Returning to Life — and Catholic Ireland

 

Just another beautiful Irish village church, near our former home in County Clare …

Some fairly personal notices for the moment.

Around Advent last year, weblog entries here abruptly ceased, without explanation.

What explanation there is for that fact lies in a crisis in Kim’s and my immediate family which I will say little of here. (Although I will note that while things remain very personally difficult, I also see real grace, beauty and hope in the situation.)

However, while I cannot publicly explain much, I do wish to apologise.

For the other day, I received a private e-mail from Mexico from a reader who said he was checking the site every day waiting for more …

Amigo, I am sorry. It is obviously important to you, which gratifies my heart and makes me sorry not to have explained better to you and to other unknown amigos who may have also been wondering.

In addition to this, we have been terribly neglectful with correspondence.

Let me say some things to all of this.

First: Kim and myself consider this website to be a key part of the vocation which we feel (we cannot help but feel this) that God has called us to.

This is to say, then, that while the site may be interrupted from time to time, we are very confident that this project will not be stopping. Rather, it will be returning to life. Moreover, we believe that it will in time be significantly expanding.

But in addition to the utterly exhausting problems indicated above, I want to say a little more.

Kim has a vision problem that greatly limits her possibilities in terms of computer screens. As a result, I must upload everything she writes for this site and sometimes even have to type her responses, e-mails etc. myself. For this reason, mail is usually best directed to myself.

On a happier note, the personal crisis above is having one very major, unexpected consequence. It is directly leading to a long-hoped for transition in our lives.

Kim, myself and our daughter are moving to Ireland!

I hesitate to say too much of a personal nature at this weblog. But this, for us, is an utter miracle.

A profound light and joy amidst the darkness …

For dear Reader, I cannot tell you what Ireland means to me personally (though some indications may be found here).

I am an American born of English parents. In my Anglo-American upbringing, the Catholic Mystery was completely invisible to me for nearly thirty four years.

It was only with the grace of a profound interior experience in autumn 1997 and the help of an extremely unusual Catholic masterpiece, that the Catholic Mystery first became visible to me that autumn …

Without those graces, the Catholic Mystery might well have remained buried, buried beneath the Anglo-American secular and New Age culture.

But seven years later, I moved to Ireland.

And in Ireland, I beheld a culture – so unlike the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant worlds I grew up in  – where the Catholic Mystery was NOT invisible.

As I write in my upcoming book:

 

It was in Ireland that I first really encountered a culture, which had, until very recently, been utterly steeped in Catholicism. Here I discovered very different attitudes than the liberal and secular certainties, which characterised the Protestant Anglosphere from which I stemmed.

For in Ireland, I experienced the afterglow, at least, of an integrally Catholic culture. This is to say, a culture where the Faith had, until very recently, formed a sine qua non – i.e. it had been integral. The Ireland that I encountered in 2004 had known, within living memory, an immersion in prayers, Sacraments and traditions unimaginable in America and England.

Ireland – how different you were to anything I had known in my youth! For on your blessed island, the Catholic Mystery was not well-nigh invisible! And your people possessed qualities – of piety, humanness and still more – unlike anything I had witnessed in any country before.

Ireland, this book is dedicated to your Christian soul, because your profoundly Christian culture guided me to what lies at the heart of this volume.

That is, you led me not only deeper into the Mystery of the Church, but you also showed me the only hope I have for the civilisation of the West. This is to say, the civilisation which drives our world, a world which degrades in body and soul – a world in decay, that is, both ecologically and spiritually.

 

Now, I say that my book is dedicated to the soul of Ireland. But let me be more precise and share the exact dedication in my manuscript as it now stands:

 

To the Soul of France, Catholic France, which was subjected to utter mutilation in the past and to the Soul of Catholic Ireland, which is being mutilated in similar fashion today, this book is dedicated.

To the Souls of these great Catholic cultures, I owe more than I can possibly tell you, dear Reader. 

 

Ireland … when I return to your blessed shores, I hope that our work at this site will play its part  – a very, very small part, needless to say – to support not only Catholic tradition everywhere, but also to support the tradition in Ireland.

And so, while personally things are not easy, dear Reader, I can also report that there is a sense of life, new life …

This website will be returning to life then, with, I suspect, renewed vigour and inspiration.

In the meantime, dear Reader, I ask you to have patience with me.

In the midst of this difficult, albeit miraculous, transition, I will still be slow in my correspondence.

But I hope to slowly return to posting entries – even if initially it is only in the form of a few already-written short extracts from my book.

However, while new material may still be a little slow to appear, there is one major new area of this website that Kim has created. (But which we never announced, nor has it shown up in the recent posts section.) The site has been lacking this for far too long and I am very grateful Kim has now completed it at last.

This has been a great labour of love for Kim and you will find it in a new section of our topmost bar. Just click on Devotions in the black bar at the top of this page.

Finally in this very personal little notice, I am also going to make a personal little request to friends, known and unknown of this site.

In the left side of this page, you can see some buttons for both Amazon and Amazon UK.

To be pedantically and ludicrously clear what I mean:

By clicking on these buttons, visitors to this site will be taken to Amazon and virtually anything that is then purchased will earn us a small commission.

If you shop with Amazon already, we would be very grateful to you if you could consider using these buttons first.

For in addition to the numerous other struggles indicated above, finance is also far from easy.

For the same reason, I have also added a ‘Donate’ button to the site.

These things will really help the project of which this website is a part. Another part of that project is my (endlessly delayed) book and other books we hope to publish. And there is much more we hope to do.

From experience, I know this could sound maddeningly vague or tentative to some.

As I said, Kim and I cannot help but feel that we have a calling, a vocation here. But defining it in precise terms seems neither easy, nor wise to us. It is something that must grow organically from the depths, watered by our prayers …

But I imagine in the deep Christian soil of Ireland, it will be able to grow as never before.

If you appreciate this website and can feel the worth of what I intimate, I would really appreciate it if you would consider visiting Amazon via our buttons.

Thank you.

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One Comment

  1. Edwin Shendelman
    Posted 6 March 2013 at 01:01 | Permalink

    Good to see you and Kim back.

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