In this week’s blog Fr Paddy discusses faith and human strength, following the death of Lt General Dermot Earley and the recent ten hour game at Wimbledon.

Fr. Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Nationalist papers.
This column appeared in the edition published  July 2010.

Recently I watched one of my favourite childhood movies, ‘The Wizard of Oz’. As a child I found the story colourful, enthralling and magical. As an adult I interpret the Yellow Brick Road and Dorothy’s search for her real home, somewhat differently. Surely the character of the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion in search of a Heart, a Brain and Courage may well be our desire to find meaning, purpose and fulfilment in all our lives. This is a time when we have a huge hunger and desire to find that inner sanctuary which is our home.

The recent death of Lt Gen Dermot Earley, brought with it great sadness and huge loss to many people throughout our country. Dermot Earley, in his life was a disciple of hope. His sanctuary, was a place where he experienced intimacy and friendship with his God. His energy, enthusiasm and compassion endeared him not just to the military and sporting world but to all who encountered this faith filled man. Dermot Earley’s plan for life included five important principles:

  1. Enjoy the time with my family
  2. Give the best to my work
  3. Give back to my community
  4. Spend my leisure time well
  5. Make time for God in my life

In our search for meaning and purpose so often our hearts and minds are orientated to that beyond the now. To something beautiful, peaceful, beyond words. A silence that yet speaks loudly, a place where we can make sense of things and find our way forward. I was truly captivated recently by the fantastic and legendary, longest game of Tennis ever recorded in Wimbledon, lasting over Ten Hours, burning over Sixteen Hundred Calories. Two competitive athletes displayed the very best of our human spirit.

A spirit of resilience, commitment, energy and desire to achieve.

The same spirit echoes in all our hearts. Hearts that are wounded longing to be healed. Minds that are overwhelmed, and disillusioned, seeking new understanding and enlightenment.   Souls longing to find a living sanctuary where we can share and be nourished by our living God.

Keeping with Wimbledon, I conclude with another legend – Serena Williams, who articulates her hearts desire in her Biography ‘My Life’.

“Faith. It’s at the root of everything I do, everything I believe. It’s what gets me out of bed each morning before first light, to head out to the tennis court. And it’s what keeps me believing that anything is possible—not just on the court, but all around.  Without faith, what do we have? What’s the point? Where’s that silent fuel to drive us through our days and get us where we’re going? It places my life in a kind of context and lets me know I’m not just going through the motions but moving instead to some higher purpose. There’s got  to be a reason we’re all here on this earth—reaching, striving, pushing—don’t you think? I feel strongly that we all need to believe in something. Open your heart to the idea that there’s something bigger out there, something bigger than we can know”.