In this week’s Blog, Fr. Paddy echoes his message of hope during these difficult economic times.

Fr. Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Nationalist papers.

This column appeared in the edition published 17 January 2011.

2011 brings with it an era of significant difficulty for so many people across Ireland – unemployment, reduced public benefits, reduced state provision, fewer positive expectations and more uncertainty seem to be our lot. Yet, how different it all was just three years ago as we basked safe in what seemed to be a time of unparalleled plenty.

We did not envisage whole national economies being reduced to the edge of bankruptcy, yet that is what has happened. Our painful reality is that the totally unexpected, can happen.

However, we must not be defined just by economic uncertainty. So much negative news, brings us down. Diminishes our hope and creates fear. Fear is a deadly poison, that binds us to a place of anxiety and burden. In times that are difficult it is essential that as a nation and as individuals we do not lose hope.

I have hope. Hope in so many good people, family and friends. Hope in my faith story; that is about new beginning and possibility. I recently received the following as a message of hope:

Ask ‘What’s possible?’ not ‘What’s wrong?’ Keep asking. Notice what you care about. Assume that many others may share your dreams. Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters. Talk to people you know. Talk to people you don’t know. Talk to people you never talk to. Be intrigued by the difference you hear. Expect to be surprised. Treasure curiosity more than certainty. Invite in everybody who cares to work on what’s possible. Did anyone ever tell you that Jesus enjoyed life, desired life to the full and promised it to us; considered the lilies in the field, the birds in the trees, turned his toes up to the sun. People were drawn to him, like parched earth to water and greenness. He fed them with milk of human kindness and warmth of care and laughter. He was crucified because he told the truth; and we have glorified his suffering, and distorted the story of why he freed the fetters of the broken-hearted. Let us go back and start again; this time be still and listen. I don’t need two shirts on my back, nor paraphernalia to smother truth; but truth still shines like sunshine melting fog, or peeping merrily through mountain, tree and cloud.

Good morning, sun- let’s start the day!! Embrace the Hope!!!!