“Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee”

Day 1 

4am start. Not by choice but let’s face it, I wake at 4am at home most of the time anyway.  Nevertheless, I felt like this..,

An after breakfast walk through the grounds helped me shake the fog from my brain as well as become acquainted with the myriad shades of green in the Irish countryside. 

Our first session today was led by Christian Brother  Dennis Gleeson and focused on ‘Centering Prayer’ – a deeply spiritual discipline that develops an intimate relationship with God. Gregory the Great called it “resting in God”. Centering allows the Holy Spirit to express him/her self in us –  effectively participating in the Trinitarian relationship. 

I guess you could say I’ve been in a spiritual rut for quite some time but Dennis reminded me that the only distance between me and God is the thought that there is a distance between me and God. As the other great spiritual influence in my education St Ignatius of Loyola said, “If we don’t have the desire, pray for the desire to desire!” God wants a relationship with us. The chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. (Westminster Shorter Catechism – excuse the source!) Enjoy! Prayer should be non violent – don’t force yourself. As always, it’s easy to say  and hard to do. 

My first problem was finding a sacred word. In the 15 minute prayer time I must have chopped and changed 20 times! Not only that, being up since 4am meant I was in danger of being so centered that I would fall asleep and fall off the chair! 😂 I don’t think I was alone in this thought. 🤔

Dennis believes that if you can do this for 20 minutes twice a day for 3 months, you will be so profoundly changed that you will never stop. Challenge accepted!

After lunch we got a bus to Bru na Boinne. The area has been a centre of human settlement for at least 6,000 years, but the major structures date to around 5,000 years ago, from the Neolithic period. 

Visitors Centre reconstruction
Our guide out at Newgrange

The site is a complex of Neolithic mounds, chamber tombs, standing stones, henges and other prehistoric enclosures. It predates the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge and was built with sophistication and a knowledge of science and astronomy, which is most evident in the passage grave of Newgrange. 

The most fascinating part is the megolithic art, especially the 3 swirls that flow together and have no beginning or end. Couple that with the cruciform shape of the passage and think about Christian symbolism. Who knows how the Spirit revealed God to these ancient people way before Patrick and Brigid shared the Gospel!

Read more about the site  Here

We drove back to Emmaus through a lovely valley with very distinctive Irish homes.

I needed to see the Lissenhall Medieval bridge which was nearby. Built in 1760 it incorporates the bridge that was built in 1600. I’m not sure why it’s known as medieval. 🤔

I also found this guy nearby…

Storm trooper predates medieval bridge

After dinner we headed back to town (Swords) for a pint in a lovely Irish pub. 

Pilgrims looking for the right path
Glamour pilgrims

The last to leave and a brisk walk back

The take home for today? Be still and know that I am God.

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