dismiss them. They bond adherents – great! They exclude others quite pointedly who interpret God differently – a result of anthropological illiteracy. And that last sentence includes of course Christianity, and its various offspring such as Catholicism, Protestantism, Presbyterianism, etc. as well as the non-Christian faith traditions.
“I suppose I must believe in what is commonly indicated by ‘life after death’. By ‘must’ I mean, I draw such strength as I have from my association with Jesus, who of course is dead. The Roman soldiers on Calvary knew their job. But I believe that the spirit of Jesus lives in millions of people all over the world, as does the spirit of every other human person who ever lived, but with the difference that the one I refer to lived such a life that his spirit remained and remains influential in the choices millions make about their lives ever since. What’s more, I recognise that those who are not thus influenced are quite likely touched by other great names, and live equally if not more admirable lives as a consequence.
“Thus, if I happen to have a function centering on Jesus, I do not exclude someone who draws all her/his inner inspiration from someone I had never heard of, or had heard of, but do not myself know enough about to find inspirational. For me, as I have said earlier, the entire meaning of life arises out of love. That love is, in my case, modelled after the example of Jesus. Others see it modelled elsewhere. Fine. So long as it is all-inclusive love, I say welcome.
“Yesterday I was at a function where one of the participants quite emphatically dismissed prayer as useless, and that the future of our earth depends not on prayer, but on each of us doing our thing to save the globe from destruction. He dwelt on the idea quite strongly, and in fairness I learned that he was himself, though old, vigorously involved in various measures towards rescuing our earth from her destroyers.
“This issue didn’t arise in the life of Jesus, so there didn’t look like there was any connection there. (I do acknowledge that Jainism and Zoroastrianism might demur, and I appreciate their hesitation. They are an important minority.) Still, this old man had a point. The rescuing of Earth from her destroyers is scarcely a religious issue. Ok?
“Although the scientist Rupert Sheldrake didn’t intend it, his thesis arising out of, and leading to the term morphic resonance has become a common term in religious literature for quite some years now. Morphic resonance is defined as, a paranormal influence by which a pattern of events or behaviour can facilitate subsequent occurrences of similar patterns. Very briefly, birds in one town discover they can with their beaks stab open the tops of milkbottles, soon other birds living far away make the same discovery. Monkeys discover that it’s easier to rinse the sand off their washed-up coconuts than eat them and then wash the sand out of their mouths, soon other monkeys living far away make the same discovery. Scientists, who devise brand-new equations to explain problems, discover that far away other scientists at the same time are making similar discoveries.
“And so when you and I pray for things to improve in the healing of our Earth, our prayer becomes linked with the same idea all over the place, and action is motivated on a wide scale. This old man’s desperation is understandable, but in practical reality his impatience with prayer as an effective instrument is actually misplaced. Prayer prompts ideas, strengthened by this morphic resonance phenomenon, and ideas lead to practical involvement, because it gathers power in the process of performance.
“Thus, our love for Mother Earth is enriched by our prayer life – and indeed, let me add, by the impatience of this old man, though he may not recognise it, because it strengthens the power of the idea now found all over the globe, thereby prompting the rest of us to do our individual and group best. It is of course helped by the power spelled out in Laudato Si’, while that itself is a result of the listening world to its message.
Link: Leaving India after 62 years.
From Brother Mac (Brendan)
Clarification. I send a LIFE AGAIN page around to friends about once a week. It is a comment I make on the everpresent challenge “what’s it all about?”, and it arises out of simply being an old man thinking about life. Quote me at your own risk, whoever chooses to. I am in theory a Catholic, but don’t build a Summa on that. Jesus is my role model only because I know no other who displayed such courage in support of his discovery that love was the meaning of everything, not Law, whicfh was the prevailing dogma of his time. I now believe that God is an unfortunate title we attach to the ultimate beginner of whatever has a beginning, and that it really means Love. Of course I owe thanks to a thousand sources for arriving at this position, which for all I know may be totally heretical. But right now, there I stand. God bless. Brendan
Thx Br Brendan wonderfully written and amazing that at the end of a somewhat chaotic life you can pull together such warm wisdom – i appreciate your post ciao Paul
Thank you dear boy. I would add my agreement to your summary. We owe a great debt to the writers of the New Testament who gave us their take on a man whose values and attitudes correspond with the best of civic flourishing everywhere…equality, inclusion, servant leadership, lampooning of elitism etc. Paradox and the creative management of contradictions typically by inversion. I agree that our world’s catastrophic ecological problems were not forseen by most thinkers; (eg Jesus), but we are now aware. My fear is that even if all peoples on earth agreed and did their best, our corporate entitlements will prevail; and sink the ship with all hands.
I was fascinated by last night’s message of the Irishman from India and “morphic resonance.” As the one who shares the view of Leslie Weatherhead that all spiritual matters are ultimately mystical I was especially interested in this man’s experience. It reminded me of the observation of the Archbishop of Canterbury of long ago (to us now, anyway), William Temple, who observed that coincidences occurred in the lives of those for whom he prayed. I saw another form of resonance.
Jesus’ the mystic’s discovery that Love is God opened wide for him a doorway to the divine. He knew it was the ultimate key to the meaning of life in the here and now that he lived for and risked death to share, with all who would listen.