A crumb of bread a drop of wine contains the whole mystery of our faith.

Day 14

Another early start. On our way to Glendalough Monastic ruins founded by St Kevin in the 6th century. We have done a Celtic swirl and going back to the roots again. 

At the site we watched a Dr Peter Harrison video on monasteries which was fascinating and which I have been unable to find online. 

The we had a one hour tour with a guide who outlined the major buildings of importance on the site as well as taking us into the chapel that is rarely open.

Today was the coldest we have ever been. Freezing! Some of us had to go and find the bus driver to get into their suitcases for warmer clothes.
Then the wonderful part of the visit happened. The completely unexpected but peaceful and mindful walk with Father Michael Rodgers.

Father Michael took us on walk through the national park with purpose. At each stop he spoke to us about our world, our God, our inner life, the environment, read poetry, prayed or told stories. 

Stop 1

Our walk began at a three in one tree where we thought about the great mystery of the trinity and he spoke words from the long version of St Patrick’s breast plate (read here- Long St Patricks breast plate)

Then he asked us to walk with a sense of wonder that I am alive.

Stop 2

At the next stop we sat along a log and he said we reminded him of birds on a wire. 

As we sat he recited a Patrick Kavanagh poem called October

O Leafy yellowness you create for me

A world that was and now is poised above time.

I do not need to puzzle out Eternity

As I walk the arboreal street on the edge of a town,

The breeze too, even the temprature

And pattern of movement is precisely the same

As broke my heart for youth passing.Now I am sure 

Of something.Something will be mine whereever I am.

I want to throw myself on the public street without caring

For anything but the prayering that the earth offers.

It is October over all my life and the light is staring

As it caught me once in a plantation by the fox coveret.

A man is ploughing groung for winter wheat

And my ninteen years weigh heavily on my feet.

The last line made us start. The author was 19 and weary.  Father Michael reflected that the journey is sometimes wearying. We can’t be on a high all the time. If you drive the devil a away the angels will go as well – no fun without the fight. An interesting perspective.

Befriend your shadow.

It brought to mind the verse from Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things though Christ who gives me strength”.

He asked us to walk the next leg in silence. “If we could walk the roads and see things.”

Stop 3

Layers in the cliffs beside us. 


Stop 4

Harvest the memories. Fruits of your life. We talked under a sloe berry tree.

As we moved on we were told to walk into the heart of this place and ask “Who are you?”

Stop 5 

Kevin’s cell – Father Michael told us the story of St Kevin and the blackbird

The walk down

Stop 6

Reefert church (burial place of kings) is a simple nave and chancel chapel. This church dates from the tenth century and is the burial place of the O’Toole family, seven of whose princes are buried on the grounds.

The story here is that we all come to the end of the story. Father Michael recited the following poem about the Hazel tree,tree of wisdom:

The Song of Wandering Aengus by William Butler Yeats

I went out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head,

And cut and peeled a hazel wand,

And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor

I went to blow the fire a-flame,

But something rustled on the floor,

And someone called me by my name:

It had become a glimmering girl

With apple blossom in her hair

Who called me by my name and ran

And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering

Through hollow lands and hilly lands,

I will find out where she has gone,

And kiss her lips and take her hands;

And walk among long dappled grass,

And pluck till time and times are done,

The silver apples of the moon,

The golden apples of the sun.

Thus our reflective walk came to an end and we rounded the lakes and headed back – our stomachs singing and our caffeine addictions calling. 

Walking Mass

After Lunch Father Michael led us through the monastic ruins we had toured earlier. This time we did this as a Walking Mass, stopping at places to participate in parts of the Mass, culminating in Communion at the Women’s church. 

We made our way back to the Emmaus Centre in Dublin for our final night and a celebration dinner. We gifted our wonderful leaders with a speech and present, ate more potatoes and drank some nice wine before heading to our rooms and doing the big pack for homeward journeys.

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