In this week’s blog Fr Paddy invites us to remember that in times of hardship and struggle, if we ask, we will find a real sense of God’s presence and an inner confidence, that all will be well.

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

This column appeared in the edition published 3rd March 2010

Mount Leinster continues to have some snow on its peaks. Wisdom and the experience of locals suggest that this means continued cold weather. Mount Leinster itself is a scared place, beautiful and available to us all, a free and wonderful gift. A sacred place that attracted early Christian communities to settle and praise God in an environment rich in beauty and colour. No doubt the early life of Columbanus was greatly inspired by this sacred place, fueling his zeal and enthusiasm in spreading the good news of God’s Kingdom throughout Europe.

Mountains are places where we can get a clearer picture, a different perspective, a sense of hope. Our local towns and villages look quite small, when we indulge in the panoramic view from any mountain top. In the same way often when we climb a mountain a burden felt can be greatly eased by the time the summit is reached.

As we journey through life we all, at different times, have mountains to climb. Most of these mountains are involuntary. None of us welcomes a heavy climb; we are much more at ease in the comfort and content of the valley. This is a time of mountain climbing. As the recession continues to be felt, so too is the growth in unemployment which brings with it immense worry and anxiety. It is a very difficult climb of uncertainty and financial worry when employment opportunity is not available to a generation of young graduates. So many of our young people are emigrating in search of a more productive and fertile valley of opportunity elsewhere.

Many people have to climb the difficult mountain that is living with serious illness. This again is an arduous task and a pathway that no one willingly embraces. Similarly mountains and climbs of addiction, depression, anxiety and fear are very prevalent in so many homes at this time.

Jesus spent a lot of his time climbing mountains. He appreciated the space and environment that mountains offered him. He discerned and allowed his mission and vision to be revealed by his father to him as he prayed on the mountain. His vision was revealed to a broken and fragile people when he revealed the beautiful Beatitudes. It was on another hill, Calvary where Jesus revealed the depth of his love for us all, when he offered his life as a sacrifice for us all. A sacrifice that unites Jesus with the mountain, whenever it visits our story.

The mountain is not just a difficult climb, it is much more. It is a place of hope. Every mountain tests us physically, emotionally and spiritually. Much more, it reveals to us a bigger picture, a real sense of God’s presence and an inner confidence, that all will be well. The Mountain is sacred and is a precious gift to offer us healing and hope at this time.

For this reason please join us for a sacred morning on Easter Sunday, 4th of April at 6am to welcome the dawn and celebrate the Resurrection on the Nine Stones, Mount Leinster. A festival of light, music and sacred prayer to indulge in the presence of our God whose light is brighter than any darkness

Come and see